2010 Mahindra Pickup Spied
Photographers in northern Scandinavia recently caught a barely camouflaged Mahindra pickup undergoing cold-weather testing. The diesel-powered trucks are due to be introduced in the U.S. in 2009 as '10 models, with diesel
Mahindra SUVs to follow for the '11 model year. Apparently the vinyl-wrapped grille seen here is for European and Asian markets; we'll get something different in the States. And according to Brenda Priddy's sources, the truck won't be named Appalachian as previously rumored, but will carry some sort of alpha-numeric designation.
Built by India's Mahindra & Mahindra, the U.S.-spec trucks will be powered by a 140hp common-rail diesel engine backed by a six-speed automatic transmission. Two- and four-door versions will be built with both two- and four-wheel drive.
No `Chicken Tax' For Mahindra?
Mahindra's U.S. distributor is asking that the diesel-powered trucks be exempt from the 25-percent tax normally levied on imported pickups. According to Automotive News, Global Vehicles USA is seeking relief from the tax based on the "environmental benefits" of its clean-burning, high-mileage diesel engines. Global Vehicles is also investigating the option of assembling the trucks here in the States to avoid the tax, nicknamed "chicken tax" because it was originally imposed in the '60s during a poultry trade dispute. The tax could add as much as $4,000 to the truck's expected $24,000-$26,000 sticker price.
New Options For Tundra
Toyota is expanding its Tundra fullsize pickup line for 2010 to include two new trim packages and a new V-8 engine. The option packages represent both ends of the equipment spectrum. A Platinum Package for CrewMax Limited trucks includes 20-inch wheels, a billet grille, power interior accessories, and other luxe items. It should add some $5,000 to the CrewMax MSRP.
A new Work Truck Package (seen here) has hose-off vinyl seats, black grille and bumpers, and black paint inside where the standard Tundra has chrome trim. It should deduct $550 to $655 from the Tundra's base MSRP, depending on the model. (The Work Truck package will be available on regular and Double Cab models in standard or long-bed configurations.)
At 4.6L, the new V-8 is slightly smaller than Toyota's previous standard 4.7L V-8. It produces 310 hp and 327 lb-ft of torque (compared to the 4.7's 276 hp and 313 lb-ft) and should turn in fuel economy of 15 mpg city, 20 highway compared to the 4.7's 13/16.
All '10 Tundras receive a new grille and taillamp designs and were scheduled to go on sale in April.
Drive The Raptor!
Sensing a bright spot in an otherwise dim year for truck sales, Ford is really beating the promotional drum for the new F-150 SVT Raptor. We've already reported on its Baja 1000 success and continued desert-race R&D program; now comes word that Ford's Raptor driving simulator will appear at auto shows around the country. While desert-race scenes are projected on screens in front of the driver, the simulator pivots along four axes-tipping forward, backward and sideways-and engine sounds from the Raptor R race truck play from the speakers.
If you can't get in the driver's seat, so to speak, you can check out the Raptor in fine detail at Ford's new website, www.fordvehicles.com/f150raptor. There you can click through various features and specs, plus watch footage of the Raptor in action in the desert and during the Baja 1000. Oh, and you'll get more "Closed course, professional driver, don't try this at home" warnings than you can imagine. In fact, there's even a link labeled "Additional warning information." No lie.
GM Delays Light-Duty Diesel
General Motors' economic turmoil has led to a delay of its 4.5L turbo-diesel engine, which was slated to be used in light-duty pickups next year. According to Automotive News, the delay was among many "tough decisions" GM is making to weather the financial crisis. GM is calling the delay "indefinite," but a company spokesperson also told AN that the rights to the engine could be sold to another company.
The 4.5L is innovative on several fronts. Its narrow-angle, lightweight block is fitted with exhaust manifolds that are integrated with the cylinder heads and intake manifolds that are integrated with the cam covers. Yes, this is a dual-overhead-cam, four-valve engine that's compact enough to fit in the same space as a small-block gas engine. Power targets are more than 310 hp and 520 lb-ft of torque, but it will also deliver fuel economy that's 20 percent better than a comparable gas engine.
GM said it "remains optimistic that the Duramax 4.5L V-8 diesel may be a viable option in its future portfolio." We sure hope so.
Calling All Military Vehicles
In 1919 the U.S. Army sent 81 vehicles from Washington, D.C., to San Francisco in what was the first transcontinental military convoy along the then-new Lincoln Highway. This summer, the Military Vehicle Preservation Association (MVPA) will commemorate that historic journey with the Transcontinental Motor Convoy. The trip will follow the original convoy's route as closely as currently possible, leaving D.C. June 13 and arriving in S.F. July 8.