GM's New Diesel Engine, Ram Power Wagon, & More!
Diesel Wars: And the Winner is...
Remember when we said last month that Ford and GM seemed to be playing chicken with the release of the power numbers for the new turbodiesel engines in their heavy-duty trucks? Well, Ford blinked first, announcing that the 6.7L Power Stroke in the '11 Super Duty "delivers best-in-class torque of 735 lb-ft (at 1,600 rpm) and best-in-class 390 hp (at 2,800 rpm)." Yes, best in class...for just a few weeks. When GM introduced the '11 GMC Sierra Denali HD a month later, the General announced that the new 6.6L Duramax "delivers 397 hp at 3,000 rpm and 765 lb-ft of torque at 1,600 rpm."
Seven more horses aren't all that significant in a truck like this, but 30 lb-ft is, at least on paper. We'll reserve judgment until we can get our hands on these trucks.
This Just In
•Race gas can no longer be used in street-driven vehicles in California, according to a recent advisory from the California Air Resources Board (CARB). Our state's enemies of fun have decided to crack down on those who drive their rigs to OHV areas and gas up on high-octane racing fuel, as well as those retailers who knowingly supply street-licensed vehicles with race gas. The ruling does not restrict the use of unleaded "street-legal" high-octane fuels that comply with California's reformulated gasoline regulations. It also does not apply to pure competition vehicles. But in CARB's view, "If you can drive it to the track, it is not a racing vehicle."
•Shopping for a Wrangler but having a hard time finding one with a hardtop? You're not alone. Apparently, Jeep was caught off-guard by the demand for hardtop Wranglers. Says a Jeep spokesman, "We continue to work with our supply base to align supply with demand and are very pleased that demand for both hardtop and soft top Jeep Wranglers is so robust. We are working to accommodate even greater demand for hardtops and have plans to augment existing production as necessary."
•A year or so ago, when gas was $4 a gallon, the fate of GM's biggest SUVs looked uncertain. Now, though, industry reports say the General will continue to build Suburbans (and Cadillac Escalades) as body-on-frame, truck-based vehicles, with a redesign coming in about three years.
•Now that Fiat's in charge, it is looking to refresh many of Chrysler's products in the coming months. As we've reported before, an all-new Grand Cherokee is right around the corner, and an '11 Dodge Durango based on the same platform will be available later this year, says Automotive News. The '11 Wrangler will reflect exterior and interior revisions and will be equipped with Chrysler's new 3.6L, 280hp V-6.
•Toyota continues to be in a world of hurt over its unintended acceleration problems, with federal, state and local agencies all scrutinizing the maker not just for its engineering problems but also for the way it handled the issue. However, a massive advertising campaign and huge dealer incentives were driving Toyota sales up as of this writing in mid March.
•Now for a different perspective on Toyota's quality issues. Edmunds.com reviewed some 20,000 complaints lodged with the NHTSA over the last 10 years and found that Toyota ranked 17th out of 20 automakers. Toyota beat both Ford (10th) and GM (11th) on this list, with Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, and Smart the only makers to do better. The worst? Land Rover.
Track SCORE Races Online
SCORE International, BFGoodrich and Tracking International have announced a new website, www.trackinginternational.com/site/score, to allow race fans to monitor SCORE's off-road races. In addition to live satellite tracking of race participants, the site will have prerun video, streaming live audio of the races, and unofficial timing and scoring in 50-mile intervals. The new site is scheduled to launch in time for the San Felipe 250 and will offer prerace interviews and live streaming of the San Felipe start/finish line. A chat room where teams post updates will also be available.