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August 2010 Drivelines

4x4 World Record
Drew Hardin
| Contributor
Posted August 1, 2010

Desert-Storming Raptor, World Record 4x4 Convoy, and More!

Raptor Is Hot
Like we had to tell you that. But we're not the only ones who think so. Ford recently announced that the desert-storming Raptor, now available with 5.4L and 6.2L V-8 engines, is selling "three times faster than the average F-150," with the 411hp 6.2L version accounting for nearly half the truck's sales. Ford's records also show that NASCAR driver Greg Biffle was the first person to buy a 6.2 Raptor. Do you suppose the fact that the Biff's race ride is a Fusion had anything to do with that?

GM Announces HD Truck Prices
The GMC Sierra Denali HD pickup we told you about last month-the premium trim, 4WD, four-door 2500HD-carries a base price of $45,865, exclusive of destination charge. The regular-grade Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra HD models start at $27,965 (for 2WD versions), and the premium for the all-new Duramax diesel is $8,395, same price as last year. Not bad considering all the improvements.

Lexus Is Not
The folks at Consumer Reports who torpedoed the Suzuki Samurai and the Jeep CJ are at it again. This time it's Lexus in their sights. As if Toyota's unintended acceleration problems weren't enough, the much-maligned maker now faces a "Don't Buy" rating for its '10 GX 460 SUV because the magazine's testers found a handling problem that could, in their view, cause a rollover.

In an oversteer test (videotaped and widely circulated in the media), the SUV's rearend came around in what most of us would consider a powerslide. The problem, according to Consumer Reports, is that the vehicle's stability control should have caught the slide sooner. Had the truck hit a curb or dropped off the road's edge, it could have rolled over.

Reacting to the news, Lexus at first suspended sales of the GX 460 while its engineers tried to duplicate Consumer Reports' findings. The maker later acknowledged that there was a problem with the vehicle's stability control system and issued a recall to fix it. The recall affects some 9,400 '10 GX 460s in the U.S.

Though the magazine's testers experienced the slide with two separate vehicles, neither rolled over during track testing. They also noted that the 4Runner, which shares a platform with the GX, did not exhibit similar handling characteristics in the same test.

Hummer And Humvee Going
You may have heard that Hummer is shutting down for good, since no one stepped up to buy the brand following the collapse of its sale to a Chinese heavy-equipment company. But we also have learned that the Army has put in its last order for the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV, or Humvee). AM General has manufactured nearly a quarter-million Humvees since it first won its military contract in 1983, but they are being phased out in favor of vehicles better equipped to withstand damage from the roadside improvised explosive devices (IEDs) so prevalent in Iraq and Afghanistan.

U.S. Women 12th In Moroccan Desert Rally
When the dust settled on the 20th annual Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles, the only women's rally raid in the world, driver Emily Miller of Encinitas, California, and teammate/navigator Wendy Fisher of Crested Butte, Colorado, placed 12th out of 110 teams. Held annually in Morocco, the nine-day desert rally uses old-style navigation and includes 4x4/Truck, Quad/Moto, and Crossover classes and other competitions.

The sole U.S. team, Miller and Fisher enjoyed the rigors of their second Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles. "I can say that it was definitely much tougher than last year," Miller said. "Our first day's navigation error cost us our top-10 finish, but we hung strong and worked hard to climb back up through the ranks."

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