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January 2011 Drivelines - Off Road News

2011 Jeep Wrangler Jk
Drew Hardin
| Contributor
Posted January 1, 2011

Special Report: 2011 Trucks

New Interior, Top for Wrangler
We had to double-check to make sure we weren't mixing up the photos, but that fancy-looking interior is coming in the '11 Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited. The instrument panel has been redesigned. There are new storage areas and a lockable console. Buttons on the steering wheel operate the radio, cruise control, hands-free phone, and other functions.

Jeep's press release even included this line, which we were sure was straight out of the Grand Cherokee promotional material: "A new USB device interface connects to storage devices (thumb drives and most MP3 players) for use with the vehicle's Media Center, which now includes streaming Bluetooth audio." And who said the YJ was the "yuppie Jeep"? There are still some traditional Wrangler styling cues inside, including hex-head bolts and the passenger grab handle. It's tough to see in the photo, but the handle is engraved, "Jeep Since 1941." Wrangler Sahara models get the new body-color hardtop. New colors available for the '11 Wrangler include Detonator Yellow, Deep Cherry Red, Sahara Tan, Cosmos Blue, and Bright White.

Ram Outdoorsman
Dodge-um, sorry-Ram has changed its fullsize pickup trim level lineup by discontinuing the TRX4 model and replacing it with the Ram Outdoorsman. Developed for hunters, fishermen, campers, and boaters, the Outdoorsman combines trailer-towing upgrades, interior and exterior conveniences, lighting enhancements, all-terrain tires, and underbody protection into a package that's available throughout the Ram line, from the 1500 to the single-rear-wheel 3500 HD.

In addition, Chrysler's Mopar accessory division now offers the RamBox Holster for those half-ton pickups ordered with the RamBox bed storage option. The Holster can hold two rifles or shotguns, or up to six fishing rods (with reels). The $205 option will be available in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Power Standard, More Doors for Raptor
The 6.2L, 411hp engine that was available as an option for the SVT F-150 Raptor pickup is now standard equipment aboard the desert racer. Ford has also made the SuperCrew body available in addition to the standard SuperCab. The wheelbase under the SuperCrew is 12 inches longer, which gives the truck "a more comfortable ride," says Ford. The new body style makes room for a larger, 36-gallon fuel tank and also increases the Raptor's towing capacity to 8,000 pounds.

Harley-Davidson F-150
Ford's beefy 6.2L V-8 isn't just available in the Raptor; it also powers the latest Harley-Davidson edition of the F-150. A 4x4 model isn't offered this time around, but you can get an AWD version that features a ton of H-D badging, plus a billet grille, 22-inch rims, special paint and graphics, and plush interior amenities. Like the Raptor, the H-D F-150 features a specially tuned exhaust "for that throaty V-8 rumble customers will love," says Ford.

Toyota Adds T|X Package to Tacoma
While the Detroit Three seem to be phasing out their compact pickup trucks, Toyota has invested in the '11 Tacoma with two new equipment packages. The T|X equipment, available on V-6 Access Cab or Double Cab Tacomas, enhances the TRD Off-Road Package with 16-inch black alloy bead-lock wheels, 265/70R16 BFGoodrich Rugged Trail tires, black tube sidesteps, a stainless steel exhaust tip, and unique exterior graphics. A step up is the T|X Pro trim level, which adds a cat-back exhaust system to that list. Toyota has also acknowledged those buyers looking for improved fuel economy by adding five four-cylinder models to the Tacoma line. Four-bangers are now available in regular cab and Access Cab 4x4 models, both with automatic transmissions.

Maybe Mahindra?
The final governmental hurdle facing the Mahindra compact pickup was cleared late this summer when the EPA certified its diesel engines for sale in the U.S. However, at about the same time, Mahindra & Mahindra Limited, the trucks' Indian maker, said it was terminating a four-year agreement with its U.S. importer, Global Vehicles U.S.A. Global Vehicles, according to Automotive News, said Mahindra's attempts at severing its ties were invalid under U.S. and Georgia law (Global is headquartered in Georgia) and that it was "in the process of taking orders and updating all floor plan agreements in anticipation for Mahindra to provide Global Vehicles with the initial production date." Looks like this could get messy. We'll keep you posted.

Durango is Back
Dodge has brought back the Durango name for 2011, but it is no longer a Dakota-based, body-on-frame SUV. Durango now shares a platform with the Grand Cherokee and is more like a crossover with room for seven in three rows of seats. Like the Grand, the Durango will be powered by either the Pentastar 3.6L V-6 or 5.7L Hemi, but unlike the Jeep, driveline choices will be limited to rear- or all-wheel drive.

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