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July 2011 Drivelines - Off-Road Truck and Industry News

4 Runner Front Three Quarter
Drew Hardin
| Contributor
Posted July 1, 2011

Ram Adventurer, BFG Rugged Terrain, Mahindra, and More!

In our May issue we brought you a sneak peek at BFGoodrich’s all-new Rugged Terrain T/A (“Spy Shots of Future Tires”). BFG is calling it a hybrid tire because it mixes off-road capability with smooth highway manners, a quiet ride, and good wet-weather performance. At launch, 36 sizes will be available, fitting wheel diameters from 15 to 20 inches. Eleven of those sizes will be LT tires in load range E, and there will be one flotation size: 31x10.50R15.

Key to the tire’s performance is its tread design. It looks aggressive thanks to a pattern that wraps down the sidewall, but the tread blocks were carefully varied in size to cut down on road noise while still being able to self-clean in most off-road conditions. Two circumferential grooves help evacuate water on wet pavement. The stiffness of the tread compound, combined with high-tensile-steel cables in the tire’s carcass, allows BFG to offer the tire with a 50,000-mile limited tread life warranty. For more info, visit www.bfgoodrichtires.com.

BFG Rugged Terrain T/A Sizes
P235/75R15XL* P265/70R15 P235/60R16
P235/70R16 P235/75R16XL* P245/70R16
P245/75R16 P255/70R16 P265/70R16
P275/70R16 P235/70R17XL* P235/75R17
P245/65R17 P245/70R17 P255/70R17
P265/65R17 P265/70R17 P285/70R17
P255/70R18 P265/60R18 P265/65R18
P265/70R18 P275/55R20 P275/60R20
31x10.50R15/C LT225/75R16E LT235/85R16E
LT245/75R16E LT265/75R16E LT285/75R16E
LT235/80R17E LT245/70R17E LT285/70R17E
LT275/65R18E LT275/70R18E LT275/65R20E
*XL = Extra Load

New Ram Adventurer
The success of the Ram Tradesman, a low-priced, Hemi-powered regular cab pickup aimed at work truck buyers (which we profiled here last month), has spurred Ram’s product planners to speed up the introduction of a second value-priced Ram 1500 model. Right now the truck doesn’t have a name but is being fast-tracked under the code name Adventurer, which longtime Dodge truck fans will remember from the ’60s and ’70s. The pickup will be targeted at “first-time buyers and owners who are looking for a vehicle with performance and style that they can customize and make their own,” say the folks at Ram.

Like the Tradesman, the Adventurer will be Hemi powered, but it will be a little fancier than the work-oriented model that came before it. Monochromatic paint, 20-inch alloy wheels, heavy-duty suspension pieces, a trailer wiring harness, and 3.55-geared axles will be among the truck’s standard equipment. Inside you’ll find vinyl upholstery, a CD/MP3 sound system, and air conditioning. The regular cab/short box pickup will be available in 4x2 and 4x4 models, with pricing to start at $23,830, about a grand more than the Tradesman.

Street-Legal Dakar Touareg?
We wish. Instead, the Race Touareg 3 Qatar is a concept vehicle that Volkswagen unveiled at the first Qatar Motor Show in the Middle East. VW’s press Info made it sound like the Touareg was a barely tamed race truck, with its 305hp motor and rollcage left intact. The 16-inch race wheels were swapped for 18-inch “gold-look” BBS wheels, and the Recaro race seats have been covered in leather.

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This Just In
• If you attended TDS Desert Safari this year you may have already experienced the 4x4 training area that just opened at the Ocotillo Wells SVRA near Borrego Springs. The 30-acre site has obstacles for 4x4s of all kinds, plus a rockcrawl competition course designed by WE Rock.

• The Mahindra diesel pickup inches closer to going on sale. While the manufacturer and importer are still locked in a legal battle, the EPA has given the truck mileage ratings: 19 mpg city, 21 highway. These are a ways away from the 30 mpg that Mahindra has been promising.

• Ford used the NTEA Work Truck Show in Indianapolis to showcase its range of alternative-fuel vehicles for commercial users. These E-vans, Super Duty chassis cabs, and other vehicles can run on flex fuel, biodiesel, natural gas, and electricity. Why should we care? This technology will keep moving into personal-use trucks too. Ford says that by 2012, half of its vehicles will be alt-fuel capable.

JeepSkool: Safe, Legal Fun
Not many four-wheeling areas in Ohio are open to the public, but JeepSkool in northeastern Ohio helps to fill that void with an event nearly every month on 1,500 acres of trails and obstacles suitable for every 4x4 from bone stockers to hardcore rigs. (Sound familiar? JeepSkool was an Ultimate Adventure stop in 2009.)

A volunteer staff is on hand to help newbies and experienced wheelers alike. Kelly Haylett, JeepSkool’s founder, says, “If you stop on the trail too long, there will be someone hooking a tow strap to your bumper.”

The area includes a campground with electrical service, oak timber–framed pavilion with a fireplace, and a bathhouse for the JeepSkoolers. Children enjoy KidSkool games and crafts. The JeepSkool website allows members to keep in touch and provides a place for new people to join the fun. For more Info visit www.jeepskool.com.

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