The Latest Automotive News
Tacoma’s New Look
Toyota has revised the exterior for its ’12 Tacoma compact pickup, giving the truck a new hood, grille, headlamps, and front bumper. The facelift carries over to the inside as well, where the driver faces a new steering wheel and instrument cluster and a revised center console with new climate controls.
Other changes for the model year are trim-specific: SR5, TRD Sport, and Off-Road models receive new seat fabric (which is water resistant for the latter two), while heavy-duty, all-weather flooring is available in Access and Double Cab models.
Mechanically the Tacoma is unchanged. Engine choices still include the 2.7L, 159hp four-banger or the 236hp 4.0L V-6, both available with a choice of manual or automatic transmissions. The T|X and T|X Pro models are back too, building on the TRD Off-Road package with beadlock wheels, BFG Rugged Trail tires, sidesteps, and, in the Pro versions, cat-back exhaust.
Base prices for the new Taco range from $20,725 for a regular cab, four-cylinder with a manual trans to $27,835 for a Double Cab with the V-6 and an automatic.
Heed the Call
The partnership between Jeep and video game maker Activision has resulted in a second special game-themed Jeep model. The Wrangler Call of Duty: MW3 Special Edition will be in dealer showrooms right about the time Activision launches the game in early November. The Jeep—based on two- or four-door Rubicon models—will be outfitted with accessories from the Mopar catalog that include a front winch-ready bumper, rock rails, and taillamp guards. A power dome hood and 32-inch tires round out the package.
Ford, Toyota Team for Hybrid Trucks
Ford and Toyota, which had separately been working on the next generation of hybrid powertrains for their rear-wheel-drive vehicles, signed an agreement in August to collaborate as equal partners on a new hybrid drive system for trucks and SUVs. Under the agreement, the two companies will bring the best of their independently developed hybrid powertrain technology and knowledge to a new hybrid system, which will be used in rear-wheel-drive light trucks arriving later this decade. Once the new system is developed, the two companies will work independently to integrate it into their respective vehicles.
Gripping and grinning in the ceremonial photo are Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president of global product development (left), and Takeshi Uchiyamada, Toyota executive vice president of research and development.
Jeep introduced Europeans to the Pentastar V-6–powered Wrangler and Grand Cherokee SRT8 at the recent Frankfurt Auto Show in Germany. Also on the show stand was this special edition, called the Jeep Wrangler Arctic. Based on the Wrangler Sahara model, the Arctic comes with Mopar accessories and can be powered either by the Pentastar V-6 or the 2.8L turbodiesel we wish we could get here.
This Just In
• We could see a freshened Expedition SUV for the ’12 or ’13 model year, says Automotive News. Ford will likely replace the 5.4L V-8 in the current model with a version of the 3.5L EcoBoost V-6 and the Coyote 5.0L V-8. Slow sales of the extended-length EL models mean they will likely go away with the freshening.
• The ’12 Toyota FJ Cruiser gets a new Trail Teams edition painted monochrome Radiant Red and fitted with roof-mounted lights, Bilstein shocks, a locking rear diff, TRD alloy wheels, and BFG All-Terrains.
• Your Chevy dealer can add mobile Wi-Fi to a ’12 Silverado. The system, called Autonet, provides full Internet access for multiple users inside and within a 150-foot radius of the truck. The suggested retail price is $399.
• First Porsche, then Bentley. Now Maserati is the latest exotic nameplate getting into the SUV business. A concept Maserati SUV debuted at Frankfurt that’s based on the Grand Cherokee platform and will likely be powered by a 450hp Maserati V-8. We’ll have photos next month.
Titan Pricing Announced
Nissan’s Titan pickup continues essentially unchanged for the ’12 model year, other than the addition of a new sport appearance package with 20-inch wheels, step rails, special graphics, and new interior trim. All Titans are powered by the 5.7L, 317hp Endurance V-8, and the trucks are available in King Cab and Crew Cab styles. Base prices for the Titan range from $30,260 for a King Cab S model to $40,210 for a premium SL Crew Cab.