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February 2012 Drivelines Off-Road News

Ford Raptor Side Shot
Drew Hardin
| Contributor
Posted February 1, 2012

Toyota Tacoma Baja, HD Ram, 2012 Raptor, and More!

Double Take
What’s that old saying about imitation? Raptor, meet Toyota’s Tacoma T|X Baja Series limited edition pickup. Read on for more on both.

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Front Torsen, Camera for Raptor
We know the Raptor can go fast. For the ’12 model year, Ford’s SVT team put a Torsen unit in the front differential to improve slow-speed (as in rockcrawling) ability. Ford says the system is set up with a torque bias ratio of 2.5:1 to help multiply torque from wheel to wheel, while the preload is set to zero to help minimize steering feedback.

Also new for Raptor this year is a front-view camera that’s mounted in the grille and displays its view on the nav screen in the truck’s center stack. It’ll work at speeds up to 15 mph and even has its own washer.

The ’12 Raptor has a new look too, thanks to a new wheel design and fresh body-side graphic treatments. Inside is a new matte anodized blue color accent package, and cooled seats now come with the optional luxury package.

Baja Edition Tacoma
Toyota has added new equipment to the Tacoma T|X pickups to create the limited-edition T|X Baja Series. Named as an homage to Toyota’s desert racing heritage, the Baja Tacoma sits 2 inches higher than the T|X models and has Bilstein race shocks front and rear (the rears are remote-reservoir units), a TRD cat-back exhaust, and LT265/70R16 BFGoodrich T/A KO tires mounted on beadlock-style wheels. Special body-side graphics further differentiate the Baja Series Tacomas from the rest of the line. Look for these trucks at Toyota dealerships this spring.

Small Duramax for Overseas Colorado
Chevrolet has finally confirmed that the Colorado compact pickup truck, which will soon go on sale in Thailand and elsewhere overseas, will be sold in a U.S. version too. The current American version of the Colorado will be available through 2012, and there’s no word as to when the new one will go on sale here. We also haven’t been told what Chevy will put under the hood of our new Colorado, but the one going on sale overseas is available with two new, small-displacement Duramax diesels. The bigger of the two produces 346 lb-ft of peak torque and 180 hp from 2.8 turbocharged liters. A 2.5L naturally aspirated Duramax will make 150 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The two share a number of components, including their blocks and DOHC cylinder heads, to cut down on production costs.

Want one? Let the General know.

This Just In
• Don’t hold your breath for a diesel-powered Wrangler in the U.S. After a chat with some Jeep folks recently, we learned that, yes, there is pent-up demand for such a combo, but because Jeep is already selling every Wrangler it can make these days, and because of the high premium a diesel powertrain would command, it just doesn’t pencil out. Still, European diesel regulations are going to catch up to the U.S. ones in a couple years, so in order to meet Europe’s standards the Wrangler will also qualify for sale stateside. Cross your fingers.

• You’ll also have to wait a while for a Wrangler pickup, according to Automotive News. At the Frankfurt Auto Show, Jeep CEO Mike Manley said, “It is too late in Wrangler’s product cycle to add a pickup. The 2015 or 2016 timeframe makes more sense. That’s when we will refresh the Wrangler.” Unless, that is, you want to buy the JK-8

Independence kit from Mopar and make the conversion yourself. Dealer demand for the kit is “very strong,” Manley said, and about 300 have been sold.

• Shopping for a new F-150? Check out the new Head-to-Head Pickup Comparison Tool at www.ford.com/f150/ experiencef150. Type in your trucking needs (payload, towing, work, play), and the web app will suggest the best Ford powertrain for the job.

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