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October 2012 Drivelines Off-Road Truck News

2012 Ford F 150
Drew Hardin
| Contributor
Posted October 1, 2012

New F-150, Stadium Super Trucks, and More!

F-150 Facelift
In our August issue we told you about how the Ram 1500 will be essentially all new for the ’13 model year. Now Ford has announced the changes in store for the ’13 F-150. Some are cosmetic, such as a new grille that incorporates high-intensity discharge (HID) projector headlamps and new designs for the 18- and 20-inch wheels.

Other changes are inside. The center stack on XLT and higher trim levels has been redesigned, as the voice-activated Sync infotainment system is now standard on XLT models and includes a new 4.2-inch touch screen that also displays audio and climate controls. The Lariat (seen here), King Ranch, Platinum, and new-for-’13 Limited models get a version of Sync with MyFord Touch—which adds voice control to more vehicle systems—and an 8-inch touch screen.

Light-Duty Diesel for GM?
So, we have an all-new Ram and a revised F-150 coming soon. What’s up with Chevy? GM is still a year away from debuting a new Silverado/Sierra 1500 pickup, but according to a recent Automotive News story those trucks may have a diesel engine option to accompany the Duramax diesel (seen here) in GM’s heavy-duty trucks.

Now, GM has been talking about a light-duty diesel engine since at least 2006, but it has a new motivator in Ford’s EcoBoost, which can deliver V-8–like power with V-6–like fuel economy. Rather than go head-to-head against EcoBoost with its own turbo gas V-6, GM brass is indicating that the automaker could go diesel to offer half-ton truck buyers an option Ford does not.

Tactical Black
Seeing a trend toward tactical-type off-road vehicles, Yamaha has introduced Tactical Black finishes on special editions of its Grizzly 700 4x4 ATV and Rhino 700 4x4 side-by-sides. Both are assembled at Yamaha’s factory in Georgia. The Grizzly sells for $10,000, the Rhino for $12,999.

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This Just In
• SEMA released news of a study that shows E15 or E20 gasoline blends (with 15 or 20 percent ethanol, respectively) can damage engines. The Coordinating Research Council (CRC) tested eight vehicle types from the ’01-’09 model years representing a variety of popular engines. During the tests, two engine types failed when running on E15 and E20 gas. Ethanol increases water formation, which can then create formic acid and corrode metals, plastics, and rubber, says SEMA, which was against the EPA’s approval of the use of E15 in ’01 and newer vehicles. SEMA has asked Congress to enact legislation to stop the sale of E15 until further studies can be done.

• Demand is growing for high-buck trucks. According to a recent Automotive News story, dealers bought up the complete allotment of ’12 Ram Laramie Limited pickups in just three days. Ford has found that demand for its high-line Platinum F-150 was double what it expected. The luxe Denali versions of GMC’s heavy-duty Sierra pickups represent more than a third of Sierra sales this year, up from just 15 percent in 2010. While truck sales have grown as the economy has picked up, the trend toward $40,000-plus trucks is something different. “There are guys in New York, in Florida, in the Midwest, and in the Northwest who aren’t exactly into that cowboy, southwestern, barbed-wire feel,” said Ram brand president Fred Diaz. A Dallas-area dealer was quoted in the story as saying, “I don’t know if you can put enough bells and whistles on trucks.”

Earth Watch
• An anti-OHV lawsuit that affects the Eldorado National Forest in Northern California has forced the cancellation of at least one longstanding off-roading event, the Lake Tahoe Hi-Lo’s Poker Run, which was scheduled for August. According to the website of the California Association of 4WD Clubs, the forest’s Environmental Impact Statement for water crossings must be redone. While the study is being done, no OHV trails will be allowed to cross streams or meadows.

• In more bad news out of California, the California Assembly Budget Subcommittee approved the “Sustainable Parks Proposal” to shift up to $31 million from the OHV trust fund in order to pay for the state parks’ budget shortfall. The law provides that the OHV parks shall be equal to other state parks, and that budget impacts should be equally shared, yet the OHV parks have already had millions of dollars taken from them over the last three years. Californians furious about this (and you should be) can visit www.arra-access.com to find a letter you can send to your representatives to urge them to stop taking our funds.

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