The Latest Vehicle Related News
New Jeeps for 2013 & 2014
Trailhawk is the name of this new Grand Cherokee model, one of several offerings coming this year and next from Jeep. The Trailhawk concept truck got rave reviews when it debuted at Moab, Jeep says, so the package was put into production.
Trailhawk is equipped with “winch ready” steel bumpers, rock rails, a Quadra-Lift air suspension, and Goodyear all-terrain tires, with the option of a locking rear diff. The Trailhawk will be easily spotted thanks to its special badges and black hood decal.
Plans are still underway for a seven-seat version of the Grand Cherokee, called the Grand Wagoneer, to debut as a ’14 model , according to a report in Automotive News. Also look for a diesel engine for the ’14 Grand Cherokee and an eight-speed automatic for the Grand and Wrangler, says AN.
We recently toured the facility near Detroit where Roush Performance builds hopped-up Mustangs, and we were surprised to see a Raptor in there. Turns out Roush is putting together a kit for the 6.2L V-8 in Ford’s desert truck that includes a TVS 2300 twin-screw supercharger to boost output to 525 hp and 535 lb-ft of torque. The kit also includes an exhaust system, special Roush headrest embroidery, and a graphics package.
This particular truck is special, built for NASCAR driver Greg Biffle to compete in a charity event. It has a three-tone Sherwin Williams paintjob, 18-inch V-Tec wheels mounting BFG Mud-Terrain KM2 tires, a Baja-style spare-tire holder, custom lighting, and body armor.
Plans call for the Roush Off-Road Package to be available through Roush, and Roush-authorized Ford dealers. The folks at Roush estimate that it will add $8,000-$12,000 to the cost of the Raptor.
Range Rover: The Next Generation
Land Rover hasn’t introduced an all-new version of its tony Range Rover since 2002, so this is big news for fans of the luxurious, capable, (and, yes, pricey) British SUV. This latest Range Rover is certainly an evolutionary, not revolutionary, change from an exterior design standpoint, but a lot has changed beneath the aluminum skin. Extensive use of aluminum in the Rover’s unibody, in fact, shaved some 700 pounds, which improved fuel economy.
Engine options for the U.S. market include two 5.0L V-8s, one naturally aspirated (375 hp) and the other supercharged (510 hp). Backing the engines is an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission and a fulltime 4WD system with a 2.93:1 low-range ratio. A new Terrain Response 2 system uses onboard sensors to tailor the engine, transmission, center differential, and suspension to suit a variety of terrain conditions, from gravel to rockcrawling.
The new Range Rover rides on a fully independent suspension—double wishbone in front, multilink in the rear—fitted with height-adjustable air springs that can raise the body nearly 3 inches. The system allows more than 12 inches of wheel travel in back and 10 inches in front.
Of course, the new Range Rover also offers all the interior amenities of an English manor home, including a choice of leather grades for the upholstery, real wood trim, LED mood lighting, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, and audio options that run all the way up to a 1,700-watt reference system with 29 speakers and surround sound. A two-place rear seat option includes seats that not only recline but also massage. You can even order a cooler to store beverages between the rear seats.
This can be yours for an MSRP starting at $83,500 when the Range Rover goes on sale this winter.
This Just In
• Watch for fresh sheetmetal on the ’14 Frontier and Xterra, say the crystal-ball gazers at Automotive News. A new Titan truck is still a couple years away, they say, but when it does arrive it may do so with a regular cab (a Titan first) and a smaller V-8 option than the current 5.6L.
• Chrysler has initiated a dealer repair program for some of its 3.6L Pentastar V-6 engines due to a problem with the cylinder heads. Chrysler is vague about what the problem is; customers have complained about engines stalling and making strange ticking noises. The problem affects just a small percentage of the Pentastars (about 1 percent, or 7,500 of the 1.5 million engines built over the last two years), says Automotive News, but customer repair requests have apparently flooded dealerships, causing delays in getting the engines fixed.
• Badlands Off-Road Adventures, which puts on a monthly series of “Getting Started” off-road driving clinics at the Hungry Valley OHV area north of Los Angeles, is now offering the classes in Borrego Springs, about 90 miles east of San Diego. Visit www.4x4training.com for more info.
• The Marine Corps still wants to annex the popular Johnson Valley off-roading area in Southern California as part of its Twentynine Palms base, but local 4WD groups are working to keep the area open. SEMA has joined the fight and presented a plan whereby the Marines would obtain special-use BLM permits for the area during the two months of the year when they want to hold maneuvers, leaving it open to recreation the rest of the time. The Corps, on the other hand, wants ownership of more than half of the area (some 147,000 acres) and would grant access to just 40,000 acres for OHV use during the 10 months it is not holding maneuvers. Congress is enacting legislation that will require the Marines to study alternative ways to share the land with the OHV community, says SEMA.
• You may have already heard that the federal government’s new fuel economy and carbon dioxide emissions standards would raise automakers’ fleetwide fuel economy target to 54.5 mpg by 2025. That’s a fleet average number, keep in mind, not the intended fuel economy for all vehicles, so trucks that need powerful engines will likely fall out of that range and be offset by very fuel efficient—or even electric—cars. Still, we can expect the trend toward efficient six- and four-cylinder engines to continue and make inroads in the truck segment, so big-displacement V-8s may become a thing of the past.
• Yamaha approved more than $120,000 in grants during the second quarter of 2012 to promote responsible OHV use. Since starting the program in 2008, Yamaha has invested more than $2 million in the OHV community.