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February 2010 RPM - Off-Road Truck News

Posted in News on February 1, 2010
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Our spies recently snapped pictures of a pack of "Coyote"-powered F-150 pickups. The Coyote, Ford's new four-valve, 5.0-liter V-8 engine, is slated to power a slew of Ford vehicles from the Mustang to the F-series. The engine, like the 3.5L EcoBoost V-6 and 6.2L V-8, is expected to produce approximately 400 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. Unlike the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 that's scheduled to arrive in late 2010 for the F-150, the 5.0-liter Coyote V-8 won't use direct injection or turbocharging. It's a naturally aspirated motor with fuel economy that's expected to be comparable to the current 5.4L V-8. It's also expected to use a cast aluminum engine block instead of iron to help save weight. Ford has been testing the engine in every trim level of F-150, including the seven-lug, heavy-duty-payload package version.

No More Dodge Ram?
Chrysler has announced its intention to separate Ram from the Dodge brand, which would give Chrysler four brands in its showrooms: Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, and Ram. Under this new brand strategy, Dodge cars would be marketed independently of Ram trucks, which would focus on pickup trucks, consumer and commercial, and their capabilities. Will the new brand be called Dodge Ram, or just Ram? Chrysler isn't saying yet.

BFGoodrich Tires and BlueRibbon Coalition Join Forces
BFGoodrich Tires and BlueRibbon Coalition announced a partnership that will benefit wheelers and trails alike. BFGoodrich Tires will make a $5 donation to the BlueRibbon Coalition for each of its new ten sizes of BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/AKM2 tires sold between August 2009 and the end of December 2009. Due to consumer demand, BFGoodrich recently expanded its line of Mud-Terrain T/AKM2 tire sizes, which are part of the ten sizes eligible for the contribution.

The tire sizes are as follows: LT345/75R16 LRD LT365/75R16 LRC 38x14.50R17 LRD 40x14.50R17 LRD 36x13.50R18 LRD 38x14.50R18 LRD 40x14.50R18 LRC 38x14.50R20 LRD 40x14.50R20 LRC 42x14.50R20 LRC

As a respected national recreation group that represents more than 600,000 recreationists nationwide, the BlueRibbon Coalition is dedicated to protecting responsible recreational access to public lands and waters. More information about the BlueRibbon Coalition is available at Visit BFGoodrich Tires online at

Tacoma News
Toyota is adding 850 jobs to its San Antonio truck plant to fulfill its plans to relocate Tacoma production from the now-defunct NUMMI plant in California. Once the tooling switchover is completed, the San Antonio plant will be able to produce 200,000 Tacomas a year, although they will start out building about 100,000 units. The San Antonio plant also produces Tundra pickups.

Defender To Say Cheerio
According to the Australian newsletter GoAutoNew, Land Rover will be forced to replace the legendary Land Rover Defender by 2013 because of ever-tightening regulations regarding emissions and pedestrian safety. The aluminum-bodied and hand-built Defender, which at one time was available in the U.S., has been a Land Rover hallmark since 1948. Defenders have been used around the world for many diverse uses, such as agriculture, expeditions, and military work. The last major bodywork revision was in 1983. Thankfully, Land Rover says that any replacement will offer more capability and will not be a softer vehicle.

Department of Corrections
In our December 2009 story "Rallye Aicha Des Gazelles," we incorrectly stated that Emily Miller is the only female driver to have "ironmanned" the Baja 1000. She is actually the only women to have soloed the longest race in the U.S., the Best in the Desert's 1000-mile TSCO Vegas to Reno.

Cayenne Hybrid Coming in 2011:
Alas, No Diesel Version Yet

It's official-Porsche (of all makes) is Going Green in the U.S. market starting next year when a gas-hybrid version of the Cayenne SUV hits our shores. The hybrid system, a so-called "parallel" design (i.e., it can run in tandem with the gas motor at a variety of speeds, not only sequentially at slower speeds) utilizes a 38kW electric motor and 288-volt battery, which can power the Cayenne on electric power alone at speeds up to 32 mph, and can also work at "sailing" speeds (when coasting, for example) at speeds up to 86 mph. Claimed mileage for the Cayenne diesel is 27 combined mpg-not too shabby for a vehicle weighing close to 6,500 pounds.

What's really got us excited, though, is the TDI diesel version of the Cayenne that's currently available in Europe and Australia. The Cayenne's 3.0L turbodiesel V-6 engine is rated at 240 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque, and can give the Cayenne a 600-mile cruising range between fill-ups. We had the chance to take a Cayenne with the new diesel out for a test drive recently, and it struck us as arguably the quietest and most vibration-free engine of its type that we'd ever tested in an SUV. (When the parking valet pulled it up to the carport and left it in idle, our initial question was, "So this is the hybrid, right?") Sadly for us, Porsche has no plans to introduce the Cayenne diesel to the U.S. market at present for reasons having to do with its current "business model," i.e., Porsche doesn't think they'd sell enough of them in the States to make it worth their while to export them here. We suspect they're probably right, though we hope that U.S. consumers will keep an open mind in the future about investing in one of the latest generation of clean-diesel SUV engines-the folks at Porsche are certainly hoping they do. -Douglas McColloch

Quick Hits
Mahindra Global Vehicles U.S.A., the U.S. distributor for India's Mahindra & Mahindra, has released final power figures for the new 2010 TR20 regular cab and TR40 crew cab midsize diesel pickups. The TR Series' four-cylinder 2.2-liter mHawk turbodiesel engine will crank out 140 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque.

Ford has announced that the 6.2L version of the Raptor will be rated at 411 horsepower and 434 lb-ft of torque, making it the most powerful 1/2-ton on the market.

2010 Ram HD pricing is in. The new Ram HD's will start at $28,165. Power Wagons will start at $45,780.

Land Use Notes
California Includes Diesels in 2010 Smog-Check Program Beginning January 1, 2010, the California Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) will include light- and medium-duty, on-road diesel vehicles in its smog-check program. Under the program, manufacturers of performance and specialty aftermarket parts for diesel applications will need to meet certain requirements. Specifically, the test will include a visual inspection for uncertified/non-OEM parts, an OBD II readiness check, and a snap-idle tail-pipe test for particulate matter (PM). BAR has developed a list of non-OEM replacement parts that will be identified during the visual portion of the smog-check process. Any such parts not qualified as a replacement part (and thereby exempt from certification) will require compliance coverage with a CARB Executive Order (E.O.). Identification of any uncertified parts will cause a vehicle to fail the visual portion of the test. A similar program is being proposed in the state of Nevada.

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