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September 2010 RPM - Off-Road Truck News

Spied Ecoboost F150
Sean P. Holman | Writer
Posted September 1, 2010
Photographers: Brenda Priddy & Co.

EcoBoost F-150 Caught, GM Small Pickup Rumors & More!

EcoBoost F-150 Caught!
We have reported in the past that Ford's EcoBoost V-6 would be coming to the 2011 Ford F-150, and we now have the pictures to prove it. Sources say the turbocharged V-6, which has been beefed up for truck duty, will produce in the neighborhood of 400 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque with a broad, flat, diesel-like torque curve, and get well over 20 mpg. In this photo you can see a SuperCab FX4 undergoing testing. Visible in the photo and nestled under the grille and behind the front bumper is the intercooler required by the twin-turbocharged mill.

GM Reconsidering Small Pickups?
With most manufacturers turning their back on the small pickup truck market over the past few years and after announcing that current products would not be replaced at the end of their product cycles, there are rumors that GM is again looking to offer a true compact pickup option. The goal would be a small pickup that gets greater fuel economy than a fullsize, while costing significantly less. Unlike the rumored unibody Dakota-replacement, the GM truck is thought to be keeping traditional body-on-frame construction. The compact market has been steadily shrinking over the years from a million units in its heyday to just under 400,000 in 2008. Competitors, such as Ford, have gone on the record saying that its customers would prefer a fuel-efficient F-150 over a new Ranger. We think that this abandoned segment that would thrive with the right products. The Frontier and oversized Tacoma are the youngest products in the segment, both redesigned back in 2005.

Corbeau Contest!
Tired of the same old suspension seat look? Well if you have an idea that would make for a great-looking seat, Corbeau wants to hear from you. Corbeau's line of Baja suspension seats are the most sophisticated and affordable line of suspension seats money can buy. Now Corbeau is inviting Four Wheeler readers to help design the next Baja RS. In an effort to sweeten the pot, the winning design of the design that helps Corbeau come up with the new Baja RS will be the first recipient of this revolutionary seat, and will receive the seats, brackets, and harness belts absolutely free. You don't have to be an expert to submit your ideas. It can be as simple as sketching something on a piece of paper or as sophisticated as a 3D CAD drawing. Please be sure to read all the contest rules and information before submitting your ideas. For questions, e-mail bestrs@corbeau.com or visit www.corbeau.com/bestrs. All contest rules and details can be found at www.corbeau.com/bestrs.

Grand Cherokee Production Starts
On May 21, 2010, the first production 2011 Grand Cherokee rolled off of the assembly line in Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit, Michigan. The Grand Cherokee is an all-new design that uses a four-wheel independent air suspension and is the first vehicle to feature Chrysler's new 3.6L Pentastar V-6. The 5.7L Hemi will also be available. Chrysler has announced that the 2011 Grand Cherokee will start at $32,995, and we'll be thoroughly evaluating it during our 2011 Four Wheeler of the Year competition.

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Quick Hits

  • The last Hummer rolled off the assembly line on May 24, 2010. The H3 was destined for the Avis rental fleet.
  • It appears that Mahindra's foray in to the American market will be delayed until December 2010, at the soonest.
  • Rumor has it that GM is exploring active aero, in the form of grille shutters, to improve aerodynamics on its fullsize trucks.

Land Use Notes
Tell the Forest Service to Keep Your Trails Open!
The S. Forest Service (USFS) is the steward and manager of more than 193 million acres of public lands included in the 155 national forests and 20 grasslands that make up the National Forest System. These vast areas are managed in accordance with the "land management planning rule," which, among other things, has not changed since 1982. The plan needs to balance demands for multiple uses, from recreational access to forest restoration, timber harvesting, mining and wildlife protection. Previous attempts to update the planning rule were not used due to the complexity of the changes (2000) or were invalidated by a federal judge (2008). The Forest Service is seeking to engage the public in the planning process. This presents both opportunity and danger for off-highway vehicle (OHV) enthusiasts because the environmental lobby is working hard to influence the rule to close off more and larger areas of public land to motorized recreation. On the other hand, it also gives OHV enthusiasts the ability to make their voices heard and help keep public lands open to responsible off-road recreation. The Forest Service is now hosting a series of roundtable discussions in April to gather additional public feedback. Unless OHV enthusiasts take part and let the Forest Service know that this is a responsible, family-focused hobby that deserves access to public lands, these changes could negatively affect access to OHV recreation areas managed by the Forest Service.

California Specially Constructed Vehicles
SAN-supported legislation to increase the allowable number of exempted specially constructed vehicle registrations from 500 to 750 vehicles per year was approved by the Assembly Transportation Committee. Current law provides for emissions-system certification and a model-year designation for specially constructed vehicles, including kit cars. Under the law, vehicle owners choose whether a smog-test referee certifies the engine model year or the vehicle model year. To determine model year, inspectors compare the vehicle to those of the era that the vehicle most closely resembles. If there is no close match, it is classified as a 1960 vehicle. Only those emissions controls applicable to the model year and that can be reasonably accommodated by the vehicle are required. The Department of Motor Vehicles provides a new registration to the first 500 specially constructed vehicles per year that meet the criteria.

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