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January 2012 RPM Off-Road Truck and Industry News

Posted in News on January 1, 2012
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2012 Raptor Spied!
Here is the first look at the ’12 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor. As you can clearly see in this spy photo, the Raptor will benefit from new wheels that are wrapped in familiar 35-inch BFGoodrich rubber. If you look closely between the “O” and the “R” on the grille, you can also see what appears to be a forward-looking camera, and the bedside graphics package has been updated. We have also been told that the ’12 Raptor is packing a welcome hardware upgrade in the form of a Torsen helical limited slip, which will make it even more capable on the trail. With yet another upgrade to the Raptor since its introduction, it shows that Ford isn’t satisfied resting on its off-highway laurels.

Fresh Tacos
Largely unchanged since the current generation’s introduction in 2005, Toyota is giving some much-needed attention to its Tacoma line-up. Still available in regular, Access, and Double Cab configurations, the ’12 Tacoma sports an aggressive new exterior look and an updated interior that includes a new steering wheel and revised center stack. For the first time, navigation and Toyota’s Entune multimedia system will be available in the Tacoma. Engine choices will remain with the 159hp 2.7L I-4 and 236hp 4.0L V-6, with both automatic and manual transmission options. Prices are up slightly when compared to ’11 models with 4x4s starting at $20,725.

Officially Unofficial
Jeep still hasn’t officially given the green light to the Wrangler-based pickup program. At the Frankfurt Motor Show, Jeep CEO Mike Manley was quoted by the Automotive News as saying, “It is too late in Wrangler’s product cycle to add a pickup. The 2015 or 2016 time frame makes more sense. That’s when we will refresh the Wrangler.” Manley went on to say he still thinks a pickup would be a great addition to Jeep’s product offerings, so have hope. We give it a better than 75-percent chance of happening. In the meantime you can buy the “not quite a pickup” JK-8 conversion kit from Mopar for $5,499.

Morrison Trail Is Outstanding
Located in Clark, Wyoming, Morrison Trail was honored this past summer by BFGoodrich Tires as one of the 2011 Outstanding Trails. Off-highway enthusiasts and members of the Magic City 4-Wheelers, Inc. were in attendance as BFGoodrich Tires presented a grant of $4,000 to the club. The grant will be used to preserve the scenic off-highway trail system and continue conservation efforts for one of America’s most beautiful areas for wheeling. Morrison Trail, in Wyoming’s Shoshone National Forest, offers various types of terrain including arid canyons, alpine forests, high mountain meadows, and small lakes at 10,000 feet. The panoramic views from almost every part of the trail are breathtaking and inspiring. Magic City 4-Wheelers, Inc. is a family oriented OHV club. The club organizes annual race rallies, monthly trail rides, and trail maintenance trips. Magic City 4-Wheelers always follow the Tread Lightly! trail ethic and educate others when possible regarding proper trail etiquette. All club members are also members of the Montana 4X4 Association and UFWDA.

Defender To Return In ’15
Land Rover revealed a pair of DC100 concepts at the Frankfurt Motor Show. These concepts were intended to gauge reaction to the direction of the proposed Defender replacement due in 2015. The DC100 and DC100 Sport feature a modern exterior and lightweight platform that includes technologies such as Terrain-i road scanning system, Wave Aid water depth identifying sonar, next-generation Terrain Response, driver-activated spiked tire system, and a 2.0L inline-four gas and diesel hybrid engine backed by an eight-speed transmission and permanent four-wheel drive. While the technology is intriguing, we’re not so sure we are sold on the design direction.

Quick Hits
Land Rover is said to be dumping its alphanumeric naming convention in the U.S. for more familiar names such as Discovery and Freelander.

exans rejoice! The nighttime speed limit has been dropped and in rural expanses of the state, the speed limit will be raised to 85 mph.

Nissan’s Titan will see modest upgrades for 2012, including a sport appearance package.

Legislative Notes
Hearing Held on SEMA-Supported Legislation to Open Lands Without “Wilderness” Characteristics
A U.S. House Natural Resources Subcommittee held a hearing on the SEMA-supported “Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act of 2011.” The legislation would release 42 million acres of land from “wilderness” designations that have already been set aside as “wilderness study areas” (WSAs) or “inventoried roadless areas.” WSAs are lands that have been identified as having wilderness potential. The bill would also officially terminate the “Wild Lands” order, which the Interior Department recently abandoned, that directed the Bureau of Land Management to recommend lands for wilderness designations and manage them accordingly. Wilderness designations are consequential to SEMA members since no mechanized equipment (off-road vehicles, etc.) is permitted within these lands. At the hearing, supporters of the bill argued that it would immediately increase opportunities for multiple-use management—including motorized recreation, hunting, and fishing. SEMA and other supporters contend that these lands are being unnecessarily restrictive of responsible recreation and that the legislation will allow greater public access to millions of acres of public lands. Opponents claim the bill would limit the government’s ability to preserve wildlife and other recreational opportunities while creating new land-management disagreements. The bill will remain under consideration by the House Natural Resources Committee.

CARB Proposes Engine Certification Program for Specially Constructed Vehicles
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is considering a proposed rule that would allow OEM engines from previously certified, on-road vehicles to be installed in “specially constructed vehicles” (SCVs). Under the proposal, CARB officials would also create a program for certifying engines that are not from certified vehicles (e.g., crate engines). California defines an SCV as a vehicle that has been built by an individual rather than a company from a kit, a combination of new and used parts, or a dismantled vehicle which, when reconstructed, does not resemble the original make. In a workshop held to discuss the proposal, CARB officials restated that the program would not override current California law that allows for the first 500 SCVs for which registration is sought each year to be inspected at the owner’s option based on the engine model year used in the vehicle or the vehicle model year, and the emissions-control system application. In determining the vehicle model year, a referee station compares the vehicle to vehicles of the era that the vehicle most closely resembles. The referee then only requires those emissions-control systems that are applicable to the established model year and that the vehicle reasonably accommodates in its present form. According to CARB, the new program is only intended to make it easier for California enthusiasts to construct and register a SCV that meets California emissions standards when the 500-vehicle limit has been met. The SCV engine package choices would cover 2012 and subsequent model years.

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