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RPM: 4x4 And Automotive News And Rumors

Posted in News on March 28, 2017
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Photographers: Courtesy of Manufacturers


Photography: GM

That’s Interesting

•Kelley Blue Book’s picks for best family whips for 2017? The list included the Nissan Pathfinder and Chevy Tahoe.
•There’s yet another way people are making money from driving: the Roadie app. It’s basically a service in which you deliver packages during trips you’re already taking, whether local or across the country. We just checked, and it appears to be nothing like the plot of Midnight Express.
•eBay Advertising did some studying via a survey it conducted and learned that 63 percent of consumers are extremely likely or likely to buy a vehicle online, and 87 percent used the Internet to research. And that timing of research to purchase runs about two months.
The Road Through Warroad: Hockeytown USA is the name of a documentary—and not just any doc. It’s the first film by Enterprise. Yes, the rental Enterprise.
•Classics-vehicle-insurer Hagerty has named its 2017 Hot List of production vehicles with an MSRP of less than $100,000 and that are expected to grow in value and be appealing to classic-car enthusiasts. Among those making the cut? The Chevy Colorado ZR2 and Ford Raptor.
•And the ’17 Colorado ZR2 will start at $40,995.
•And the ’17 Raptor SuperCrew is headed to China, the first time a U.S.-built F-series vehicle will go to there.
•The No. 1 growth state in 2016 was Texas, according to U-Haul’s Migration Trends Report. To be clear, we mean growth in terms of one-way U-Haul truck rentals, not the see-a-doctor kind.
•Over at Penske Truck Rental though, Top Moving Destinations for 2016 showed Atlanta in the top spot.
•So, this happened:, a biker dating site, where you can meet other bikers.
•Kudos, Los Angeles. You’ve ranked at the top of yet another delightful list, this time INRIX’s Global Traffic Scorecard, which ranked 1,064 cities in 38 countries around the world, and LA was named No. 1 for world’s most gridlock. Did you hear that? No. 1. In the world.
•GM is investing another $1 billion in U.S. manufacturing ops, going toward new vehicle and advanced tech, among other areas. The Bow Tie will also start insourcing axle production for its next-gen fullsize pickups.
•Meanwhile, Ford’s committed $200 million to a new wind tunnel complex. The 13-acre facility will include testing equipment for simulating airflow up to 200 mph and a climatic chamber that can reach -40 degrees Fahrenheit and 140 degrees Fahrenheit as the high.
•Mitsubishi is building a new SUV called Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross. Not to be confused with the killed-off nameplate, Mitsubishi Eclipse, nor with people who name their new dog Spot even though their last dog was named Spot.
•The ’18 RAV4 Adventure is potentially a hipper version of the SUV, with a tow prep package, oversized flares, Hill-Start Assist Control, and a higher ride height than the unadventurous RAV4 models.
•A Jeep Wagoneer was found in Cape Cod. And there’s more to it: For 40 years, it had been buried in a sand dune.
•Toyota has TRD Sport’d the ’18 Tundra and Sequoia.


Is It True?

•Ford engineers are dozing off while on autonomous test drives, according to Bloomberg? And the Blue Oval intends to yank the brake and gas pedals and steering wheel from its autonomous vehicles in 2021?
•Despite everything, Volkswagen still ended up the leader in vehicle sales worldwide in 2016? Ahead of Toyota?
•A study by researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health found that states that passed medical marijuana laws saw a decrease in traffic fatalities to the tune of 11 percent?
•Are police patrol cars in New York getting bulletproof windows?
•4,220,684 gigabytes is how much data Chevy owners used in 2016? And the Suburban and Tahoe alone used 713,669 gigabytes, which can equate to, like, 25 million hours of streaming music or 1.5 billion pics uploaded to social media?


Your Government at Work

•Universal Technical Institute received the thumbs-up from the U.S. Department of Education to create two new programs: welding technology and CNC machining.
•Kentucky has introduced a resolution to study using a road-use fee versus gas tax.
•You can donate to because of your government at work. “We work to raise money for specific legal cases ahead of any engagement,” including related to how “Sharetrails/BRC Legal needs to play a key role in guiding the recreation community through these challenges,” which include dealing with “anti-access opponents” and “particularly in fighting the perceived repeal and replacement of ‘environmental protections.’”


What’s Happening in the Industry

•Shannon Campbell won the 2017 Nitto King of The Hammers—for the third time. His son, Wayland, came in Second Place.
•Most admired tiremaker? If you ask Fortune magazine, it’s Goodyear and for the fifth year in a row.
•Sears has embarked on a potential new plan of action: free-standing DieHard Auto Centers. A pilot center opened in San Antonio to offer maintenance, oil changes, and more. How it does will determine whether more are coming.
•Just Brakes has been acquired by Pep Boys.
•The Official Truck & Jeep Outfitter of ULTRA4 Racing is Bestop. Also, Bestop and American Cancer Society are joining up for Project Pink, in which two custom breast-cancer awareness soft tops, which include pink threading, will be raffled off. Go to to purchase a ticket by July 28, 2017.
•WIX Filters has given $34,347.25 to national FFA chapters, or as WIX Filters explained: “Between January and April 15, 2016, students in participating FFA chapters redeemed 117,389 WIX box tops for a donation from WIX of $29,347.25, or 25 cents per box top. In addition, five FFA chapters across the country each received a $1,000 bonus from WIX, bringing the total donation to $34,347.25.” The National FFA Organization is the artist formerly known as Future Farmers of America.
•The Minotaur Ram 1500 comes at you from Prefix Corp, and it’s likely that only 200 will be made. The conversion includes Baja racing inspo: KORE Tactical Series suspension, custom FOX racing shocks, 4 inches of lift, 35s, 41-degree approach and 30-degree departure angles, and loads of optional features, including a 6.4L swap. Go to to learn more (and to buy).
•ARIES Automotive, ProMotorsports, Skyjacker, SOTA Offroad, and Major League Baseball player Jonny Gomes have teamed up on a Jeep build that is benefitting TroopsDirect, an on-demand supply line for American troops stationed all over the world. It gives supplies and support in the shape of anything from body armor to toiletries.
•Dana is set to acquire the axlehousing and driveshaft manufacturing ops from U.S. Manufacturing Corp.
•The Official Tire of the U.S. Spartan Race is Yokohama.
•Dick Cepek Tires & Wheels is once again sponsoring the Bassmaster Elite Series. The 2017 duties will include awarding the Rolling Forward award to most-improved angler.


Four Wheeler App

We just heard a rumor: It’s the Digital Age. Which means you probably should seriously consider downloading the Four Wheeler app. Get all the tech, feature trucks, travel, products, installations, news, and more…digitally.


Nissan Adds King Cab to Titan, and Midnight Special Edition

What was only single cab and crew cab is now the trifecta: Nissan has added a King Cab body style to the ’17 Titan and Titan XD with the 6 1/2-foot bed length. Among the perks to being King is available six-body seating, rear-seat delete, and an uber-wide door opening. It’s available as a 4x4 or 4x2 and as S, SV, or PRO-4X.

Nissan also gave the Pathfinder a gift, in the form of the Midnight Edition. Nissan said it will add “visual excitement,” and by that, the automaker means black wheels, spoiler, and mirror caps. Exciting unique floor mats are also available.


New ’18 Ford Expedition

Can you believe this Blue Oval SUV is already 20 years old? Among the newness for the ’18 Expedition is the 3.5L EcoBoost hooked to the 10-speed auto trans, an aluminum-alloy body coupled with a steel frame (for a loss of 300 pounds), and loads of safety and connectivity tech.


I must clear something up from this morning #MAMA I meant I Love the new 2017 #Fiat Toro sold in Latin America, no plans to sell in the U.S.”—From @ralphgilles on Twitter—he’s head of design for Fiat Chrysler—after initially talking at the Chicago Auto Show about more trucks coming from Fiat


Ram HD Night Model

The Ram 2500 and 3500 heavy-duty pickups now have the Night package available, which is a monochromatic Sport model with blacked-out areas, like the wheels, flares, and grille surround. Ram also added a new Copper Sport to the 1500 lineup. Think Ignition Orange edition, but in copper.


Range Rover Velar Teaser

Velar is what Range Rover used to call original RR prototypes from 1969, so it’s a true #tbt of vehicle names. And it’s also now a new Range Rover model, and should fit between the Evoque and Sport.


’17 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Recon

Seems like every new Jeep variant gets called the ultimate beefy Jeep—so here’s the newest of the beefiest Jeeps. The Wrangler Rubicon Recon Edition is a Rubicon pumped up with a front axle upgrade (like stronger tubes and forgings), special rock rails, heavy-duty diff covers, Dana 44s, standard 4.10s, and 73.1:1 crawl ratio, and it has an MSRP of $39,145 if you go two-door, or $42,945 for the Unlimited.

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