That’s Interesting•AAA did a study, and we bet we’re more surprised than you are with the results. It was found that more than 30 million Americans are likely to buy an electric vehicle—as their next vehicle. To quote: “The number of Americans interested in an electric vehicle approaches the number planning to purchase a pickup truck.”
•Scientific American and Nature Communications have educated us on the fact that the brain has its own GPS system, based on memories of where we’ve traveled/navigated. But with our newfound reliance on apps, the parts of the brain that do this navigating are becoming inactive.
•Sportsbettingexperts.com gave the prop-betting touch to autonomous vehicles, as in, the betters set some odds for safety stats regarding self-drivers. For example, the number of fatal accidents in the U.S. involving autonomous cars from now through December 31, 2017? Over 2.5 is +150, and under is -170. As for the automaker stats? We’ll pick two of them: Honda/Acura’s stats in that same time period and question: The betters say, yes is +700, and no is -900. The Waymo/Google odds for the same? Yes is +300, while no is -450. •If you see a neon green or bright blue ’17 Ram 1500, it’s likely in one of the new colors: Sublime Sport or Rebel Blue Streak. Or, if red, expect it to be Delmonico Red, which is a free option on the Rebel model.
•If you do the Snapchat thing, know that Jeep invented a “Jeep Hair, Don’t Care” lens that makes your hair look all wind-crazy while in a Wrangler. You can find it through Snapchat, but also by scanning the Snap code at Jeep-brand events. (Tech tip: It’ll also sometimes show up on @Jeep social media and the blog throughout 2017.)
•China, meet the Ford Ranger. Ranger, meet China. You’re coming for each other in 2018.
•$1.2 billion is what Ford is coughing up for three of its Michigan joints. The bulk of it will go to the Michigan Assembly Plant and Romeo Engine Plant for Ranger and Bronco building. The rest will head to the Flat Rock Assembly Plant’s new data center for futuristic-like mobility plans.
•MBLM is a “Brand Intimacy Agency,” which sounds kinda XXX, but know that it’s not even remotely that. It’s about studying “brands based on emotions.” For the Brand Intimacy Report 2017, the automotive industry ranked number uno of all industries and with Harley-Davidson, BMW, Toyota, Honda, Jeep, Chevy, Ford, Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, and Chrysler taking the top 10 spots in the category.
•The last Jeep Cherokee to be produced at the Fiat Chrysler Toledo Assembly Plant in Ohio? Happened April 6, 2017.
•A flying buggy is the SkyRunner. It’s capable of a max regulated altitude of 10,000 feet. For off-road exploring, it has a chromoly tubular exoskeleton and carbon-fiber panels. For both locations, there’s a Rotax 914 UL engine worth 115 horses coupled with a Powerfin propeller. Overall length is 156 inches, and it’s about 72 inches tall. Its max cruise speed is 35.7 knots. Learn more at flyskyrunner.com.
•Sold for charity is the status of one ’09 Ford F-150 King Ranch owned by President George W. Bush. He used it on his Prairie Chapel Ranch in Texas after leaving office, according to Barrett-Jackson, which handled the hammer. Fun fact: The right airbag panel has W’s signature. The $90,000 from the sale went to the Community Foundation of Cleveland and Bradley County and Dan Gable Museum, both of which support youth wrestling.
•Fiat Chrysler is infiltrating 50 tech schools from around the U.S. to help train future service technicians for its dealerships.
Is It True?•The rental-car industry is going to be a $99.6 billion business by 2022, according to data from Lucintel?
•The California DMV has given Apple a permit to test self-driving Lexus vehicles on public roads?
•Mercedes-Benz is rethinking the whole, “Let’s sell diesels in the U.S.”?
•But Jaguar Land Rover is pretty sure it’ll keep on selling them in the U.S.?
•The hottest “now” vehicle? Classic Japanese pickups? Said Hagerty?
Your Government at Work•Ford has two new law-enforcement and government-fleet toys: The Special Service F-150 and Expedition. On account of the special needs of these occupants, the vehicles have or have not particular items, such as a no-center-row option, and inclusion of a high-output amp to handle the idle and electrical demands.
•The Kentucky Mountain Regional Recreational Authority has been established for promoting outdoor rec.
•Senator Todd Young from Indiana toured the AM General HMMWV assembly plant and gave a speech. Excerpt: “I congratulate the men and women at AM General on earning the contract to deliver vehicles to Iraq to help defeat ISIS.”
•The Sportsman Act of 2017 bill has been introduced in Alaska to expand access to federal lands for outdoor activities.
•Kentucky has passed a law promoting outdoor recreation.
•Looks like West Virginians can legally have uncovered off-road lightbars.
•Fueleconomy.gov aka the U.S. Department of Energy aka where you can read up on government-claimed vehicle fuel economy figures has released a list of most and least fuel-efficient trucks and SUVs. The diesel-equipped Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon was tops, followed by the Ford F-150 with the 2.7L in two-by form. The least list featured the Nissan Frontier, Ram 1500, Toyota Tundra, Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited, and Mercedes-Benz G 550. Those were a mix of four- and two-by.
•Senator Mark R. Maynard from West Virginia also happens to love 4x4s. His Senate bill SB6911 was signed by the governor, and Senator Mark said, “It requires the Division of Highways to make digital maps available for use by tourism that designates public roads that are ORV-friendly, and also included fullsize Jeeps and special-built ORVs in the definition of OHVs. Currently, West Virginia, has lenient laws for ATVs SxSs, and dirtbikes. With the addition of fullsize Jeeps and custom-built rock buggies, it will really open up opportunities for trail riding in West Virginia.” We express our gratitude for his efforts in the best way we know how—by showing off his cool rigs: a ’98 Jeep Grand Cherokee 5.9 Limited, which has lockers front and rear, a 6-inch lift, and 35s, and an ’80 Jeep CJ, featuring a 355 small-block Chevy, fenderwell headers, 39.5-inch Boggers, and more.
•California has extended its Off Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation program until 2019, which will help local, federal, and state agencies, as well as nonprofits and other outlets, with funding for OHV management.
What’s Happening in the Industry•Summitracing.com now carries ARIES Automotive accessories, including grilleguards and running boards.
•General Tire is continuing its more-than-a-decade-long partnership with Team Lucas, and will continue as Official Tire of the Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series, among other events. And Bilstein will be sponsoring more racers than it did in 2016 in the same off-road series.
•Bridgestone has its grown its Dueler tire lineup to include the H/T 685, a heavy-duty tire for pickups.
•Want to better understand Holley EFI? EFI University in Arizona is offering training, including Intro to EFI, advance courses, and hi-po tuner skills.
•Continental is open for business in Silicon Valley, with its Silicon Valley Research and Development Center, where mobility and related tech will be the focus.
Four Wheeler AppAre you Snapping? Are you Gramming? Are you FBing? Then you should also be Four Wheelering. All you have to do is download the Four Wheeler magazine app, where you’ll find loads of content that proves this magazine has been cutting-edge since the dawn of both automobiles and computers. You’ll find many feature vehicles, road tests, product info, tech articles, how-to, and photos of everything and anything based in off-road and adventure. Get the app where you get your apps.
“Witnesses told the cops the young boy drove effortlessly and obeyed all traffic laws , which is amazing, because most adults can’t even do that. Even more amazing? They made it to the drive-thru window, which, again, many adults can’t even do.”—usatoday.com report about an 8-year-old boy who learned to drive by watching YouTube videos, then drove himself and his 4-year-old sister to McDonald’s
2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk707 horses. 645 lb-ft of twist. 0-60 in 3.5 seconds. Quarter-mile of 11.6 seconds. Top speed of 180 mph. What, you need to know more about the ’18 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk beyond that it’s quick, and the most powerfully potent SUV to date? OK, then pacify yourself with the fact that it has a tweaked TorqueFlight eight-speed auto trans hooked to the supercharged 6.2L V-8, as well as some interesting tech, such as a forged-steel crank with induction-hardened bearing surfaces that can withstand firing pressure of almost 1,600 psi, and that the specially tuned crank damper has been burst-tested to 13,000 rpm. And that high-strength pistons and powder-forged connecting rods use high-load-capacity bushings and carbon-coated piston pins, and that the cylinder heads have been treated for thermal conductivity, plus that there’s a new fuel system, with two high-flow, multimode pumps. Also, the rear driveshaft is linked to a beefier rear axle, the new Brembo brakes happen to be the biggest front ones on any Jeep ever, and the standard Torque Reserve system makes for better engine torque response and acceleration. To emphasize the “track” part of Trackhawk, the Selec-Track system has performance-tuned software for Auto, Sport, Track, Snow and Tow modes, plus Custom Mode.
Nissan’s Rogue Warrior Trail Project ConceptYou’re gonna notice the tires first, so let’s just start there. The Nissan Rogue concept—or, probably more accurately, the Rogue one-off that’ll inspire no future Nissan vehicles—has Dominator Tracks from American Track Truck, which are 48 inches long, 30 inches tall, and 15 inches wide. To fit such ginormous rolling stock, the suspension and wheelwells had to be massaged, but everything else is factory. Although, the bolt-ons are not—there are custom fender flares, tinted and LED lights, ARB gear basket, and Warn winch.
FT-4X Concept from ToyotaToyota named this off-road concept FT-4X. (Side note: We dig that name way more than what it’s abbreviated for: Future Toyota-Four Wheel Drive Crossover.) Toyota’s also calling it a “four-wheel-drive toolbox,” with an “X Theme” design, featuring a description of that design that frankly made our eyes glaze over—something about how “at the rear, the bowed vertical X can be seen at the rear hatch, again placing the door handle at the center and creating a protective space. Now, imagine another X, but this time horizontal, or flat, placed at the top and bottom of the vertical Xs…” We should probably not attempt to explain the vehicle’s three “zones” either, but allow us to simply say two of them are “Clean” and “Wet.” Anyway, specs: 167 inches long with a wheelbase of 104 inches and 64 inches tall, with an imagined four-banger engine, MacPherson strut front suspension, and double-wishbone rear suspension. Also, when you’re finished looking for the Xs, notice the taste of a throwback to FJ Land Cruisers gone by.
Jeep Yuntu ConceptThis is the seven-seater Jeep Yuntu concept. Because the Jeep brand is exploding in China (and the name is Chinese for cloud) market, this vehicle was designed to meet the design and engineering interests of buyers there. That’s why it has a hybrid powertrain (plug-in-style) and a space-age vibe. We do have to say that although Jeep seemingly placed the Yuntu on Mars for these photos, the design doesn’t seem like it’s from a time and place too far away. Which is probably why Jeep implied that it hints of a 2018 model year luxo SUV—for China only.
“Established in 1948, General Motors Venezolana (GMV), the oldest and most traditional automaker in the country, and market leader for more than 35 consecutive years, is forced to cease operations in Venezuela due to an illegal judicial seizure of its assets. Yesterday, GMV’s plant was unexpectedly taken by the public authorities, preventing normal operations. In addition, other assets of the company, such as vehicles, have been illegally taken from its facilities.”—Statement from GM about its plant in Venezuela