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RPM: 4x4 And Auto News And Rumors

Posted in News on December 20, 2017
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Photographers: Courtesy of Manufacturers


Photography: GM

That’s Interesting

•Our sibling Motor Trend named the Ford F-150 as its 2018 Truck of the Year.
•Winners of SEMA’s Hottest awards for 2017 went to the Jeep Wrangler for 4x4-SUV and the, oh, you again: Ford F-series for the truck category.
•The new supercharged Crate Hemi Engine Kit from Mopar is the first supercharged 707hp 6.2L factory crate engine. Its hipster name is Hellcrate.
•Audi is planning a new facility for producing e-diesel. The company has been doing research on e-gasoline and synthetically manufactured e-diesel for a few years. “Audi e-diesel has the potential to make conventional combustion engines operate almost CO2-neutrally,” said the automaker.
•What says Kelley Blue Book about the best auto technology for 2018? Stuff like connected apps, tech that controls teens (we mean things like Chevy’s Teen Driver for alerting if any safety systems were used), Apple CarPlay, lane departure warning, and automatic emergency braking.
•If you notice a blindingly blue ’18 Ram 1500, know that it’s the new special-edition Hydro Blue Sport. Among the specials are the performance hood, unique grille, badging, and body-colored areas.
•For 2018, Land Rover will make the 3.0L V-6 Td6 diesel available on SE models. The numeros: 254 horses, 443 lb-ft of torque, eight-speed auto trans.
•A free Ford Raptor coloring book? It’s from Blue Springs Ford Parts and you can download the off-road, action-packed collection of illustrations here:
•Chevy gave George Springer of the Houston Astros—the 2017 Willie Mays World Series MVP—an ’18 Chevy Silverado Centennial Edition. Jealous of his free truck? Then just help a baseball team win its first-ever World Series.
•Ram won the Bone Stock award at the Rebelle Rally for being the highest finishing unmodified vehicle. It was a ’17 Power Wagon.
•Most-loved automotive brand in the U.S. would be Toyota, according to Insights 4 Less, because you definitely want less with your insights. Chevy and Ford also ranked high.
•’18 Green Truck of the Year, according to Green Car Journal? The Chevy Colorado.
•The ’18 Nissan Titan XD got a new Snow Plow Prep Package.
•The Titan also makes news for winning the Best Value Extreme Off-Road category with the PRO-4X for the Active Lifestyle Vehicle awards for two years running. Also two years running is you having no idea this award existed.
•Toyota has signed on to be a global partner of the Special Olympics.
•Ford will cough up $870-million-plus to build the next-gen Kuga SUV in Spain.
•You know who doesn’t have a Lamborghini? You. You know who does? The Pope. Technically, the $200,000 car was a donation that will be auctioned off, with proceeds going to the needy.
•Tech Live Look is a new thing happening at Porsche dealerships. It involves Augmented Reality smart glasses that Porsche said “feature the latest in projection technology and come equipped with a high-resolution, auto-focus camera that shows even fine details, such as threading on screws. The glasses include a powerful LED to illuminate dark spaces in the engine compartment or under the car.”
•The winner of multiple ALG Residual Value awards? Land Rover, including for Best Premium Brand, Premium Fullsize Utility (Range Rover), and Best Premium Compact Utility (Discovery Sport).
•There are five new ’18 Cam-Am Maverick X3 side-by-side models, with two X mr packages that are mud-specific and also the most potent of the bunch at 172 hp. There’s also the X rs Turbo R and MAX X rs Turbo R, with Smart-Lok and also Trail Activ and Trail modes.
•Odd pairing: Volkswagen and Google. And it’s for quantum computing. We Googled “quantum computing,” but VW answered the question best: “Volkswagen Group IT wants to make progress in three development areas on the Google quantum computer. The specialists intend to continue the development of traffic optimization, to explore structures for new materials, especially high-performance batteries for electric vehicles, and to work on artificial intelligence with new machine learning processes.”
•60 years in the U.S. would be Toyota. Diamonds are the traditional anniversary gift, so depending on your love for Toys, your bling might fall somewhere between magnifying glass necessary and Hope diamond.


Is it True?

•Ford’s got autonomous off-road driving tech up its sleeve?
•The upcoming Jeep Scrambler pickup will have a soft top option?
•Uber and NASA are new buddies in the flying-taxi business?
•No more diesels from Toyota—in Europe?
•Ford is developing a retractable tonneau cover?
•Hyundai is investing in start-up companies in Israel that focus on future auto tech?
•Most popular truck color for 2017 as told by Performance Truck Products was white? Least was orange and yellow?


Your Government at Work

•Are dune buggies going to be banned in Texas?
•Collector Car Appreciation Day will be July 13, 2018.
•The Wildomar Off-Highway Vehicle Area in western Riverside County, California, will be shut down for a year following the massive fire that happened in the Cleveland National Forest in October 2017. It started after a dirt bike crashed into a tree and caught fire.


Photography: GM

What’s Happening in the Industry

•Truck Hero has acquired Superlift Suspension.
•The winner of the Transamerican Auto Parts vehicle contest called Life is Better Off-Road vehicle at the 2017 SEMA Show was Synergy Manufacturing’s ’71 Jeepster Commando on a ’17 Jeep Unlimited chassis.
•The Colorado ZR2 AEV concept, developed with American Expedition Vehicles, has the company’s bumpers, fender flares, and snorkel, 35-inch tires, and 2.8L Duramax engine. Why did Chevy get into this project? Here’s why: “ZR2 puts an exclamation point on Chevy’s off-road engineering ability. Our collaboration taught us that Colorado makes a great platform for building an off-road truck that can take you as far out as you want to go, safely.” So said AEV founder Dave Harriton, but Chevy probably would have had the same answer.
•New from Pirelli: Scorpion All Terrain Plus tire.
•Things are hopping over at the old Willys-Overland Motors joint in Toledo. Dana has officially reopened it as an axle plant.
•Mopar has more than 200 new Jeep Performance Parts for the ’18 Wrangler. Jeep even customized two to get you started on your own blueprints: green and white examples.
•Big O Tires has expanded to Missouri, Minnesota, Iowa, and Kansas.
Time magazine named Michelin’s Vision concept tire one of the 25 best inventions of 2017. It’s an airless, biosourced, rechargeable, connected tire.
•Yokohama is the title sponsor of the Sonora Rally, henceforth called the 2018 Yokohama Sonora Rally. It’s March 19-24. Think of it as the Dakar Rally but less internationally desert-y.
•Keystone Automotive is acquiring Warn Ind.
•Rancho is a partner for the new Jeep Jamboree Adventure Series happening in 2018. The events will reportedly be limited to only 10-15 Jeeps. Learn more:


Four Wheeler App

The iPhone and iPad recently got new emoji, like broccoli and yoga and Dracula. Can that really be more exciting than all the content the Four Wheeler app keeps adding, and way more often than those devices get emoji? (Insert new head-exploding emoji and new brain emoji here.) The answer would be no (insert new monocle-face emoji here). We’ve got trail rides/adventure (insert new rockclimbing emoji here), tech (insert new star-bursting-eyes face emoji here), road tests (insert new flying saucer emoji here), and vehicles upon vehicles for you to glom ideas from for your own project build (insert new whisper-face emoji here). Get the app at the App Store (insert new sandwich emoji because…sandwich).


“SUVs are elegant lifestyle products with a high-quality finish to them. Not every customer takes them into the wilderness anymore. We believe pickups could go in a similar direction.”
—Volker Mornhinweg of Mercedes-Benz Vans to Automotive News Europe. The M-B X-Class pickup has no arrival date yet for the U.S. market


“Three out of four Northwest drivers refuse to honk their car horns at offending commuters, despite the fact that most believe honking is the right way to inform a distracted driver. Most drivers in Oregon and Washington (78 percent) say they rarely or never honk their car horns, and a majority (55 percent) agree that laying on their horn is an impolite no-no.”
—Driver poll from PEMCO Insurance


The ’18 Jeep Wrangler—and, Yeah, Some Other New Vehicles

We’re starting to see the future of automobiles unfold—well, the very near future of 2018 and 2019 SUVs, at least. At long last, solid details about the ’18 Jeep Wrangler JL, as well as some interesting new offerings that unfortunately picked that vehicle to compete with for headlines. Here’s a look at what showed up at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show:
Jeep Wrangler
The ’18 JL is really why anyone cared about the 2017 LA Auto Show. Some quick highlights: a new 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder, a new eight-speed auto transmission and new manual six-speed, a new look inside and out, the next coming of Dana axles, better ground clearance, fold-down windshield, and the promise of a 3.0L EcoDiesel in 2019. The full scoop can be found on, including info about the Selec-Trac full-time two-speed T-case that you’ll definitely want to read more about:
Subaru unearthed its biggest ’Bu yet, in the form of the ’19 Ascent. It’s a three-row SUV with a new 260 turbocharged Boxer engine, a 5,000-pound max towing capacity, three rows of seating, and the usual all-wheel-drive system found in the rest of the family.
Range Rover
The ’18 SVAutobiography made its global debut, and the Special Vehicle Operations project is also known as the model that takes the top position in the Range Rover choices (as in having the “most” everything, including being the most spendy: $207,000-plus). Also appearing in the U.S. for the first time were the ’19 Range Rover and Range Rover Sport hybrids.
The Future Toyota Adventure Concept—known as FT-AC. Here’s the truth: The materials Toyota released on the vehicle spent a lot of time talking about “adventure” and “escape”…but the first item of technology actually mentioned had to do with the “bright LED headlights.” So….
The next-gen Cayenne finally got its passport stamped for showing up in the U.S.
Kia Sorento
There’s a new eight-speed automatic trans (plus a tweaked six-speed), and all versions of the 2019 model can be stuffed with seven passengers. Slight nips and tucks externally and slight changes to the interior are also of note.


*I’m going to delete the “This Month” part since we’re just putting dates through cover date.

Feb 2 Put Up or Shut Up, Episode 8
Feb 5 Roadkill, Episode 75
Feb 7 Ignition, Episode 188
Feb 9 Dirt Every Day, Episode 73
Feb 12 Hot Rod Garage, Episode 62
Feb 14 Head 2 Head, Episode 98
Feb 19 Roadkill, Episode 76
Feb 23 Junkyard Gold, Episode 5
Feb 26 Roadkill Garage, Episode 27
Feb 28 Engine Masters, Episode 32
Mar 2 Put Up or Shut Up, Episode 9
Mar 5 Roadkill, Episode 77
Mar 7 Ignition, Episode 189
Mar 9 Dirt Every Day, Episode 74
Mar 12 Hot Rod Garage, Episode 63
Mar 14 Head 2 Head, Episode 99
Mar 19 Roadkill, Episode 78
Mar 23 Junkyard Gold, Episode 6
Mar 26 Roadkill Garage, Episode 28
Mar 28 Engine Masters, Episode 33
Mar 30 Put Up or Shut Up, Episode 10
Apr 2 Roadkill, Episode 79
Apr 4 Ignition, Episode 190
Apr 6 Dirt Every Day, Episode 75
Apr 9 Hot Rod Garage, Episode 64
Apr 11 Head 2 Head, Episode 100
Apr 16 Roadkill, Episode 80
Apr 20 Junkyard Gold, Episode 7
Apr 23 Roadkill Garage, Episode 29
Apr 25 Engine Masters, Episode 34
Apr 27 Put Up or Shut Up, Episode 11
Apr 30 Roadkill, Episode 81

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