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4x4 And Auto News And Rumors

Posted in News on March 23, 2018
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Photographers: Courtesy of Manufacturers


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That’s Interesting
•The ’19 Toyota Racing Development (TRD) Pro Series will be available in the fall, so starting pining now for your TRD-tuned 4Runner, Tacoma, or Tundra with possible add-ons like a lifted suspension, Fox shocks, Desert Air Intake, 18-inch black forged-aluminum wheels, and more off-road-y-ness. Did you know TRD’s been at it since 1979? That’s Ivan Stewart era.
•Jeep achieved Cult Brand Honoree status from The Gathering (Society of Cult Brands). It’s the first automaker to be honored by the org.
•The 2018 Annual Top Picks list from Consumer Reports? Hey there, Ford F-150 in the fullsize pickup category.
•Peugeot’s got a new concept 4x4: Rifter. That’s a five- or seven-seater with various gas and diesel engine possibilities. Don’t giggle at what the four-by system is called: Dangel. We said don’t.
•The Mercedes-Benz G550 4x4² scored a “Best Dream Machine” spot in MotorWeek’s 2018 Drivers’ Choice Awards.
•You’ve gotta believe us when we say there’s someone out there wishing for a performance-oriented Dodge Durango. That’s why there’s R/T and SRT models and why for 2018 it can be had with custom stripes, carbon-fiber interior, and optional performance exhaust, along with other “enhancements.”
•The Nissan Armada Snow Patrol features 3 inches of suspension lift, roof rack, lightbar, big bumper, and big off-road tires. And it’s one of a kind. “As part of our celebration of winter at the Chicago Auto Show, we wanted to remind our growing family of Armada owners and enthusiasts that this fullsize SUV stands ready to take you to the mountains, or at least safely through Chicago streets covered in lake-effect snow,” said Division Vice President of Commercial Vehicles and Trucks Billy Hayes. has made your decision for you regarding whether to buy used or new. In the case of the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited and Renegade, Toyota Tacoma and 4Runner, Chevy Colorado, and Nissan Frontier, they are a bit better to buy new because they don’t lose much value.
•Care to guess how much money we wasted in 2017 sitting in traffic? Yes, $305 billion (that’s $1,445 per driver), according to the INRIX Global Traffic Scorecard. Los Angeles ranked as the world’s most gridlocked city—six years running. In fact, the U.S. held 10 of the top 25 cities in worldwide heinousness. We’d like to have a sit-down with South Bend, Indiana, and a bunch of cities in Texas to learn why they had reductions in congestion over the previous year.
•The PAL-V flying car has reached a big step—its first production model. Full certification is due in 2019. Next up? We can buy one. You first.
•Owning something for 5 years is a win—if it’s on the 5-Year Cost to Own Awards list from Kelley Blue Book. The 2018 model year winners with the lowest projected cost to own included the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, Chevy Tahoe, Toyota Tacoma, and Ford F-150.
•A patent for the HorseFly Truck Launched Drone Package Delivery System has been given allowance to Workhorse Group. It’s designed to help truck drivers deliver packages that launch from the roof of the delivery truck and head toward the delivery location, which then autonomously descends and releases the package upon arrival. Said Workhorse: 1. “The HorseFly system adheres to all current FAA safety regulations for drone package delivery, as each package is delivered within the delivery driver’s ‘line of sight.’” 2. “The HorseFly system provides significant cost efficiency by eliminating extra miles of driving to deliver packages.” We’re still considering the opposites of those two statements.
•Uh oh: “Noise has been found associated with annoyance, stress, sleep disturbance, and impaired cognitive performance. Furthermore, epidemiological studies have found that environmental noise is associated with an increased incidence of arterial hypertension, myocardial infarction, heart failure, and stroke.” That’s from a new study published by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology called “Environmental Noise and the Cardiovascular System.” See the accompanying decibel scale image for “threshold of pain” when the topic is “truck.”
•An ’18 Toyota Tundra TRD was the pace car for the parade marking the big football win earlier this year for the Philadelphia Eagles—a team that’s Toy’s automotive partner, and an event we’re not allowed to say by name without a legal penalty.
•The King of the Hammers king of the King of the Hammers for 2018? Jason Scherer.
•Universal Technical Institute is kicking off the Ignite program, a freebie for high school juniors to get hands-on training and test-prep. Basically, it’s a chance to get up close and personal in the automotive world, including collision repair, diesel, and motorcycles. Go to to get the details.
•A Canada-only ’19 Ram 1500 is available with a monochromatic look and black badging and interior. The Sport is the most popular of the Ram trucks there.
•Audi is putting toll-payment technology on some of its vehicles. Called Integrated Toll Module, it’s built into the rearview mirror.
•’18 Yenko/SC Silverado: An 800hp 6.8L supercharged LT1 engine, but there are only 25 of the Standard Cab shortbed models available. Go to for the full monty.
The New York Times said the Winter Olympics had 37 Zamboni drivers. There were 15 from the U.S., 9 from South Korea, 8 from Canada, 5 from Japan.
•Did you know Mercedes-Benz supplies vehicles for the police? These include the X-Class pickup.
•The most popular Ford Raptor colors for 2018? had used data to learn black and gray topped the list. Purple accounted for 1 percent. And we’re guessing possibly 0 percent of you knew it could be had in purple.
•Polaris has partnered up to purchase the 166 acres of land and buildings that are part of the Glamis Beach Store in California.
•Toyota: Once again, the Official Truck of the Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series.


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Is It True?
•The cameras in autonomous vehicles can’t detect black-colored vehicles on the road?
•Buyers are trending more toward light trucks than cars?
•And SUVs too—as in, crazy-good sales are causing companies such as Ford to do things like get excited about the new Expedition? The Blue Oval’s SUV sales have jumped 28 percent over the past 6 years?
•Cadillac’s downsize SUV will be called XT4?
•Meanwhile, Nissan is pondering building a Raptor-like Frontier?
•Want a diesel version of the next-gen Jeep Wrangler? Are you ready to spend close to $3,000 to get that option?
•Didn’t Mercedes-Benz adopt a new way to name its vehicles a couple years ago, with A and B and GL variations? So, did that not go well and is why we’re back at it again, this time with two-number names that end in O unless an AMG?
•Porsche intends to spend more than $7 million by 2022 on the e-stuff, including electric vehicles and plug-ins? And is it OK that we think “Mission E” is possibly the coolest code name for any automaker’s first completely electric model?
•And maybe less cool is their code “nope” regarding future diesel models?
•And Fiat Chrysler will end selling diesels by 2022?
•From According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, January 2018 in the UK saw sales of 235 Jeeps, 19,654 Fords, and…just 1 Chevy?
•The Rolls-Royce SUV is to be called Cullinan?
•Is Australia going to get Jeep Wrangler Rubicons that are specially tuned for that terrain?
•Are dealerships helping Lyft find new drivers?
•Did Ralph Gilles, the design bigwig at Fiat Chrysler, use his Jeep Wrangler to do a major boss move and push a burning vehicle out of the way when he drove up on the scene of a multivehicle wreck?


Your Government at Work
•Looks like Virginia is entertaining a bill that would allow for off-road military surplus vehicles to be registered as antique.
•Your government employees at work: In 2017, the Ford F-150 was the most popular vehicle with all branches of the U.S. military via the United Services Automobile Association buying service.
•According to SEMA, a bill was introduced in California that would do away with a requirement that $833,000 of OHV taxes and fees be transferred to the state’s general fund instead of going into the OHV fund.
•From SB 606, introduced in Maryland: “Off-Highway Recreational Vehicles-Excise Titling Tax—Off-Highway Recreational Vehicle Trail Fund for the purpose of establishing…a special, nonlapsing fund…requiring the Comptroller to transfer a certain percentage of the revenue from the excise tax imposed for certain certificates of title issued for certain off–highway recreational vehicles to the Off-Highway Recreational Vehicle Trail Fund.”
•Meanwhile, West Virginia is looking into establishing more off-road trails.
•Will the government-mandated 46.6 mpg by 2026 plan be scrapped for 37.7?
•Germany might ban diesels.


What’s Happening in the Industry
•Pour technology just got woke—Valvoline managed to take the gold for 2018 Product of the Year, Car Care category (as voted by consumers) for its new Easy Pour Bottle concept.
•Dynomax has something going on that you won’t want to miss. From this very moment until July 31, 2018, you can partake in a mail-in promo on qualifying exhaust systems and get up to $100 back. Go to for info.
•PRP Seats, Status Racing, and SpeedStrap have been acquired by Bestop.
•Bruiser Conversions has created a conversion kit for dropping a GM Performance LS3 into the ’18 Jeep Wrangler.
•New rubber for HD pickups and SUVs from Bridgestone called Blizzak, which sounds like “fashizzle”-speak, but is in actuality representative of a winter tire.
•Been unable to sleep from wondering about the first-time usage of aluminum on the new Jeep JL? The aluminum supplier is Novelis. Goodnight.


Four Wheeler App
You know all those apps you’ve download? One should be the Four Wheeler app if you haven’t already, because it’s definitely an app you’ll use more than the one-time use of those others (Four Wheeler, ride sharing, and flashlight are the only apps you need for survival). Go to the App Store and get us for 24/7 features, tech, event coverage, news, and more.


“Both of the vehicles are doing really well for us. Because they're turning so fast, we're going to do everything we can to meet the demand that's out there.”
—Ford sales analyst, Erich Merkle , to Automotive News, regarding the popularity of the expensive ’18 Ford Expedition (and Lincoln Navigator), and how the Kentucky plant is poised to build 25 percent more SUVs than first planned


“It’s a crazy year this year. It’s a mess.”
—Charlie Gischlar, speaking on behalf of the Maryland State Highway Administration, regarding the uptick in potholes in the city, to the Baltimore Sun


“I take a lot of small steps because that’s how they add up to your big goals. Focusing on the end goal is the biggest part, and our end goal is having a physical installation center and then creating this brand that is known nationwide.”
—Robert Bowden to the College Heights Herald. He’s a freshman at Western Kentucky University and started Spartan 4x4, an off-road parts retailer, as a student entrepreneur.


Factory-Authorized Suspension Kit for Nissan Titan
The Nissan Titan and Titan XD Crew Cab 4x4s now have an available factory-authorized suspension lift. It comes from ICON Vehicle Dynamics and is a bolt-on kit worth up to 3 inches. Components include adjustable-height coilovers and Delta joints. This will not void the warranty, and Nissan said it can be installed in less than 4 hours at a Nissan dealership, sans drilling or cutting.


What a Customized ’19 Ram 1500 Looks Like
This is what the Mopar of Things looks like, we’re pretty sure. Ram and Mopar built this custom ’19 1500 Sport 4x4 with more than 200 Mopar parts and accessories, including a 2-inch lift kit, flares, running boards, cold-air intake (availability later in 2018), 5-inch exhaust tips, and about 192 other items. In the bed? That’s a prototype adjustable Ram Rack that allows for securing larger gear and mounts to the bedrails. A production version is coming soon.


Ford Wants You to Stop Driving Your Ranger
Statement from Ford: “Ford is advising owners of certain additional North America 2006 Ford Ranger vehicles with Takata non-desiccated airbag inflators to stop driving their vehicles and contact their dealers immediately for repairs. The 33,428 vehicles, which were previously under a separate Takata airbag inflator recall, have been transferred due to an elevated risk to safety posed by airbag inflators that may have a higher risk of rupturing in the event of a crash than other recalled Takata inflators. Ford is advising these owners of certain Ford Rangers to stop driving their vehicles so dealers can make repairs immediately…affected vehicles include certain ’06 Ford Rangers built at Twin Cities Assembly Plant from August 10, 2005 to December 15, 2005, and from August 5, 2005 to November 4, 2005. This expanded recall involves approximately 33,428 additional ’06 Ford Rangers in North America with 30,603 located in the United States and federalized territories and 2,825 in Canada. The total number of vehicles included in this recall now is 36,330. The Ford reference number for this recall is 18S02.” Here’s a link to find out whether your VIN is affected:


Ford Ranger Raptor
If you’re into the idea of a Ford Raptor in Ranger form, you might want to visit the Asia Pacific area, because for now, it’s not available in the U.S. Ford pulled the wraps off the Raps in Thailand (where the plant producing it is located), where it was outfitted with a 2.0L diesel, ten-speed trans, Watt’s linkage rear suspension, Fox Racing shocks, a sporty grille, dent- and ding-resistant front fenders, off-road racing seats, a unique frame, and other bits and pieces that make us long for it—and that diesel—in the U.S.


Random Photo We Dug
999 steps. 99 turns. One ’18 Range Rover Sport PHEV. The new SUV was the first vehicle ever to climb Heaven’s Gate in China.

MTOD info…

May 4 Dirt Every Day, Episode 76
May 7 Hot Rod Garage, Episode 65
May 9 Head 2 Head, Episode 101
May 14 Roadkill, Episode 82
May 21 Roadkill Garage, Episode 30
May 23 Engine Masters, Episode 35
May 25 Put Up or Shut Up, Episode 12
May 28 Roadkill, Episode 83
May 30 Ignition, Episode 192
June 01 Dirt Every Day, Episode 77
June 04 Hot Rod Garage, Episode 66
June 06 Head 2 Head, Episode 102
June 11 Roadkill, Episode 84
June 18 Roadkill Garage, Episode 31
June 20 Engine Masters, Episode 36
June 25 Roadkill, Episode 85
June 27 Ignition, Episode 193
June 29 Dirt Every Day, Episode 78
July 02 Hot Rod Garage, Episode 67
July 04 Head 2 Head, Episode 103
July 09 Roadkill, Episode 86
July 16 Roadkill Garage, Episode 32
July 18 Engine Masters, Episode 37
July 23 Roadkill, Episode 87
July 25 Ignition, Episode 194
July 27 Dirt Every Day, Episode 79
July 30 Hot Rod Garage, Episode 68

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