Porsche Cayenne Revealed
These days, if you don't have an SUV in your model lineup, you're losing customers. Not even Porsche, one of the most profitable car companies in the business, can allow that to happen, so it's about to debut the Cayenne. The Cayenne will use very high technology to deliver very high performance levels. How high? Try a top speed of 150 mph, and 0-60 mph in 7.2 seconds-not inconsiderable for a 5,000-pound vehicle. The Cayenne is pushed to these levels by a 370hp 4.5L V-8 that drives through an automatic transmission and all-wheel drive, courtesy of a transfer case with a locking center diff. There is low-range gear reduction on tap, as well as a chassis that can be raised to provide up to 1031/44 inches of ground clearance. Why, in rough going, it will even disconnect its antiroll bars for increased articulation. Look for the Cayenne on a street near you this fall. But don't expect to see too many of them on your favorite trails.
While Toyota cemented its reputation in the pickup market with the Tundra and the Tacoma, fellow Japanese automaker Nissan staked its claim on the SUV market with the Pathfinder and Xterra models. Now Nissan plans to go head-to-head with Toyota and the Big Three in the light-truck market with a new fullsize pickup codenamed ZW. The truck will be offered with Nissan's 3.5L V-6, with an optional 5.0L V-8 possible. It is believed that while several configurations of the Mississippi-built truck will be available, a standard cab is not likely to be one of them. The artist's rendering you see here, developed with the help of sources inside Nissan, suggests what this new Nissan might look like.
Does the Jeep Compass Point a Direction?
In June, Daimler-Chrysler held its annual media event, inviting automotive journalists to the Chelsea Proving Grounds in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in order to preview the company's '03 models. While there, we had a chance to cruise the Jeep Compass, a concept vehicle built on a Liberty platform. With its 3.7L V-6 and numerous driver amenities, the Compass was indeed impressive. But will the Compass find its way to showrooms? Could be. According to sources, the Compass does look like it will see mass production sometime soon. The bad news, however, is that the all-wheel-drive Compass will not be offered with a two-speed transfer case. Further, to help keep the sticker price down, Jeep may plan on manufacturing the Compass on a Mitsubishi platform.
Four Wheeler is among the major sponsors of the Off Road Expo, to be held at the Pomona Fairplex outside Los Angeles October 5-6. The event is a terrific place to get the inside track on the four-wheeling industry's latest goodies, since many of the exhibitors show their latest innovations here a month before the annual Las Vegas SEMA show. Past exhibit participants have been especially impressed with the new generation of grassroots enthusiasts that flock to the event in search of the latest technology, products and ideas for their own project vehicles. This year they expect an even larger turnout. Attendees will have an opportunity to see Four Wheeler's 40th Anniversary Sweepstakes Tacoma. After the success of last year's event, organizers increased the exhibit space by 30,000 square feet. The exhibitors at this year's Off Road Expo will include BFG Tires, Beard Seats, Rhino Lining, Avalanche Engineering and Dynatrac. For information visit www.offroadexpo.com.
The newly redesigned '03 Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500 pickups will be highlighted by the return of Chrysler's famous and much-loved Hemi powerplant. The Hemi is so-called because its combustion chambers are slightly hemispherical-but less so today, we suspect, than in the famed Hemis of old, thanks to combustion technology that favors narrow included valve angles over wide valve angles. Dodge will reintroduce the Hemi as a 5.7L Magnum V-8. Horsepower is rated at 345 at 5,400 rpm and torque at 365 lb-ft at 4,400 rpm. Dodge will also offer an all-new High Output 5.9L Cummins Turbodiesel, producing 305 hp and 555 lb-ft of torque, in its '03 heavy-duty trucks.
For The Record
In part three of Project Plane Jane (July '02) we mentioned that the four bolts holding the exhaust turbine housing and center bearing housing together on a Ford '99 Turbo have a history of coming loose. Ford has addressed this issue with Broadcast Message #0718, which lists a kit (PN 1C3Z-9G486-AA) that contains four bolts with slightly wavy threads to give the bolts an interference fit, similar to a locknut. Prior to that there was only Special Service Message No. 14753, which just said that this was a known concern, and recommended using the bolts found in the turbo assembly parts kit.
Stricker Emissions Standards
Drivers in Dallas/Ft. Worth and Houston will now be required to comply with new, stricter emissions standards, established last June as AirCheckTexas. The new program stipulates that vehicles two to 24 years old must pass a new high-tech emissions test along with the annual safety inspection. The plan is expected to lower emissions by 66 tons a day in the two regions.
Blazer Saga Continues
General Motors plans to extend the run of a plant in New Jersey where the Chevrolet Blazer, Chevy S-10 and GMC Sonoma are built. Citing a GM spokesman, the Wall Street Journal reported that the plant's run will last through summer of 2005. Production at the facility was expected to wrap up in the third quarter of 2004.
Late last May DaimlerChrysler and China's Beijing Automotive Industry Group announced details of a 30-year agreement for a joint venture, Beijing Jeep Corporation company. The agreement, pending final government ratification at press time, will bring expanded production to China, including work on two new models within the next two years.
Some people can't wait to wait for the new Hummer H2. Slated to go on sale in July, several prospective buyers were bidding as much as $10,000 at online auction site eBay to be closer to the front of the waiting list. Said Hummer marketing manager Paul Beckett, "Evidently some people want one so bad they're willing to pay for a spot in line."
Rubicon Education Project
The famous Rubicon Trail is now under heavy scrutiny by the environmentalist community. In order to help insure continued public access to the trail, the U.S. Forest Service is implementing a new check point and information booth at the Loon Lake trailhead. The booth will be staffed Saturdays and Sundays from Memorial Day through Labor Day. For more information contact CA4WDC at 800/4x4-funn (494-3886).