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May 2005 4x4 News - RPM

Front View
Sean P. Holman | Writer
Posted May 1, 2005
Photographers: Courtesy of Brenda Priddy & Company

Cruiser Comeback

Toyota has announced that it is building a vehicle which is closely themed after the retro FJ Cruiser concept of a few years ago. The FJ Cruiser, as it will be known, will be patterned off of Toyota's half century of building rugged and affordable off-pavement performers, such as the original FJ40, 4Runner, and 4x4 compact pickups and will be squarely aimed at, you guessed it, the "active-lifestyle set." In other words, Nissan Xterra, look out. We'll let you know more in next month's column.

Nine volunteers from the Drive Around the World organization set out on the LONGITUDE Expedition Nov. 1, 2003, in specially prepared Land Rover Discoverys. The Expedition is a 50,000-kilometer drive around the world-crossing four continents, through 34 countries-to raise funds that will help cure Parkinson's disease. The trek has taken the team along some of the most desolate and demanding places on the planet. In addition to raising money, Drive Around the World's LONGITUDE Expedition is conducting a motor-oil endurance test for Mobil 1's 10W-40 with SuperSyn(tm) synthetic oil. The agreement with Mobil 1 is to run the entire 32,000-mile global expedition with no oil or oil filter changes in all four LONGITUDE Expedition Certified Discoverys. The decision to go with K&N came while the expedition approached Australia's Gun Barrel Highway, a 500-mile barren track that stretches from east to west across Central Australia and is made up of talc-like dirt. With K&N filters clearing the air, the engines got all the clean air they needed and the motor-oil longevity was extended. The journey concluded on February 25th, 2005 at Land Rover's headquarters in Irvine, California.

Toyo Tires(r) announces the 2005 celebration of the 60th Anniversary of Toyo Tire & Rubber Co., Ltd. Founded on Aug. 1, 1945, the Toyo Group includes Nitto Tire North America and Toyo Automotive Parts (USA) Inc. Toyo Tires provides a broad range of tire styles for pickups and SUVs. Toyo also supports today's lifestyle as a sponsor of many popular racing series and events. For more information on Toyo Tires(r) products, log onto toyo.com or teamtoyo.com.

The current generation of fullsize GM trucks is a bit long in the tooth and has been with us since 1999. Since that time, the F-150 has undergone a freshening and a full redesign, Dodge has expertly marketed the Dodge Ram Hemi to hungry Mopar fans, Toyota has introduced and upgraded the Tundra, and Nissan has jumped into the fullsize truck pool head first. But rest assured Chevy and GMC loyalists, GM says its redesigned trucks and SUVs are on the way. The new vehicles, based on the GMT 900 platform, which replaces the GMT 800 that underpins the current generation, should be unveiled at the end of this year. No word yet on what GM will offer for powertrain selection.

In a surprising move, Ford has gone against all predictions and developed the second-generation Sport Trac ahead of the AWOL next-generation Ranger. The production version, caught here testing near the Detroit Auto Show by our intrepid spy, carries an identical interior and many styling cues from the concept. This time around, the Sport Trac will really be based on the sophisticated Explorer platform (as opposed to the old Ranger platform), and will offer four-wheel drive and the Explorer's 4.6L V-8 as options. With worthy competition for newcomers, such as the Honda Ridgeline and old favorites, such as the Tacoma Double Cab, Ford will be upping its game to compete in this hotly contested segment.

Ford has done it again. After the first full year of the redesigned F-150 on the market, Ford sold an industry record 939,511 trucks to continue the F-series as the best-selling vehicle in America, 23 years in a row. This figure topped Ford's previous record of 911,597 F-series back in 2001.



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