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June 2005 4x4 News - RPM

Drivers Side View
Sean P. Holman | Writer
Posted June 1, 2005
Photographers: Courtesy of Brenda Priddy & Company

A Cool Grand

Our spies have been working overtime lately, grabbing shots of some of the hottest vehicles about to come on the market. Here is a Jeep, unlike any Jeep you have seen before. How does a 425hp 6.1L Hemi-powered Grand Cherokee sound to you? Well, it sounded pretty good to the guys at Chrysler's SRT performance division. We know that all four wheels will be powered, but what we don't know yet if there will be a low-range or a Trail Rated badge.

Automotive News reports that GM and Isuzu will expand their Duramax engine venture by boosting the number of 6.6L Duramax engines that are produced at the Moraine, Ohio, plant to more than 200,000 a year. Rumor has it that Hummer is finally considering the Duramax for the H2.




Ward's Auto reports that Land Rover plans to capitalize on the LR3's initial sales success by offering a lower-priced V-6 option in place of the currently standard 300hp 4.4L V-8. A modified version of Ford's global 4.0L V-6 seems the most likely candidate for LR3 duty and could be seen as early as this summer.



What do the Massive Dodge Ram Mega Cab, Blocky Dodge Nitro, and Retro Toyota FJ Cruiser all have in common? They were all unveiled at this year's Chicago Auto Show and slated for production. To learn more about these 4x4s, check out our Auto Show coverage in this issue.

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We reported last month that GM was considering an early demise for the GMC Envoy XUV, and now the news is official. The XUV offered a Midgate, sliding roof, and hose-it-out bed, but never caught on with consumers. Another innovative product that never lived up to expectations was the expensive Quadrasteer four-wheel steering system, offered on select GM fullsize trucks and SUVs. Even after GM dropped the price and positioned Quadrasteer as a stand-alone option, it only sold 5,502 Quadrasteer-equipped trucks in 2004. Quadrasteer will be phased out by the end of the 2005 model year and will not be offered on the next generation of GM's fullsize offerings due in 2006 as 2007 models.

An exciting new feature on fourwheeler.com is Video Readers' Rigs! That's right, you and your rig can be the star of your very own mini-movie for the entire world to see! Video features should be no longer than two minutes. A one minute, 30-second max length is preferred, and submissions will be edited for length. It doesn't matter if it's professional quality or amateur. The important thing is it's yours! For guidelines on how to submit your home video log on to www.fourwheeler.com/readersrigs/video/.

In another blow to Ford enthusiasts, Ford has killed off the much anticipated 6.2L V-8 Hemi-fighter, known internally as the Hurricane. The Hurricane was to be a high-output engine option for use in the F-series and next-generation Expedition. Word has it that Ford feels the demand for high-displacement engines is temporary and that funds could be better used to continue development of a future family of V-6 engines.

Federal Government Reduces Off-Highway Routes In Northwest Colorado
The final Wolford Mountain Travel Management Plan issued by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) reduces the miles of off-highway vehicle routes from 231 to 167 miles and eliminates cross-country motorized travel within 33,000 acres of public land around Kremmling, Colorado. The BLM completed work on the plan in late January.

Federal Government Bans Off-Highway Vehicles In Oregon's Badlands
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued a draft plan to close more than 90,000 acres to off-highway vehicle users in central Oregon, including a section called the Badlands that is subject to wilderness designation. The closure would prohibit all motorized vehicles on the last 10 miles of routes currently still open within the 32,000-acre Badlands. Another 40 miles of roads and trails are already closed. The off-highway-vehicle ban is part of the Upper Deschutes Resource Management Plan, which will guide the long-term management of 400,000 acres of public land in central Oregon.

* 792,000 of Ford's fullsize pickups and SUVs from the '00 and '01 model years are being recalled for a potential fire hazard from a short circuit in the cruise control switch.

* Isuzu will be getting its own version of GM's Canyon/Colorado twins for the '06 model year.

* Nissan announced that the new Xterra 4WD Off-Road model will set you back $25,500. Two-wheel drives start at $20,800.

* With help from its new San Antonio truck plant, Toyota expects to double fullsize truck production within three years.

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