Here is your first look at the upcoming 2007 Wrangler! Rumors are swirling about the next-generation classic, but what we know for sure is the new Jeep will continue with a body-on-frame design, solid axles, and evolutionary styling. A larger overall vehicle, with a more refined interior and a longer wheelbase, appears to be the order of the day. The venerable 4.0L will finally be retired, but it isn't clear whether it will be replaced by the 3.7L out of the Liberty, or with another V-6. Also not clear is the updated Wrangler's designation-will it be JK or TK? From the photo, it appears that the Rubicon package will be back, this time wearing 33-inch BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/As on 17-inch wheels. If you believe the rumor mill, then you can expect V-8 and four-door versions to be offered.
Win an AEV Brute
New Jersey's Franklin Township Volunteer Fire Company is selling chances to win an AEV Brute Conversion Jeep. The Brute is a highly modified TJ, designed for extreme use. Fewer than 50 units are scheduled to be built this year, so the Brute is guaranteed to draw attention anywhere it goes. Read all about it at www.57fire.com. It is currently on display at OK Auto 4WD and Tire in Stewartsville, New Jersey. The drawing will take place October 9, 2005, and you do not have to be present to win. Tickets can be purchased online for $100 each at www.ok4wd.com. Don't miss this opportunity to own this one-of-a-kind vehicle and help out a volunteer fire company.
PCSM Worldwide says that demand for navigation systems will double in the next five years-we just hope more will be wheeling-friendly.
The much-anticipated next-generation Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon will debut at the Detroit Auto Show in January, with pickups following later in the year.
Automotive News reports that Chrysler will end its seven-year/70,000-mile warranty with the '06 model year.
Based on the early success of the diesel-powered Liberty, the Chrysler Group is considering expanding its diesel offerings to other vehicle lines.
Land Use Notes
Beehive State Turns Into 4x4 BattlegroundThree recent announcements regarding land use in Utah continue to keep the national spotlight on this state as four-wheel-drive organizations and environmental groups battle over access to these areas.
An emergency petition was filed with the BLM to restrict OHVs in the Factory Butte area in Central Utah. At question are 166,000 acres of land located east of the Capitol Reef National Park, of which only 3,800 acres are currently closed to OHVs. The environmental groups want nearly 50,000 acres to be closed on the premise that OHVs are crushing endangered plants and accelerating soil erosion. The petition responds to the BLM's preliminary proposal to close only 4,700 acres, maintain 6,000 of open unrestricted use, and permit limited use on the remaining 156,000 acres.
Congress is also getting involved in this fight as more than 165 members of the U.S. House of Representatives have signed on to support legislation that would declare 9.5 million acres in Utah as wilderness. However, notably absent from this list are the five members of the Utah Congressional delegation. The "America's Red Rock Wilderness Act" has been introduced in the House every year since 1989 and in the Senate since 1997. Facing an ongoing trend of similar wilderness legislation introduced by those outside of the affected region, House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo has requested the support of the state's congressional delegation and local communities as a prerequisite for consideration of wilderness legislation.
Along those lines, Sen. Bob Bennett and U.S. Rep. Jim Matheson, both members of the Utah delegation, have agreed to introduce legislation to protect up to 43,000 acres of wilderness lands around Zion National Park and in Washington County. This is home to St. George, one of the nation's fastest growing metropolitan areas. The SEMA Action Network (SAN) will continue to track these legislative proposals and provides updates in Driving Force and on the off-road section of the SAN Web site (www.semasan.com).