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January 2006 4x4 News - RPM

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Posted January 1, 2006

GMT 900 Revealed!

Here is your first official look at the General Motors GMT900 fullsize truck platform, which will come to market first as the '07 Chevrolet Tahoe, followed by the Chevy Suburban, Avalanche, Silverado, the GMC Yukon, Yukon XL, Denali, Sierra, and the Cadillac Escalade line. The new trucks and SUVs feature distinctive styling, industry-leading panel fits, and a selection of four- or six-speed automatic transmissions, along with a beefed-up range of Gen IV small-block V-8s. These vehicles will be the most fuel-efficient in their class, featuring a myriad of fuel-saving technologies. In addition, GM designers spent time making the new interior among the best in the business with soft-touch materials and upscale designs. GM is also studying hybrid and diesel technology for their next bestsellers.

This is the best shot yet of the all-new Tundra that will bow in 2007. Original plans called for the Double Cab and regular Tundra to remain on separate life cycles, but now our sources tell us that the whole line will be revamped at the same time. The third-generation Tundra regular- and extended-cab will finally become as fullsize as the competition. We expect to see the design closely mimic that of the FTX concept.

Suzuki has announced the '06 Grand Vitara, which is new from the ground up. Ditching the traditional frame for a hybrid unibody design, the Grand Vitara still retains a traditional 4WD system as an option. With a larger, more refined interior, a high amount of features, the best warranty on the market and an accessible price, we expect the new Grand Vitara to impress us as much as the outgoing model did. Grand Vitara base prices range from $18,999 to $23,299. We'll give your first view in our upcoming 2006 Four Wheeler of the Year test, coming next month.

Arthur A. Martin IV, a native of Chicago, couldn't be happier after winning the Grand Prize of the Toyo Sweepstakes, a custom '04 F-150. Featured on a colorful poster and as a download for your desktop from toyosweeps.com, this great-looking Ford pickup is outfitted with exciting components from Ford Racing and includes a Fabtech Dirt Logic 4.0 coilover suspension, glistening KMC XD Series Wheels, and aggressive 33-inch Open Country M/T tires from Toyo. Thousands of contestants from around the country entered online, mailed in entries, or filled out applications at their dealers for a chance at winning this great-looking Toyo Tires Ford F-150.

Last month, we brought you the concept sketches of the new crossover Jeeps-the Patriot and Compass. While we think the Compass might appeal to some (although we aren't sure who they might be), our focus is on the classically styled Patriot, which has a hint of XJ Cherokee and XK Commander in its lines. With a 2.4L four-cylinder engine, the Patriot is outfitted with an AWD system said to be sturdy enough to garner a "Trail Rated" badge on the fender. We'll let you know if we think it is worthy of the Jeep name and heritage after we get some seat time in the rough. Stay tuned.

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After a destructive hurricane season where many Americans in the Gulf region were displaced, several automotive manufacturers have stepped up to lend a helping hand. Ford has donated more than $6 million in money, supplies, and vehicles to the region, while Dodge has delivered $4.4 million in aid, including 100 sorely needed trucks, filled with supplies (above). Isuzu employees, in a grassroots effort, managed to send more than $34,000.

* Hummer has announced the sale of its 100,000th H2 SUV.
* The Bush Administration plans to boost fuel economy standards by about 6 percent over the next three model years.
* Oregon and Washington are considering the adoption of California's strict emissions standards.
* GM and DaimlerChrysler have inked a deal that will allow them to share technology and develop hybrid vehicles together.
* Production of the Ford Excursion ended September 30.

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