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August 2006 4x4 News - RPM

Posted in Project Vehicles on August 1, 2006
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Dodge is updating its Durango for the '07 model year. Gone are the distinctive (some say ungainly) front fenders for a more conventional look. Durangos equipped with the 4.7L SOHC V-8 can be optioned with E85 (ethanol) capability. In the cabin, some subtle upgrades include side curtain airbags and dual-zone climate control. Dodge also has plans for a hybrid Durango for 2008.

General Motors and Avtotor celebrated the start of production and sales of the Hummer H3 in Russia at a ceremony at the Avtotor plant in Kaliningrad, Russia. The partnership between General Motors and Avtotor began two years ago with the launch of the Hummer H2 in June 2004. The H3 will be offered in four trim levels, priced from $49,990 to $65,500. All models are equipped with a 3.5L inline-five 220hp engine and are available with either a standard manual or optional automatic transmission. The H3 will be sold and serviced by six authorized Hummer dealers located in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Ekaterinburg.

Here is a recent photo of the latest GMC Sierra pickup, due out this fall. Based on the GMT900 platform, the new Sierra will offer a range of engines and configurations, as expected.

In April, BFGoodrich Tires, in conjunction with Tread Lightly! and United Four Wheel Drive Associations (UFWDA), announced the launch of its Outstanding Trails program. The Outstanding Trails program highlights some of the best four-wheel-drive trails in the country, and is dedicated to the responsible use and preservation of these trails and will aid in the conservation efforts. The program identifies five of North America's best trails. From desolate desert stretches to towering peaks and rolling hillsides, these trails are unique in toughness and beauty. After a careful selection process, five of North America's "outstanding" trails were nominated for uniqueness, terrain type, and enthusiast following: Black Bear Pass, near Ouray, Colorado, is a picturesque trail nestled in the San Juan Mountains; Pyeatt Draw, a scenic and exciting trail situated in Payson, Arizona; Hell's Revenge, with its slick sandstone slopes for thrill-seekers in Moab, Utah; historic Naches Pass, also known as the Longmire Wagon Train, which takes drivers over the Cascade Mountains in Naches, Washington; and last, but not least, Upper Tellico OHV Area Trail 4, located in the Natahala National Forest, located in North Carolina where Tennessee, South Carolina, and Georgia meet. As a part of the program, which runs through October, BFGoodrich will host several events at designated trails to highlight the uniqueness of each location as well as to educate four-wheelers on the responsible use of each trail. BFGoodrich Tires will also give a grant to a selected 4x4 club to help with the costs associated with the trail's conservation. Visit BFGoodrich online at

The 4-Wheel Jamboree Nationals, the largest 4x4 events in the nation, produced by The Promotion Company/Special Events Performance Series, announces a year-long celebration marking the 25th Anniversary of providing four-wheel-drive truck enthusiasts gathering places and "playgrounds" to share stories, swap techniques, show off their creations, and take part in 4x4 competitions. To get the Silver Celebration kicked off, the Jamboree Nationals will give away a Silver Anniversary Edition Chevy Silverado. Fans can register to win either online, during an event, or via promotional tie-ins. One winner will be selected during the Indianapolis O'Reilly Auto Parts Fall 4-Wheel Jamboree Nationals Presented by Toyo Tires, on Sunday, September 24, from all entries collected throughout the year-long promotion. Find out more about the Jamboree and other events at

DaimlerChrysler is working to expand the use of clean, renewable biodiesel fuel by approving use of B20 in its Dodge Ram pickup trucks. B20 fuel is 20 percent biodiesel fuel and 80 percent petroleum diesel fuel. The use of B20 has been approved for '07 model-year government, military, and commercial vehicle use; the pickups will require the use of biodiesel fuel that meets the fuel specifications established by the U.S. military. DaimlerChrysler says that its goal is a national standard for B20, so that in the future the program can be extended to all Dodge Ram diesel customers. Because B20 will not yet be approved for consumer use, DCX indicated that it does not have any guidance as to the impact of B20 on automotive specialty equipment, such as custom exhausts. DaimlerChrysler is working with the government, automotive suppliers, energy providers, universities, and independent agencies on a national fuel standard that would make B20 an option for all Dodge Ram diesel owners. The use of biodiesel fuels is just one part of DaimlerChrysler's campaign to reintroduce diesel-powered passenger vehicles to U.S. consumers. DaimlerChrysler has previously endorsed the use of B5 (5 percent biodiesel) fuel in the Jeep Liberty CRD diesel SUV, as well as the use of B20 for diesel-powered Dodge Sprinter vans. The automaker is participating in research programs in Germany and India to develop processes for producing high-quality biodiesel from non-food agricultural products. The Chrysler Group is working in conjunction with NextEnergy, Biodiesel Industries, Bosch, Delphi, Cummins, and researchers at Wayne State and Michigan State universities to develop a national B20 specification.

* New fuel economy rules will raise the CAFE standard for trucks from 21.6 to 24 mpg by 2011 and include fullsize SUVs such as Suburbans.
* Jeep has priced the new Compass from $15,985.
* Chevy has announced that the new Avalanche will start at $32,490.

Four Wheelers May Gain Access To More Roads And Trails
Interior Secretary Gale Norton issued an order that could eventually open thousands of miles of roads and trails to "right-of-way" claims brought by state and county governments under an old mining law known as "RS 2477." Under this law, claims are based on the fact that the subject road or trail has been in continuous use since before the land was designated as federal property. At issue is a dispute over how the term "continuous use" is defined. The federal government had argued that such lands must have been mechanically constructed. Utah and other states or local jurisdictions have a more liberal definition that is based only on use. The federal government will now defer to state or local law. The order applies to the Bureau of Land Management and other agencies within the Interior Department and could lead to more claims on roads and trails in national parks, wildlife refuges, national monuments, and wilderness areas. Last September, a federal appeals court ruled that state definitions supersede federal rules. The case in point are RS 2477 claims brought by Garfield, Kane, and San Juan counties in Utah for rights-of-way in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The lawsuit has been sent back to a lower court for another trial.

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