With a barrage of new products coming from all around, Ford is not standing still. The '08 Ford Super Duty has been seen undergoing hot-weather tow testing by our favorite spy. As you can see here, the grille has grown and the bumper has been lowered. As we have reported before, the new truck proclaims "S-U-P-E-R D-U-T-Y" across the leading edge of the hood and has vents in the fenders, la Land Rover. The new truck will have the heavily upgraded 6.4L Power Stroke V-8 diesel putting out 350 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque. Inside, the Super Duty finally gets an upgraded dash, more in line with the superb F-150.
Showing a true spirit of cooperation, Hummer is helping to keep the Rubicon Trail alive and well. At the company's initiative, Hummer has made not only a cash donation to the Rubicon Trail Foundation, but also sent along a box of supplies to make any work crew happy. Additionally, Hummer worked with one of its suppliers who also threw in a box of flashlights for the Friends of the Rubicon workers to make their job easier and safer. This is the kind of support that really makes saving the Rubicon a lot easier. Several Hummer employees also volunteered to help out with a FOTR work weekend. Friends of the Rubicon send a special thanks to Hummer for this awesome donation and help. Hummer can stand proud to be the first manufacturer to donate to FOTR and to the cause of keeping the Rubicon Trail the icon of four-wheeling adventures. You can find more information on Friends of the Rubicon at www.delalbright.com/rubicon/rubicon.htm
We recently were guests of Land Rover in England at the company's Gaydon Engineering Facility for the unveiling of the all-new LR2. The LR2 is slated to replace the Freelander for 2007 and promises to be a much more substantial, North America-friendly vehicle in every way. Featuring many of the luxury and safety appointments of its bigger brother, the LR3, but clearly showing styling hints of a grown-up Freelander, the LR2 is billed by Land Rover as a "Compact Premium SUV." It will round out the bottom end of the company's redesigned lineup, which consists of the top-of-the-line Range Rover, the Range Rover Sport, and the midsize LR3. The LR2 is no bare-bones stripper, though, and features most of the luxury and computer-controlled driving "enhancements" of its larger siblings. It begs the true four-wheeler to wonder if we'll ever see another hard-core, hose-it-out D-90-type machine from this company so steeped in the tradition of tire-on-the-hood safari machines roaming the African plains?
Ah, but we digress. This is 2006, and today's Land Rover is more suited to handling the concrete jungles of our modern world-especially the LR2 which, like the Freelander, doesn't feature a transfer case or offer a low range. More of a luxury cute-ute on steroids, the LR2 boasts a 230hp 3.2L I-6 mounted transversely in the engine bay. This substantial power is fed to a six-speed automatic tranny and on to a permanent all-wheel-drive system that thinks for itself more than many drivers do these days. Land Rover's LR3-based Terrain Response computerized traction control system is utilized and features four different terrain settings which are selectable by the driver: Normal, Ruts/Mud, Snow/Ice, or Sand modes are offered. Missing is the "Rocks" mode (available on the LR3) since the LR2 has no gears available to deal with crawling. But you do get another computer-based driving aid called Gradient Release Control which "improves driver confidence and control when releasing the brakes on steep and slippery slopes."
The LR2 will be bringing all its features to the Land Rover dealer nearest you this fall. -Ned Bacon
We had a chance to look at, but unfortunately not to drive, the long-awaited 6.7L B-Series Cummins that will debut in Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500 trucks for 2007. It will be available starting in January, with the 5.9L filling in till then. Why January? The delay is reported to be mostly due to the problems in getting full implementation of the new ultralow-sulphur fuel nationwide, which this engine requires. The larger displacement is achieved by increasing both the bore and stroke from 3.92 x 3.58 inches to 4.21 x 4.88 inches. To answer the 5.9 tuner's inevitable question, we're not sure if the new crank, pistons, and cylinder liners will work in the older 5.9L engines.
The new engine will come with a new Aisin six-speed automatic, the 68RFE Orion. This trans is designed to go head to head with the Allison for beef. (The Dodge tranny engineer wanted you to know that.) The G56 six-speed manual, introduced in '06, will return for stick shifters. The automatic 6.7L will crank out 350 hp at 3,013 rpm and 650 lb-ft of torque at 1,500 rpm. The manual version makes 40 fewer lb-ft at the same rpm level. The NV271 (manual shift) and NV273 (electric shift) transfer cases will also reprise their roles for '07. -Jim Allen
Displacement: 6.7L (408ci)
Bore & Stroke: 4.21 x 4.88 in
Compression Ratio: 17.3:1
Max hp @ rpm (SAE Net): 350 @ 3,013
Max torque (lb-ft) @ rpm (SAE Net): 650 @ 1,500 (auto), 610 @ 1,400 (manual)
Valve System: 24V, solid lifters
Max Eng. Speed: 3,500 rpm
Injection: Electronic high-pressure common rail
Minnesota 'Wheelers Win
Working with four-wheeling vehicle groups in Minnesota, the SAN managed to kill amendments to a Minnesota bill that would have limited modified 4x4 trucks to minimally maintained roads and to the areas specifically designated for their use. The amendments sought to severely restrict 4x4 truck access to hobbyists by prohibiting use of "trails;" defined 4x4 trucks as four-wheeled motor vehicles manufactured to operate on public roads and subsequently modified with special tires, suspension, or other equipment. The amendments were passed on the House and Senate floors at the last minute. The amendments were removed at the request of state hobbyists and by a conference committee of House and Senate legislators.
California Forests: The Road Stops Here
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger petitioned the federal government to set aside 4.4 million acres of national forest in California as "roadless." The petition is in response to a rule that gives states until November 2006 to request the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to open areas previously closed under the Clinton Administration's so-called "roadless rule." The rule covers nearly 58.5 million acres of national forests and grasslands, mostly in Western states. The rule established a process for considering state recommendations on which "roadless" areas should remain closed and which should be opened to logging, mining, or other commercial ventures. If a state fails to petition the USFS or if an application is rejected, roadless areas would be subject to the management plans of each forest. While some of those plans allow for long-range development, agency officials have noted the majority of roadless areas would be protected under current plans. Of California's 20.7 million acres in 18 national forests, the petition will prohibit development on over 20 percent of these areas. If the petition is accepted, California and the USFS will work to write state-specific rulemakings that will be subject to public review and National Environmental Policy Act analysis. California joins New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia to submit a petition under the new rule. The roadless rule is consequential since it potentially denies access to four-wheelers and the equipment that they purchase, much of which is manufactured by SEMA members. SEMA supports land use decisions that allow local communities and government authorities to participate in the decision-making process. SEMA has previously commented to the USFS that the state petitioning process could be an opportunity to correct inaccurate roadless designations and include uninventoried routes well known to users but that do not appear on current USFS maps. These routes could be closed if located in areas deemed "roadless."