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December 2006 4x4 News - RPM

Posted in Project Vehicles on December 1, 2006
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Chevy has given out the details of the new Silverado 1/2-ton models, but has kept things quiet about the '08 version of the Heavy Duty models. However, at a recent GM press conference to announce the new trucks, a couple of HDs were caught in the background before they were quickly hidden from view. As you can see, both Chevy and GMC HD models will sport the same cab styling as the 1/2-tons, but get more aggressive frontend treatment that includes power bulges in the hood and unique grilles.

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With a new announcement seemingly every day, we've been hard at work compiling all of the diesel rumors and announcements for you. As we told you in a previous installment, Ford is poised to introduce the 6.4L Power Stroke V-8 in its '08 Super Duty, while rumors are still hot about an in-house 4.4L diesel for the F-150. DaimlerChrysler is trying to be your non-stop shop for light-duty diesel vehicles, which moved beyond the Cummins-powered Dodge Ram with the '06 Jeep Liberty CRD and continues forward with the upcoming Jeep Grand Cherokee CRD. Dodge has also hinted at expanding its partnership with Cummins that would put a 4.2L turbodiesel V-6 in the Dakota and a 5.6L turbodiesel V-8 in the 1/2-ton Ram, while keeping the big 6.7L I-6 in the Heavy Duty Rams competitive. General Motors, on the other hand, has just announced plans to produce, in house, a 32-valve DOHC V-8 turbodiesel that is sized to slot in any engine compartment that currently holds a 5.3L gas V-8 (think of all the possibilities!). This high-tech mill is expected to produce more than 300 hp and 600 lb-ft of torque and first be seen in the '09 or '10 fullsize SUVs.

If you are one of the many who have expressed interest in purchasing the all-new Toyota Tundra, your wait just got a little bit longer. The launch of the Tundra has been pushed back about a month to sometime in February 2007, giving Toyota a little more time to make sure the quality of the product is at the level that customers expect.

For everyone else around the world, Land Rover continues to upgrade and improve the venerable Defender. Available in 90-, 110-, or 130-inch wheelbase versions, the Defender receives a host of upgrades for 2007, including an exterior freshening, new interior, wide-ratio six-speed manual trans, and a 2.4L common-rail diesel engine. Conquering terrain since 1948, the Defender still has some of the best four-wheeling credentials on the planet and remains a solid choice for enthusiasts around the globe-as long as they are not in the U.S.

On the heels of the Primedia Custom Truck Group's recent launch, Diesel Power, comes the brand new 8-Lug Diesel Truck aimed exclusively at 3/4- and 1-ton diesel truck owners who want to further refine their trucks. In every issue, the editors of 8-Lug Diesel Truck will take the consumer through the most basic of modifications to the most advanced for improving their suspension, power, functionality, interior, exterior, and towing-all with the intent of being the premier source of knowledge for Chevy, Ford, and Dodge diesel owners. Be sure to check out the premier issue when it hits your local newsstand on October 9, 2006. Or call 800/777-5182 to subscribe.

In time for your Christmas stocking, Hummer, in conjunction with Global Star Software, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, has released the Hummer Badlands video game for PlayStation 2 and Xbox game consoles.

Hummer Badlands lets players choose from 19 different Hummer models, including the H1, H2, H3, and H3T Concept, for racing or virtual terrain-thrashing fun. Players can participate in a host of extreme challenges including Championship Mode, Multiplayer Head-to-Head Battle and Tug-of-War, or customize their trucks by selecting the wheels, roof lights, brushguards, and more.

We had a chance to sample this fast-paced game and spent more time with our PS2 than we did with our girlfriends and wives (or our 4x4s) and have since been put on restriction by our loved ones. If you missed your chance to drive an H1 Alpha before it was discontinued, or your rig is broken down in the garage and you're having wheelin' withdrawals, this is almost as fun as the real thing. The game is rated E for Everyone. For more information, please visit
-Sean P. Holman

Congress Crafts Compromise To Allow Four-Wheeling Within Wilderness
The U.S. House of Representatives approved three measures that would create more than 677,000 acres of new wilderness areas in California, Idaho, and Oregon. Although off-highway vehicle (OHV) use is traditionally restricted in wilderness areas, provisions were included in the three bills to establish adjacent or nearby areas that would be open to OHV use. This would include inclusion of some "cherry-stem" roads within the wilderness areas to allow continued motorized access to existing roads and trails.

Under this measure, 275,000 acres in five Northern California counties (Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino, and Napa) would be designated as wilderness. As part of a compromise, approximately 79,000 acres would be set aside as recreation management areas for OHVs.

House lawmakers also approved legislation that would create three wilderness areas in central Idaho totaling almost 300,000 acres. Another 130,000 acres that had been set aside as "wilderness study areas" will now be opened to recreational vehicle use. The legislation also authorizes the creation of a state motorized park. The House approved a separate measure, which would increase the Mount Hood Wilderness Area in Oregon by 41 percent. Included in the bill were provisions for converting old forest roads into new recreational trails. All three bills have been sent to the U.S. Senate for consideration.

* Hummer will unveil two H3 concepts at SEMA that will hint at some future products.

* Readers have spotted a SuperCab Ford Super Duty "Power Wagon-fighter" prototype out testing in trails around Moab. Reports say it is equipped with the 6.4L diesel with lockers, winch, bumpers, and modified suspension.

* For you music junkies out there, GM, Ford, and Mazda have announced that the majority of their vehicles will offer iPod integration. Apple says that this means 70 percent of vehicles sold in the U.S. will be iPod-capable.

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