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August 2007 4x4 News - RPM

Engine Block
Posted August 1, 2007

Daimler Chrysler Ups 4.7L Output

The 4.7L SOHC V-8 found in everything from the Grand Cherokee to the Ram is getting a power boost in some models, starting with the 2008 model year. Still E85-compatible, DaimlerChrysler engineers have increased the compression ratio, improved port flow, added a new combustion system with twin spark plugs per cylinder which results in boosted power outputs in the newly freshened '08 Dakota from 260 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque to 290 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque. The renewed '08 Grand Cherokee benefits even further with a bump from 235 hp and 305 lb-ft to 305 hp and 334 lb-ft, an increase of about 30 percent in hp and 10 percent in torque. Finally, it sounds like the 4.7L will get the power it deserves-we'll let you know what we think when we drive the new models.

We recently returned from the New York Auto Show, held each Easter Week at the Javits Center on Manhattan's west side. New York isn't typically known throughout the industry for its truck and SUV unveilings, but this year a few OE manufacturers took the wraps off some hip new 4x4 sheetmetal. Later in the year, we'll be reviewing these rigs in greater detail-and we hope to have 'em all on hand for our 2008 Four Wheeler of the Year test next year-but for now, here are our quick takes.

What's New: More powerful and refined, GM's 4x4 mega-(br)ute takes aim at the luxury SUV segment.
What's Hot: Gets the 393hp 6.2L V-8 and six-speed automatic from the GMC Yukon Denali; tow rating bumps up to 8,000 pounds; all-new interior with Escalade-level amenities a big step up in quality; finally gets a backup warning system, as well as head side-curtain airbags.
What's Not: At 6,600 pounds, more portly than ever; tow hooks recessed in front bumper could be harder to reach; the torsion-bar frontend refuses to die.
Our Take: Repositioning the Hummer towards the luxury end of the 4x4 consumer market was inevitable, and while its future may lie as a buffed boutique brand, it's still game for any trail that can accommodate its girth.

What's New: Look under the hood!
What's Hot: Adios the five-cylinder, hola the 295hp 5.3L V-8; front diff now made of cast iron instead of aluminum; tow rating gets a boost to 6,000 pounds; backup warning system is now an option.
What's Not: Puncture-prone tires still your only choice with the Off Road Adventure package; #@&!#&@!! torsion bars.
Our Take: The General has addressed the H3's most glaring mechanical weakness, but premium rubber and a new front suspension should be on the short list for gotta-have upgrades next year.

What's New: Now sporting the 3.8L V-6 and a new five-link rear suspension, the latest Liberty is all-new from the ground up.
What's Hot: Six-speed manual tranny has 4.46:1 1st gear; Sky Slider canvas roof a novel twist on a removable soft top; Sirius rear-seat TV should keep kids and in-laws quiet; coil-spring IFS and five-link rear should be better on the trail.
What's Not: No more VM diesel option; six-speed comes with 3.21:1 axles; Nitroesque styling an acquired taste.
Our Take: The Liberty was overdue for refreshening, and DaimlerChrysler went one better with this full-up relaunch. We can only wonder what impact the similar-looking (and less expensive) Patriot will have on future sales.

What's New: Everything. The LX is all new from the ground up, with awesome power on tap.
What's Hot: Gets the 381hp 5.7L V-8 and six-speed from the Toyota Tundra pickup; new electrohydraulic suspension raises automatically in low-range; "Crawl Control" mimics cruise control in low-range; it actually has a low-range; Torsen limited-slip diffs.
What's Not: Myriad electronic nannies; crummy aspect ratio (20s); poor breakover angle and low ground clearance; evil running boards; likely to cost more than two H3s.
Our Take: In our own experiences, Lexus 4x4s have been far more capable on the trail than they look. We can't vouch for this one yet, but it won't be lacking for power, that's certain.

What's New: A rejuvenated interior and exterior, and a new Mercedes-sourced common-rail V-6 diesel.
What's Hot: 360 lb-ft in an upscale SUV; it's rated at 31 mpg highway, 24 city; it's already available at your local Jeep dealer.
What's Not: It'll cost you over 50 grand for a diesel 4x4 Limited.

Our Take: Given its typical effect on the sticker, a diesel probably makes more sense in the WK right now than in the Liberty-but if it's still too much bank for your bucks, the WK offers four other engine choices, including the 4.7L V-8 that's now rated at 305 hp. Personally, we can't wait to drive the diesel.

What's New: From the sick minds at Rides comes this one-off Crown Vic with equal parts altitude and attitude.
What's Hot: Coil/link rear suspension; Pirelli Scorpions a mighty fine tire; vehicle has strong local appeal.
What's Not: Should be obvious.
Our Take: It's big, it's lifted, what more do you want? Let the hate mail begin.
-Douglas McColloch

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