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Drivelines - July 2014

The Latest News From The Industry

First Look: ’15 Jeep Renegade
Renegade is Jeep’s first entry into the small SUV segment, built (in Italy) on a platform shared with the Fiat 500L. Jeep calls the Jeep Renegade proportions “small-wide 4x4 architecture” and says the design will deliver both excellent road manners and off-road capability.

The 2015 Jeep Renegade sits on a fully independent suspension that offers 8.7 inches of ground clearance and 8.1 inches of articulation in Trailhawk models. That’s right, the Jeep Renegade is borrowing several pages from the Cherokee’s playbook, offering a Trail Rated Trailhawk model with an Active Drive Low 4x4 system and a Rock mode in the Selec-Terrain system. It also has those snazzy red towhooks.

The Jeep Renegade was designed to sell worldwide, and as such will be available with 16 different powertrain combinations globally. Here in the U.S. we expect to get two four-cylinder gas engines, including the 2.4L MultiAir2 mated with a nine-speed automatic transmission.

This Just In
• Tire company Maxxis recently signed on to sponsor Jeremy McGrath in the Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series. The dirt-bike legend has started his own race truck team this year to compete in the series and at the Crandon race in the spring. He will also serve as a consultant in the development of Maxxis motorcycle tires. “Hopefully I can be of assistance to Maxxis in all areas,” said McGrath. “One of the things I’m so excited about is that I do a lot of mountain biking and I ride a Polaris ATV, too, so Maxxis makes tires for everything I do.”

• Off-road racing pioneer Drino Miller passed away in March after a long fight with cancer. He was 72. Miller was among a group of Southern California off-roaders—including Bruce Meyers, Ed Pearlman, Dick Cepek, and others—whose mid-’60s excursions into the Baja peninsula led to the running of the first Mexican 1000 rally in 1967. Miller drove the Hurst Baja Boot in that first 1000, did not finish, and came back just a few years later to win the race in a single-seat buggy he designed and built. He is also credited with designing the original Baja Bugs.

• A new off-road driving school has opened in Southern California. Backcountry 4x4 offers a series of classes in the Big Bear Lake area covering a wide range of topics, from driving skills to vehicle recovery and winter wheeling. Total 4x4 Adventure Classes are three-day immersions into trail driving, with a ratio of two vehicles to each instructor so that participants get a lot of one-on-one instruction. We will list the school’s classes in our calendar; for more information, visit jeep4x4school.com.

• To commemorate the 4Runner’s 30th birthday, Toyota is offering discounts on all ’14 4Runner models. Discounts vary from $500 off the price of a SR5 4x4 model to $1,000 off a Limited 4x4.

First Look: ’15 Ford Expedition
When Ford unveiled the next-generation Expedition at the Dallas–Ft. Worth Auto Show the press release was pretty skimpy. It didn’t even say if there would be a 4WD version. We had to blow up the interior photo to look for a transfer-case dial to be sure there would be a 4x4. But Ford did drop this bomb: no more V-8 in the Expedition. All models, including the long-wheelbase EL, will be powered by a 3.5L EcoBoost V-6 mated to a six-speed automatic. Ford said the six-banger will deliver “more power and performance than the current 5.4-liter V-8, and is designed to be more efficient.”

Other innovations for the new Expedition include continuously controlled shock damping, which allows drivers to select one of three ride comfort modes: comfort, normal, and sport. Ford is also introducing a high-end Platinum version to the lineup, which will also include XLT, Limited, and King Ranch editions.

Jeeps Return to Heritage Festival
Butler, Pennsylvania, will once again host the Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival, held this year over Father’s Day weekend (June 13-15). The show promises even more fun stuff for Jeep owners and fans, including a new mud pit “for any and all Jeeps.” On-site trails, a history exhibit, a WW II encampment, a show ’n’ shine, a road rally, and a mock invasion of the streets of Butler are just a few of the activities in store. There’s even a Father’s Day breakfast. Find out more at www.bantamjeepfestival.com.

Earth Watch
• The California Off-Road Vehicle Association (CORVA) has a new website, www.corva.org, full of good information about wheeling and land-use issues. The “Hot Button Items” link is the place to go for the latest news on keeping our lands open for OHV use.

• Speaking of which, we learned on the CORVA site that a bill has been introduced to further protect 4-wheeling in Johnson Valley. Now that the battle between recreationists and the Marine Corps is over, State Senator Jean Fuller has introduced SB 1289, which would transfer certain state lands that are currently under control of the State Lands Commission to the OHV Division of the State Parks Department. CORVA is supporting this bill in hopes that OHV access within the congressionally designated Johnson Valley OHV area will extend to all lands within the area whether owned by the state or managed by the BLM.

• SEMA reports that the EPA has approved emissions regulations written by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) for off-highway recreational vehicles—motorcycles, ATVs, and UTVs (side-by-sides). The new standards will be phased in between 2018 and 2021. Noncompliant dirt bikes and ATVs are eligible for CARB’s OHV Red Sticker registration and are subject to usage restrictions. The emissions exemption for “competition vehicles” will be narrowly applied to “race-only vehicles” or “racing vehicles” operated exclusively on closed courses in sanctioned racing events.

Cummins Frontier Concept
Looks like Nissan is investing in diesel. After announcing there would be a 5.0L Cummins available in the next-generation Titan fullsize pickup, the maker displayed a Cummins-powered Frontier Desert Runner “project truck” at the Chicago Auto Show. The four-cylinder, 2.8L turbodiesel is good for 200 hp and more than 350 lb-ft of torque, a healthy increase over the 281 lb-ft made by the 4.0L gas V-6 offered in the truck now. Plus, says Nissan, the diesel should be good for a 35 percent increase in fuel economy over the gas motor. The diesel Nissan Frontier is a “technical study project,” says Nissan, “to explore what is possible for the next-generation Nissan Frontier.”

New Salvo Fired in Towing Wars
The latest shot comes from Ford: Improvements to the 6.7L Power Stroke diesel bring its output to 440 hp and 860 lb-ft of peak torque. That, in combination with revisions to the truck’s chassis, raises the ’15 F-450’s gooseneck trailer tow rating to 31,200 pounds and fifth-wheel tow rating to 26,500 pounds. The ’15 F-350 gooseneck/fifth-wheel rating also climbs to 26,500 pounds when the truck is equipped with the maximum tow package.

New TRD Packages
Celebrating its 35th birthday, Toyota Racing Development (TRD) announced a new line of Pro Series off-road performance accessory packages for the Tundra, Tacoma and 4Runner. Some Pro Series components will be common among all three vehicles—remote-reservoir Bilstein shocks, skidplates, unique grilles, and blacked-out wheels. Vehicle-specific products include decreased spring rates, 18-inch wheels, dual exhaust, and special interior fabric for the Tundra; lower spring rates, 16-inch beadlock-style wheels, and a TRD exhaust for the “Taco Supreme” Tacoma; and a 1 1/2-inch lift, 1 additional inch of wheel travel, and 17-inch TRD wheels for the 4Runner (seen here). Look for the factory-installed TRD packages in the fall on ’15 trucks.

• May 31–June 1: Ventura County Off-Road Show, Ventura County Fairgrounds, Ventura, CA.
Info: www.venturacountyoffroadshow.com

• May 31–June 1: Speed Energy Stadium Super Trucks race, Detroit, MI.
Info: stadiumsupertrucks.com

• May 31–June 1: Big Bear Backcountry Expo, Big Bear Lake, CA.
Info: jeep4x4school.com

• June 5-7: Badlands Jeep Jamboree, Attica, IN.
Info: jeepjamboreeusa.com

• June 5-8: Tecate SCORE Baja 500, Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico.
Info: www.score-international.com

• June 7: Off-Road Show by the Grand Mesa Jeep Club, Mesa County Fairgrounds, Grand Junction, CO.
Info: gmjc.org

• June 7: Getting Started Off-Road Driving Clinic by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Hungry Valley SVRA, Gorman, CA.
Info: 310.374.8047, www.4x4training.com

• June 7: Dirt Riot Southeast, Sturgis, KY.
Info: www.werocklive.com

• June 8: Speed Energy Stadium Super Trucks race at the X Games, Austin, TX.
Info: stadiumsupertrucks.com

• June 8: Great Willys Picnic, Kempton, PA.
Info: www.cj3a.info/picnic

• June 8: Getting Started Off-Road Driving Clinic by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Mojave, CA.
Info: 310.374.8047, www.4x4training.com

• June 8: Holcomb Valley History Tour by Backcountry 4x4, near Big Bear Lake, CA.
Info: jeep4x4school.com

• June 9: Winch Clinic by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Mojave, CA.
Info: 310.374.8047, www.4x4training.com

• June 13-15: Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival, Butler, PA.
Info: www.bantamjeepfestival.com

• June 14: Crawlfest Competition, Kansas Rocks Recreation Park, Mapleton, KS.
Info: www.ksrockspark.com

• June 14: Dirt Riot Mountain, Colorado Springs, CO.
Info: www.werocklive.com

• June 14: Rock Driving Clinic by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Johnson Valley, CA.
Info: 310.374. 8047, www.4x4training.com

• June 14-15: GrizzlyCon Trail Adventure by Backcountry 4x4, near Big Bear Lake, CA.
Info: jeep4x4school.com

• June 19-21: Drummond Island Jeep Jamboree, Drummond Island, MI.
Info: jeepjamboreeusa.com

• June 19-21: Penn’s Woods Jeep Jamboree, Bradford, PA.
Info: jeepjamboreeusa.com

• June 20-22: Total 4x4 Adventure Class by Backcountry 4x4, Big Bear Lake, CA.
Info: jeep4x4school.com

• June 21: Jeep Owner Orientation Class by Backcountry 4x4, Big Bear Lake, CA.
Info: jeep4x4school.com

• June 21-22: 4 Wheel Jamboree, Ozark Empire Fairgrounds, Springfield, MO.
Info: www.4wheeljamboree.com

• June 21-22: Iron Range Offroad driving school, near Minneapolis/St. Paul. MN.
Info: www.ironrangeoffroad.com

• June 21-22: Two-day Rock Crawl by the Cascade County Four Wheelers, Great Falls, MT.
Info: email camarorsmustang@yahoo.com

• June 26-28: Silver Valley Jeep Jamboree, Mullan-Wallace, ID.
Info: jeepjamboreeusa.com

• June 28: Rattlesnake Canyon, Blackhawk Mountain, New Dixie Mine Adventure by Backcountry 4x4, Big Bear Lake, CA.
Info: jeep4x4school.com

• June 28-29: WE Rock Eastern Series, Attica, IN.
Info: www.werocklive.com

• June 29: Gold Mountain Jeep Trail, John Bull, Holcomb Creek Black Diamond Challenge by Backcountry 4x4, Big Bear Lake, CA.
Info: jeep4x4school.com

• Note: If you have a 4WD event you want us to publicize, please send the date, location, a description of the event, and contact info—phone numbers and/or email/website address—to Calendar, 4-Wheel & Off-Road magazine, 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA 90245; fax 818.566.8501; email 4wheeloffroad@sorc.com. Please submit your info at least four months in advance of the event due to our press lead times.