2019 Pickup Truck of the Year Testing: Day Four #PTOTY19

The most fun day on Truck Trend’s Pickup Truck of the Year competition has to be our off-road day. This is where we get to test capability in the dirt. The Chevrolet Trailboss, RAM Rebel, and GMC Sierra AT4 were all designed specifically with off-road capability in mind. The two Ford F-150s, GMC Sierra 1500, and RAM Laramie Longhorn are designed as street trucks. All have four-wheel-drive modes. All can be driven in the dirt.
We hit the Holcomb Valley trails in the mountains of Big Bear, California, to test the four-wheel-drive modes in the trucks. The off-road models have lockers and other bells and whistles that make driving on rough terrain smooth. We were able to see which trucks performed best in the dirt. A small portion of our test deals with how these trucks handle off-road.
Recent rains in the mountain areas have created some mud puddles along the route. When we see a mud puddle, the natural reaction is to step on the gas and blast through the mud at speed. Basically, you can say we got the trucks really dirty on off-road day. Playing in the mud makes for great photography as well.
We are nearing our last day on the Pickup Truck of the Year test. We will soon turn in our judging books and return the trucks to the OEMs. We have one more day in Big Bear to finish testing and analyze the interiors. We might also hunt around town for a good carwash to rinse the mud off our trucks, which all sport the same “dirt brown” color.

2014 Chevy Silverado 1500- Hurt Feelings

A Late-Night Discussion Taken Seriously

When the boys get together with a couple of cold ones, the conversation can go anywhere and everywhere. One late night, Evan P. and his close friends were talking about customizing trucks. Evan was in the process of having a body-dropped Tahoe completed, and his wife, Amanda, had just purchased a ’14 Chevy Silverado 1500. Until then, she had a small import, which was starting to get cramped considering the couple has three kids. So Amanda made the decision to buy the new Chevy truck. Frustrated with how long the build was taking with his Tahoe, Evan said to his friends, “I should just take my wife’s truck and build that.” His friends laughed and said it would never get done.

  |   2014 Chevy Silverado 1500 Hurt Feelings Rear

As one of those guys who can never be told he can’t do something, Evan brought Amanda back to the dealership and picked out a new SUV for her—and he took possession of her Chevy. The search for a reputable shop to handle his ideas proved to be easier than he thought. He talked to Adrian (Tiny) Galindo of Finesse Concepts in Houston who understood what Evan had planned and took on the job.
The full teardown was started and the powertrain was pulled to begin the body drop. A full Accuair air-ride system, complete with Dominator bags, was added to bring the truck lower. Evan wanted to give the Chevy a minor face-lift by adding a 2017 front end along with a T-Rex grille. With the suspension and body done, he brought the Silverado to Alan at Chino’s Custom Interior who chopped the stock seats and wrapped them in leather and added a suede headliner.

2019 Pickup Truck of the Year Testing: Day Three #PTOTY19

Our third day of testing eight trucks on the 2019 Truck Trend Pickup Truck of the Year competition involved a lot of driving, coffee, snacks, and energy drinks. While we didn’t exactly keep tabs on the amount of caffeine consumed, we did watch our fuel gauges on the trucks.
The purpose of Day Three testing is to compare fuel economy on the trucks. Fuel consumption is critical in scoring. We closely keep track of how many gallons our 1/2-ton trucks guzzle at each fill-up. Fuel logs are monitored and signed off on. The drive also gives us time to get familiar with each truck’s features and how they handle on the road.
The fuel economy drive takes us 180 miles up the California coast from our El Segundo offices through Santa Barbara and into the Pismo State Beach recreation area. The Pismo State Beach recreation area is the only place in California that allows you to drive on the actual beach. The area has large dunes to the south and is popular with off-road enthusiasts.
After an escort from the park rangers, we literally ran the trucks through the ocean, took a bunch of amazing photos for the magazine, and also a dozen selfies for our social media accounts to make our coworkers back at the office jealous of our day. Then it was a quick stop for lunch and straight to the carwash. Salt, paint, and aluminum don’t mix. It would be a shame if we returned a pile of rusty 2019 1/2-tons back to the OEMs after our test.
Our drive back to Los Angeles took us the back route going east from Santa Maria over to Interstate 5. We burned roughly 170 miles, making our grand total for the day an estimated 350 miles of driving. Stay tuned to see what we have coming up next on our test.

The new 2019 BMW X7 is absolutely gargantuan

When it comes to BMWs, it doesn’t get bigger than the brand’s newest unveiling—the 2019 X7 is the company’s largest vehicle yet. To its credit, at least, the production version stays fairly true to the concept car.

What we mean is you’ll see several design traits carry over from the prototype, including a huge radiator grill – also the largest for a BMW – that almost harkens back to the vertical-style kidneys of vintage Bimmers. Read More

Radical Renderings- Nick Crouch

Radical Renderings

Nick Crouch of Surface DVD has had his artwork recognized by Truckin before, but this year he is stepping up his presence in the industry with a booth at the annual SEMA Show Art Walk. This newfound visibility to the wider automotive scene will magnify his reach to potential clients and hopefully increase demand for his stellar hand drawings, but Nick isn’t done creating digital renderings by any means. He has been working in Photoshop since 2000, and, more than 18 years in, he continues to hone his skills. As seen in these two renderings, Nick can help you visualize the revival of a former cover truck or the customization of a brand-new model. Before he gets discovered by the masses and his vision is in even greater demand, get your rendering by contacting him at surfacenick@hotmail.com or surfacenick.com.

  |   This build is a resurrection of a truck that graced the cover of Truckin in the late ’90s. Paul Moffat saw it for sale on the East Coast after it had disappeared for more than a decade. He jumped at the chance to have a truck once owned and built by a friend. After he got the dualie back to the West Coast, it was in dire need of a full rebuild, starting with the “bones” of the project. He called Lowboy Motorsports in Mesa, Arizona, for the crucial task of building a solid, driveable dualie from the ground up. Todd and the crew at Lowboy not only do custom suspension but also build quality dualie-specific parts, including milling and cutting wheels in-house. Paul’s Chevy will receive Lowboy dualie arms, a four-link with Watt’s linkage, 24-inch one-off design wheels, and a CNC-accented notch cover. The parts will be powdercoated in platinum then installed on the new frame backhalf, which is painted black. The bed will be highly modified with outer/inner fenders, as well as a custom bed floor and bedliner. The bridge will be coated in bedliner so that when the bed is installed, it has a seamless look. Future plans include having the truck repainted by the original owner, Nick “Squirty” Santana, followed by major interior changes to complete the rebuild.

2019 Pickup Truck of the Year Testing: Day Two #PTOTY19

Day Two of testing for the Truck Trend Pickup Truck of the Year takes us up into the Cajon Pass near San Bernardino, California. The mission: trailer towing. The Interstate 15 freeway winds through what is known as the Cajon Summit at a maximum elevation of over 4,000 feet. The pass features a steep uphill and downhill grade—the perfect testing ground for our eight pickup trucks.
Our load mats are secured to the trailer with weight calculations already done ahead of time. Since the trucks can tow equal loads, there were no adjustments this year in removing or adding mats. We also added mats to the beds of the other trucks when the trailer was not hooked up to get a feel for how they hauled up and down the pass.
The towing portion of our test consists of scores for engine and transmission operation. We look at trailer visibility in the mirrors and how the truck handles going up and down the steep grades. A Tow/Haul mode on the trucks helps the transmission shift into the proper gears. We look at how each truck handles with the trailer load.
There is always a monkey wrench thrown into a perfect day, and ours landed right in the afternoon after lunch. We discovered the welds on the trailer were cracked, sending our test to a grinding halt. A quick phone call to a local U-Haul rental location got us back on the road with another trailer. We adjusted the load to continue testing. We also hired a mobile repair shop to come out and fix the broken weld on our trailer so it could be safely towed home.
After trailer testing, we had fun with a photo shoot near the railroad tracks in a picturesque area of the Cajon Pass. The trucks looked amazing pitted next to moving freight trains and the San Bernardino Mountains in the background. We have to wonder if the train conductors would rather be driving our 2019 lineup over their lumbering freight trains.

Wartsila 50DF- Mighty and Efficient

Mighty and Efficient

Today’s diesel-engine builders fight a never-ending battle for better economy and power, while keeping emissions within increasingly stringent standards. Designing new powerplants for use with different fuels has become more common—especially for large-displacement engines—and it is exactly what Wartsila did with its 50DF Series engines. The 50DF is a family of four-stroke, dual-fuel (hence the DF) diesel engines designed to be used in seagoing vessels for constant speed generation or variable-speed mechanical-drive applications. The smallest engine in the line is an I-6 that weighs in at approximately 96 tons, while the largest member tips the scale at 240 tons or 480,000 pounds. The behemoth V-16 has a cylinder bore that is 19.7 inches across and displaces 125,092 cubic inches. There are a total of six different engine configurations in the 50DF line. The engine is designed to run on different types of fuels with no distinction in performance between any of the fuel sources. It has an ability to operate on natural gas and two liquid fuels; heavy and light fuel oil. The fuels can be switched from oil to gas while operating at loads less than 80 percent without any engine hesitation. This is made possible by electronically controlling the gas substitution. The change from gas to liquid can be done at any load. Regardless of the fuel type, the oil-burner will not lose power or speed. Engine functions are controlled by an advanced automated system that allows for running conditions to be set independent of ambient conditions or fuel.

  |   The Wartsila 50DF V-16 weighs an amazing 240 tons, displaces 125,092 ci, and produces 23,860 hp. The two high-efficiency turbochargers sit atop the engine and are regulated by electro-pneumatic wastegates.

Pilot fuel, along with the admission of natural gas into the cylinder, is electronically controlled so the correct air-fuel ratio can be set individually for each cylinder. This ensures the correct minimum amount of pilot fuel is injected for safe and stable combustion of the gas. Individual electronically controlled valves ensure all cylinders stay within operating parameters to avoid knocking and misfiring. The chance of any unwarranted load reductions and shutdowns is eliminated. The injection of pilot fuel is also used to cool the injector nozzles during operation.
The 50DF engines operate on a lean-burn principle whereby the mixture of air and fuel in the cylinder has an abundance of air. This lean combustion increases efficiency and power output while avoiding knock. It also reduces peak temperature in the combustion chamber that reduces nitrogen-oxide (NOx) emissions. The heat created by combustion is used to warm the large mass of air entering the engine, which also helps reduce the formation of NOx.

1998 Toyota Tacoma- Last Minute

A Taco Inspired by Two Tacos

Deer Park, Texas, resident Chris Malone found his niche when he was introduced to Toyota Tacoma brothers Cody and Bobby Reynolds. “I was walking around a local car hangout when I first saw their trucks,” Chris tells Truckin. “This was the first time I saw one of these minis body-dropped, and I just fell in love with the style.” Chris never owned anything with an adjustable suspension in the past, so this was out of his comfort zone—but it felt so right to him. With the Reynolds brothers offering guidance, Chris was on the hunt for his first Tacoma. His search came to an end when he found a ’98 Toyota Tacoma on a used car lot and immediately made the arrangements to take it home. The Taco had been sitting for quite some time, so the first item on the to-do list was restoring the engine to running condition. Chris had his personal mechanic, Howard Willis, change the injectors and make minor adjustments to get it running. Chris made an appointment with Rocky Fox at Chaotic Customs in Conroe, Texas, to replicate the Reynolds’ Tacomas by adding a stock floor body drop.

  |   1998 Toyota Tacoma Last Minute 3 4 Rear

His good friend and Madd Concepts shop owner, Patrick Reid, started bugging him about letting him paint the Toyota. “I knew I wanted a clean paintjob,” Chris says. “But I also wanted to make this mini my daily driver.” Chris was hesitant to add a full show-style paintjob, but he trusted Patrick to work his magic to make the Tacoma unique. Chris dropped it off at Madd Concepts and arrived one week later to find Patrick had added a solid PPG White Dimond paint along with full graphics. He reiterated to Patrick that he wasn’t looking for a show truck and wanted more of a daily driver, but Patrick insisted his Taco could check both boxes.

She Runs! 1972 Chevy Week to Wicked LMC C10 Nats. Giveaway is Ready

The LMC Truck C-10 Nationals Classic Trucks Week To Wicked build presented by Gandrud Performance Parts fired to life Friday evening the 5th day as planned, and it was thanks to heroic efforts by all concerned. For those that just joined in following the 2019 LMC Truck Nationals giveaway truck build it will be given away on May 4, 2019 at the Texas Motor Speedway the final day of the LMC Truck C10 Nationals. For more information checkout www.C10Nationals.com.

  |   Clt W2w Day 5 Done

Now with fifteen Week to Wicked builds under their belt the guys haven’t gotten really good at doing a tremendous amount of work in a very short time with amazing precision. It always a pleasure to hear Classic Performance Products parts and crew will be a part of a Week to Wicked project because CPP rolls in with a giant chest of Snap-on tools, and a truckload of the exact suspension, brakes, and steering parts needed to ensure as hitch free an effort as possible.
Another interesting point to be mentioned is the amazing amount of LMC Truck reproduction parts that were used to restore the 1972 Chevy C10 into a prime example of a stock truck before it could move on becoming the 15th Week to Wicked build.

Week to Wicked Day 5 1972 Chevy C10 Near Ready to Giveaway

Its 4:10pm Pacific Standard time, and the LMC Truck C-10 Nationals Classic Trucks Week To Wicked build presented by Gandrud Performance Parts of Green Bay, Wisconsin is just about ready to fire up, but first there’s a few last minor items to do like installing Old Air Products air-conditioning. Well, not a complete install the Old Air A/C unit will be mounted that’s the bulkhead to the firewall and the unit under dash, but the wiring and charging with 134a Freon will be done during the checkup before the 1972 Chevy C10 known as the LMC Truck C-10 Nationals Classic Trucks Week To Wicked build presented by Gandrud Performance Parts is driven to Las Vegas, Nevada for the 2018 SEMA show.   |   Clt Week To Wicked Day 5 Look for it the ’72 C10 will be parked inside on the ramp next to the Ford Motor Company exhibit heading down to Hot Rod Alley. And remember this truck could be yours. This PPG Black and Red beauty of a 1972 Chevy C10 Fleetside shortbed is called the LMC Truck C-10 Nationals Classic Trucks Week To Wicked build presented by Gandrud Performance Parts, and it is the 2019 LMC Truck Nationals giveaway truck. To find out all about how you win it on May 4, 2019 checkout www.C10Nationals.com. Special thanks go to American Autowire, American Racing, CPP, Covercraft, Dakota Digital, Eddie Motorsports, Energy Suspension, Falken Tires, Hedman Hedders, Holley / MSD, LMC Truck, Old Air, United Pacific, and US Radiator.

2019 Pickup Truck of The Year Testing: Day One #PTOTY19

We are back testing eight pickup trucks for the 2019 Truck Trend Pickup Truck of the Year competition. The eight 1/2-ton trucks are fully capable, so our test results are critical. Day One on our test takes us out to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.
At the speedway the trucks go through a weigh-in process. Knowing the curb weight of the trucks is critical so we can adjust payload in them. We compare the curb weight against manufacturer weight ratings to get our exact calculations.
The trucks are also taken out on the dragstrip, where we put them through a 0 to 60 acceleration test. We also test each truck’s braking system on the dragstrip.
The trucks are then loaded up for a payload test, repeating the same process on the dragstrip. Finally, we add a loaded trailer to the mix. It’s not all instrument testing at the track. We have a little fun doing burnouts and shooting photos as well. Who doesn’t love a smoky burnout?
While we can’t reveal the numbers or how each truck did just yet, this is going to be one heated competition: Ford vs. Chevy vs. Ram vs. GMC. Stay tuned to see who comes out on top!

UPDATED! 2018 SEMA Display Vehicle Guide

Trucks and SUVs to Look for at the Industry’s Biggest Gathering

We need your help in creating the first ever SEMA Display Vehicle Guide. We all know the scenario all too well–after SEMA, you start seeing pictures of all the insane builds you missed because you didn’t know where they were or you flat out turned the wrong way, got distracted by something shiny, and never returned to check it out. Since we all want to know what to look for, and where to look for it, we need your help in creating a guide to all the custom truck and SUV street and off-road project vehicle booth and feature builds that will be on display at SEMA 2018. We want to properly acknowledge the hard work, creativity, and insaneness of the projects and builders, and we also want to recognize the company (and product) under whose banner these builds enter SEMA. We’ll get started, but again—we need your help! Project managers, vehicle owners, and company representatives: please email or WeTransfer a few hi-res photos (or renderings) along with as much of the following information as you’re willing to disclose to Monica.Gonderman@motortrend.com.

Hall (or Outdoor Area):

Company Name:

Booth Number:

Vehicle Year/Make/Model:

Company Product Highlighted:

Vehicle Mods and Information:

  |   Twin Turbos Discovery Drift Truck Silverado 2

Hall (or Outdoor Area): Central

Company Name: Thermo-Tec

Booth Number: #23013

Vehicle Year/Make/Model: 1,000hp single cab Chevrolet Silverado drift truck Read More

Episode 32 of The Truck Show Podcast: Off Road Expoisode!

Off Road Expo in Pomona, California

  |   Truck Show Podcast Episode 32 Off Road Expo Decked

The Truck Show Podcast Presented by Nissan in association with DECKED is a fun, irreverent, and edgy look at today’s world of custom and factory trucks, hosted by automotive journalist Sean Holman and veteran Los Angeles radio personality Jay “Lightning” Tilles. Sit back, relax, and enjoy our latest episode.

Week to Wicked 1972 Chevy is the LMC Truck C10 Nats. Giveaway

It could be yours this PPG Black and Red beauty of a 1972 Chevy C10 Fleetside shortbed is called the LMC Truck C-10 Nationals Classic Trucks Week To Wicked build presented by Gandrud Performance Parts, and it is the 2019 LMC Truck Nationals giveaway truck. To find out all about how you win it on May 4, 2019 checkout www.C10Nationals.com . Today is Thursday, October 11, 2018 Day 4 of the LMC Truck C-10 Nationals Classic Trucks Week To Wicked build presented by Gandrud Performance Parts and the Week to Wicked build crew has been making rapid progress installing all the little details that are time and labor intensive. The benefits of lowered truck is it has a lower center of gravity, and thanks to CPP engineering the suspension we installed on this 1972 Chevy C10 pickup the ride is as good if not better than a stock 1967-72 Chevy C10 pickup. That said, building a lowered truck means one has to pay special attention to ensuring components such as the exhaust system don’t drag on the ground, or bang on the bed, or body.   |   Clt News Day 4 Week To Wicked The mechanical parking brake is one of those areas that can be a real pain in the neck to route past the exhaust system, or the driveshaft just to mention a few trouble spots. Typically most folks eliminate the parking brake altogether and that not really a good idea. And especially not if one lives in state, province, or country where a safety check like England’s MOT has to be passed in order for the truck to be legally registered to drive. Our friends at CPP came up with a really innovative way to handle installing a fully functional parking brake starting with a product that’s already available on the market and then engineering brackets and accessories CPP sells to make it work perfect for any Chevy C10. Checkout the photos and notice how the E-Stopp electrical parking brake tucks up on the frame rail out of the way of driveshaft and exhaust system. And by the for a 10 percent discount off any CPP product mention on the phone or online “the LMC Truck C-10 Nationals Classic Trucks Week To Wicked build presented by Gandrud Performance Parts Stay tuned because tomorrow is the big day where we’ll turn the key and bring LMC Truck C-10 Nationals Classic Trucks Week To Wicked build presented by Gandrud Performance Parts to life!

2003 Chevy Silverado- Project Over/Under: Part Six

Rebuilding Our Freshly Painted Silverado with New Parts

When we left you last month, we had finally rolled our “beat to neat” project out of the paint booth at LGE-CTS and were ready to put it back together. We quickly realized all of the work that was still in front of us, though. So much so that we had to split this portion of the build into two parts. This month, we will show you exactly what it takes to get professional-looking results when you reassemble a truck—basically, all of the unsexy stuff you don’t normally see. All this extra work will make a much nicer base for all our cool bolt-on parts that will finalize the truck’s exterior.

  |   2003 Chevy Silverado Project Over Under Part Six

We started with the big box of parts that were removed from the truck for paint but will be reused. Each of these parts is available through LMC Truck, but a lot of these items still looked fine and just needed a good cleaning. Most of them revolved around the doors, so that is where we started the reassembly process. We got new fender flares from LMC—we never had the fronts, and the rears were shot—but we wanted something more than the factory textured look, so we sprayed a coat of textured matte black over the plastic, followed by a coat of matte clear for durability. We’re hoping this new look will more closely match the bumpers and steps we have planned for the truck.
From there, we pulled the bed off for the last time, did some pressure washing and painting, and bolted the bed back down, followed by the SnugTop shell and Yakima rack. After a little work on our tailgate and a new cap, we were all caught up. Follow our work below and check out the entire build at Truckin.com. And check back next month, because there’s a whole lot more to do on our Silverado.

Daily Driven: 2018 Lexus NX 300

Aggressive good looks in a premium package

Sitting in mercurial silver paint with a glowering stare that might make a Cylon blink, the Lexus NX 300 makes a mean first impression from the front. Renamed from NX 200t for the 2018 model year, the NX 300 features the same 2.0L turbocharged I-4 as before, making the same 235 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Intimidating, indeed. Of course, the NX 300’s menace seems a bit affected, since the SUV shares a good deal of its bones with more plebian Toyota products—in fact, the RAV4 Hybrid we drove recently donated much of its structure to Lexus when the company decided to introduce a small crossover. The RAV4 Hybrid’s powertrain also makes its way into a hybrid NX, producing the same 194 hp as it does in the less expensive Toyota. So would this NX 300 be just an aggressively styled rehash of an aging compact crossover platform? Fortunately for Lexus, not by a long shot.

  |   Daily Driven 2018 Lexus NX300

Somehow, the NX avoids feeling anything like the boring—competent, but boring—2013-2018 Toyota RAV4. It rides on the same 104.7-inch wheelbase, but it’s 1.2 inches longer, an inch wider, and 2.3 inches lower to the ground. Accordingly, shoulder room improves for all passengers, while headroom is a bit tighter. And unfortunately, most of that increased body length seems to be concentrated on the acres-wide front overhang. Most importantly, however, the Lexus immediately impresses with a bespoke, luxury feel when the driver climbs aboard.
Interior styling is expressive, with a center stack that reminds us of a futuristic fighter jet or spacecraft. We loved the burnished-look metallic trim on the interior, as well as the buttery-soft NuLuxe seat upholstery—we couldn’t believe it wasn’t genuine leather. A large, centrally located analog clock is a Lexus signature, lending a mature comportment to the little SUV. Don’t look terribly close though, as the clock’s cheap-feeling plastic bezel coordinates well with the hard plastics found on the lower dash and door panels. Fortunately, most of the driver and passenger’s touch points are soft and pleasant to look at.

It’s Finally Here! Truck Trend’s 2019 Pickup Truck of the Year Starts Today #PTOTY19

Eight Half-Ton Trucks Vie for Bragging Rights and Hometown Dominance

We say this almost every year, but it’s never been a better time to be a truck fan. With all-new versions of the Ram 1500, GMC Sierra 1500, and Chevrolet Silverado 1500, as well as a significantly revised powertrain lineup for the Ford F-150, the pickup market’s offerings are fresher, more modern, and more capable than ever. With this year being so special, we decided to alter our annual Pickup Truck of the Year contest a bit, allowing each of the Big Three to send two pickups our way. We requested only four-wheel-drive trucks in two different versions—an off-road special and a luxury-oriented model. In alphabetical order, here they are. Chevrolet has broken lots of new ground with the 2019 Silverado 1500. Its modern design is bold and daring in a way that hasn’t been seen from Chevrolet in decades, doing away with the square wheelwells that have defined the light-duty Chevy since 1973, as well as incorporating extensive aero work. The company sent two pickups our way: an LT Trail Boss powered by a 5.3L V-8 with Dynamic Fuel Management (DFM) and an eight-speed automatic and an LTZ powered by a 6.2L V-8 with DFM and a 10-speed automatic.

  |   PTOTY19 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LTZ

  |   PTOTY19 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Trail Boss

Ford obliged with an F-150 Lariat FX4 equipped with the company’s all-new 3.0L turbodiesel V-6, and it also sent along an F-150 Limited, which for 2019 gets the Raptor’s high-output EcoBoost 3.5L V-6. Both engines come mated to a 10-speed auto that shares much with those found in GM’s products. The F-150 Raptor would have done well in the off-road portions of this test, but the updated Fox suspension layout wasn’t available in time for our test. We’ll revisit that truck (as well as the 2019 Ranger—also unavailable this year) for the 2020 test.

Busted Knuckles: 1994 Isuzu- Bad Credit

Built Better From a Bad Reputation

When someone takes credit for work they didn’t do or misleads people into performing acts for free, their reputation can be ruined. When Maryland resident Wes Dukes first went on the hunt for a custom truck, he came across a bare frame ’94 Isuzu pickup that had a sordid past. The original owner claimed he’d done all the work, although he really didn’t and had instead used a family tragedy story to get people to modify the mini. Wes wanted the truck, and he planned to turn around the Isuzu’s unfortunate reputation. As a “hang-around,” Wes spent years with his good friends from East Coast Minis and cruised around in their mini-trucks with them until he decided to get his own. A friend of his actually found the Isuzu and vouched for the “bones” of the mini, so Wes decided to purchase it. The purchase came with a donor truck and pieces in boxes, as it was just the chassis and drivetrain he was receiving. Wes had a long road ahead of him, but he was optimistic and excited for the future.

  |   1994 Isuzu Bad Credit Rear

  |   1994 Isuzu Bad Credit Bed

The cab was set down on the frame and all the brake lines and fuel lines were redone. All the air management was performed using Viair compressors and Air Lift bags to bring the mini to the ground. Most of the parts were used from the donor truck or personally hunted down by Wes himself. The bed was body dropped with help from Jeff Wootten and Victor Quintanilla (without the actual truck being there). Once Wes brought the bed home, he realized it wasn’t lining up, so it had to be redone and brought down even further. He shaved the inside of the bedsides and the fuel door as well as the hood from the donor truck.

1968 Chevy C-10- Green Machine

More Than Meets the Eye

The ’67-’72 Chevy C10 has become increasingly popular and one of the most common custom trucks you can build. Originally designed in 1960, the Chevy pickup was equipped with an independent front suspension, giving people a more car-like ride in a truck. For the ’68 model, Chevy added side-marker reflectors on the fenders, which certainly made the model more noticeable. Scott Pierce from Columbiana, Alabama, is no stranger to Chevy C10 trucks, as he’s owned more than 30 of them in his lifetime. As a child, his stepfather worked on trucks and taught him how to care for them. Along with basic mechanics, Scott was taught paint and bodywork, which came in handy throughout his lifetime. Scott and his wife, Gwen, sold their antique Chevy truck and were in the market for something new and different. Scott had gone to Biloxi, Mississippi, for the Cruisin’ the Coast show and attended the annual auction held there. “I noticed this unique green Chevy C10, and I really liked it,” Scott tells Truckin. “I knew this was my next truck almost immediately.”

  |   1968 Chevy C10 Green Machine

The original owner, Rusty Seamen, pulled no punches on the build when he brought it to Gabe Lopez in Sacramento, California, where—for nine weeks—the entire interior was gutted and reworked, with every inch being redone. The stock seats were replaced with custom Buddy bucket seats cut from foam and wrapped in tan leather; the console also received the leather-wrapped treatment. Other additions included Daytona Weave carpeting and a tan leather headliner. The dashboard was painted to match the Fathom Green paint, and Marshall gauges were used in the dashboard. An ididtit tilt steering column was installed and painted, and a Billet Specialties steering wheel was mounted.
Under the hood, the 350 was redone by Scott himself after he found out the Chevy had a bad rocker arm and valve. A Griffin aluminum radiator with twin 12-inch twin-electric fans was installed to keep the motor cooler and provide more flow than the steel stock version. A March Performance pulley and bracket setup was installed on the front of the motor, and a chrome brake booster with a chrome master cylinder with a ribbed top was added for a custom look. A polished Edelbrock intake was added along with a Quick Fuel 750 carburetor.

1979 International Scout II- Scout’s Honor

A Lifelong Dream and a Short Build Schedule

In 1960, International Harvester created the Scout in order to compete with the very popular Jeep. The initial model featured a fold-down windshield and a removable top. During the 20-year period (1960- to 1980) only 532,674 Scouts were produced, which makes finding one today quite difficult. Zach Pennock of Potosi, Missouri, has always enjoyed the life of trucks, owning multiple top builds over the years. One day, while taking a new route to his father’s house, he saw a beat-up, dilapidated ’79 International Scout on the side of a house. After stopping and negotiating a price, he dragged the classic back to his residence by chain.

  |   1979 International Scout II Scouts Honor Rear

“I always wanted this truck as a little toy,” Zach tells Truckin. “Something to take to the river and have fun with.” The first step was to get the classic running again, so he began investigating the original 304 V-8. To his surprise, it was just the timing, and once corrected, it started right up. The next step was to solidify the frame and body and alter the stock suspension. With the help of Nick and Devin Vallejo at Heartland Fab, Zach got the coilovers and axles and started the suspension work.

2016 Chevy 3500- A Functional Beaut

A Utilitarian Showstopper

Throughout the years, Truckin has featured many builds that run the gamut from form to function. Some are built for pure wow factor, designed to be showstoppers in the truest sense of the word. Others are purpose-built without the owner ever considering the quality of the build might be something we would want on our pages. Somehow, this truck manages to represent both sides. One quick glance at this ’16 Chevy 3500 alerts you to its high-end modifications. Cris Payne, founder of Truck Guru, and his team are credited for this phenomenal build, which embodies all the alluring aspects and functionality of a top-notch truck.

  |   2016 Chevy 3500 Functional Beaut

Truck Guru is a company with a reputation for creating outstanding projects. The crew has partnered with many leading manufacturers in the industry and produced several quality builds that have been proudly displayed at SEMA and beyond. This truck is just the latest addition to their impressive stable of builds. Cris and his team designed this truck to be appealing and rugged enough to do the dirty work.
Up front resides Bulletproof Suspension’s 12-inch lift kit, complete with its dual-shock system with 2.0 reservoirs. For the rear, Cris relied on Bulletproof Suspension’s 12-inch cantilever kit, which permits more travel in addition to better overall ride quality. Cris told Truckin this beast rides as nice as a Caddy on the road and performs remarkably well off-road. Bringing this dualie to a stop are R1 Concepts’ brakes and rotors. Connecting to the pavement are black 24×14 American Force wheels on 40-inch Interco M-16 tires. The result is a truck that drives beautifully and does so looking very good.

Detonation: Racing Safe


Outlaw Diesel Super Series competitors take diesel drag racing seriously. They continue to push the sport forward with technology and innovations that yield them higher top speeds and faster elapsed times in the eighth-mile. As the trucks (and cars) get faster, they have to be up to par with the required safety equipment. No matter a competitor’s skill level behind the wheel, even the best must have the proper safety gear. Because there are so many variables that can affect a vehicle traveling at high speed, it is impossible for anyone to know if or when something might happen on the track. So having as much good safety equipment as possible is imperative. From the most minor incidents to the harshest crashes, everyone wants to walk away unscathed. The amount and type of safety equipment required for the various ODSS classes varies. Much of that depends on how quickly the eighth-mile (or quarter-mile) will be eclipsed. In classes that break the 7-second eighth-mile mark, a key safety component that must be installed is a roll bar or rollcage. The overall amount of cage work necessary depends on e.t. The bare minimum for a truck competing in the Flo-Pro Performance Exhaust 6.70 Index Class is a roll bar (specified by NHRA guidelines). But trucks that run in Firepunk Diesel Outlaw 5.90 or quicker classes must have a specified full rollcage, and, in some instances, a complete chassis. When building a cage, use the correct material, supports, and gussets that meet or exceed regulations. Tech inspection will be a breeze if it’s done right. I have heard stories about people who decided to try to cheat the system by using thinner-walled tubing and inferior materials or tried to cut corners to somehow save a few pounds. I ask you: Is a person’s wellbeing worth a couple of pounds? Big sanctions like the NHRA developed specific rules for a reason: to give people the best chance of walking away if something drastic does happen.

  |   A roll bar with down bars through the back window meets requirements for the Outlaw Diesel Super Series Pro-Flo Performance Exhaust 6.70 Index class, but it is a long way from what it takes to compete in SunCoast Diesel Transmissions Pro Mod, like the RLC Motorsports Ram. Because of the high speeds and things that can happen to a vehicle when traveling that fast, a Pro Mod rollcage is an elaborate cocoon of tubing meant to protect the racer.

Week to Wicked 1972 Chevy C10 Nats. Giveaway Gets 508hp ZZ502

Week to Wicked

Some lucky person is going to win this all-new and improved ground up restored 1972 Chevy C10 pickup and its all going to take place at the Texas Motor Speedway on May 3-4, 2019. What you see featured here is called the LMC Truck C-10 Nationals Classic Trucks Week To Wicked build presented by Gandrud Chevrolet, and these are the progress shots from earlier today which was Wednesday October 10, 2018. Everything about this 1972 Chevy C10 pickup is the best of the best from its CPP suspension, brakes and steering to the PPG paint Sparkburn Hot Rods sprayed over a multitude of brand new LMC Truck, doors, hood, bed, and fenders to what’s under the hood for power.

  |   Clt Day 3 Week Wicked 1972 C10 Engine

Today installing the engine and transmission was the goal, and all went well from bolting on CPP and Energy Suspension motor mounts to the C10 chassis, to the major components the ZZ502/502 Deluxe Connect & Cruise Powertrain System from Gandrud Performance Parts. Connect & Cruise means it’s a complete package that includes a 4L85-E four-speed automatic overdrive transmission and all the electronics needed to make it run. We’re estimating a strong 400 horsepower to the rear wheels because there’s been a few upgrades made to the ignition, exhaust, and the carburetor has been swapped out to Holley Terminator Stealth EFI (electronic fuel injection) with a hotter ignition system from MSD. The long-tube header exhaust system is from Hedman Hedders starting at the heads matching up to the larger exhaust ports found in a ZZ502 all the way through a pair of Heddman Turbo mufflers. To accommodate dual exhaust on a lowered 1967-72 C10 there’s a premium chrome bumper from LMC Truck with special twin notches.

Week to Wicked 1972 Chevy C10 Nats. Giveaway Truck Body & Paint etc.

Week to Wicked

It’s called the LMC Truck C-10 Nationals Classic Trucks Week To Wicked build presented by Gandrud Chevrolet, and the idea behind a Week to Wicked build is to start with a really good example of a bone stock truck, and then turn it into the ultimate muscle truck. But before the clock even starts to tick there’s a lot of preparatory work that goes into a car or pickup resuscitated in a Week to Wicked build. In the case of the 1972 Chevy C10 Fleetside shortbed currently under construction during the week of October 8-12, 2018 its final destination is to be the giveaway truck for the 2019 LMC Truck C10 Nationals held May 3-4, 2019. The 1972 C10 Chevy LMC located for the project looked pretty good as a starting point, but the idea was to make it nice as possible as a stocker, and then let the Week to Wicked crew work their magic.

  |   Clt Lmc Body Paint Week To Wicked 1972 C10 Bed

From LMC Truck’s Lenexa, Kansas headquarters’ the 1972 Chevy C10 was driven to James Miller at Sparkburn Hot Rods in Paola, Kansas and disassembled down to the bare frame. That’s right the LMC Truck C-10 Nationals Giveaway truck was completely restored from the ground up before it was shipped to Southern California to be equipped by some of best-known aftermarket names including American Autowire, American Racing, CPP, Covercraft, Dakota Digital, Eddie Motorsports, Energy Suspension, Falken Tires, Hedman Hedders, Holley / MSD, LMC Truck, Old Air, United Pacific, US Radiator.
Sparkburn Hot Rods entrusted powdercoating the bare C10 frame along with a host of sheet metal pieces to MTZ Powdercoating in Manhattan, Kansas. James mentioned not did only MTZ do a really good job sympathetic to his tight deadlines to get the truck back to Lenexa toot sweet the turnaround time was prompt. While the bare frame was away James dove into repairing extensive rust damage found in the cab.

Truck Show Podcast Hosts Lightning and Holman to Speak at SEMA “Brew Talks”

Lightning Will Host Panel with Holman, Gale Banks, Aaron Kaufman, and Jessi Combs

Truck Show Podcast with Lightning and Holman co-host Jay “Lightning” Tilles will moderate a SEMA Education Track interview with four other industry experts this month. Joining the “Brew Talks” discussion will be Gale Banks, president and CEO of Gale Banks Engineering; Jessi Combs, fabricator and professional driver; Aaron Kaufman, occasional Truck Show Podcast guest and host of “Shifting Gears” on Discovery; and Sean Holman, co-host and co-creator of the Truck Show Podcast. The informal panel will take place October 31 at 4 p.m. at the 2018 SEMA Show. With a wealth of experience in vehicle modification and customization, Lightning, Banks, Combs, Kaufman, and Holman are sure to have insightful—and probably sorta irreverent—takes on the auto industry today. We’ll definitely be there to document it all, just in case we need to blackmail Holman sometime in the future. The lighthearted interview panel is just one of the many perks that come to attendees of the SEMA Show, which otherwise include meet-and-greets with other automotive celebrities, the SEMA Ignited afterparty, and of course, 1.2 million square feet of OEM, aftermarket, and supplier goodies. Be sure to watch this space for more on the 2018 SEMA Show, which runs October 30–November 2. Source: SEMA Education Track

Diesel Power Challenge 2018 Video Week: Day Three, Fun on the Dragstrip

How Do These Big Trucks Hustle Through the Quarter?

Diesel Power Challenge 2018 Presented by XDP was an exciting and comprehensive test of driver skill, truck strength, and teamwork. And if you were wondering what this year’s event was like beyond the glossy pages of the magazine or the coverage on the Truck Trend Network website, you’re in luck, because Diesel Power Challenge 2018 Video Week continues on the Motor Trend Channel on YouTube and on Motor Trend On Demand.
Part 3 of Diesel Power Challenge Week (embedded above) is one of our favorite events, a classic test of truck power and speed. That’s right, it’s time for the 1/4-mile drag racing competition. This heads-up competition started with a qualifier event, in which each driver was allowed as many passes down the track as desired. From those elapsed times, we created a bracket, with winners in each bracket advancing to the next round. From there, we found a winner. Did Kodi Koch continue his domination on the drag strip? Find out right here! For more, be sure to tune into YouTube every day this week or go to MotorTrendOnDemand.com for more from Diesel Power Challenge 2018 Presented by XDP. Source: Motor Trend Channel

Diesel Power Challenge 2018 Video Week: Day Five and the Sled Pull

Breaking Records and Trucks on the Final Day of Diesel Power Challenge

Diesel Power Challenge 2018 Presented by XDP was an exciting and comprehensive test of driver skill, truck strength, and teamwork. And if you were wondering what this year’s event was like beyond the glossy pages of the magazine or the coverage on the Truck Trend Network website, you’re in luck, because Diesel Power Challenge 2018 Video Week continues on the Motor Trend Channel on YouTube and on Motor Trend On Demand.
Well, the time has come. The final day of DPC 2018 is upon us, and it brings with it a massive sled, a freshly plowed dirt track, and a few good drivers. Our sled pull took place on the grounds of Bandimere Speedway. Thanks to the taxing weight of the sled and the outrageous power of these trucks, the sled pull claimed the greatest, most permanent damage of DPC 2018, twisting Zach Scoles’ rear axle housing clear of its mounting points. And yet, he still managed a good pull, though none could compete with Travis Richards’ 312.0-foot run. And with the sled pull over, the judges retired to tally the scores in advance of our final banquet and awards ceremony.   |   159 2018 Diesel Power Challenge Sled Pull We hope you enjoyed our video coverage of Diesel Power Challenge 2018 Presented by XDP, and if you just can’t get enough, head to MotorTrendOnDemand.com for more. Source: Motor Trend Channel

2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 2.7L Turbo I-4 Gets Rated by EPA

Torquey Four Excels in City, Falls Short in Highway Rating

Chevrolet is implementing a number of new technologies to improve the efficiency of its fullsize 2019 Silverado 1500, including lightweight construction and computer-sculpted aerodynamics. Most intriguingly, however, was the company’s plan to replace the outgoing 4.3L V-6 with a 2.7L turbocharged I-4 as the base engine in some trim levels. And thanks to numbers released by the EPA today, we know how well that engine actually performs in terms of improving fuel efficiency. In rear-wheel-drive form and mated to a standard eight-speed automatic transmission, the 2.7L turbo four achieves 20 city/23 highway/21 combined mpg in EPA testing—we presume these numbers also apply to the 2019 GMC Sierra 1500 equipped with the engine. Chevrolet is quick to point out that the city number exceeds that of Ford’s 3.3L base V-6, and it matches that of the mild-hybrid Ram 1500 and its 3.6L Pentastar V-6. However, both Ford and Ram have the Chevrolet beat in highway driving, as both achieve 25 mpg in that metric, as well as combined ratings of 22 mpg.

  |   2019 Chevrolet Silverado 27l Turbo

  |   2019 Chevrolet Silverado 8 Speed Automatic Transmission

Working in GM’s favor, however, is the turbo engine’s superior output: 310 hp and 348 lb-ft. Neither Ford’s nor Ram’s base V-6 engines could hope to match the little turbo four’s torque output, and only the Ram comes close in power (305 hp). Chevrolet also does very well in terms of max payload, with the 2.7L I-4 rated at up to 2,280 pounds, albeit in fleet-only regular cab configuration. That eclipses both the Ram’s 2,100-pound rating and the Ford’s 1,990-pound rating when comparing maximum payloads from the base engine.

The Driver’s Seat: Jerry Was a Race-Car Driver

The Driver’s Seat

Jerry, they say, was a race-car driver. Legend has it he drove so damn fast, and while he never did win any races, he never did come in last. At least that’s how the story goes. I, like most people, don’t know who Jerry was, but alas, strive to be just like him. As you all should be aware by now, I am a truck guy on the exterior, but at my core, I’m just a lover all things fast and loud. Throughout my career, I’ve been given the opportunity to drive plenty of powerful cars, trucks, and SUVs. That’s right, cars as well. And unlike some proclaimed “truck guys,” I’d never turn down the opportunity. There’s always so much more to learn, so whenever the opportunity arises to be tutored by someone better, faster, or smarter than me, I’ll quickly pull up a chair and listen. It could be as simple as golf carts, but if there was a pro showing me the fastest way around 18, I’d be there.

  |   The Drivers Seat

On one of my more recent trips, such an opportunity arose. While testing the Mercedes AMG GLC 63 in the hills of Tennessee and Kentucky, we were given the chance to also take laps around NCM Motorsports Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky, in a fleet of AMG E63 Sedans and Wagons. For those unfamiliar, NCM is a world-class facility with a 3.15-mile road course fashioned after the famous Circuit de la Sarthe in Le Mans, France. The AMG E63 packs a handcrafted, turbocharged 4.0L V-8 that cranks out 603 hp and 627 lb-ft of torque. The E63 Wagon combines this with a 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system and starts at $107,000 (the model we were driving tipped the scale to the tune of $128,000). Seriously, why would even the most hardened “truck guy” turn down this opportunity?
As if things couldn’t get any better, the skies decided to open and dump a late-summer thunderstorm during our track time. You better believe we still went for it. With veteran racer Tommy Kendall (if you don’t know the name, go look him up) providing instruction and leading the pack (in a bright-green AMG GT R nonetheless), we split up into two groups (fast and faster, on the honor system) and hit the soggy tarmac. I can’t think of a time that I’ve had more fun, been more nervous, and learned as much about vehicle handling as I did trying to follow Tommy’s line in the rain.

Cooper Discoverer AT3 XLT Tire Review

A Legend Reborn

Though it may come as a surprise to some, Cooper’s Discoverer line of off-road tires dates back more than four decades. Seeing as there’s no shame in improving on a good thing, Cooper launched not just one but three new tires under the Discoverer AT3 name. All similar in basic design, the AT3 4S is the base of the line and comes with a 65,000-mile warranty, available in 37 sizes. Adding additional features aimed at the crowd that tows and hauls frequently is the AT3 LT, which has a 60,000-mile warranty and is available in 21 sizes. The tire that most intrigued us is the pinnacle AT3 XLT, which is the most extreme of the bunch. While designed for hard-core use, the XLT still comes with a 60,000-mile treadwear warranty and is available in 29 sizes.

  |   Cooper Discoverer AT3 XLT

For the purpose of our testing, we ordered a set of Discoverer AT3 XLTs in 35×12.5R18, mounted them to a set of 18×9-inch Dick Cepek Matrix wheels, and bolted the whole setup to our trusty Ford F-150. Coming off a different set of all-terrain tires, we immediately noticed how quiet and smooth the AT3 XLT was. So quiet, in fact, that we could hear new squeaks and rattles that we never knew the truck was making. Cooper has created what it calls Whisper Grooves, which reside on the inner edge of the outer tread blocks (in a sawtooth pattern) and provide a barrier that reduces road noise. Also with a cute new name is the company’s Even Wear Arc Technology. Simply put, the tire’s shape has been engineered to balance pressure at the tire-to-road contact patch. What this equates to is more even on-road tire wear and better handling.
While the AT3 XLT is an extremely competent road tire, even stopping an average of 10 feet shorter than the competition in Cooper’s testing, off-road is where it is meant to shine. Its tread, with Durable Tread Technology (we really can’t make these up), features stone ejector ledges, which help the tread to quickly dislodge stones and gravel. Ejecting stones—or preventing them from sticking in the first place—helps to prevent drilling into the tread. Clear tread also provides for better traction on- and off-road. Side lugs are staggered into what Cooper calls Traction Shoulders. These provide extra gripping surface while also providing additional traction in mud.

1972 Chevy C10 Week to Wicked Day 1 CPP Springs & Brakes

Week to Wicked Day One 1972 Chevy C10 CPP Suspension Install

Bright eyed and bushy tailed Classic Trucks build crew tore into the LMC Truck C-10 Nationals Classic Trucks Week To Wicked build presented by Gandrud Chevrolet starting with dropping out the front and rear stock suspension. The premise, or idea behind the LMC Truck C-10 Nationals Classic Trucks Week To Wicked build presented by Gandrud Chevrolet is to show that a DIY guy with a base level of skills can make major upgrades to his truck thanks to packaging. Packaging is another word for kit, and it’s a good way to describe how the brake and suspension components from CPP are available individually or in a pre-engineered kit, so the DIY guy doesn’t have to know every little detail and specification of the parts to ensure compatibility.

  |   CLT LMC Day 2 Week To Wicked 1972 C10 Engine

To take a stock C10 Chevy truck and make all the modifications and upgrades in just five days its necessary to have all the tools and equipment in place to make the transformation with NASCAR pit stop rapidity. That said, everything that’s being done to Classic Trucks Week to Wicked ’72 Chevy C10 could be accomplished by a DIY guy at home in his driveway or garage with a floor jack and jack stands. It might not be a bad idea to have a friend or two hanging around to help with the heavy lifting.
Take a look at the photos and you’ll notice the front and rear stock suspension can be dropped off in complete assemblies and do not have to be disassembled one part at a time. The rear suspension was disconnected at the front of the pressed tin trailing arms, and the rear shock absorbers disconnected.

Jeep Renegade Gets a PHEV Variant for Europe in 2020

Electrified Compact SUV Follows BSG-Equipped Wrangler Into the Future

Jeep is preparing its smallest SUV for plug-in hybrid duty, as the Renegade PHEV will arrive—in the European market at least—in 2020. The FCA Melfi Plant in Italy is reportedly beginning its transformation into a facility that can produce the Renegade PHEV alongside the conventionally powered Renegade and Fiat 500X crossovers already built there. According to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the Melfi plant will begin churning out pre-production examples of the plug-in hybrid in 2019, the firstfruits of a $229-plus million investment to launch the new propulsion system. Specific powertrain details have yet to be announced. The Renegade PHEV will be the second battery-operated Jeep, following the mild-hybrid 2018 Jeep Wrangler with the 2.0L turbocharged I-4. That vehicle gets a 48V electrical system and integrated belt-starter generator, which replaces the alternator and provides smoother automatic engine idle stop and start and a small amount of electric boost on takeoff, saving some fuel in the process. The Renegade will also be part of a greater emphasis by FCA on electrified powertrains, joining the Wrangler, Ram 1500 eTorque, and Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid. The company claims that by 2022, it will offer a total of 12 electrified architectures—in fully electric, PHEV, hybrid, and mild-hybrid configurations. These propulsion systems will appear in 30 different FCA models. Could an instant-torque Renegade Trailhawk PHEV be on the horizon as well? We hope so, and we await further developments with curiosity. Source: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles UK   |   2020 Jeep Renegade Phev Fca Melfi Plant Paint Robots

Episode 31 of The Truck Show Podcast: Aaron Kaufman Returns

Plus News from the Texas State Fair and a Daytona Truck Meet Update

  |   Truck Show Podcast Episode 31 005 1

The Truck Show Podcast Presented by Nissan in association with DECKED is a fun, irreverent, and edgy look at today’s world of custom and factory trucks, hosted by truck enthusiasts Sean Holman and Jay “Lightning” Tilles. Sit back, relax, and enjoy our latest episode.

Diesel Power Challenge 2018 Video Week: Day One is Live!

Dyno Day Hits YouTube and Motor Trend On Demand

Diesel Power Challenge 2018 Presented by XDP was an exciting and comprehensive test of driver skill, truck strength, and teamwork. And if you were wondering what this year’s event was like beyond the glossy pages of the magazine or the coverage on the Truck Trend Network website, you’re in luck, because Diesel Power Challenge 2018 Video Week starts today on the Motor Trend Channel on YouTube and on Motor Trend On Demand.
Part 1 of Diesel Power Challenge Week (embedded above) focuses almost exclusively on the dyno cell, starting briefly with the fuel consumption segment. Almost immediately, however, we get into the nitty-gritty of one of the most popular and dreaded tests in DPC: the horsepower and torque dyno. Called a heartbreaker by one competitor and a dream crusher by another, the Diesel Power Challenge dyno takes place at ATS Diesel Performance in Arvada, Colorado. Even uncorrected for weather or altitude, the numbers these trucks throw down are incredible in their own right. For more, be sure to tune into YouTube every day this week or go to MotorTrendOnDemand.com for more from Diesel Power Challenge 2018 Presented by XDP. Source: Motor Trend Channel

100 Years of Ford’s Finest Pickups

Ford’s Finest

Since our look back at Chevrolet’s significant trucks over a century, we’re giving equal time to Ford fans. And as truck fans like an argument, we won’t even say how many years Ford has been building trucks, so you’ll have to decide for yourself: Was it from 1905 and the Ford Deliver Car built on the Model C, the 1907 Delivery Van on the Model N chassis, the 1917 Model TT chassis cab (a Model T cab and engine on a heavier frame), or the 1925 Model T pickup? Ford cites it as the 1917 TT. The same release also says that by 1977, the F-150 had been introduced “to combat the C/K trucks from General Motors” and has “pulled ahead in the sales race,” but in 2015 General Motors sold 40,000 more fullsize pickups than Ford—according to sources, combined Silverado and Sierra sales were 824,683 units, while Ford sold 780,354 F-Series. This list is not conclusive—just the Ford trucks we find noteworthy for one reason or another—so feel free to add, delete, and disagree.

  |   1918 Ford Model Tt One Ton Stake Bed Truck

1917 Model TT

What amounts to a chassis-cab HD today, the TT was based on the Model T cab and engine, mounted to a heavier frame rated at one short ton capacity. A three-speed transmission meant two forward and one backward, and the torque tube went to a worm drive rear end running solid rubber tires. Power came from a 177ci (2.9L) four of 20 horses, but it weighed less than half what a new one does, so it would still manage 40 mph. Read More

Video from Diesel Power Challenge 2018 Presented by XDP Coming Monday! #DPC2018

Feel Like You Were Really There With a New Video Each Day

Diesel Power Challenge 2018 Presented by XDP was an event for the ages, with plenty of high-horsepower speed, dyno-twisting torque, and precision driving for almost a full week of diesel-fired action. Now, we can get you even closer to that action, thanks to Diesel Power Challenge Week at the Motor Trend Channel on YouTube.

  |   035 Diesel Power Challenge 2018 Cone Course

Starting Monday, October 8, we’ll bring you a new video each day next week, viewable right here on the Truck Trend Network website. You’ll also be able to find one new video each day at the Motor Trend Channel, and if you’re a subscriber to Motor Trend On Demand (you really should be), you’ll find DPC 2018 well represented there, too. You’ll want to check it out, because it’s amazing seeing these street-legal trucks throw down race car–embarrassing numbers!
So watch this space each day next week for another installation of the hard-charging, diesel-burning trucks that made the trek to Denver, Colorado, for Diesel Power Challenge 2018 Presented by XDP. And be sure to check your newsstands for the October and November issues of Diesel Power magazine, where you’ll find profiles of each driver, event breakdowns, and all the background information you could possibly want on the event.
Watch this space for more!

First Drive: 2019 Jaguar I-Pace Electric Performance SUV

Excitement Electrified

It’s not very often that we at Truck Trend get to test electric vehicles. Not because we don’t like to—rather, there simply aren’t that many. Ford ended production of the all-electric Ranger in ’02, and aside from the Tesla Model X, there’s nary an SUV in the bunch. That is, until now. With the introduction of the ’19 I-Pace, Jaguar has become the first mainstream auto manufacturer to mass-produce a fully electric luxury SUV. While we refuse to call it—or anything—a “Tesla Killer,” the I-Pace certainly gives Elon Musk’s utility a run for its money. I-Pace starts at $69,500 and has an estimated range of 240 miles. While still lofty, that price is more than $13,000 less than a comparable Tesla Model X 75D, which has an EPA-rated range of 237 miles. The Jaguar also has normal rear doors, a definite bonus. The ’19 I-Pace comes in one model, EV 400, which boasts an admirable 394 hp and 512 lb-ft of torque and is fitted with a 90-kWh battery pack. There are three trim levels: S, SE, and HSE. Putting power to the ground is a pair of identical permanent magnet synchronous electric motors, one at each end. Below 30 mph, the I-Pace is driven by only the rear motor; above 30 mph, both are active, providing the superb handling you’d expect from an all-wheel-drive Jag. Tipping into the accelerator provides a fantastic burst of initial torque, while burying the pedal propels the 4,784-pound vehicle from 0-60 mph in an estimated 4.5 seconds. At full song, the I-Pace tops out at 124 mph.

  |   2019 Jaguar I Pace First Drive 3 4 Rear

We’ve berated Ford for years over the fake engine noise they pump through the F-150’s speaker system and will do the same for anyone else who chooses to employ this tactic. We were disheartened to find out that I-Pace has a similar system, which enhances the vehicle’s natural electric motor whine. On its most aggressive setting, the I-Pace speakers pump out a noise eerily similar to that of George Jetson’s flying saucer. Thankfully, it can be completely disabled. Honestly, if Jaguar is hip to changing the perceived engine noise inside I-Pace, we’d like to suggest something more akin to an F-Type or Formula 1 car. Just saying.
Bogus motor noise aside, the interior of I-Pace is exactly what you would expect from Jaguar. It is incredibly quiet, free of any squeaks or rattles, and allows only the slightest bit of wind and road noise to be heard. Contributing to this is the use of laminated glass on the windshield and both front windows. Materials choice is superb, as the finishes complement each other splendidly. The under-floor mounting of the battery pack creates a slightly high step in height, but being an SUV, we find this to be a non-issue. Because I-Pace lacks a traditional internal-combustion engine and accompanying transmission, cabin proportions could be adjusted to provide extraordinary legroom and passenger volume.

2019 Ford Ranger Rated at 7,500 Pounds Towing and 1,860 Pounds Payload

Top Ratings Among Midsize Gas-Powered Trucks

Ford finally announced the towing and payload ratings for the 2019 Ranger midsize truck, as well as the power and torque numbers for its sole engine, a 2.3L EcoBoost I-4. The engine will produce 270 hp and 310 lb-ft, helping the Ranger haul up to 1,860 pounds and tow 7,500 pounds (when equipped with a tow package and trailer brake controller).

  |   2019 Ford Ranger Supercrew Hauling Motorcycles

Those output numbers, if you’re wondering, are among the best available in the segment. The engine far outstrips other four-cylinder mills available in midsize pickups, but it’s also competitive among even the competition’s six-cylinder units. The Nissan Frontier’s 4.0L V-6 makes 261 hp and 281 lb-ft (though with plenty of big-bore low-end torque), and the Toyota Tacoma’s 3.5 L V-6 makes 278 hp and 265 lb-ft. The Ranger’s most obvious competitior, the Chevrolet Colorado, produces more power than the Ford at 308 hp, but less torque at 275 lb-ft.
The Ranger’s towing and hauling chops are also tops among gas-powered midsizers. The Colorado’s maximum payload slots in at 1,772 pounds with a towing cap of 7,000 pounds for the 3.6L V-6. The Tacoma can haul 1,620 pounds of payload or a 6,400-pound trailer. And the rugged but aging Nissan Frontier is rated at 1,502 pounds of payload and 6,710 pounds of towing. In fact, in the midsize segment, only the Colorado diesel beats the Ford’s towing rating—the diminutive oil burner can lug 7,700 pounds.

Nissan Builds One-Off Ultimate Service Titan XD for American Red Cross

Lengthened Titan XD Features Cummins Diesel, Suspension Lift, First Aid Supplies

To help highlight its “Calling All Titans” service organization, Nissan built a heavily customized Titan XD for the American Red Cross to aid with disasters. The Ultimate Service Titan, which started out as a Titan XD Midnight Edition with a Cummins 5.0L V-8, boasts a mobile command center, first aid unit, and extensive storage, as well as a custom lengthened frame and B&S Customizing Conqueror bed box.

  |   2018 Nissan Ultimate Service Titan Xd Exterior Front Quarter 02

That rearmost part of the Titan XD is where it really gets interesting. A couch, desk, mobile kitchen, generator, and solar panels help it become the ideal place to host displaced residents and manage relief and recovery efforts. The command center also includes a SnoMaster refrigerator—intended to store blood for emergency deliveries to hospitals—and plenty of first aid supplies. More storage is located up top, where a Rhino-Rack Pioneer tray system and Pelican gear cases reside. A wraparound awning extends from the roof rack, expanding the Ultimate Service Titan’s usable room to the outdoors.

Ford Claims Best-in-Class Fuel Economy with Transit Connect Wagon

2.0L Direct-Injected I-4 Achieves 29 MPG on Highway

Today, Ford announced the 2019 Transit Connect achieved the highest combined and highway EPA fuel economy ratings among other small vans, thanks in part to the TC’s all-new 2.0L direct-injected I-4. The Transit Connect passenger van—Ford calls it a Wagon—hits 24 city/29 highway mpg, with a combined rating of 26 mpg. (Dock the cargo van by 2 mpg highway and 1 mpg combined—the city rating stays the same.)

  |   2019 Ford Transit Connect Cargo Van Exterior Front Quarter 02

Those numbers compare very well to the van’s fleet-only 2.5L I-4, which gets 20 city/27 highway/22 combined mpg. They’re also better than the 1.5L EcoBoost I-4 offered for the Transit Connect in previous years, which hit 22 city/29 highway/25 combined. And the Transit Connect cargo van’s fuel efficiency eclipses that of the Ram ProMaster City (21 city/28 mpg/24 combined mpg) and Nissan NV200 cargo van (24 city/26 highway/25 combined). Finally, Ford claims the Transit Connect Wagon is the most efficient gasoline van out there, beating the (much larger) Honda Odyssey, Chrysler Pacifica, and Toyota Sienna by about 5 mpg in the city.
The TC’s new 2.0L naturally aspirated engine gets an efficiency boost thanks to its standard eight-speed automatic transmission and auto start/stop technology. Producing 150 hp and 144 lb-ft, the engine isn’t as powerful or torquey as the outgoing 2.5L I-4, but it should be up to the task of local deliveries and family daily driving.
Somewhat interestingly, Ford published the Build Your Own tool for the 2019 Transit Connect, revealing that the optional 1.5L EcoBlue turbodiesel I-4 will cost an additional $1,995 on the compact van. Ford expects this engine to achieve 30 mpg highway, a number we think is very conservative—we think it’ll be closer to 35 mpg. Official efficiency and power numbers for the EcoBlue diesel have yet to be announced, but plan on seeing around 120 hp and at least 200 lb-ft of torque.

2019 GMC Sierra 1500 Duramax Power and Torque Numbers Leaked

GM-Designed I-6 to Produce 282 hp and 450 lb-ft

Someone who had access to GM Canada’s dealer site leaked information about the upcoming 3.0L Duramax I-6 available in the 2019 GMC Sierra 1500 and its Chevrolet Silverado 1500 sibling. Take this data with a grain of salt, as GM has yet to officially announce the all-new Duramax variant’s power, towing, and fuel economy ratings.

  |   2019 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Front Side View

As leaked by The Fast Lane Truck, the turbodiesel engine will produce 282 hp and 450 lb-ft of torque. Mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission, the engine achieves 28 mpg on the highway, according to the leaked docs. Furthermore, the turbodiesel will reportedly be capable of towing 7,800 pounds.
Some of those numbers sound just a bit fishy to us, primarily the engine’s towing rating. The same leaked document claims a Sierra equipped with the base carryover 4.3L V-6 can tow 7,700 pounds, meaning the diesel’s 145 extra lb-ft are tasked with towing just 100 extra pounds in total. And the transmission isn’t the limiting factor, as the equally torquey 6.2L V-8 mated to a likely identical 10-speed transmission is able to lug 12,200 pounds.

Porsche Shows Off Refreshed 2019 Macan in Paris

2018 Paris Motor Show Reveal Gets Updated Powertrains and Styling

Porsche trotted out a revised 2019 Macan at the 2018 Paris Motor Show, updating the little SUV with a facelift, new powertrains, and a restyled interior. These revisions apply primarily to the Macan destined for global markets, with nothing new confirmed (yet) for the U.S. Macan. Most obviously, the Macan’s styling now apes the all-new 2019 Cayenne a bit more closely. That means there’s a full-width taillight panel, which replaces two individual ovoid taillights, and the rear lighting array gets Porsche’s “three-dimensional LED” styling. Newly standard LED headlights rest above an updated front bumper design, with foglamps relocated to near the bottom of the front fascia and air inlets reshaped to impart a wider, more planted appearance. The Macan’s distinctive rocker trim remains.

  |   2019 Porsche Macan Exterior Sapphire Blue Taillight Details

Inside, the Macan gets a new infotainment package, headlined by a widescreen, full-HD, 10.9-inch display (up from 7.2 inches). This new interface includes a standard WLAN hotspot and Porsche Connect Plus, cloud-based navigation, and smartphone integration—both via direct connection and a smartphone app. The new infotainment system necessitated a slight redesign; dashboard, seat, and console design remain familiar, but the center stack has been reconfigured with revised hard-button controls and horizontal air vents under the screen. The button-heavy center console panel remains, unfortunately.

Coal-State Rocket: This West Virginia 2015 Silverado 2500HD Can Really Fly

’Max Effort

Let’s get right to it: The beautiful ’15 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD shown on these pages is owned and built by Aaron Scarbro, a diesel enthusiast who admits he doesn’t compromise or simply “settle” for anything—especially when it’s related to his truck. It doesn’t take a trained eye to see Aaron’s rig is a perfect example of maximum effort— going all-out, full-on, and doing anything necessary to reach a goal. For Aaron, getting the most comfort, power, fun, and family time from the Silverado is the main objective, and it appears he has ticked all of those boxes with this 870hp daily driver. “The thing I’m most proud of is that I can drive this truck 5 or 6 hours with my family onboard, make 7-second [eighth-mile] dragstrip runs, and drive it back home without any problems,” Aaron says. Yes, he often races it with the car seats still strapped into the backseat. As it goes with so many trucks we feature, Aaron says he had all intentions of leaving the ’15 Silverado—nicknamed Large Red Riding Hood—stock when he purchased it. That notion lasted only briefly, though, as Aaron started with bolt-ons and ECM tuning. “In 2016, I installed the dual CP3 injection pumps and then upgraded the turbocharger and the fuel system,” Aaron explains. “Since this is the truck I drive every day, all the modifications are designed to not affect me being able to use it to get to work.” The stock long-block handles the 840 hp and 1,459 lb-ft of torque the 6.6L Duramax LML engine churns out, as well as wide-open abuse on the dragstrip. “One of the highlights of this build was having Dmitri Millard of No Zone Diesel at my house, in my little one-car garage, rebuilding my transmission,” Aaron says. “He taught me so much, and I was really shocked by how quickly he works. The guy knows his stuff, and to have him at my place doing the work was a bonus. We had some beer along with some pizza, and I got a really great hands-on education.”

  |   It’s hard to believe Aaron Scarbro bought this ’15 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD with the intention of leaving it bone stock and simply driving it as is. Things have taken a massive turn for the cool, as his work on the truck brings it to this high level.

It is a rig that was built really smartly. Take the wheels, for example. “I always wanted a set of American Force Rebels, and for a while I was saving up the money to buy them,” Aaron explains. “I found a guy who was willing to swap the stock wheels off of this truck for these 22×12 American Force Rebels, and I said yes immediately. The wheels were a little rough when I got them, but I brought them to Fabtech Custom Metal Fabrication in Beckley, West Virginia, which cleaned them up and powdercoated them for me. You can see the red accents if you look for them,” Aaron says.
You can see that same level of pride and attention to detail throughout the truck. Under the hood, the induction system is packed with a Fleece Performance Engineering–prepared BorgWarner S468 turbocharger that’s installed with Wehrli Custom Fabrication’s S400 tubing and a big AFE Power 5R dry filter. The major components in that system are powdercoated black and Bengal Red to match the truck!
When asked why he scored this particular truck in 2015, Aaron says, “Well, I kind of love all the trucks out there, but this one made the most sense. Pretty much all I have ever owned and driven are Duramax-powered trucks. I have had an LB7, LMM, and this LML. I know how to work on them, and I know how to make power with them.”
While making power is one thing, actually putting that power to the pavement separates the trucks that look good from those that run hard. This Silverado covers both bases. “How?” you ask. Well, from a suspension standpoint, the front is enhanced with parts designed to keep things stable under a severe load. Parts such as a Dirty Hooker Diesel centerlink steering stabilizer bracket along with the company’s tie-rod sleeves manage toe under hard launches, and backing out the torsion bolts frees up some front suspension movement.
In the rear is where the real business takes place, and even that’s accomplished with a simple and effective approach, featuring McGaughy’s Suspension 2-inch drop shackles for the springs and Mean Street Performance traction bars (painted to match the truck), as well as removed overload leaf springs. Between helping more weight transfer and allowing the rear end to actually squat and plant, the suspension mods are all the rig needs to cover the eighth-mile strip in the low-7-second e.t. range.

FCA Names New Leaders for Both Ram and Jeep Brands

Tim Kuniskis Chiefs Jeep, Reid Bigland Returns to Ram

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced the new heads of the Ram and Jeep brands today, a few months after Mike Manley took the reins of the whole company as CEO. In an open letter to the company, Manley announced that Tim Kuniskis would take over as head of the Jeep brand, while Reid Bigland would return to Ram as that division’s head.

  |   2018 Jeep Wrangler Sahara Unlimited Front Side View Accelerating

Tim Kuniskis will retain his current role as the Global Head of Alfa Romeo. Manley’s letter praised Kuniskis for his “proven skills in product and marketing,” applying them to both the legendary off-road brand and the fledgling comeback of the Italian marque.
Ram’s new boss is Reid Bigland, who formerly ran the brand in 2013 and 2014. Thanks to his leadership and a robust truck lineup, Ram experienced sales growth of almost 50 percent in that time. Like Kuniskis, Bigland will retain his current role in addition to chiefing Ram—he currently leads Canadian operations and U.S. sales.

Elon Musk Steps Down as Chairman of Tesla Board in SEC Settlement

Move Comes as a Result of an SEC Charge of Misleading Investors

Tesla CEO and founder Elon Musk will step down as chairman of the board in order to settle a suit filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission claiming Musk misled company investors. He will remain CEO of the company, but will have to pay a $20 million fine as part of the settlement, according to CNN. He will not be allowed to seek the chairman position for three years. The SEC suit was based on a tweet Musk sent August 7, in which he claimed he’d secured enough funding to privatize the company at $420 a share. That claim was allegedly unfounded, according to the SEC, and could have misled investors. There are also theories that the tweet was intended as a joke, with the $420 figure referring to smoking cannabis.   |   2016 Tesla Model X Official Photos In Motion In addition to Musk’s personal $20 million fine, Tesla will have to pay its own penalty in the same amount. That money will go back to those investors who were reputedly harmed by Musk’s August 7 tweet. Musk isn’t completely out of the woods, as it’s possible he will have to face charges from the Department of Justice if it’s found that his misleading tweet constituted a criminal act. However, according to CNN’s reporting, it’s likely the SEC settlement will dissuade any further criminal investigation.
After the SEC announced it would file suit against Musk on Thursday, Tesla stock hit a low of $261.03 on Friday, closing later that day at $264.77—by contrast, it closed Thursday at $307.52 However, the price rebounded today, trading above $300 through the first several hours of the day. Source: CNN

Special Edition Ford Explorer, Expedition Revealed at 2018 State Fair of Texas

Luxury and Appearance Enhancements for Ford’s Biggest SUVs

The popular Ford Explorer and spacious Ford Expedition will receive special treatment for 2019, with four different limited editions announced at the 2018 State Fair of Texas. Available nationwide, the Expedition Stealth Edition, Expedition Texas Edition, Explorer Limited Luxury Edition, and Explorer Desert Copper Edition offer some interesting styling updates over their siblings.

  |   2019 Ford Explorer Limited Luxury Edition And Desert Copper Edition

  |   2019 Ford Expedition Stealth Edition And Texas Edition 01

The Expedition Stealth Edition is based on the Limited trim level, swapping out much of that vehicle’s chrome for gloss black accents. That includes black-painted 22-inch wheels and gloss black grille, mirror caps, roof rails, tailgate applique, rear bumper skid plate, headlight housings, taillight housings, and foglight bezels. Black badging appears on the hood and tailgate. The inside gets a subtle upgrade as well, with red stitching adding a little flash.
The Expedition Texas Edition is a bit less aggressive and a bit more genteel, befitting its Southern hospitality–invoking name. Based on the Expedition Limited, the Texas includes all the features found in that trim level’s Special Edition Package. That option pack makes towing easier with Pro Trailer Backup Assist, a limited-slip differential, two-speed transfer case, trailer brake controller, and heavy-duty radiator. It also includes roof rail crossbars, active parking, and LED head- and foglights. To that list of equipment, the Texas Edition quite simply adds special 22-inch wheels and Lone Star State badging.
Based on the Explorer Limited, the Luxury Edition expands the midsize crossover’s comfort quotient and appearance. Special 20-inch machined aluminum wheels, multi-contour seats with Nirvana leather upholstery, an upgraded leather steering wheel, leather-trimmed door panels, and chrome mirror caps round out the changes.
The Explorer Desert Copper Edition adds some exuberant styling to the XLT trim level. Polished aluminum wheels measuring 20 inches join chrome mirror caps to enhance the exterior, while two-tone Ebony Black and Copper leather seats (vinyl in the third row) give the interior a little kick of personality.

Chevrolet Celebrates “Truck Legends” Second Anniversary at 2018 Texas State Fair

Chevrolet introduced its “Truck Legends” program, intended to honor longrunning and repeat Chevy truck owners, at the 2016 Texas State Fair, and two years later, the program has 60,000 members. Truck Legends is open to people who own a Chevy truck with more than 100,000 miles on the odometer or to people who have owned or leased more than one new Chevrolet truck before. The program includes several special perks, including complimentary auto show passes, a discount on GM accessories, and advance access to vehicle reveals and driving experiences. For example, Chevrolet brought 30 Truck Legends members to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, this summer for the first drive of the 2019 Silverado 1500, making them some of the first folks outside GM to sample the truck. Truck Legends members were also the first to see the 2019 Silverado 1500 in the flesh, when it was surprise-revealed at the Chevrolet Truck Centennial celebration in Dallas last year. The Silverado HD and its new-for-2017 445hp Duramax L5P engine were also revealed at an organization event. Other perks for Truck Legends members have included meet-and-greets at Chevy race events, and some have even been featured in advertisements for the Truck Centennial. The company promises more perks to come as the program continues to grow. Prospective members can learn more and sign up at the Chevrolet Truck Legends program website. Source: Chevrolet

2018 State Fair of Texas Media Day Recap

Loads of Trucks, Nothing New

When people think of a state fair the first things that come to mind are likely amazing fried foods, sketchy rides, and cheap hot tubs. However, when talking about the State Fair of Texas high on the list of must-sees is its auto show, which is the largest of its kind and longest running in the state of Texas. This auto show has been gradually gaining importance on the auto show circuit as a whole and is becoming the go-to source of new pickup news. Ramping up over the past five years, we’ve seen such large announcements as Ford’s all-new 2017 Super Duty, Ram’s incredible Rebel TRX concept, and nearly every special edition pickup. Maybe we got a bit spoiled because while the 2018 State Fair of Texas brought a decent amount of news for the truck and SUV world, none of it was breaking and in fact there was nothing we hadn’t already head about. Ram kicked off the Media Day round of automotive speed dating by showing off the new 2019 Ram 1500 Rebel 12, the 2018 Ram 2500 Power Wagon Mojave Sand edition, and the 2018 Ram 2500/3500 Rodeo edition. Next, we cruised over to Chevrolet who showed the 2019 Colorado ZR2 Bison in person for the first time. Chevy also talked about their Legends program, the upcoming 2019 Silverado medium-duty 4500/5500/6500, and chatted about four custom 2019 Silverado pickups equipped with Chevrolet Performance parts that they plan to unveil at SEMA. After Chevrolet it was Ford’s turn with the media’s attention. They pulled the sheets of a hot foursome of special edition SUVs, two 2019 Explorers and two 2019 Expeditions. Explorer receives Limited Luxury and Desert Copper editions, while Expedition will be available in both Texas and Stealth editions. Kia and Chrysler took the stage next, however they had nothing of any interest to us. Moving on, Toyota was next and unveiled a pair of special editions aimed at their base model pickups, and a new blacked out premium 4Runner. The 2019 Tacoma SR and Tundra SR-5 receive the new SX package, while 4Runner Limited gets a blacked-out Nightshade special edition. Rounding out the day with a rockin’ live performance by one of Fender’s top recording artists to usher in the new available Fender audio system in the 2019 Titan and Titan XD. Titan and Titan XD also receive an update infotainment system and additional USB ports for 2019, while the Cummins diesel equipped XD gets an upsized diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) tank. While we came to Texas hoping for some sort of large announcement or juicy gossip, what we left with didn’t disappoint. We’ll be back next year, even if just to see Big Tex.

Nissan Upgrades Technology in 2019 Titan Models

Nissan unveiled several new upgrades to the 2019 Nissan Titan and Titan XD models at the State Fair of Texas. Announcements included a new premium audio system, new touchscreen, and safety technology.

  |   1

The upgraded 7-inch touchscreen audio and IT display now comes standard on the truck. The display is compatible with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Nissan’s exclusive NissanConnect systems. Additional USB media and charge ports were added for the front and backseat passengers. A new Fender Premium Audio System features a 485-watt, 9-channel amplifier with Panasonic’s proprietary Acoustic Motion Control.

Colorado Climb 2018: Off-Roading in the Rockies with Eleven Trucks, SUVs, and Crossovers

Taking the Scenic Route to the Top and Finding Ourselves Pleasantly Surprised

We buy crossovers, SUVs, and trucks in part for the sense of ruggedness they impart. With a higher stance and added ground clearance compared to most cars, they just seem to be a bit more ready and able to tackle the nearest trail. But is that perception justified? Are our machines actually that capable, or is it just marketing hogwash? We wanted to find out, and luckily, the good folks at Rocky Mountain Redline had just the venue for us to try: Colorado Climb 2018. Situated in Breckenridge, the first-ever Colorado Climb brought together 11 trucks, crossovers, and SUVs from nine different manufacturers, with two different trails to try them out on. Our base camp was the Golden Horseshoe Tour Company, seated in the hills above Breckenridge at 9,000 feet. From there, we climbed. Headed up Humbug Hill would be the Acura RDX, Honda Pilot, Kia Sorento, Mazda CX-9, and Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn. The trail to Georgia Pass (elevation 11,600 feet) would (hopefully) be dominated by the likes of the GMC Sierra 1500 AT4, Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk and Wrangler Rubicon, Lexus LX570, Ram 1500 Rebel, and Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road. We knew to expect good results from the Wrangler and Tacoma, but how did the others fare? In two words: Surprisingly well.


  |   2018 Colorado Climb 2019 Acura Rdx On Trail In Dust

2019 Acura RDX

We last got a taste of the Acura RDX in another scenic resort town: Whistler, British Columbia. There, however, our drive was almost exclusively on paved, smooth roads, with enough twists and turns to prove the available Super Handling All-Wheel Drive’s mettle in enthusiastic driving. On Humbug Hill, however, SH-AWD got its exercise shuffling power between the right and left rear wheels, as the trail’s diagonal washes forced one or the other to lift off the ground with regularity. That stiff chassis does wonders for handling and ride comfort, but it’s not ideal for off-road articulation. Read More

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