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The all-new 2015 GM HD Pickups ...pg 12
Grand Cherokee The Jeep Grand Cherokee now has a V6 turbodiesel engine option ...pg 30
Range Rover The 2014 Range Rover Supercharged ...pg 20
Check out the performanceoriented Audi SQ5 ... pg 38
Fresh Tracks---------------------------------------- 4 First Look: Jeep Renegade----------------------33 Feature: Truck Fuel Efficiency ------------------35
We installl a new suspension on a Jeep TJ ...pg 41
The 2014 Trucks Plus Off-Road Tire Guide ...pg 24
Check out some popular wheeling spots in Washington State ...pg 47
RVing: 51st National RV Show - --------------- 54 Gearing Up----------------------------------------58 Stuck Trucks--------------------------------------62
APR / maY 2014
FRESH TRACKS Volume 7, Issue No. 2 April/May 2014 Publisher/Editor: Dean Washington
All-New Jeep Cherokee Named AJAC Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year
Associate Publisher: David Symons firstname.lastname@example.org
Managing Editor Jordan Allan email@example.com Circulation: Brenda Washington firstname.lastname@example.org Copy Editor: Gerry Frechette email@example.com Sales & Marketing Elaine Fontaine firstname.lastname@example.org Contributing Writers/Photographers: Jordan Allan Howard J Elmer Gerry Frechette Arch Linsao Russell Purcell Bruce Spierenburg Benjamin Yong
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APR / MAY 2014
he brand new 2014 Jeep Cherokee has been named the Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year by the Automobile Journalists Associations of Canada (AJAC). The Cherokee earned the chance to win the award by being named the Best New SUV/CUV Under $35,000 based on testing done in October at AJAC’s TestFest. The award is considered to be especially prestigious as it takes the opinion of over 80 of the top Canadian automotive experts to come to a conclusion. The Cherokee is the first ever Jeep built upon the Compact U.S. Wide platform which was co-developed with the Chrysler Group’s corporate partner Fiat S.p.A. Additionally, the Cherokee brings a segment first 9-speed automatic transmission to the market and is the first vehicle to use Chrysler Group’s new 3.2L Pentastar V6 engine. Other notable features include the other engine option which is a 2.4L Tigershark MultiAir I-4 engine that can deliver up to 800 km of driving range, a UConnect 8.4-inch colour touchscreen media centre, and best-in-class V6 towing capability.
DMAX to Invest $60 Million in Ohio Diesel Engine Plant
DMAX Ltd., which is 60% owned by General Motors and 40% owned by Isuzu, plans on investing $60 million in its Ohio Diesel Engine plant which will help retain approximately 500 jobs in the process. The investment will go towards design changes that are necessary to meet the future emission requirements that are much stricter than they have been in the past. Since being established in 1998, DMAX has produced over 1.6 million engines which include the Duramax diesel for heavy-duty trucks. DMAX Ltd. has invested over $760 million into the DMAX
FRESH TRACKS facility since 2000, and it is home to the current Duramax 6.6L Turbo Diesel engine that is used in both the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra. DMAX president and COO Maho Mitsuya had been quoted as saying “The Duramax diesel’s performance is renowned in the industry, and these updates to improve our emissions will make it that much better.”
Future Tundra Could Offer a Cummins Diesel Engine
A report from WardsAuto has stated that the Toyota Tundra will offer a 5.0L turbodiesel V8 Cummins engine when the next generation debuts in 2016. A similar version of the Cummins 5.0L V8 will be found in the next generation Nissan Titan, although it is unclear just how much the Tundra engine will differ from the Titan engine, but it is believed that it will produce more than the 300 horsepower and 500 lb-ft. of torque found in the Nissan truck. The same WardsAuto report suggested that the Cummins diesel could only just be a placeholder as it is believed Toyota has been working on an in-house diesel engine for the Tundra since 2007 or 2008. The Tundra won’t be the only light-duty diesel pickup available on the market, as the diesel version of the Nissan Titan gets released next year, and the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is already making hay being introduced for the 2014 model year.
Ford Reveals Updated 2015 Expedition with EcoBoost Engine
Ford has recently unveiled the refreshed 2015 Ford Expedition, which will feature the ever popular 3.5L V6 EcoBoost engine as well as a variety of technology and safety features. This will be the first major rework of the Expedition, which originally debuted in 1996, since 2007. The Expedition is Ford’s largest utility vehicle and is offered in two different versions, both of which seat 8 passengers. The first is the standard 119-inch wheelbase and the second version sits on
a 131-inch wheelbase and features 130.8 cubic feet of cargo space, which is up more than 22 cubic feet over the smaller version. As mentioned before, the 3.5L V6 replaces the outgoing 5.4L V8 and is designed to be more efficient than its predecessor, but still has more power and torque on demand at very low engine speeds. Additionally, the new Expedition will feature popular technology upgrades like SYNC with MyFordTouch, as well as a variety of driver-assist safety features like Blind Spot Information with cross traffic alert.
New Brabus 800 iBusiness Showcases Incredible Technology and Connectivity
The Brabus 800 iBusiness made its world debut recently at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, and with its combination of sheer power and technology, it is sure to turn some heads in the automotive industry.
Brabus 800 iBusiness Trucks Plus
APR / MAY 2014
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FRESH TRACKS The Brabus 800 is based on the Mercedes G 65 and features an 800-horsepower 6.0L V12 biturbo engine under the hood which powers it from 0-100 km/h in just 4.2 seconds, with a top speed of 270 km/h. Inside, though, is where the 800 iBusiness is most impressive, as it boasts a built-in Apple Mini computer, a 15.6-inch LCD monitor, iPad and iPod chargers, and an Apple TV module. The Brabus will feature Wi-Fi internet thanks to an integrated high-speed modem and WLAN which will allow you to stay connected to the world, no matter where you are. The rear bench seats of the Mercedes have been replaced by individual seats with a centre console between them, which features a refrigerator in the upper section, and there are also folding swiveling tables for each rear seat.
with somewhat of a resurgence in the midsize pickup segment, has led to discussions within VW. It is not yet known if this means they would possibly resize the next-generation Amarok to better fit North America, or if they would consider developing a whole new model, but either way, just the possibility of it is enough to excite people.
General Motors Considering Using Aluminum Body Fullsize Pickups
Volkswagen Pickup Possibly Coming to North America According to a report from Autoblog, Volkswagen is considering re-entering the North American pickup truck market for the first time since the 1980s. VW is apparently watching with a keen eye as to how the new General Motors midsize pickup models perform in this market,
Fordâ€™s use of aluminum in the brand new 2015 Ford F-150 is considered to be a game changer so much so that it has General Motors reportedly changing its fullsize pickup strategy to include aluminum bodies, according to The Wall Street Journal. GM originally explored the idea of using aluminum back in 2008, but ditched the idea due to cost concerns. Switching to aluminum frames has allowed Ford to shave roughly 700 pounds off the curb weight, which will, in turn, help improve efficiency. The same report in The Wall Street Journal says that GM has locked in partnerships with Alcoa Inc. and Novelis Inc. which are both companies that will supply the aluminum to be used in the next-generation Silverado and Sierra. The next-gen GM pickups arenâ€™t due to arrive until late 2018, which has given Ford a huge head start. which in turn will help the German automaker decide whether or not to introduce a truck on our side of the pond. In 2009, Volkswagen introduced the Amarok midsize pickup, and back then, there was some discussion about possibly bringing it to North America. Obviously, in the end, they decided against it, and since then the Amarok has been very successful in other parts of the world. That success, along
2015 GMC Yukon Trucks Plus
APR / MAY 2014
Re-Designed 2015 GMC Yukon Makes Canadian Debut
The completely redesigned 2015 GMC Yukon made its Canadian debut recently at the 2014 Montreal International Auto Show and will now feature the new family of EcoTec3 engines which are expected
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FRESH TRACKS to deliver the segment’s best V8 fuel economy. In addition to the new engines, the new Yukon will boast a combination of bold styling and advanced technologies, all to help broaden the appeal of one of the industry’s most popular SUV lines. Two of the three EcoTec3 engines will be available in the Yukon, with the 5.3L V8 coming standard on Yukon and Yukon XL models, while the Denali versions come with the larger 6.2L V8 and is expected to deliver the segment’s best horsepower and torque numbers. Both engines will be paired to a Hyrda-Matic 6L80 six-speed automatic transmission. Some other notable features that will be included in the new SUV are fold-flat second- and third-row seats to enhance cargo capability, a standard 8-inch colour touchscreen radio, and multiple USB ports, SD slots and accessory power outlets, just to name a few.
Lingenfelter Reaper Package Gets Chevy 1500s Ready to Take on Ford Raptors
Lingenfelter Performance Engineering and Southern Comfort Automotive have teamed up to create The Reaper, which is a package that provides the 2014 Chevy Silverado 1500 with rugged, muscular style and serious off-road performance capabilities. Firstly, a Magnuson Supercharger system bumps up the 5.3L V8 to 475 horsepower and the 6.2L goes from stock 420 horsepower to 550. Also included, to make sure you hear the aggressive growl of the V8, is a CORSA performance exhaust system. A 3-inch suspension enhancement is next and is combined with Fox Racing 3.0 factory series shocks and remote reservoirs that have been tuned to provide 9.2-inches of travel in the front and 11.2-inches in the rear. The truck sits on optional 17-inch beadlock wheels with General Grabber AT tires which are shielded by wide body fender flares. The front end receives a new bumper that features an aggressive line and adds 8 extra inches of clearance in the front. Additionally, two 10-inch light bars are integrated in the bumper, and the six daytime running lights provide style during the day while illuminating the road or trail at night.
Toyota Adds the X-Runner to the 2014 Tacoma Pickup Line
Toyota recently unveiled the newest addition to the Tacoma lineup, the X-Runner, at the 2014 Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto, Ontario. The X-Runner combines sporty performance with head-turning style and features a 4.0L V6 engine that delivers 236 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque through a close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission. An X-Brace reinforced frame and a lowered, sport-tuned suspension deliver responsive feedback and firm handling while sitting on 18-inch alloy wheels with summer radials. The Access cab design of the X-Runner seats four with the sporty front seats clad in water-repellant fabric, while the rear seats are able to quickly fold away in order to gain more cargo room. The cabin features a sliding rear window as well as many other great convenience and style features such as keyless entry, a backup camera, and cruise control. The bed of the X-Runner is a 6-foot double-walled design that has a removable tailgate, tie down points, and a 400-watt, 120volt power outlet.
Lingenfelter Reaper Package 10 Trucks Plus
APR / MAY 2014
Towing with the 2015 GM HD Pickups
Story and photos by Howard J Elmer, additional photos courtesy of GM Canada
eneral Motors brought its 2015 HD pickup trucks out to Arizona to show off the newest refinements it’s made. The obvious update is the interiors. In fact, most talk among auto scribes centred on how good the new cabin aesthetics are – and how bad the old ones were. And yes, comfort matters, but if you discuss towing with truck owners, they’ll tell you what’s important to them and that list rarely starts with the quality of the seat covers. That discussion is much more likely to touch on weight limits, quality of hitches, convenience of bed accessories, lighting hookups and, of course, the power of the engine. What usually does not come
up – at least not in the first minute of a conversation - is that what’s really important in towing is the “feeling” the truck leaves with the owner. Maybe this is because truckers tend to be a practical lot, or maybe it’s because defining the feeling a truck imparts is maybe a little too touchy/feely; whatever it is, I’ll personally go out on a limb and state right up front that the driving feel of a truck is my number one concern. To boil that feeling down further, to one word, what I want when towing is a feeling of confidence. I know that’s what RVers want. And while I also know that those who tow recreational vehicles don’t tow as often as someone working with a truck everyday; they do tow for longer distances in a single haul. White-knuckling it for days at a time is not my idea of fun, as I’m sure it’s not yours, so feeling relaxed
GMC Sierra Denali HD 12 Trucks Plus
APR / MAY 2014
NEW WHEELS Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD
and having that feeling of confidence in the road manners of your rig is very, very important. These were among my thoughts, (competing with the howl of the diesel turbo) as I towed 10,000 pounds up a six-percent grade in Arizona recently. That six-kilometre climb gave me lots of time to consider what that feeling of confidence entails, a feature that really manifested itself as I crested the ridge and began the four-kilometre downhill leg of my drive route. Up the hill, the Silverado pulled confidently in tow-haul mode, with the cruise set at 90 km/h. It’s when I dropped over the peak that the newest GM HD innovation took control. On the 2015, the cruise
A Chevrolet Silverado HD rides alongside one of its cheif competitors control computer is also integrated with the exhaust brake, transmission shifter and trailer sway control. What’s that all mean? Net result – down that seven-percent grade, the truck did not pick up speed, the brakes did not come on, and it never upshifted; all I did was steer. So, don’t all HDs do this? Straight up, no. Both Ford and Ram have all the same systems, but they require manual interaction to keep from over-speeding downhill. GM is the first to pull all these systems together and have the computer take care of it all. And, this is what inspires confidence – the speedometer didn’t budge off 90 km/h even with all that weight pushing the truck downhill.
Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD 14 Trucks Plus
APR / MAY 2014
NEW WHEELS This is just one of the newest features on the 2015 GM HD twins, a truck that was all new in 2011, and now has been refined even further. I mention this because the Silverado HD 3500 dually was voted the 2013 Canadian Truck King Challenge winner. This past year, though, Ram took that HD crown, but just barely. The deciding factor between the two was the poor dated interior of the GM â€“ a situation that has now been rectified. Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD
So, for those who tow (which is over 80 percent of HD buyers) here are the updated features of the 2015 Silverado HD. Payload and towing capabilities have increased to a max payload of 7,374 lb, the current best for any HD pickup. Max conventional towing is 19,600 lb with the available factory hitch, also now best in class. Max fifth-wheel towing is 23,200 lb, up from 22,500 lb. Not best in class.
16 Trucks Plus
APR / MAY 2014
GMC Sierra 2500HD Denali
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NEW WHEELS Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD
For fleets, a new 6.0-litre bi-fuel V8 is available. It can run on gas or compressed natural gas. It’s available on regular-cab, crew-cab and new double-cab Silverado 2500 and 3500 models. StabiliTrak with Trailer Sway Control is standard on all models including 3500 duallys. If you’ve seen the newest 2014 GM half-tons, then you’ll know how decent the new cabs and interiors are, as that’s where they came from. The truck’s electronics are also all-new and now include Chevrolet MyLink, which creates anywhere connectivity for work or family with simple, intuitive controls.
The new exterior styling has also enhanced cooling air flow, letting the 6.6-litre Duramax turbo diesel and 6.0-litre Vortec V8 maintain more power, even under heavy loads and high outside temperatures. That integrated cruise control, Auto Grade Braking and Diesel Exhaust Braking, I found so impressive.
Another great feature that has migrated from the half-tons are new 6.5- and 8-foot boxes with standard CornerStep bumpers, EZ Lift tailgates, new tiedowns and under rail lighting.. The base 2015 regular cab 2500 Silverado will start at $38,270 in Canada and walk through 83 different versions to the top-of-the-line 3500 Silverado crew-cab DRW long-box LZ at $60,055. If you’re a GMC fan, the same trucks are also available dressed in its unique body panels including the luxurious Denali 3500 version topping out at $68,645. Orders are being taken now. GMC Sierra 2500HD
18 Trucks Plus
APR / MAY 2014
Luxury Meets Versatility
The 2014 Range Rover Supercharged Story and photos by Russell Purcell
he Canadian dollar is sinking as the North American economy continues to struggle, and the price of fuel continues to spiral out of control with no apparent ceiling, yet consumers still have the desire to put large, luxurious sport utility vehicles in their garages. Affluent buyers are drawn to these rolling monsters due to the fact that they can haul a tremendous amount of cargo and provide a comfortable environment for passengers. Add to this the all-weather capabilities that come with four-wheel drive and you have the perfect rig for shuttling the family and friends to the cottage or ski hill. The Land Rover Range Rover is one of the most sought-after SUVs in this segment due to its iconic looks, prodigious power, and offroad prowess. Model year 2014 brings us the fourth generation of this iconic vehicle, and although it derives much of its styling from that of previous iterations, there has been a significant number of updates. At first glance you will immediately recognize the 2014 model as being a Range Rover. The basic profile of the vehicle is unchanged, but styling front and rear has been brought into the 21st century with the addition of modern lighting elements and subtle tweaks to improve aerodynamics. Under the aluminum hood of the Range Rover SC you will find a 5.0litre V8 engine fitted with a robust supercharger. This marvellous mill produces 510 horsepower and 461 pound-feet of torque at relatively low rpm. Mated to a ZF-engineered, eight-speed automatic transmission, this potent pairing helps the Range Rover SC accelerate from 0-100 kilometres per hour in a scant 5.4 seconds. While big power and blistering speed have their appeal, buyers of luxury class SUVs are also looking for refinement. As a result, Land 20 Trucks Plus
APR / MAY 2014
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Rover’s engineering team has worked hard to reduce noise and harshness within the engine and the gearbox. When driven in a civil manner, the Range Rover SC is a smooth operator. As an added bonus, the engine has been engineered to use less fuel and there has been a significant reduction in harmful CO2 emissions. It also now incorporates start / stop technology.
The Baja STZ™ offers excellent steering response, superior grip, and great all-weather traction making it the perfect choice for work, play, or sportsman applications.
It also has an aggressive tread design, variable density nylon over wraps, serrated tie bars, and shoulder scallops, and strategic siping for improved stability, long wear, and traction in wet or icy conditions.
The design team at Land Rover sought to reduce the Range Rover’s weight as it is the most effective way to improve the fuel efficiency of the vehicle. As a result, the latest Range Rovers now feature an advanced, all-aluminum structure that is immensely strong and weight efficient, but it has also been engineered to withstand the punishing impacts of extreme conditions both on and off-road. The body is a monocoque design which has been optimized to maintain structural integrity, increase stiffness, and enhance passenger safety. The inherent stiffness of the body and chassis helps bless the Range Rover with dynamic handling. In fact, I found that the vehicle performs like a much smaller sports sedan when the pavement gets twisty.
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The electronic steering is responsive and precise, and the vehicle reacted very efficiently to all my inputs as the driver. The centre of gravity is low enough that there is very little body roll when cornering, and the oversized performance tires do an excellent job of adhering to the asphalt. Unfortunately, these same tires hamper ride quality a little due to their low-profile design. There are few vehicles on earth that can match the four-wheel drive capabilities of the Range Rover, so when the pavement ends, or road conditions take a turn for the worse, you can be secure in the knowledge that you have a good chance of making it to your destination.
NEW WHEELS A large part of the appeal of owning a Range Rover is the impressive look, feel and quality of the vehicle’s passenger compartment. The seats are firm and wrapped in fine leather, and attractive lacquered wood trim is used to class up the cabin. Fit and finish is impeccable, and all materials feel pleasant to the touch and appeal to the eye. Outward visibility is excellent due to the tall seating position and extended windows, but you will definitely learn to appreciate the large side mirrors and front and rear parking sensors.
Land Rover’s well-sorted and proven permanent four-wheel drive system has a 50/50 torque split and a two-speed transfer box for high and low range options. It is supported by the company’s latest version of its Terrain Response system (Terrain Response2), which now features an automatic setting to simplify its operation.
While the Range Rover is impressive in size it only offers seating for five. The front bucket seats feature folding armrests which help to hold you in place during aggressive cornering manoeuvres or off-road hijinks. I found the rear seating area comfortable enough for my large frame and big feet, and a flip-down centre armrest acts as an effective divider when transporting two adults or troublesome teenagers. The Range Rover SC can carry 32.1 cu. ft. (909 L) of cargo with all seats in place, and up to 71.7 cu. ft. (2,030 L) with the rear seats folded. Access to the cargo compartment is by way of a split gate design. A rather narrow tailgate folds flat to make a nice bench,
This innovative technology continuously monitors driving conditions and automatically adapts and optimizes vehicle settings - engine, transmission, centre differential, suspension and traction control - to best suit the ground surface. The driver is also able to manually select the system settings by using the console-mounted dial. There are five individual settings designed to help the vehicle tackle driving on slippery surfaces (such as grass, gravel, or snow), through mud and deep ruts, and over sand. The system even features a setting for crawling over rocks. As part of the revamp, the Range Rover’s suspension has been revised to offer more wheel travel. By using the vehicle’s air suspension setup the operator has the handy ability to quickly increase ground clearance to a maximum of 11.9 inches. The interior layout seems familiar, but most of the trim, switches and equipment have been updated to give the Range Rover some modern flair. The cockpit and cabin are well designed, and I found that most controls, dials, and instruments were within easy reach of the driver or intended operator. I say most, because the placement of the window switches makes no sense at all, as they reside atop the interior door panel opposite the side mirror. At 6-foot-two inches tall, I still had to lean forward to operate them. Add to this the fact that in rainy Vancouver, these switches will be drenched by water droplets whenever the window is opened. I can only imagine what effect this will have to the longevity of the electronics.
while the power operated upswing hatch will provide shelter from inclement weather. The folks at Land Rover were smart to make the fourth generation Range Rover evolutionary rather than revolutionary, as the vehicle has established itself a rather large fan base over the last 45 years. Apparently, the new model has had an immediate impact on sales as it is more efficient and luxurious than its predecessor, and has been outfitted with a host of new tech and safety goodies to help stave off competition from the growing contingent of rivals from both Germany and Japan.
SPECIFICATIONS: Base price (MSRP): ...................................................... $114,990 Price as tested: .............................................................$126,095 Type of vehicle: ..........................4WD, front-engine, luxury SUV. Engine: . ......................................5.0L, supercharged, DOHC V8 Power: .........................................................510 hp @ 6,000 rpm Torque: ......................................................461 lb-ft @ 2,500 rpm Transmission: . ........................................................8-speed auto Brakes: ................................................Four-wheel disc with ABS Fuel efficiency (L/100km): . ...........................City 16.2; Hwy 10.4
APR / maY 2014
Trucks Plus 23
OFF-ROAD TIRE GUIDE Heck, that’s why I, like many others in this great big tire industry, have a job. The truth is that there are so many tires out there, it’s downright overwhelming at times. Especially when it comes to choosing offroad tires. And that’s what people like me are here to help you do. We’re not here to help you find the perfect off-road tire, we’re here to help you find the perfect offroad tire for you. See, there are those two important words again. And they do make all the difference. Every person out there has different needs when it comes to their off-road tires. And there are so many factors that go into finding that perfect tire for each one of them. Driving style, driving habits, vehicle choice, road conditions, climate and even budget. These are all things to consider when trying to find that one ‘perfect for you’ off-road tire. Obviously, if you’re a more experienced and aggressive off-roader who likes to take your custom-built crawler to its limits, you’ll need a more aggressive tire than the person next to you at the red light in their bone-stock Jeep Grand Cherokee who also enjoys a spirited excursion but also needs tires that will work decently on the street and be affordable so that they can still pay for their kids’ Tae Kwon Do lessons. These two people just have different needs when it comes to choosing what off-road tires they put on their trucks. The same way they had different needs when it came to choosing what trucks they put those off-road tires on.
The Holy Grail... of Tires? Story by Arch Linsao, photos courtesy of the manufacturers
oes it actually exist? The one tire that we are ALL searching for? The one tire that does everything that everyone wants and needs it to do? The ‘holy grail’ of tires? Well I hate to shatter your hopes and dreams... but it doesn’t. Unfortunately the ‘holy grail’ of tires is nothing but a myth. An urban legend, even. And as much as many people out there think they’ve found the perfect tire, and try to sell you on it, well, they’re wrong. It just doesn’t exist. Just think about it... you’ve probably heard friends, or friends of friends, say they’ve found it. You may hear other car enthusiasts or forum trolls say they’ve found it. Now, have you ever heard a tire expert, or even your trustworthy mechanic or ‘tire guy,’ say that they’ve found the perfect tire? Probably not. What you have likely heard them say is that they’ve found the perfect tire for you. Those last two words make all the difference. Really, if you think about it, it makes total sense. If there was, in fact, one single tire that was deemed as ‘perfect’ and as the ‘holy grail’ of tires... to put it simply, there’d be only one tire out there. Basically, if one tire is considered to be the best at everything, there is simply no need for any other tire to exist. But we all know that’s not the case.
In many cases, our lifestyle plays the biggest role in deciding what truck we drive. And that, in turn, plays a big role in what off-road tires we put on that truck. Whether it be a competition rig or a daily driver, there will always be a perfect tire for you. But it won’t always be the perfect tire for the person in the truck next to you. Just keep that in mind when you’re reading up on off-road tire reviews, trolling car forums to see what everyone else is buying, and asking people you know what they’ve got. Remember that their needs may be different than yours. And as perfect as their tires may be for them, they may not be as perfect for you. Really, choosing off-road tires is just like choosing an off-road vehicle. Or any vehicle for that matter. There isn’t one perfect car out there. It just doesn’t exist. If there was, everyone would have it and there would be no need for any other car to exist. We’d all have the same car. And if that was the case, there wouldn’t be any reason for three automotive journalists from the UK on a show called Top Gear to ramble on and argue with each other for 21 seasons about what they each consider to be the perfect car or truck. Now that would be a sad world and I’d hate to live in it. And on that bombshell...
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APR / MAY 2014
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OFF-ROAD TIRE GUIDE Featured: Dueler A/T Revo 2 (Eco) Tough road conditions are easy to handle when you’re riding on Dueler A/T REVO 2 tires. With its balanced tread design, this tire helps to deliver great performance as well as a quiet and smooth ride - an impressive feat for a tire with considerable all-terrain capability. Bridgestone, using the philosophy of continuous improvement, is constantly making its great tires even better, including improving environmental performance. The Eco-Products designation shows this tire has the following characteristics: Improved rolling resistance, which helps increase fuel efficiency and reduce vehicle emissions, longer-lasting tread, which increases tire life and conserves resources, and environmentally conscious materials, such as non-aromatic oil and recycled materials. Featured: Discoverer A/T 3 The Discoverer A/T3 utilizes a balanced combination of technology, compounding and design to produce a tire that will perform well in nearly all types of terrains. The tread compound enhances wet traction and reduces rolling resistance, while the aggressive tread design significantly improves off-road traction without sacrificing highway performance. The A/T3 tread pattern exploits a combination of features specifically suited to provide solid all-terrain performance, superior all-season traction, excellent stability, confident handling and reliable tread wear. The silica-enriched tread compound has lower rolling resistance than traditional full carbon black tread compounds. The dual draft angles on the tread element walls and the lateral groove protectors aid in reducing stone retention, stone drilling and assist in cut and chip resistance. All traction...all terrain..all the time! Featured: Fun Country
The Fun Country was developed using a unique combination of design elements, technology and engineering to deliver excellent off-road traction, a quieter ride and superior durability for today’s light trucks and 4x4s. It features wide lateral and offset tread grooves together with the larger surface area to deliver excellent grip and responsive off-road traction. Stone ejector ribs and ultra-thin sipes resist stone retention and cracking. Notched shoulder edges, scalloped ribs and an enhanced buttress design maximize off-road traction and prevent lug tearing. A new compound offers improved cut and chip protection while the deep, aggressive and multi-dimensional sidebiters add extra grip and protection. Featured: Radial Mud Rover
The Radial Mud Rover’s lug pattern delivers maximum forward and side grip for outstanding off-road traction. Its excellent lateral grip and stability and directional control in both on and off-road conditions is a result of its centre tread lugs bars and alternating shoulder lug scallops. For superb overall tire toughness, Dunlop uses six full plies under the tread and a high ply turn-up. The wide, open shoulder design of the tread offers excellent self-cleaning ability. Featured: Grabber
Born from competition, the new Grabber has been developed by the most skilled engineers and tested by the best off-road racers including Carl Renezeder and BJ Baldwin. It features a race-proven 3-ply construction, multi-angle sidewall protectors, and sound wave suppression technology. All while providing deceptively high levels of traction in mud, silt and even in the world’s most extreme conditions through the use of its Patented Strake and Chamfer tread pattern. The Reactive Contour Technology delivers even tread wear throughout the life of the tire. Featured: Wrangler DuraTrac
The DuraTrac is a hard-working, versatile tire offering both on and off road traction. TractiveGroove Technology delivers enhanced traction in deep mud and snow while self-cleaning shoulder blocks help provide enhanced traction in dirt, gravel and mud. The highly angled centre tread blocks offer lateral stability while reducing road noise, and for even more enhanced traction in winter driving conditions, the tire is pinned for metal studs. 26 Trucks Plus
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OFF-ROAD TIRE GUIDE Featured: Dynapro MT RT03
With superior pulling capacity and thrust power as well as improved flat-resistant quality, this tire is ideal for rugged cars, boasting the most powerful and safest driving performance in normal or even the harshest road conditions. Its aggressive and tough tread design give the traction and power to go anywhere. The wide tread footprint has been enlarged by 7-8 % compared to competitors, to resist uneven wear and provide grip and acceleration under all road conditions. The ZigZag shoulder lugs and open and wide grooves also increase off-road traction as well as aid in self-cleaning. Featured: SS-M16
The Interco SS-M16 is a tire for all seasons. Several design features have been taken from Intercoâ€™s best-performing all-terrain and mud terrain tires. The SS-M16 is highway friendly and very quiet for a tire that has such good off road performance. It is an excellent tire that bridges the gap between the all-terrain and very aggressive off-road tires and has a rugged design that will enhance the appearance of any vehicle.
Featured: Road Venture AT KL78
The Road Venture KL78 provide drivers of pickups, SUVs and on/off-road vehicles with versatility that will get you going in all conditions. The cut-and-chip-resistant compound is molded into a symmetric pattern with full-depth circumferential zigzag grooves along with multiple lateral grooves. All these biting edges add to the edge effect for improved traction in wet, dry and wintery conditions as well as in snow. The Road Venture KL78 is right at home during those off-road excursions and the tapered tread block design promotes self-cleaning of mud, gravel or snow. The size offering ranges from P-metric to LT-metric and includes large diameter flotation sizes for off-road enthusiasts. Featured: Maxtrek Mud Trac M/T
The idea of rolling over mud is how the name of this tire originated. The tread is enhanced by huge tread lugs and deepened grooves. A special silica technology is applied to prolong tread life and provide superior wet traction. This tire features a terrain-sensitive deformation technology that allows the tire to run safely in bad terrain, tread-over sidewall design for penetration resistance, double overwrap layers and a heavy 3-ply sidewall design for strength and crisp handling and high speed performance. Featured: M8090 Creepy Crawler
With its super-sticky tread, the Creepy Crawler is the right tire for any rock climbing challenge. Armored by a rugged, square-profile sidewall and aggressive tread pattern, the Creepy Crawler is specially developed for durability, with claw-like traction on uneven terrain. Its heavy-duty bias construction provides lasting performance, while the rugged tread pattern provides agile and controlled steering for competition rock crawling. Its unique multi-edged knob design and arrangement of sipes enhance traction on rock surfaces, while the super-soft extra sticky tread compound provides improved grip. Featured: Deegan 38
The new Deegan 38 tire from Mickey Thompson, designed in cooperation with racing icon Brian Deegan, is the ultimate all-purpose mud terrain tire with aggressive style and performance and great street manners, too. Load up your toys or hitch up your toy hauler and the Deegan 38 will get you there in epic style with the confidence youâ€™d expect from Mickey Thompson and Brian Deegan. The tire features wide outer voids for self-cleaning ability and aggressive looks, tight inner void sections for reduced noise and greater contact area, and generous siping to add all-season performance and allowing lugs to better conform to surface. APR / maY 2014
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OFF-ROAD TIRE GUIDE Featured: Roadian MT
Mud has met its match! The Roadian MT is specifically engineered with deep grooves to combat the demands of mud and rougher terrain. Expressly designed shoulders and a super rigid tread block design maximize load durability and low weight. Zig-zag shoulder blocks matched with optimized wide grooves accomplish outstanding driving power, excellent water drainage and anti-hydroplaning performance on and off roads - wet or dry. Featured: Mud Grappler
The Mud Grappler Extreme Terrain provides off-road traction over various terrain, whether it’s dirt, rocks or mud. The massive side-lugs and 3-ply polyester sidewall construction add more protection to help prevent sidewall punctures when facing the most challenging off-road obstacles. The Mud Grappler Extreme Terrain tire can handle anything you throw at it. Off-road traction is achieved through the high void ratio which efficiently clears mud and dirt from the tread area and the highly engineered design of the tire gives it improved stability and uniformity. Featured: Rocker XOR LT Radial
Now our most popular extreme off-road tire has been...ah...slightly tamed for your daily driver. If you want a super tough Radial tire that will work in almost any terrain - that will offer exceptional looks and ridability - then the Extreme Off-Road Radial is for you. The tire’s enhanced stability and lateral traction is attributed to the stepped lugs, circumferential grooves and large tread blocks. Its extreme durability is a result of the chip- and tear-resistant rubber compound and the unique ‘Tear It Up’ Technology. The Rocker XOR LT also features ‘Over-the-shoulder’ Lugs and Sidewall which adds extra strength and traction to the shoulder and sidewall areas of the tire. Featured: Xtreme M/T 2
The Pro Comp Radial Xtreme M/T 2 is one of the most advanced tires on and off the road - period. Each size features Tri-Ply construction for greater puncture resistance in the sidewall, while two steel belts and a spiral-wound nylon overwrap provide superior stability and load-carrying ability at highway speeds. This ultra-modern mud tire features a unique tread compound that is coupled with silica, which enhances its ability to navigate anything from wet roads to slick rock to deep mud. The Pro Comp Xtreme M/T 2 continues to set the performance standard required for today’s modern 4x4’s. Featured: Open Country A/T II Xtreme
The all-terrain Open Country A/T II Xtreme light truck tire is designed to perform great in a variety of conditions. The “XTREME” series of Open Country A/T II light truck tires give you all the traction you need with more durability and longevity than the competition. Open Country A/T II Xtreme sizes feature a deep scalloped shoulder and heavy-duty construction for a rugged and aggressive look as well as added durability for those Xtreme conditions! Featured: Geolandar M/T+
There is no room for compromise when you’re out in Mother Nature, and the Geolandar M/T+ won’t offer any. On the worst terrain, in mud, in sand, on the rocks, it eats dirt for breakfast and keeps on trucking. Its progressive powerful shoulder gives tougher protection and wilder looks. The upper and lower protection bars are two new bodyguards to protect the sidewalls. The tire’s improved traction is a result of Twin-Cut Groove Boosts, 32-degree angle directional pattern and a wide double-step centre groove. 28 Trucks Plus
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Diesel Option 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel 4x4
Story by Jordan Allan, photos courtesy of Jeep Canada
hen looking at buying one of the many mid-size or large SUVs on the market, the downside of that type of vehicle surely has to be the fuel economy. Other than a few examples, there isnâ€™t much in the way of hybrid choices in this class, and the same can be said for diesel options except for the VW Touareg TDI and some other high-end German SUVs. Jeep is now joining that exclusive group by offering the refreshed 2014 Grand Cherokee with the same VM Motori-made 3.0-litre turbodiesel V6 engine offered in the Ram 1500. The new engine complements the ruggedness and sheer size of the Grand Cherokee by offering excellent fuel economy, while still generating more-than adequate power. The Grand Cherokee entered its current generation for the 2011 model year, and received a refresh for 2014. On the exterior styling side of things, it now features slimmer headlights and a shorter upper grille that really gives it an even bolder look, while still maintaining ground clearance. Another feature that is a first for 2014 is front and rear LED lighting. The bi-xenon HID headlamps now feature outlining LED lights on the Overland, Summit and SRT models, and the same is an option on the Limited model. The rear LED taillights are now larger and help improve the look of the back end along with a more aerodynamic spoiler and a re-sculpted tailgate. The interior of our Summit test model was nothing short of spectacular. First of all, the 8.4-inch touchscreen with the Uconnect system and navigation makes doing just about anything very easy. The rest of the controls surrounding the screen are laid out well, and donâ€™t overwhelm you like some of its competitors. A seven-inch multi-view display between the tachometer and temperature and gas gauges 30 Trucks Plus
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displays the speedometer while allowing you to decide what else you want to display. Options include the navigation system, Selec-Terrain System, the Quadra-Lift suspension system and more. The Grand Cherokee provides seating for up to five adults comfortably and features more safety and technology features than you can shake a stick at, such as rear back-up camera, blind-spot monitoring, and stability control, just to name a few. The 3.0L EcoDiesel V6 engine is all-new and available for Overland and Summit models only. While its 240 horsepower may not blow you away, it is more than adequate and is certainly made up for in part by a whopping best-in-class 420 lb-ft of torque. The new engine is paired to an also-new eight-speed automatic transmission which will enhance acceleration while reducing fuel consumption, leading to numbers of 9.8L/100 km in the city and 7.0L/100 km on the highway, respectable numbers for a vehicle in this segment.
During my week testing the Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel, I found myself very impressed each and every time I got behind the wheel. Right from the moment you start it up, you can definitely hear the diesel and the same can be said when driving or accelerating at high speeds. While this may be a turn-off for some, I for one loved it, especially since the days of loud, black smoke-blowing diesels are mostly behind us. The 420 lb-ft of torque made highway driving almost fun and will throw you back into your seat in heavy acceleration, making highway passes a breeze. The Quadra-Lift air suspension system provides height control to the vehicle and really adds to the idea that you could literally take this GC anywhere. It has the ability to lift the vehicle 4.1-inches from
park mode by using four-corner air springs that provide a cushiony, premium ride. The system works automatically, but has the option to be controlled manually by the console controls and provides a maximum ground clearance of 10.7-inches. Another plus for the go anywhere crowd is that the Trail Rated Quadra Drive II 4x4 system provides best-in-class 4x4 capability while still maintaining its outstanding fuel economy numbers. Additionally the Selec-Terrain option allows users to choose between Auto, Snow, Sand, Mud and Rock settings, which will allow you to keep traction on those surfaces by electronically coordinating up to twelve different powertrain, braking, and suspension systems. Pricing for any Grand Cherokee with the EcoDiesel option is north of $60,000, which is a fairly hefty price tag, but justifiable when you consider that it is one of the most versatile vehicles on the market today. It is a large, luxurious SUV that has comfortable seating for five, a smooth ride when on the road, enough room for all your camping gear, best-in-class 4x4 capability, air suspension and, to top it all off, excellent fuel economy. Even with that dollar figure, it wonâ€™t be a surprise to see the Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel build on the success the Grand Cherokee line already enjoys. 32 Trucks Plus
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New Jeep Unveiled in Geneva
Story by Howard J Elmer, photos courtesy of Jeep
t’s a new Jeep, with a new name. Renegade. And they are showing it for the first time in Geneva? That’s the puzzler at first glance, but a closer inspection will reveal all. Renegade – a name that evokes wild, rebel behaviour (and is also quintessentially American sounding) - is tacked onto an allnew Jeep body, but this export, like the hamburger, is directed at conquering overseas markets. Yes, Switzerland is probably an appropriate starting point for this 4WD personification of U.S.A. ruggedness because Europe, and especially China, is where this Jeep will find itself. And, its WWII-inspired legacy in those markets is just as important as its actual performance. The 2015 Jeep Renegade is branded “a small SUV” and it’s the first time Jeep has built one of those. And while small, the body is purposely designed with a high wheel-to-body size ratio making the look aggressive. Meanwhile, the brick-like shape is anchored with the classic and instantly recognizable Jeep grille and headlights. This architecture will carry the Jeep heritage while appealing to youthful and adventurous customers – that’s what Jeep says. And, having seen it, I suspect they will sell a pile to offshore buyers. And while it was designed in the States, there is definitely some Fiat influence in there. And that’s fine for the rest of the world, less so for the home market where we have a slightly different expectation of a Jeep product. So with the global market uppermost in Jeep’s mind (potentially available in 100 countries), this Renegade will carry 16 different powertrain combinations. The heavy emphasis will be on fuel economy and will also include the first nine-speed transmission in a small SUV. These engines and transmissions will be produced in the United States, Italy and Brazil. Of course the “small” in SUV is aimed at making transit in congested, ancient, European and Asian cities possible; however, APR / maY 2014
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NEW WHEELS This 16-valve I-4 is also flex-fuel compatible. The nine-speed automatic transmission will be coupled to this engine. Fuel numbers are not yet available for either combination, but based on the technology, weight and transmission choices, the consumption results should be impressive. For diesel fans, there is hope in the fact that Renegade will offer two small diesels in offshore markets. Perhaps they will immigrate in the future.
it’s still a Jeep, so the off-road element can’t be neglected, and it’s not. Two 4WD systems will be available, Jeep Active Drive – a fulltime 4x4 system, and Jeep Active Drive Low – also a full-time 4x4 system but with 20:1 crawl ratio included. Each system is controlled through the Jeep Selec-Terrain system. A rotary dial switches up five modes (Auto, Snow, Sand and Mud modes, plus exclusive Rock mode on the Trailhawk model) for the best 4WD performance on- or off-road. For our Canadian market, powertrain choices will be limited to two. The base motor will be a turbocharged 1.4-litre MultiAir I-4 making 160 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. The turbo will offer a broad torque curve with a peak pressure of 22 psi at 4,000 rpm. Also exclusive is a MultiAir valve-actuation technology that reduces carbon-dioxide emissions and boosts fuel-economy up to 7.5 percent compared to a conventional valvetrain. This engine will be available with a six-speed manual transmission – an option that is getting rarer. For more grunt, consider the universally available 2.4-litre MultiAir Tigershark engine, which will make 184 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque.
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Two other items of note are a disconnecting rear axle and power take-off unit (PTU) that will also increase fuel economy – this means the normal drive is from the front axle. The system instantly re-engages, though, when 4WD traction is needed. In keeping with the open-air Jeep experience, Renegade will also offer two “My Sky” roof systems. Removable roof panels are said to be lightweight fibreglass/polyurethane that will stow in the rear cargo area; a proper place to store those will be a nice new feature. The North American debut of the Renegade is set for the New York Auto Show in April, and perhaps at that time we will get more information on pricing and availability.
Most Fuel-Efficient Trucks
Story by Benjamin Yong, photos courtesy of the manufacturers
wning a truck once meant having to make a compromise between practicality and economy. Whether you needed a pickup for work or even just to haul gardening supplies on the weekend, having to pay up at the pump when it came time for a fill-up was inevitable. Luckily, with advances in engine design and consumer demand for more efficient technology, such is no longer the case. From Toyota’s four-cylinder Tacoma to Chrysler’s EcoDiesel V6, there is a range of offerings from several manufacturers that will accommodate almost any prospective buyer. Toyota Tacoma (Base MSRP: $22,350) Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) recently released its picks for 2014’s most fuel-efficient vehicles — as defined by NRCan as having the lowest estimated annual fuel use based on 20,000 kilometres driven with a mix of 55 per cent city/45 per cent highway — and topping the list in the small truck category is the Toyota Tacoma equipped with the 2.7-litre, four-cylinder and five-speed manual transmission. Available only in a rear-wheel drive layout with an automatic limited slip rear diff in this particular configuration — there are seven other models, some with a V6 option — NRCan fuel consumption numbers are a stellar 9.9 L/100 km in the city and 7.5 on the highway.
engines. The mid-size Nissan Frontier also comes in a base “S” trim four-cylinder format with a five-speed (King Cab configuration only), but has a slightly smaller 2.5-litre displacement. Horsepower and torque, 152 and 171 respectively, are a bit less than the Tacoma, while fuel consumption is a little higher at 10.8 L/100 km city and 8.6 highway. Towing capacity is virtually the same, rated at 1,588 kg. So is the length of the truck bed. If it isn’t already evident, the two vehicles mentioned so far are quite comparable, and it may come down to price and/or personal preference when making a decision between the two. New for the 2014 Frontier is the addition of standard Bluetooth and cruise control, while opting for the value package adds extras such as a manual sliding and locking rear window and larger 16-inch wheels and tires. The large hinged rear doors of the King Cab swing outwards to reveal seating for two adults in the back, and all models include Nissan’s advanced airbag system (dual-stage front airbags, side seat and roof-mounted curtain airbags with rollover sensor).
The four-cylinder makes 159 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque, in comparison to 236 hp and 266 lb-ft for the V6. Towing capacity for the thriftier Tacoma is 1,587 kilograms, about half that of the more powerful motor. Both seat four adults and feature a six-foot bed, six airbags as well as the Star Safety System comprised of anti-lock brakes, brake assist, electronic brake force distribution, vehicle stability control, active traction control and smart stop technology that reduces engine power when both the brake and accelerator pedals are depressed simultaneously. Nissan Frontier (Base MSRP: $20,998) Toyota isn’t the only nameplate turning out pickups with compact APR / maY 2014
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FEATURE Ram 1500 Diesel ($TBA) The only other truck in this article that received mention in NRCan’s best-of list is the Ram 1500 Diesel. The sole small-displacement diesel on the market for a half-ton, this is the vehicle for you if you need a full-size pickup for work just as much as you do for play. At its heart is a brand-new 3.0-litre turbocharged EcoDiesel six-cylinder engine generating 240 hp and a whopping 420 lb-ft of torque that is good for
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 ($25,540) Earlier this year, the redesigned Silverado won the coveted North American Truck of the Year Award, for the second time, voted on by an independent jury of automotive journalists in North America. Their criteria included innovation, comfort, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value for the dollar — something this Chevy knows a thing or two about. Although the base model comes in at a slightly higher price point than its Japanese counterparts, it’s arguably more useful being classified as full-size and having a V6 engine that can tow up to 3,265 kg — almost what the aforementioned two can manage combined. The smallest of a trio of new EcoTec3 naturally-aspirated motors, the 4.3litre Silverado 1500 still produces 285 hp and 305 lb-ft of torque paired with a standard Hydra-Matic six-speed automatic gearbox (no manual transmission is offered). Design features like continuously variable valve timing, lightweight aluminum block and cylinder head construction and the ability to switch to a four-cylinder operation mode under low loads allow the two-wheel drive Regular Cab model to achieve fuel economy numbers of 11.7 L/100 km during city driving and 8.4 L on the highway. Other notable improvements: roof and tailgate spoilers smooth airflow for reduced drag, inlaid doors cut down on wind noise, and the revised front end has better sealing for more efficient cooling.
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an amazing maximum towing capacity of up to 4,173 kg. A class-leading TorqueFlight eight-speed automatic transmission replaces the previous four-speed auto, and together, this powertrain helps the Ram get 10.2 L /100 km city, 7.1 highway. A host of gas-saving technology contributes to the impressive numbers, such as a stop-start system that turns off the engine during idling, pulse-width modulation that reduces parasitic electrical load taking pressure off the alternator, and a variable displacement compressor that automatically varies cabin temperature without constantly turning the air conditioning on or off, which can waste fuel. Regardless of the truck you pick to suit your lifestyle, be it a daily driver or weekend warrior, it’s nice to know that you can now save a few bucks and a little of the environment at the same time.
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Performance Oriented 2014 Audi SQ5
Story and photos by Gerry Frechette
ith the mid-size crossover becoming more and more popular, it’s no surprise that the manufacturers are filling different niches to appeal to as many people as they can. There have even been some ‘sporty’ models with engines well over 200 horsepower, but they weren’t overtly performance-oriented. Now, though, there are some models available from the premium brands that are complete performance packages, and it should not be surprising that the Germans are leading the way. One that we have tried out is the Audi SQ5, and this CUV is a bit of a sleeper. In its gorgeous Estoril blue crystal-effect paint and with the 19-inch wheels shod with winter tires instead of the optional 21-inch wheels the spec sheet says it would normally have, the understated SQ5 definitely flies under the radar, and if it wasn’t for the discreet “S” with the red square attached to the standard Q5 badges front and rear, along with some aggressive and exclusive trim items like four exhaust outlets,
you might not know that you are looking at one of the fastest and most capable crossovers on the road. In any case, it is under the skin where things get a bit more interesting. Powering the SQ5 is the 3.0-litre TFSI V6, whose supercharger helps generate 354 horsepower and 347 lb-ft of torque. Audi claims zero-to100 km/h in just 5.3 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h, and we believe it. This performance is even more impressive when you realize the SQ5 weighs some 2,000 kilograms, or over 4,400 pounds. Oddly, since we have seen photos of the car with a small ‘supercharged’ badge on the front fender, our tester had the ‘V6T’ badge, which usually means turbocharged. Delivering that power to, naturally, all four wheels is an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission (not the dual-clutch manumatic found elsewhere in Audi’s lineup) that snaps off quick shifts in ‘normal’ or ‘sport’ modes when left to its own devices, and can be shifted manually via the paddle shifters. A self-locking centre differential transfers the power to the wheels. Our wet winter week with the SQ5 was largely, and unfortunately, spent mostly in the urban environment of Greater Vancouver, so we didn’t get to stretch its legs much, or really attack any twisty roads, but the impression is one of a very quick and dynamic vehicle, given its tall body and not-inconsiderable weight. The latter must have contributed to the official NRCan city fuel efficiency rating of 13.2L / 100 km (8.5L on the highway), which we have to go with because, for the life of us, we couldn’t find a display in all the information available to the driver that showed actual fuel consumption. The ride with the higher sidewalls of the 19-inch winter tires was likely more comfortable than with the 21-inchers, but in any case, the driver can choose from among different vehicle settings with Drive Select. Comfort is the logical choice around town, but we tried Dynamic, too, and throttle response, shifting and steering all become noticeably crisper. In the case of the steering, that is welcome, as in the default setting, the electromechanical set-up feels a bit artificial and disconnected to the road for our tastes. The brakes, needless to say, deliver very firm feel and short, hard stops. Other than traction and, certainly in the SQ5’s case, speed, one could say that Audi’s forte is beautiful interiors, and this, the SQ5 has. There was plentiful (and optional for $1,100) aluminum and Black Beaufort Oak Inlay trim to break up the monchromatic look of the black in our tester,
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NEW WHEELS and it is tasteful and not overdone. The front sport seats, upholstered in Nappa leather with contrasting stitching, not only look luxurious, but they are multi-adjustable and very supportive. Making them perfect for this taller person was the pull-out under-thigh support. You’ll never want to drive a car without this after experiencing this level of comfort. Continuing with the major ‘points of contact’ for the driver, the steering wheel is a thing of beauty and a joy to use, with its thick rim and perfect shape for ‘9-and-3’ hand position, small diameter, and flat bottom for a little more thigh space. And, the gear shift, thankfully a traditional linear ‘PRND’ type, has a nice big knob to use.
The most expensive option on the car ($3,200), Audi MMI® Navigation plus, features a seven-inch screen, CD and DVD compatibility, voice recognition, and Bluetooth® streaming audio, along with a rear-vision camera with proximity sensors. Our tester also had the optional ($1,000) Bang & Olufsen 505-watt audio system with 14 speakers. Not killer in volume or bass, but just a very clear, high-quality sound. Like most optional audio systems in cars, this one is well worth it. Our tester was the so-called Technik model, the higher-end one that has a bit more technology included, such as adaptive xenon plus headlights, heated rear seats, advanced key with start button, side assist, plus the optional availability of several other goodies. Both this and the lesser Progressiv model feature a large panoramic sliding glass sunroof.
SPECIFICATIONS: MSRP (Technik): ...........................................................$59,600 Price as tested: .............................................................$66,700 Vehicle Layout: ...................................Front engine, AWD CUV Engine: . .......................3.0L DOHC 24-Valve supercharged V6 Transmission: . ......................................................8-speed auto Power: . ...........................................................................354 hp Torque: ..........................................347 lb-ft @ 4,000-4,500 rpm Brakes: . ..............................4-wheel ventilated disc, ABS, EBD Curb Weight: ................................................................ 2,000 kg Fuel Efficiency: (L/100 km, city/hwy) ............................13.2/8.5 Being as how the SQ5 is a utility vehicle, after all, one assumes that the owner would want to avail him- or herself of the area behind the front seats, which, like most of these vehicles, is the same size as a compact station wagon (think the S4 Avant wagon, which the SQ5 replaces) except for greater height. The fairly-flat rear seats will accommodate three people (the smaller the better), there is a fold-down centre armrest with pass-thru for skis, and they fold down completely in 40-20-40 fashion for maximum versatility. The resulting load floor is flat, but not quite as horizontal as the rear cargo deck. The cargo compartment is probably not the biggest in the class, but it is usefully shaped and well-appointed, and the rear hatch opens and closes electrically. Thankfully, Audi has not tried to cram a third-row seat back there. As a lover of high-performance station wagons, especially German ones, I find it hard to come up with reasons that I’d rather have a taller, heavier crossover with the same engine and technology. Yes, it is vertically more roomy, and there is a certain ‘truck-like’ look to it. There is even an element of stealth with a fast CUV. Certainly, if you can only have one vehicle, and high-performance, all-weather capability, a luxury brand, room for the family and their gear, just the right size, and an overall sense of balance are all high priorities, then the Audi SQ5 should be right up your alley – and moving fast.
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Extra-Large Midship Replacement Fuel Tanks 40 Trucks Plus
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TRUCK TECH was going “Old School” and removing the coil springs in the rear for a pair of predictable boring leaf springs designed for a spring-over-axle YJ Jeep conversion. Consider it a Cherokee suspension in a TJ. This time around, I’ve kept many of the same components as it all worked exceptionally well, freshening up bushings in the control arms with Rubicon Express replacements, adding new Rubicon Express shocks in the rear, but now outside the frame to add ground clearance under the axle tubes. While the control arms were retained in the front, the coils and separate shocks were replaced by a FOA coil over unit to make room for an air pressure-style bump stop. This essentially gives a three-stage spring set-up for more bump and dampening control.
Coilovers for Jeeps Story and photos by Bruce Spierenburg
he endlessly flexible Jeep. Some say: Just Empty Every Pocket, Just Eats Every Penny, Just Eats Every Part, Just Everyone Else’s Parts, but it’s the most beloved ugly duckling on the planet. A saver of worlds, and a link to the great outdoors and adventure. My Jeep has undergone several steps in the acronym jungle above. Engine changed, transmission changed, T-case changed, axles changed, seats, dash panel, tires, suspension – well you get the idea. In this next step, it’s a suspension re-design in my own mind of how I want the suspension to act and perform. That’s the thing with a Jeep, it can be anything you want it to be and rarely is it wrong – just different. In its first buildup, the TJ suspension was a bit of a departure to start, though every piece was available from Rubicon Express suspensions - even the builder parts used to make some of my own components. The big departure
Out back, along with the new monotube shocks, are a pair of Light Racing bump stops, similar to the front but mountable under the frame and working better for the limit space in the back. During all of this, the wheelbase has gone from around 92 inches to 98 inches with better clearance for larger tires. Lift amount is still about the same at 6-7 inches overall, and with 40-inch tires, clears with the fender mods and axle stretch. Like many Jeepers, part of the lift wasn’t actually lift at all but custom fenders and flares and a high-clearance AEV hood which allowed for a higher fender position for more tire clearance and re-position of the axles and fuel tank to accommodate the longer wheelbase, while keeping the tires covered for street use. While a huge undertaking like this isn’t for everyone, there are lots of suspensions on the market that offer bolt-on or weld-on “kits” to do everything you see here including outboard shocks, brackets and coilover conversion kits. Try entering “TJ suspension stretch” in a web search, and lots of options come up. So Just Empty Every Pocket and have fun with your Jeeps and make them your own - rarely are two ever alike! Thanks to: Jeep suspension systems - www.rubiconexpress.com Custom shocks and bump stops - http://www.f-o-a.com/ Rear bump stops - http://www.spcalignment.com/
The stock suspension brackets have a coil “bucket” with a bump stub mount and a spot for a shock beside the coil. The new suspension combines the spring and shock in a coilover shock design which leaves room for a better bump stop. These parts needed to be cut out.
This is where the Jeep started its four wheeling life. Rubicon Express long arm suspension, 4.5-inch coils and ACOS coil adjusters for about 6-7 inches of lift. And a cut hood and lifted fenders for added tire clearance.
These FOA coilover shocks come in a wide array of lengths, you can pick your compression and rebound dampening, and they come in these 2.5 design and a larger 3.0 design. The reservoir bottles help keep the oil away from the moving shock piston for better cooling. They can also be adjusted via nitrogen pressure to make them softer or stiffer. APR / maY 2014
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TRUCK TECH Air bumps add an additional layer of compression damping. Rather than a hard poly or rubber bump stop, the air bumps contain a sliding piston and nitrogen pressure to adjust how they react when bottoming out the suspension.
Mike at Jeep Thrills in Maple Ridge has a nitrogen bottle set of for shocks and gave my shocks a shot of gas for me. We picked the middle ground to start, 200 lbs of pressure. Nitrogen is used rather than air to keep moisture out of the shock.
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A coilover shock usually uses 2 coils with a slider between the two, and straps to stop the shock from over-extending. Each coil will compress with vehicle weight. In this case, using 600 lbs per corner, the 200 coil will compress 3 inches, while the 125-lb coil will compress 5 inches. This will set your ride height. With adjustment on the shock body itself.
The springs that wrap around the coil come in a wide array of spring rates and lengths from 100 lbs to 700 lbs in 25-lb increments.
These viper coils are coded 25 for 2.5 inner diameter, 14 for 14 inches long and 200 for 200 lbs spring rate. The spring rate is how much weight it will take to compress the coil 1 inch. So if you have 600 lbs of vehicle weight per corner, the 200-lb coil will compress 3 inches at ride height.
It’s always a good idea to have an extension strap that will stop the shock from over extending. FOA sells straps in a wide range of lengths. It’s best to order them once you have your suspension in and can measure where you can mount them and how long they need to be. 44 Trucks Plus
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This shows the adjuster on the top so you can adjust ride height and the coil stopper on the shock body. The coil stopper can be adjusted up and down the shock body. When the suspension compresses, the slider will go up and down the shock body. Setting it low means the slider will hit the stopper and the upper coil will stop compressing only leaving the lower spring to compress. This gives a “dual” spring rate - a spring rate with both springs active, then another heavier spring rate once the softer top spring is stopped and only the lower spring is active. This creates better suspension control over hard bumps.
New shock towers needed to be built and thatâ€™s up to the designer, space needed, length of shock used and in my case getting the reservoir bottles under the hood and out of the way.
The air bumps will go where the shock used to sit. The suspension was bottomed out to see when the bump would hit to determine the position. I wanted the bumps to come into play in the last 2 1/2-to-3 inches of suspension compression. They are adjustable inside the bump-can which gets welded in place on the frame.
The old lower shock mounting bracket was covered in a steel plate welded in place to give the bump somewhere to hit along with a couple of stiffening braces underneath. APR / maY 2014
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TRUCK TECH In the rear, air type bumpers were used as well, but with a lack of space, a different type worked better. These Light Racing bump stops can be mounted under the bottom of a frame rail and come in a 1 1/2 and a 3 inch compression length. Three-inch ones were used in this case.
You can see the weld on tabs on the bottom of the shock. No nitrogen is in the shocks at this point, so they are easier to push in and out for mock up.
The bump mount was welded to the frame, then the bump screws into the mount, and locks in with a set screw. As there are leaf springs in the back, the bump will hit the leaf spring mounting plate. The rod you see in the picture is the link for the rear Currie Antirock sway bar. To finish off the rear, a new set of monotube Rubicon Express shocks were mounted on the outside of the frame. This allows the shock to be repositioned above the axle for better ground clearance. With them inboard, the lower shock mounts were hanging a full 2 inches under the axle tube to allow enough axle travel. Now â€“ completely on top and protected. The bracket on the frame was made with three mounting positions for added adjustment.
The new coilover and air bump take up about the same space as the previous suspension components, but adds a bump stop that will work with the suspension rather than just a puck to stop up travel, and a far more adjustable shock and coil set up. 46 Trucks Plus
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Wonderful Washington Wheeling
The Busywild Trail in Elbe is very tight and the ruts between the trees means only short wheelbase rigs have a somewhat easy time. Story and photos by Bruce Spierenburg
ust down the road from us and across a well guarded border, Washington State offers some great Jeeping and wheeling areas. Unlike Canada, where a real legal off road area seems to be as bad as the F word (fun), there lies some great trails to be traveled. Iâ€™ve had the opportunity to visit many - Elbe Hills, Evans Creek, Naches, Walker Valley. Liberty, Moses Lake Dunes and more are all within an easy drive of the border. Elbe and Evans are the two closest to Seattle and offer an array of trail difficulty levels with deep wet trails and some good
Elbe mud hole 1, Willys Jeep 0. This is where a winch comes in handy, and a friend willing to step into a 3-foot mud hole to hook it up!
The trails at Evans Creek are much different and have numbers, not names. Dirt with broken rocks and steep climbs greet those on the harder trails. APR / maY 2014
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OFF-ROADING Walker Valley is a smaller area but still has some good challenges. Ask this horizontally-challenged Jeep owner what he thinks of this trail.
Crossing one of the many lava fields in Naches makes you feel like you’re on another planet.
climbs to enjoy. Walker Valley is the closest to the border but has undergone some logging the past few years, which leaves it a little less visually appealing, but it’s not far away. The Naches area, just west of Yakima, is my favourite spot in the state with steep climbs, lava rock strewn valleys and tight trees, and those in the know can take you into the Rim Rock area where the challenges are harder and the hills steeper, rocks bigger.
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Naches is not all rocks; when it gets wet, many of the hills flood with water and get covered in a slick slime that is almost impossible to climb. Names like Moon Rocks and Funny Rocks, Leaning Tree Trail, and Rocky Saddle all bring up the right pictures in your mind.
The line beside the “Crack” at Funny Rocks proved impossible, but the pictures sure were great. There are too many great trails in Naches to name my favourites while the deep tree-rooted slick-and-slimy Busywild Trail in Evans Creek tops my List. If you want to take part in an organized event, try out the Pacific North West Jeep Jamboree hosts at Jim Sprink park (take the “S” and shift it to the left – someone had a funny bone). The 2014 event is already full; yes, it’s very popular, a great way to get guided trips through some of Naches’ favourite and most historical areas including the Historic Naches Pass, featuring endless narrow Jeep bridges
OFF-ROADING Pacific North West 4WD association http://www.pnw4wda.org/ NW Wheelers http://www.nw-wheelers.com
Just on the other side of the meadow from Funny Rocks is Moon Rocks. This Cherokee takes one of the harder lines up the rock formations. over the wet swampy sections. Put it on your list early for 2015 you wont be disappointed! Even getting there in late summer through the Cayuse Pass can give you incredible sights of 20 foot-tall snow walls some years. I went to the PNW Jamboree one year without the roof on my Jeep in a big snow year on Mt Rainier and just about froze crossing that pass in July! The web site also gives you some great information on other trails and off-roading areas in Washington and Oregon. Also, follow the links to lots of clubs on the website, or for those into message boards, the NW Wheelers site is a great place to chat with Washington State wheelers and join up on a trail ride.
The trails of Naches are great for almost any type of 4x4, and Funny Rocks is always a great spot to stop and play on the Manatash Ridge.
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52 Trucks Plus
APR / MAY 2014
51st National RV Show Story and photos by Howard J Elmer
he National RV Show in Louisville, KY has now entered its second 50 years (just like me) and continues to be the place to see not only what’s new in recreational vehicles but also the emerging trends in the marketplace. Right off, let me tell you about refrigerators. Sure, every RV has one, but this year I saw massive double-door units in hardwood covers and stainless steel that would seem large even in my home. Someone must want them. The other obvious sight on the show floor was the lack of Class C motorhomes. Well, not so much the lack of, as the lack of anything “new.” Instead, the direction seems to be in stretching Class B’s and in downsized and less-expensive gas-powered Class A’s. This observation is backed up by Freightliner’s introduction of a cheaper HD single-rear wheel motorhome chassis and the arrival of the Ram ProMaster van chassis. Following in the footsteps of the Mercedes Sprinter Chassis, these two are now making waves in the Class B market. Next year, Ford’s European-sourced Transit will only add more fuel to this fire. Twin bathrooms, a trend I wrote about last year, continues to spread, in particular to travel trailers and downmarket mo-
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torhomes. In fact, I saw one-and-a-half baths in all price segments at the show this year. As part of the bathroom expansion in the market, I talked about the Mega-bath last year, too. This design builds wall-to wall bathrooms with huge showers; if anything, there are simply more of them this year, even in the lower
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priced units. Also included in this trend are integrated wardrobes. I saw very nice hardwood cabinetry built into bedroom walls, hallways, bathrooms and even galleys. Speaking of conventional travel trailers, there seem to be more and more of them. For a while it was all about fifth wheels, but this year, Louisville exhibitors showed off all kinds of new travel trailers with a seeming emphasis on the mid-size (24 to 29 ft) units. They typically all had slideouts and the interiors were upscale. However, this category is weight and price conscious, a nod to more affordable camping. On the smaller side, it seems to me that hard-walled trailers are being pushed into the niche that tent trailers used to inhabit. Conversely the pop-up tent trailers I saw were large, very well equipped and not cheap. This suggests that these days, the buyer of a soft-sided pop-up wants that experience – it’s no longer the fact that these units are the cheapest thing on the market.
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Front living rooms in fifth wheels (and even in some travel trailers) were being shown. These typically featured double couches flanking fireplaces with flat screens installed over top. Really nice layouts. Colour co-ordinated interiors, with elegant wood and material decors, are simply getting better every year – again all being pushed down-market. But along with this trend comes more additions, in the form of elegant electrical fixtures, ceiling fans, better window coverings and a real emphasis on more windows for sunlight. I can see builders saying “let the light in!” Good for them. Good for us. So, please enjoy the new units we’ve highlighted from Louisville this year. As always, we couldn’t include everything, but we think we’ve created a good cross-section of what the RV market has to offer in 2014.
GEARING UP OE Lighting Solutions from Innovate Creations Inc. New from ICI (Innovative Creations Inc.) is a line of OE Lighting Solutions which are special brackets that allow you to mount your off-road or driving lights to your vehicle. The OE Lighting Solutions come available for fog lamp openings, centre bumper openings, windshield or cowl mounts, plus more. The brackets are made from extremely durable, 1/8-inch cold-rolled steel, and come finished in a black powder coat. They are available for Ford, Chevy, Dodge, Jeep, Toyota and Nissan applications. For more information please go to www.icionline.com
WeatherTech now Offering BumpStep
New OR-Fab Full Width Bumpers for ‘97-’06 Jeep TJ
New from WeatherTech is the BumpStep which is molded out of a proprietary composite resin and fits easily into your vehicle’s standard 2-inch receiver hitch. It allows you to safely stand on the step (maximum 300 lbs.) which is ideal for things like grabbing something off of a roof rack or washing the roof of your vehicle. Additionally, the BumpStep will provide your bumper protection against any denting or scratching. It installs easily and is available for any vehicles with a standard 2-inch receiver hitch.
OR-Fab is now proud to offer a heavy-duty, full-width, front winch bumper for 1997-2006 Jeep TJ Wranglers. The bumpers are manufactured using 3/16-inchthick steel plate, and are formed using precision laser cuts and CNC press brake bends to then eventually be welded and ground by hand. The bumpers are available with or without a 2-inch diameter grille hoop with welded light mount tabs, while both come with an integrated fairlead winch mount and feature two ¾-inch heavy-duty D-ring mounts and D-rings. The bumpers are finished in either a wrinkle or gloss heavy-duty black powder coat finish.
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Corsa Adds Xtreme Sound Level to 2014 F-150 5.0L and 6.2L now Raptor Product Line supported by DiabloSport Owners of Ford Raptors now have the opportunity to experience a more aggressive exhaust note thanks to Corsa Performance’s new Xtreme Sound Level cat-back exhaust system being made available for 2011-2014 Raptors. The system, which comes with a resonator delete kit, is made to produce a deep, throaty growl and features Corsa’s Reflective Sound Cancellation technology which dials out the low frequencies that cause an annoying drone, which makes for a cleaner sound and better performance. The system is offered as a single side-exit exhaust system with twin 4-inch Pro-Series Tips that come with either a polished or a custom black PVD-coated finish.
DiabloSport is pleased to announce that it now offers tuning for the 2014 Ford F150 with both the 5.0L and 6.2L V8 engines. Available in both the Trinity and inTune tuners, the 2014 F150 now can be programmed from the palm of your hand and allows you to custom tune your truck to achieve maximum performance. The devices feature a large number of adjustable parameters such as gear/tire, shift point, rev/speed limiter, idle speed, shift firmness, and many more.
For more information please go to www.corsaperformance.com
For more information please go to www.diablosport.com
58 Trucks Plus
APR / MAY 2014
GEARING UP Bestopâ€™s New Black Twill Supertop NX The Supertop NX Jeep Wrangler soft tops now come available in a new 30 oz. triple-layer Black Twill fabric which offers superior durability when compared to other Jeep soft tops. Black Twill fabric is the same fabric as found in high-end luxury cars like BMW and Rolls Royce and boasts a smooth wrinkle-free appearance and contains no PVCs. The Black Twill fabric is designed to have a softer, more flexible seal than sailcloth fabric and offers much better cold-weather protection than most other soft tops.
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Bak Industries Releases Roll-X XT New from Bak Industries is the all-new Roll-X XT which is a heavier duty version of the Roll-X tonneau cover that also sees the addition of the Xtreme Track inner rail that allows users to add a ton of accessories that werenâ€™t available before. The Roll-X XT features new mechanical locking rails which are 2.5-times larger than the standard Roll-X, as well as new locking levers and automatic return spring levers which are sure to keep the cover locked down while driving at highway speeds but also allows for instant and easy access to the bed when needed. For more information please go to www.bakindustries.com
Explorer Lighting from Pro Comp Pro Comp has recently announced the release of the new Explorer LED lights which feature state-of-the-art construction which will give you powerful and reliable illumination. Each light bar is made up from an array of finely tuned LEDs that combine to become a highpowered and easy-tomount package. The heat produced by the lights is dissipated by an integrated heat sink system which results in consistent and longlasting lighting. The Explorer LED lights are 100% waterproof and dustproof, and come available in a number of different lengths.
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For more information please go to www.procompusa.com APR / maY 2014
Trucks Plus 59
T-Rex Truck Products Releases 17 New Grilles for 2014 Tundra
Watch how it works! T-Rex Truck Products has announced it will be releasing a line of 17 all-new grilles for the redesigned 2014 Toyota Tundra. A wide array of styles is offered with the new line to satisfy all truck owners with everything from rugged and extreme to mild and refined. Included in the line are the aggressive X-Metal Grille Series, the mesh Sport Series Grilles, and the newest addition to T-Rex, the Torch LED Grille Series. All T-Rex Grille Series are designed to complement the rugged styling of the new Tundra, and all come available in either a polished, chrome, or black finish (depending on the series). For more information please go to www.trexbillet.com
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APR / maY 2014
Trucks Plus 60
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We’re sure that most of you have had the misfortune of getting stuck while out on a weekend adventure. So send us your photos of your adventure to firstname.lastname@example.org and if we use your photos we’ll send you a cool Trucks Plus hat!
Not sure why he went towards that dirt with the paved road right beside it.
Apparently it was a little deeper than they originally thought.
It really is amazing just how many times we see this.
Not sure how they managed to do this but it’s certainly good for a laugh
62 Trucks Plus
APR / MAY 2014