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EZ Liner

Bedliner & Industrial Strength Coating


EZ Liner Kit Revolutionary coating for truck beds, metals, plastics, wood, fibreglass and concrete. Excellent for

basement and garage floors, steps and pool decks. A great anti-skid coating that really works. It’s simple to use: just pour the anti-skid material into the gallon of base, stir thoroughly and apply with a spray gun, brush or roller. Environmentally friendly formula is very low VOC, very low odor and isocyanate free.

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EZ Liner Aerosol

Gives the appearance of a polymer bedliner. Resists heavy impact, scratches, severeweather, rust, fading and provides a non-skid surface that reduces road noise. Ultra chemical resistant. Seals out moisture and corrosion. Permanently flexible. Abrasive resistant. Touch up tears, scratches and chips in sprayed-in bedliners. EZ Liner Aerosol: 467 g | Code 24040 | Stock SEZL | Black only (Aerosol sold separately from Kit)




In With The New Diesel

The 2013 Porsche Cayenne Diesel 28


General Motors introduces the all-new Silverado/Sierra to the market 12


The 2013 Cadillac SRX is a solid performer 32


Taking a look at how extended cabs changed the truck industry 35


A quick look at necessary items to survive the Outback 48

Ten essential items for the first-time off-roader 44



2013 Dynamax Trilogy 3800 52

Fresh Tracks---------------------------------------- 4

Feature: An Epic Marathon---------------------- 40

New Wheels: Toyota Tundra---------------------18

Feature: The Original Compact------------------ 55

New Wheels: Jeep Grand Cherokee------------21

Gearing Up ---------------------------------------58

New Wheels: Nissan Pathfinder----------------24

Stuck Trucks--------------------------------------62


FEB / MAR 2013

Trucks Plus 


Volume 6, Issue No. 1 February/March 2013 Publisher/Editor: Dean Washington

Ford Taunts With Pickup Concept in Detroit

Associate Publisher: David Symons

Advertising Inquiries: Circulation: Brenda Washington Editorial Coordinator / Graphic Design: Jordan Allan Controller: B.M. Walker Copy Editor: Gerry Frechette Sales & Marketing Elaine Fontaine Contributing Writers/Photographers: Jordan Allan Howard J Elmer Gerry Frechette Russell Purcell Budd Stanley

MAILING ADDRESS: #1-1921 Broadway Street, Port Coquitlam, BC Canada V3C 2N2 TELEPHONE: (604) 629-9669 FAX: (778) 285-2449 TOLL FREE TEL: 1-888-500-4591 EMAIL: WEBSITE: Trucks Plus is published six times per year by RPM Media Inc. Second Class Mailing Agreement #40050183

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GM may have just launched its latest iterations of the Sierra and Silverado, but at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, it was Ford that stole the truck-based show with the Atlas Concept. On top of a spectacular new look, the concept is a test bed for integrating smart technologies into future Fords. The biggest of those is the next generation of EcoBoost engines coupled with advanced engineering and design innovations to create leading fuel efficiency and increased capability. Active shutters for not just the grille but also the wheels automatically close at highway speeds to improve aerodynamics. Self-charging batteries use energy from the wheels’ motion to power the shutters. There is even a drop-down spoiler on the front air dam that lowers at highway speeds to improve underbody airflow. The air dam is raised at low speeds to improve ground clearance and off-road travel. Inside, floating instrument pods and glove-friendly buttons and controls keep the interior innovative yet functional.

Ford Confirms New 3.2L Power Stroke Diesel

Already a proven global workhorse, Ford adds the 3.2L five-cylinder turbodiesel to its North American lineup in the all-new Transit commercial van range. Ford describes the new mill as featuring state-of-the-art fuel, turbo and emissions systems that meet stringent North American clean diesel standards. The new five-cylinder diesel engine is rated in Europe at 197 horsepower and 347 lb-ft of torque thanks to piezoelectric fuel injectors fed through a high-pressure (26,100 psi) common rail fuel system, and advanced emissions technologies. Precise injection timing and calibration also ensures a smooth combustion process to reduce hard diesel combustion clatter, resulting in lower noise levels that are more like a gasoline engine. The engine is expected to be B20 biodiesel compatible, however at the time of writing, Ford has made no mention of the possibility of the engine making its way into the F-150 range.

Record Sales for Jeep

Jeep is a unique brand, basically completely built on the roots of the old Willys that served the military during World War II and beyond. As an off-road specialist brand first and foremost, you wouldn’t think that it makes a whole lot of business sense. However, throw in some hightech and luxury with the Grand Cherokee and very competitive pricing with rugged styling, and Jeep has proven a survivor in a world that is eating up car brands. Case in point, Chrysler has announced its trail-rated brand set an all-time global sales record in 2012 by moving 701,626 units. All told, the brand saw a 19-percent sales increase worldwide over 2011, thanks in part to strong movement of both the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee. Here in Canada alone, Jeep sold 18,996 Wranglers, breaking an annual record.

FRESH TRACKS Ram Sends Tow Figures Through the Roof, Still No J2807 Whomever said that the max capacity wars were over are eating their words today, as Ram released the latest numbers on its 3500 Heavy Dutys. Thanks to a new class-exclusive 50,000 pounds-persquare-inch, high-strength steel frame, improved transfer case, higher-load transmission, and an upgraded 6.7-litre Cummins Turbo Diesel engine packing 850 lb-ft of torque, Ram is publishing truly astounding numbers. Numbers like a maximum trailer weight of 30,000 pounds, besting the closest competitor by 6,900 pounds. The new Ram Heavy Duty adds a number of new features for 2013, including a factory-integrated fifth-wheel and gooseneck hitch mount, a 17,000-pound Class V hitch with 1,800 pounds of tongue weight, electronic stability control (ESC) for dual-rear-wheels and a new Centre High-Mounted Stop Light (CHMSL). Only problem is, these numbers are not measured as per the J2807 standard designed so all truck manufactures can be compared on an equal basis. So while we’re sure these numbers are likely the best in the industry, we just can’t compare apples to oranges.

Lincoln Moving in on Small Crossover Market with MKC

The small crossover segment is one of the most competitive in all the auto industry and continues to grow. So it only makes sense that while parent company Ford offers one of the most popular small crossovers, Lincoln should get in on the action to take on the X3, EX35, RX350 and GLK. The result is the MKC Concept that debuted at the North American International Auto Show, Lincoln’s first-ever small crossover. The press release reads like War and Peace, rambling on about exquisite leather-wrapped interior and sleek Lincoln design architecture. However, the main message they are trying to get across is the new “Lincoln Experiences,” that will include a variety of distinctive features, such as push-button transmission engagement, programmable ride control, unique and diverse powertrains, bespoke interior and exterior design appointments, personalized lighting, and a suite of customizable functions that are unique for each client as the vehicle instantly recognizes the operator and creates a personalized welcoming sequence. Personalization marketing aside, the MKC would make a unique addition to a segment full of mundane jacked-up hatchbacks.

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FEB / MAR 2013

FRESH TRACKS GM says the trucks have been completely redesigned from hood to hitch, with higher-strength body and frame as well as several customer-focused upgrades. Three new EcoTec3 engines, including a new 4.3L V6, 5.3L V8 and 6.2L V8 are designed for more power and improved efficiency. However, there is a noticeable absence of any turbo- or transmission technology-based high-efficiency or hard-core off-road models to take on Ford and Ram’s niche market gems. Does it compete with its fellow offerings from Detroit; are specialized versions coming? We’ll be sure to tell you all the details as we get our dirty little mitts on them.

GM and Isuzu to Work Together Once Again AEV Brute Coming in New Flavour

If you haven’t already noticed, we’re big fans of the AEV Brute conversion for the Jeep Wrangler. Well, if there is anything better than two doors, it’s four, and AEV has just what we were wishing for. American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) has released its latest 2013 offering, a kit that stretches the chassis of a four-door JK Wrangler by 584 mm and extends the rear frame to accommodate its custom composite honeycomb pickup bed. Overall vehicle length grows by 762 mm, to bring it to 5,486 mm overall. AEV says it drew inspiration from the Land Rover Defender 130 double cab pickup that has been the workhorse of European first responders and works crews. However, as cool as this vehicle is, such things don’t come cheaply; in this case, the cost is $39,999 USD. The good side is, we’re well aware of the high-quality products that come out of the AEV factory, and the new double-cab conversion is said to be that and more.

Say Hello to the New Sierra/Silverado

We’ve been waiting for this one for a while; what with Ford and Ram already getting new updates in the last four years, we’ve still been looking at the same old Silverado and Sierra for some time now. Well, GM’s latest take on the full-size pickup has now been realized.

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The partnership between GM and Isuzu has been a strong one that has seen several GM products utilize Isuzu’s efficient diesel engines as well as full cab-over medium duty trucks. The two companies are joining forces with the reintroduction of a mid-sized GM pickup that will likely become the next Canyon/Colorado. However, according to Automotive News and a brief statement released by Isuzu, both automakers have decided to work together again to develop and produce another hard-working pickup product. Exactly what product that may be is not known, but there is a rather noticeable hole in GM’s product line the size of a Class 4 and 5 commercial vehicle.

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FRESH TRACKS Peterhansel Breaks Records with Dakar Victory

Jeep Bringing Back Grand Cherokee Diesel With Refreshed Look

We were expecting a mid-cycle refresh from Jeep on the popular Grand Cherokee, but we weren’t expecting such a comprehensive reworking of the front fascia. Jeep unveiled the new look at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, but it wasn’t just the look that was new on the big chief. Here in Canada, the diesel-powered version of the Grand Cherokee was extremely popular, and Jeep left that engine option out on the latest generation. We’re happy to say that the diesel is back with Jeep’s new 3.0-litre EcoDiesel V6 engine packing 7.8L/100 km efficiency on the highway and a towing capability of 3,357 kg. The new performance is aided by the introduction of Chrysler’s latest darling, the new eight-speed automatic transmission, while more than 60 advancements in safety and security have been packed in, such as an improved crawl ratio of 44.1:1.

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The 35th edition of the Dakar Rally seemed like a walk in the park for Stéphane Peterhansel, the untouchable overall leader from the 2nd stage and winner of his 11th Dakar counting all categories, a new record. But his 5th win in a car, over rival and Toyota driver, Giniel de Villiers and teammate Leonid Novitskiy, had more to do with the bad luck of his rivals than with the Mini’s outright performance. The onslaught of quick 2WD buggies like that of Nasser Al-Attiyah, Carlos Sainz and Robby Gordon all fell to the wayside, allowing Peterhansel to manage his comfortable buffer over de Villiers, who also made a costly navigational mistake in Stage 3. Regardless of others’ misfortune, the win was Mini’s second in as many tries, covering first and third spots on the podium, while de Villiers moved up one spot with his Toyota Hilux from last year’s third. Unfortunately, as so many times before, the Dakar did see a fatality. Organizers have confirmed 25-year-old motorcycle rider Thomas Bourgin died after colliding with an oncoming Chilean police vehicle while in transit to the start of a stage.


The Latest and Greatest GM’s all-new Silverado and Sierra

Story by Howard J Elmer, photos by Chevrolet Canada


eneral Motors, as a company, has been through a lot since the Silverado was last new back in 2007. Bankruptcy, restructuring, downsizing, streamlining, and all those other labels that refer to survival as a business, and which have very little to do with building new trucks. So, with everything it has had going on, I’m almost loath to criticize them for how out-of-date the truck products had become. But, the reality is, they have. With these thoughts in mind, I watched Mark Reuss, president of GM North America, introduce the newest generation of Silverado/Sierra on a Detroit-area film studio stage. But, even before seeing the 2014 trucks, Reuss addressed the elephant in the room directly - engines. GM’s motors have fallen behind rivals Ford and Ram, by a lot, and GM knows it. So Reuss’s first introduction was of a new family of engines, the EcoTec3. These encompass three motors - a 4.3-litre V6, a 5.3-litre V8 and a 6.2-litre V8. These are each based on Chevrolet small block technology, but that appears to be where the similarities to older engines with the same displacements end. EcoTec3 engines feature three integrated systems: direct injection, cylinder deactivation and continuously variable valve timing. These will potentially offer better power and also better fuel economy – but then none of these systems is really “new.” What is new are the combinations. Mind you, with the V6, it’s the first time cylinder deactivation has been offered on one of 12 Trucks Plus

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those. That VVT is also part of an automatically advancing and retarding spark system that builds power as the engine senses load – like hitting a hill while towing – after which it resets. Power – but only when you need it. Isn’t this the Holy Grail? But is it better than what Ford is doing with EcoBoost? Or Ram with its eight-speed transmission? That’s the real money question. We’ll see. Right now, there isn’t even a hint on the numbers, as in horsepower, torque or fuel consumption, tow weights or payload. But then GM is brutally aware of its crosstown rivals’ stats, so when we do see the numbers, the only acceptable surprise should be how good they really are.

NEW WHEELS In general, the trucks have squared up, particularly in the front, while at the same time looking much more slippery and finished. The flush-fitting doors are one reason for this look. They suck right into the body openings; there are no undue gaps, rain gutters or lip overhangs. Windshields appear to have been raked back, and body side lines are distinct by gently rising and falling from the sheet metal. Two very obvious sources of inspiration for the body must have come from the concept “All-Terrain” truck that GM showed in Detroit about two years ago. And second, the big, bold HD Silverado which underwent its own renaissance in 2011. Frankly, this half-ton seems to be approaching one-ton proportions.

Talking about cylinder deactivation, Jordan Lee, Small Block chief engineer and program manager, says that “They have all the power and torque needed to confidently handle the tough jobs, and they seamlessly switch to four-cylinder mode to increase efficiency during light-load driving.” Fine, but the item that caught my ear was – “it is not an extra cost feature.” So it will be standard, regardless of engine choice, and not cost extra. Good. All upgrades, engines, and interiors apply to both the Chevrolet Silverado and the GMC Sierra, and with that, GM likes to say that it has at least six base trucks available. That’s a bit of stretch; the looks of the two trucks are family-familiar, but do convey some distinct features as well.

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NEW WHEELS On the business end of the truck, GM is making it a little easier to get in and out of the bed with a new indented step built into the corners of the rear bumper. Large enough for a work boot and with a handhold in the plastic sill liner above it, getting in and out is going to be a whole lot easier. Also new are raised tie-downs, up high on the bed walls, and available LED lighting under the sill lip that will make securing a load at night that much easier. A key criticism of the current Chevy and GMC pickups is their interior. Having seen the new ones, I can say, Hallelujah! They’ve fixed it. Not just tinkered with it – fixed it. The new instrument panel has six gauges, a 4.2-inch display screen dead-centre, and a large 8-inch touch screen to the right in what they now call “Pods.” This is a grouping of switches and controls all for individual systems all in the same place – or in a pod. The controls look smart, are easy to read and appear logically placed. They are all large now, easily operated with gloves on. Materials are new, softer and emphasized with more stitching and trim (like real aluminum). Storage is convenient and plentiful. Also, I noted that the rear doors on crew cabs are larger, and the rear doors on extended cab models are now hinged at the front. No more suicide doors. The first drive of the 2014 Silverado will come in late spring; that’s when we should get all the engine and weight stats as well. I’ll be there to test it and report back.

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N E W 2





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Cover rolls up from rear for full bed usage.



The Old Horse

With the Big Three constantly reinventing themselves, is the Tundra ready to be put out to pasture? Review by Budd Stanley, photos courtesy of Toyota Canada


t feels odd to be calling the Toyota Tundra the “Old Horse,” but that is exactly what it is at this moment in time. In the past four years, Ford, Ram and the GM twins have been reinventing themselves, in Ford’s case, several times over. The times they are a changing, and along with them, the environment that these trucks have to contend against. When the Tundra first came out, it was all about who had the biggest truck, with as many conveniences as possible, fuel mileage be darned, bigger is better. Now, we’re in a completely different environment to what the Tundra was designed for; fuel is expensive and disposable funds are kept in check, yet the job still needs to get done. Ford and Ram have been right on top of the situation, both bringing a steady stream of new product to market with GM right behind, that adhere to what the modern customer needs - big truck capability with good fuel efficiency for a low price. A look at the Tundra sees very little development in the last six years, other than the addition of a 4.6-litre V8 added in 2010 to give the customer a less fuel-guzzling V8 option to the 5.7, but a weak effort in the days of EcoBoost and 8-speed transmissions. So, with the old girl showing her age, does this Beta version of the full-size pickup still count? Yes it does. It may not have twin-turbo technology, or complicated German gearboxes, or computer systems and layouts taken from the latest fighter jet; no, the beauty of the Tundra is in its simplicity. It wasn’t named Truck of the Year by several publications and associations back in 2007 for nothing. It still incorporates the same smart thinking that made it so good back then. The 18 Trucks Plus

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Despite being a better price than comparably-equipped domestics, the Tundra can still hold its own in both the payload and towing departments.

NEW WHEELS Tundra still has a useable centre-console filing cabinet, charging outlets throughout, a myriad of storage options, spacious cabin, seating for six full adults and, what really makes this truck good, its build quality. Everything is solid and fits together nicely, and what teething problems the Tundra had in its early years have now been ironed out, and these trucks are now seeing proper Toyota reliability. The same can’t be said for the domestics that are jumping into the high-tech dashes with both feet. The Tundra sports auxiliary media jacks and optional navigation, but the dash is a beautifully simplistic design that after only a few hours driving I had memorized, allowing me to make adjustments without taking my eyes off traffic. It just doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the modern trucks, you still can’t option it out like a domestic and it still sucks a ton of gas, that’s all.

SPECIFICATIONS: MSRP: . ...........................................................................$26,210 Price as tested: ...............................................................$53,800 Layout: ......................................Front Engine, Four-Wheel-Drive Engine:............................................................................ 5.7L V-8 Power: . ..............................................................381 hp, 401 lb-ft Transmission: . ............................................... 6-speed automatic Curb weight: . ................................................................. 2,227 kg Fuel Efficiency (city, hwy, com.): ............................. 15.9L/100km 11.1L/100km, 13.7L/100km

My test drive in this 5.7-litre V8-equipped CrewMax was like meeting an old friend after a few years abroad. The seats are still comfortable, the cabin still spacious, the dash is still simple to use with massive knobs working the essentials… remember those knobs? They seem to work a lot better than flush touch buttons. Despite being the top-of-the-line Platinum Edition, this Tundra prices out cheaper than all three similarly-equipped do-

The Tundra may have 4Low, but even the smallest obstructions were challenging with poor tires and an electronically controlled Limited Slip Differential.

mestics, yet can still hold its own in both the payload and towing departments. Other than the obvious lack of development, my only real quibble was the rather weak 4WD system. All I can say is, if you plan to do any kind of off-roading, opt for the TRD offroad edition that at least gives you good tires and Bilstein shocks to help account for the lack of a real Limited-Slip Differential, as the Tundra uses the laughable electronic unit that will only wear out one of your rear brakes faster than the other. Regardless, the old horse has proven that she still has the metal. It was built so well six years ago that it can still take on the latest and greatest from the Big Three. Sure, it has some backwards old traits, but there is still a lot to love about the Tundra.

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Refined and Luxurious Story & photos by Gerry Frechette


he Jeep Grand Cherokee is the latest in a long line of big, luxury 4x4s wearing the Jeep badge, and in fact, could be said to be celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, if you consider the original Jeep Wagoneer, launched by Willys-Overland Motors in 1963, to be its ancestor. Yes, the traditional Jeep that goes back to mid-century military use is certainly one of the most iconic vehicles ever, but in Jeep’s history, the Wagoneer/Cherokee/Grand Cherokee line is not far behind. The original design lasted 28 years, through 1991, and was the blueprint for all the big SUVs that followed until today. The latest generation of the Grand Cherokee, introduced a few years ago, certainly qualifies as one of those. The latest generation of the Grand Cherokee was introduced a few years ago, and has been a big sales success, given it combines the size and luxury that buyers of SUVs want, and the capabilities of a true Jeep. We were not able to explore those capabilities to the extent we might have liked with the tester we had in the middle of winter, but we came away with many good impressions.

for on-road manners within the constraints of its heavy weight, not so much for outright mechanical proficiency off-road, hence all the high-tech electronics. The Grand Cherokee wouldn’t be a Jeep without a real four-wheel drive system, and this the Overland has, in the form of Quadra Trac-II, which has a two-speed transfer case with low range and variable torque distribution up to 100-percent front or rear. No big lever between the seats, of course, as everything is done at the push of a button. That big 360-horsepower V8 moves the SUV down the road in a hurry, but even taking your time and driving for economy will cost you in fuel consumption. In about 90-percent urban driving over our week with the Jeep, it delivered a rather thirsty 22L/100 km, according to the on-board computer, and that was with a very light right foot for the most part. The Pentastar V6 with five-speed automatic is standard and would deliver slightly better numbers, although on the highway, the Hemi’s ability to shut down half its cylinders narrows the gap considerably from where it is in the city. Trailer-tow capability of up to 3,266 kg (7,200 lb.) is available with the V8, which is backed up by a six-speed automatic. So yes, the Overland is a very capable vehicle, but also very luxurious, as befits its standing atop the line-up. Our tester was trimmed in tan stitched leather with a complementary shade of wood accent

The model tested was the top-of-the-line (not counting the performance SRT8) Overland with the 5.7-litre Hemi V8, and it certainly drove with a great amount of refinement in normal day-to-day operation. Much of that smoothness can be attributed to the Quadra-Lift air suspension, which features five adjustable height settings for on- and off-road use. It operates in conjunction with the Selec-Terrain™ traction control system that lets customers choose the optimum 4x4 setting for any surface, with settings including Sand/Mud, Sport, Auto, Snow and Rock. This combination of technology really sets the Grand Cherokee apart from most of the herd in terms of adapting to conditions. Suspension is far from the old leaf springs and solid front axle, being four-wheel independent. That is great FEB / MAR 2013

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throughout the cabin, including the heated steering wheel, and it made for a bright environment visually, considering all the black plastic trim. Other lighter-coloured interiors are available. Soft-touch material is evident at all touch-points, and the appearance is one of a more-expensive SUV, of which several exist. The distinctive Overland logo is stitched onto each front seatback, a nice luxury touch, and the driver’s seat is wide and 12-way multiadjustable plus lumbar, making for good long-distance comfort and support. There is plenty of room both up front and in the rear, the latter very good for two adults, but accommodating of three people. There is no third-row seat, and we don’t imagine that Grand Cherokee owners will be missing it. Rear DVD Entertainment is an available option, and the heated back seat folds down in the usual 60/40 fashion, with a middle armrest that has cupholders, but no storage. Nor is there any pass-through for longer objects like skis, a surprising omission. The cargo area is commodious and nicely-finished, with numerous tie-down points. Infotainment is taken care of in the Overland, with a Uconnect system with 6.5-inch touch-screen, enhanced GPS navigation and 20 GB

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HDD, to go with its SiriusXM satellite radio and Bluetooth streaming audio. Having said that, the system could be described as “previous generation” in comparison to those installed in other high-end Chrysler products. It works adequately, but it isn’t the latest and greatest. Exterior features include 20-inch wheels, much added chrome, and a power liftgate. We found that the latter didn’t rise quite high enough for those over 6-feet tall, requiring one to “duck” a bit when accessing the rear cargo area. The liftgate features a flip-up glass window for added convenience and versatility. So, where the Jeep Grand Cherokee can be said to fall a bit short is in fuel efficiency and modern infotainment technology. It so happens that the just-announced 2014 Grand Cherokee, shown at the Detroit Auto Show, addresses those concerns, with the re-intro-

NEW WHEELS SPECIFICATIONS: MSRP (Base): .................................................................$50,845 Vehicle Layout: ........................ Front engine, AWD, 4-door SUV Engine: . ..................................................................5.7L OHV V8 Transmission: . ...........................6-spd auto, 2-spd transfer case Power: . .............................................................................360 hp Torque: ......................................................390 lb-ft @ 4,250 rpm Brakes: . ..........................................................4-wheel disc, ABS Curb Weight: .................................................................. 2,200 kg Towing capacity: ............................................................ 3,266 kg Fuel Consumption (L/100 km, city/hwy): . .....................16.9/10.2

duction of a 3.0-litre diesel V6 that will make more torque and gulp much less fuel than the Hemi, an eight-speed automatic for those two engines plus the base V6 which will increase both performance and efficiency, and the latest generation of Uconnect with bigger screen and modern features. Out on the road, it is evident that this Jeep is no crossover based on front-drive architecture, as it is not what you would call nimble. For more on-road but less off-road capability, there is the SRT8. But it need make no excuses for this; it is what it is, and that is a big, relatively fast, very capable and luxurious SUV that happens to be a good value within that segment. Personally, we would wait for the 2014 diesel, but the 2013 Hemi is a good performer if you can afford the frequent fill-ups.

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NEW WHEELS So what is it that is killing the frame? Well, while a body-on-frame architecture provides a robust backbone for towing heavy loads and handling extreme off-road terrain, the fact of the matter is this setup just plain sucks when it comes to on-road handling, aerodynamics and thusly, fuel efficiency. And what does every soccer mom want in an SUV? Safe handling and great fuel efficiency.

Taking A New Path

All-new Pathfinder goes from SUV to Crossover Review by Budd Stanley, photos courtesy of Nissan Canada It doesn’t take much to realize that Nissan has taken the next generation of the Pathfinder in an all new direction. Yes, the mighty SUV is now a mightily endangered species as body-on-frame utes seem to be dropping like flies on a hot window sill. The Grand Cherokee, Dodge Durango, Ford Escape and even the vehicle that kicked off the whole SUV craze, the Ford Explorer, have all shed their heavy underpinnings for a flashy new unibody suit.

The interior design on the new Pathfinder is very stylish with lots of soft touch materials, but it’s the rear entry to the third row that really impresses 24 Trucks Plus

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Enter the all-new Nissan Pathfinder with its much sleeker and lower stance giving away the notso-secret evidence of what lies beneath. Yes, the new Pathfinder is not as sure-footed in the rough stuff anymore, but the economic gains are massive. Nissan has somehow managed to knock over 500 pounds out of the outgoing Pathfinder through innovations in body structure, drivetrain and interior appointments. That weight savings matched to the first CVT transmission to ever be put into a full-size Crossover means the Pathfinder gets an impressive 10.5L/100 km in the city, 7.7L/100 km on the highway with a combined 9.3L/100 km. This makes it the most fuel efficient vehicle in its class by a whole 1L/100 km. Those are Nissan’s published numbers; however, my test drive yielded an average of 12.1L/100 km in the real world, which is still quite good for such a vehicle. Powering those numbers is a 3.5-litre V6 rated at 260 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque. Many may worry about the Pathfinder’s capability to employ 4WD, towing ability and reliability with a CVT transmission running the show. Well, you need not worry, as the CVT is chain-operated, unlike belt operation in car units, allowing up to 5,000-lbs towing capacity (and that is J2807 compliant) and AWD is an option, although no low range is offered. Inside, the new capabilities of a unibody design have allowed Nissan to design a clever third row to offer seven seats. Access to the third row is eased by the second row’s tilt-and-slide feature, which can be used even when a child seat is in place. It makes it one of the easiest seven-seaters to get into, even for adults, and once you’re back there, it’s really not that bad; adults are very much welcome at the children’s table in this case. Out on the road, the new unibody should make the Pathfinder


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a much better performer, right? Uh, well sort of. It does handle much better than the outgoing Pathfinder, but it is still quite soft and squishy compared to, say, a Mazda CX-9 or even the Ford Explorer. It is also quite apparent that the drivetrain package has been fine tuned for efficiency, as launches from a stop are rather sluggish. The good side is that the ride itself is quite good and the driver does have much better control over the vehicle as a whole. In some ways, I’m quite sad to see the old body-on-frame Pathfinder die off like so many in the segment. It means the true off-road potential just isn’t there anymore. However, Pathfinder owners just didn’t take them off-road, and the bright side of the move means the Pathfinder is better suited to the job its

owners want it for, while an increased spotlight on the Xterra should hopefully see that vehicle step up as Nissan’s true offroad adventurer and get some more development to keep it that way. So while the Pathfinder’s name is now a contradiction, the strength of the breed will see it live on long into the future.

SPECIFICATIONS: MSRP: . ...........................................................................$29,998 Price as tested: ...............................................................$45,198 Layout: ............................................. Front Engine, FWD & AWD Engine: . ...........................................................................3.5L V6 Power: . .............................................................................260 hp Torque: ............................................................................240 lb-ft Transmission: . ..............................................................CVT auto Curb weight: . ................................................................. 1,962 kg Fuel Efficiency (city, hwy, com.): ............................ 10.5L/100 km 7.7L/100 km, 9.3L/100 km

The unibody allows for a lower and more aero-efficient stance. 26 Trucks Plus

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The Wait is Over

2013 Porsche Cayenne Diesel Story and photos by Russell Purcell


s the global economy continues to struggle, many of the auto manufacturers are looking for ways to consolidate operations and exploit those technologies that offer them the greatest reach across their markets. In Europe, more than 50 percent of automobiles and light trucks are powered by diesel fuel, and the move towards low-sulphur “clean diesel” fuel will see this number steadily increase. As a result, it would make economic sense to expand this business model into other markets, including those in North America. Over the past several years, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi and Volkswagen have begun to slowly introduce Canadian and American buyers to the benefits of diesel-powered vehicles by rolling a handful of offerings into showrooms backed up by a barrage of television ad campaigns. Unfortunately, progress has been slow, as diesel-powered vehicles tend to wear a utilitarian image in North America due

to the fact that the fuel is predominantly used in industrial and commercial vehicles. A quick survey of consumers will reveal that diesel engines still carry the stigma of being hard on the environment and dirty, as early examples produced excess noise, smoke, and soot. The reality is that with all the recent advances in diesel fuel technologies, diesel is set to become the wave of the future. As part of the always expanding Volkswagen Group, Porsche’s product planners have access to some deep parts bins, and decades of diesel research and development. As a result, it is not surprising to find that the Cayenne Diesel sports the same 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 engine under its hood as its corporate sisters, the Audi Q7 and Volkswagen Touareg. All three vehicles come equipped with eight-speed automatic transmissions. As the Porsche is both the sportiest and lightest of the three vehicles, it should come as no surprise that it is the most fun

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NEW WHEELS braking, the transmission shifts down to optimize the ratio for the speed at the time. Conversely, this intelligent gearbox will select shift points that maximize fuel economy when it detects that you are just cruising or driving conservatively. Running in 7th or 8th gear at low engine speeds enhances fuel economy and reduces operating noise. Unfortunately, the company’s novel Auto Start Stop function is unavailable on this vehicle. A litre of diesel fuel contains more potential energy than a litre of gasoline, so in effect, the Cayenne Diesel will travel significantly farther than the gasoline-powered V6 model on the same fuel load. However, I should note that the Cayenne Diesel is playing with a stacked deck in the range department as it benefits from a 100-litre fuel tank verses the 85-litre unit fitted to most Cayenne models. I imagine this is due to the fact that there are

to drive. The well-sorted 3.0-litre engine delivers the same 240 horsepower as the Q7, but benefits from 15 more ponies than the Touareg. The torque rating remains the same for all three at a healthy 406 lb-ft. Power is delivered to the ground by all four wheels, and runs to 100 km/h from a standstill take place in a respectable 7.2 seconds. Towing capacity is 7,716 pounds, which will permit you to tow a reasonably large boat or travel trailer to the cottage with ease. Porsche’s phenomenal eight-speed, Tiptronic S transmission is the sole offering for the Cayenne Diesel, but this ultra-smooth gearbox is efficient, quiet, and quick to react when you employ the gearshift controls on the steering wheel. The Cayenne Diesel is no slouch, and the Tiptronic S transmission automatically adapts the shift points for performance driving. Under heavy

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fewer service stations offering diesel fuel in major urban centres, so having a larger tank will reduce some range anxiety.   On the styling front, the Cayenne Diesel shares its slippery shape with the other Cayenne models and the only external cue that the vehicle is different is a subtle diesel badge in traditional Porsche script behind the front wheels on the fender. The same can be said of the interior, as the very businesslike cabin comes equipped with all the comfort and convenience features expected in a premium SUV, and exceptional fit-andfinish. The passenger compartment has been so well insulated that on several occasions, I had to put my window down just to hear the engine. So much for diesels being noisy.  The demand for premium, diesel-powered SUVs is steadily increasing in many parts of Canada with offerings from the aforementioned manufacturers already entrenched on our shores, but for those consumers looking for sharp looks, best-in-class fuel efficiency and an optimal driving experience, the Cayenne Diesel will be hard to beat. 


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Base price (MSRP): ........................................................$64,500 Type: .....................................................5-passenger luxury SUV Layout: .......................................................... Front-engine, AWD Engine: . .......................................................3.0L turbo-diesel V6 Power: . .............................................240 hp @ 3,500-4,000 rpm Torque (lb-ft): . ........................................ 406 at 1,750-2,500 rpm Transmission: . ..............................................8-speed Tiptronic S Brakes:.......................................................................... Disc/disc Cargo capacity: .......................................62.9 cu.ft. [seats down] Towing capacity: ........................................................... 7,716 lbs Top speed: ..................................................217 km/h (135 mph) Acceleration (0-100 km/h): . ............................................. 7.2 sec Fuel consumption (L/100 km): ................... City 10.8 (26.1 mpg); Hwy 6.7 (42.1 mpg)



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A Capable Touring

2013 Cadillac SRX Review by Russell Purcell. Photos courtesy GM Canada Cadillac is a brand on the rise due to the fact that parent company General Motors has spent the better part of a decade revamping the once stodgy nameplate in an effort to attract younger buyers to the showroom. It appears to be working, as the CTS model line-up has proven popular, as has the enormous Escalade, but for some reason the SRX crossover has struggled to find its niche. Now well into its second generation, the current SRX should not be overlooked if you are looking for a luxurious mid-sized people hauler, as it brings an awful lot to the table. The SRX is available in both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations, but I suspect that most Canadian buyers will opt for the four-season surefootedness offered by the latter.

The SRX handles like a sports sedan when prodded, but delivers a ride comfortable enough for extended touring. I took my test unit for a short trip to the Seattle-Tacoma area of Washington State, and if you have ever tackled the roads in this region, you will realize that they will test even the best suspension system. I must admit that I was surprised by how well the SRX’s suspension smoothed out the bumps along the irregular concrete road surfaces and how well insulated its cabin was with regards to both road and engine noise. I completed the exact same journey in a Volvo XC60R a month later, and as capable as the Volvo was, its ride was nowhere near as supple as that of the SRX. The SRX is classified as a mid-sized vehicle, so its rather compact dimensions allow it to effectively slip through traffic and navigate the tight confines of the urban environment with relative ease. There is only one engine offered for 2013, as the turbocharged V6 was axed from the catalog for model year 2012. The current mill is a direct-injection 3.6-litre V6 that produces 308 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque. Acceleration is brisk and the rather wide torque band ensures that you can execute passing manoeuvres without any extra drama. The six-speed automatic transmission proved to be very efficient and one smooth operator, and when operated in “sport” mode it helped make full use of the engine’s potential. One look inside the cabin and it is obvious that the folks at GM have stepped up their game. The fit-and-finish is top-notch, and the high-quality of the leather and various trim materials is evident throughout. Visibility is exceptional out front, as the hood quickly falls away, and the large windshield gives the cockpit an airy feel. However, the same cannot be said when it comes to the subject of rear visibility, as wide

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NEW WHEELS rear pillars and a relatively small rear window restrict the view. Luckily my test vehicle featured a rear vision camera system as well as front and rear ultrasonic parking sensors. The power-operated front seats are firm, but supportive, as is the rear bench. I found the four outboard seating positions perfectly comfortable for my 6’2” height and XXXL frame, but the centre position is best reserved for smaller children. The optional Ultra View sunroof is so expansive that it transforms the driving experience for all parties. My two rear seat passengers kept commenting on the many birds, helicopters and cloud formations they spotted as we hustled down the interstate, not to mention the impressive architecture and sheer size of the skyscrapers of downtown Seattle. At times the visual onslaught of data can overload the senses or become distracting, so there is a handy screen that can be deployed for more privacy or to filter out the sunlight. Most of the SRX’s exterior styling cues are derived from the CTS, so it should come as no surprise that the interior design and layout will look familiar to Cadillac fans. The dashboard features a tidy gauge cluster while the centre stack houses the bulk of the car’s switchgear and system controls. A multi-function LCD screen takes centre stage high on the dashboard and serves to provide the driver with a host of touch controls for the audio system and vehicle settings, while also serving as the display for the backup camera and the navigation system. My test vehicle was the range-topping AWD Premium model, so it was loaded with all the luxury appointments one expects in a modern executive-class vehicle. This includes standard Bluetooth phone connectivity, a Bose ten-speaker audio system complete with surround sound and a 40GB hard drive, navigation, 20-inch wheels, HID headlamps, privacy glass and a rear power liftgate. The winter sport crowd will appreciate such niceties as a heated steering wheel, a tri-zone climate control system, and heated seats (front and rear).

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Other niceties include rain sensing wipers, push button start, cooled front seats and highly visible LED tail lamps. With the seats folded, the rear cargo area serves up an impressive 1,730 litres of space. It also features an innovative fence system which adjusts to help hold your luggage and bulky items in place, and a soft, retractable roll cover helps keep your items out of view from prying eyes. The rear cargo door was power operated on my test vehicle, which proved handy when I found myself juggling parcels or luggage. The Cadillac SRX is a solid performer in all departments but it faces stiff competition from an ever-expanding list of rivals in this crowded segment of the automotive marketplace. The Lexus RX350 is regarded as the benchmark by most, but a similarly equipped SRX can usually be had for far less money, as the domestic dealers tend to offer more significant discount programs than their foreign counterparts.

SPECIFICATIONS: Base price (MSRP): ......................................$40,495 - $57,445 Type: ............................................ 5 Passenger mid-sized CUV Layout: .............................................Front engine, RWD / AWD Engine: . ............................. 3.6L DOHC V6 with direct-injection Power: . .....................................................308 hp @ 6,800 rpm Torque (lb-ft): . ................................................265 @ 2,400 rpm Transmission: . ......6-Speed electronically-controlled automatic Brakes: . ......................................... Four-wheel ventilated discs Cargo volume (L/cu. ft.): .........................................1,730 / 61.1 Fuel consumption(L/100 km/h): FWD – City 12.7 / Highway 8.3 AWD – City 13.2 / Highway 8.8

FEATURE for in-cab storage space really was.

History of Extended Cab Pickups

How They Changed the Industry Forever

By 1972, talk in the industry was that a stretched cab was imminent. And as Ford and GM were battling for top spot in the pickup world, it seemed obvious that one or the other would be first. But, surprise, it was Dodge that actually built the first extended cab - also in 1973 (late 1972 in the United States) - in the form of the new Club Cab. Added to the full-size D100 pickup, it created a backseat, albeit a very narrow one. Adding just 18 inches t o t h e c a b b o d y, t h i s Club Cab had two flipdown seats mounted on the sides of the cab. This space had to be accessed by folding the front bench forward. It also added two small windows behind the Bpillar. In reality, this first version was space for two kids, one skinny adult, or several bags of stuff - and the public loved it. There is no doubt that this advancement not only boosted the sales of Dodge - the perennial third place finisher in the Detroit truck race - but it also shined up its image as the forwardthinking truck builder. This innovation was as much a surprise in its execution (nicely incorporated into the body) as was the fact that Dodge did it. Except for a few good, but sporadic, technical advancements in the previous couple of decades, Dodge just was not on the cutting edge of truck development. Finally, here was a secure, weatherproof space for all the “other” stuff truck owners carried. It was obvious from the first debut that others would soon follow the trend, and by trend, I also mean that designers were catching wind of the changing

By Howard J Elmer


xtended cab pickup trucks were an innovation that changed the fortunes of truck builders when they first debuted in the 1970s. That’s a fact, but before that could happen, we have to realize that it was the rise of the glamourous pickup era (as evidenced by GM’s sales dominance from ’68 to ’73) that really shifted pickups from just-work vehicles to personal transportation. This signalled a real cultural shift in the minds of pickup buyers - one that would lead to the need for storage space in trucks of the ‘70s. In fact, this issue had become so acute in the early years of that decade that when GM moved its gas tank from behind the seat in its cabs to under the frame rails in 1973 (something Ford also did), buyers were ecstatic. For the first time, the seatback could be flipped forward, offering up a whole seven inches of space. Seems silly today, but back then, this change was celebrated as a huge innovation, one that spoke to how pent-up the need FEB / MAR 2013

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FEATURE This move, to these types of pickups, was the response to this gradual societal shift in thinking about pickups. I can best illustrate this shift by a remark my mother made to me in 1976. I was seventeen and had just bought a Ford F-250 – my first vehicle. When I brought it home, my mom asked me to park around the corner from our house rather than in the driveway, because - as she put it - “the neighbours will think we are in construction.” Funny then, but her image of a truck and mine were that different. I bought a truck because that’s what I wanted to drive; she couldn’t imagine someone would own one without a specific work-related purpose. In 1974, Ford brought out the next generational change to its F-series. The surprise hit of the new line was the F-100

nature of pickup trucks. They were still work vehicles, but they were fast morphing into everyday, do-everything conveyances. Buyers were as likely to own a truck to get to work and back as they were to own a truck to work with. And this shift meant there was a growing need for space - space for families, space for personal effects and space for what was becoming a new lifestyle choice. The Dodge Club Cab would most often be paired with a luxurious trim level called the Adventurer. In addition to that extra space, the Adventurer package also carried power steering, independent front suspension, pocketed taillights, power brakes and air conditioning. Interiors had vinyl, foampadded bucket seats and colour choices that included black, blue, green or tan.

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FEATURE spot over rival Toyota for several years. And while the name - King Cab - painted a picture of an expansive interior, most owners of King Cab trucks were simply grateful to finally have enough room to recline their seats comfortably. By the mid-eighties, most every brand offered some type of extended cab, even the new GM S-10 compact trucks. However, it was that ten-year dominance by Ford and its SuperCab that vaulted it into the number one sales spot, and fully established companies like Datsun here in Canada. As for Dodge, it’s rumoured that issues in its car divisions sapped any other forward thinking development from its trucks in the rest of the ‘70s. Until Lee Iacocca came on the scene, that is. But, that’s another story. SuperCab; it was this truck that would close the gap on GM’s sales supremacy, eclipsing it by the end of the decade. Ford made the SuperCab the star of its 1974 ad campaign, and one-upped Dodge by offering facing jumpseats or a bench back there. In addition the SuperCab could be ordered with a standard 8-foot box or a 6.75-foot one. Just like Dodge, no additional doors were offered. Ford built just shy of 30,000 SuperCabs in its first year of production; of course, total F-series production for ’73 was over a half-million - but it was a start. Strangely, it would be the ‘80s before GM offered a similar truck cab, and its sales suffered accordingly. Even the imports (just getting a real foothold in North America then) saw the advantage of a larger truck cab. In 1977, Datsun built its King Cab on the first extended compact truck in North America. It was a huge leap forward for small import trucks. In fact, this was at least one innovation that kept Datsun (Nissan today) in the top sales

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An Epic Marathon

Just how far will a Cayenne Diesel go until it runs out of fuel?

Story and photos by Budd Stanley, additional photos courtesy of Porsche

that Osoyoos is exactly 1,488 kilometres from Napa California, four klicks off, but good enough for me.


With a destination set, what can I do to be as efficient as possible? The efficiency number, after all, is a best-case scenario, so I will do everything in my power other than vehicle modification to meet that number. As this Cayenne has Porsche’s terrain management control and adjustable suspension, I’ll be driving with the vehicle lowered as much as possible to make the hole I punch through the air smaller. Likewise, the wing-mirrors can fold in with the touch of a button; they too will be rendered useless in the name of aeroefficiency. Anything sucking up much-needed power will be turned off, that means the heater, heated seats, music, GPS, everything. Along with vehicle manipulation, I’ll be employing hyper-miling driving techniques. I hate people who do this but the simple fact is that it works. Finally, to make the most of empty roads, I’ll be leaving Kelowna at 10:00 pm, and topping up in Osoyoos at midnight to start the challenge proper.

really don’t know why I put myself through these things. I must just love to issue myself massive challenges that not only test a vehicle’s ability but also my own. A fuel efficiency challenge is nothing exciting, but it is a massive undertaking, taking a manufacturer’s word and putting it to the test in real-world conditions. Such is the case when Porsche released the numbers on its latest Cayenne, a diesel. Now, I love diesels and love how they turn gas-guzzling SUVs into realistic fuel efficient options to the consumer. Case in point was my testing of the BMW X5d that posted a very Camry-like 10.1L/100 km. And so we come to the Cayenne. Porsche, while not saying how far it will go on a tank of fuel, has published the near-ridiculous figure of 6.7L/100km (35mpg) for highway driving. The best efficiency I’ve ever achieved in any Porsche was 6.8L/100km in the company’s smallest and lightest car, the Boxster. Do a little math, and with a 100-litre tank, that works out to an impressive 1,492 km per tank. Naturally, I was skeptical, so what do I do when I don’t think something is capable of doing what the manufacturer says it’s going to do? Yup, I call up Porsche and book a Cayenne Diesel for testing. With Cayenne Diesel in hand, I went about finding a route that would suitably test its abilities. From Vancouver, the obvious destination, 1,500 kilometres away, is the town of Swift Current, Saskatchewan. No offence to Quick Riverites, but this destination, in the depths of winter, along with throwing the Rocky Mountains in the way, would not fully represent the Cayenne’s true abilities. However, with a little more Google-mapping, I was able to find 40 Trucks Plus

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In the darkness of Kelowna, I head out onto what will be an epic marathon, stopping to fill up at a service station due to previous driving. The weather is not exactly ideal for hyper-miling; a strong headwind meets me as I drive down the lakeside and ten degrees below freezing will hurt efficiency, but hopefully the conditions will lighten up once I’ve gotten across the border. However, the experiment takes a major hit once I reach Osoyoos.

FEATURE It seems in all my planning and research about the route and the vehicle, I failed to ensure that there would be a gas station open in Osoyoos at midnight. Across the border was very little civilization, only another small town that would likely also have no open stations. Well, with the tank topped up in Kelowna, I’d just have to do my best with what I had. I was currently getting 6.9L/100 km, but with the added 123 kilometres that it would take to reach my destination, I’d have to dig deep. Across the border, the conditions did not let up; in fact, they got worse, as snow began to fall. As I plodded along the valley, soon the route took me up into several mountain passes. Again, not the best for fuel efficiency, but with careful driving I can hopefully make the most out of it. The problem was, the snow turned to ice rain, not only turning the road surface into a slick sheet of ice, but also my windshield. More sacrifices had to be made and the defroster had to be used. Throughout Washington State, the conditions continued to challenge, the ice rain kept coming along with long climbs. It was beginning to look as though my efforts would be for naught. Finally, breaking out onto the high plateau, I could chug along at a reasonable rate, making up for the fuel spent in the mountains. As I neared the Columbia Gorge, I was treated to not only sunlight, but a much-earned downhill run to the Columbia River. By now, I was averaging 7.7L/100 km, nowhere near what I needed to make Napa, but by the time I was crossing the Columbia, the efficiency gauge was reading the ideal, 6.7L/100 km. On topography, Oregon looks much like the highlands of Washington, a large climb up from the Columbia followed by a high plateau, so hopefully I’d be back on track. The climb from the Columbia was expected; I could see from the Washington side the task I had in front of me, but I could not see beyond. Yes, the initial climb sucked some fuel, bucking me

from 6.7 to 6.9L/100 km. However, the problem was, the land never leveled out, it just kept climbing and climbing. Over each horizon, another greeted me that was even higher, and on and on. The never-ending gain in altitude, along with a weary mind full of stimulants from driving through the night, sent me into the Kübler-Ross five stages of grief. I ran through a series of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. There was no way I was going to make it. Why did nature choose to give me wind, ice and rain, and make Oregon nothing more than a giant ramp? Maybe if I cheat a little, crank 70 psi of pressure into the tires, I can overcome this challenge. Bah, it is what it is and there is nothing I can do about it. However, then came another emotion, that of hope, because Newton overrules Kübler-Ross. What goes up must come down, and the higher I go, I always know that Napa is near sea-level, and therefore there must be a large hill at the end to fall down. Problem being, the never-ending, soul-destroying ramp that is Oregon might have me run out of fuel before I can even see a downhill section. However, crawling along 20 km/h below the limit, the fuel needle was sitting exactly at mid-level when the trip rolled over 744 kilometres. While not the exact halfway point, with the additional 123 kilometres tacked on at the beginning, the fact I was able to hold 6.9L/100 km was beyond me. Approaching the California border, I was going completely mental. The route continued to climb towards Mount Shasta at a brutally

FEB / MAR 2013

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FEATURE slow rate. Finally, a 1,586-metre summit was reached at the foot of the great volcano and the land began to fall away before me. Thankfully, the road free-fell to the I-5, then continued down the mountain to Redding. However as good as the downhill was, it was a short drop and the average only fell to 6.8L/100 km by the bottom. The good news was that I was now on a long, flat, straight road all the way to Napa, with a slight downwards cant. Boring as it may be, the flatlands did help; 6.8 turned to 6.7, the target efficiency, although would it be enough? Passing through Williams, California, the trip ticked over 1,492 km. The Porsche had done exactly what the published numbers said it would do. Not only that, it had to deal with many more variables than were ideal. Headwinds, snow, ice and several mountain passes all could have upset the challenge, yet the Cayenne triumphed. However, I was still not at the goal of Napa. Despite the added distance, I chose to bypass the gas stations of Williams and aim for Napa. The fuel gauge was still not even in warning territory and before I knew it, the average dropped once again to 6.6L/100 km.

Agonizingly, I drove past Fairfield, the last fuel stop before Napa, breathing ever so slightly on the throttle to keep up an average speed of 85 km/h on the highway. Then with the range indicator showing 25 kilometres, it finally just went blank with 100 kilometres to go. With a large fuel pump flashing at me from the dash and the fuel gauge sitting at empty, I continued to do the impossible. Then with great excitement, a small sign passed reading “Napa City Limits.” I’d done it; the Cayenne had now accomplished its task of making it to Napa on a single tank. Then with only a mere 11 kilometres from my final destination, in a construction section of all things, the Porsche flashed its coil warning light, and began to cough as the fuel lines filled with air. It was finally done; after 19 hours of driving 1,608 kilometres, the Cayenne finally ran dry. Now, I know in the real world, this doesn’t mean a whole lot, and I’m sure you are not going to be going out and trying this without refilling your tank, but it does go to show the lengths that these vehicles have improved in the modern age. That an All-Wheel Drive 2,175-kilogram SUV can get the fuel efficiency of a sub-compact is truly amazing. And if you think it was all due to the extremes I went to, a very fast trip back with heater blowing, music playing and iPhone charging still netted me a 7.3L/100km average. It has changed the whole way I look at SUVs; they now start to make economic sense for the extravagance of such a large vehicle. Either way you cut it, the Porsche Cayenne Diesel is a truly amazing bit of kit.

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Ten Things You Need To Have When Off-Road

What newbies need when heading out into the bush for the first time Story by Budd Stanley, photos courtesy of ARBUSA, Warn


irst of all, for those who have spent many a night out in the bush at the wheel of your prized 4WD, you will likely already know what we are talking about here. Not to worry, your time is coming. However, for those just getting into the game, taking your 4x4 off into the far reaches of nature can be a magnificent experience. At the same time, it can be a very dangerous one if you are not well prepared for the unknown. Now, you may have spent great sums of finances and your child’s college fund to get your rig to the point where it can climb up and over a small hatchback. However, performance off-road modifications aside, there is a list of the bare essentials you need when traveling out into the unknown. And so here we go: Winch Many might say that a winch is not a must-have basic, but in my time in the back woods, I wouldn’t want to go anywhere north of a logging road without one. The good news is, a winch will not only get you out of a sticky situation, it improves the capabilities of your rig when certain modifications are not made. The bad, they are the most expensive item on this list. Be sure to account for the weight of your truck along with conditions you might find yourself stuck in, to work out a tow rating that works best for you; it’s not a case of one size fits all. 44 Trucks Plus

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Good Off-Road Lights Again, another item that might be controversial, but you just can’t beat a good set of auxiliary lights hanging off the front of your truck. The added light-flooding power is key when night crawling and even if you don’t plan to off-road at night, nature has a funny way of switching things around on you, and you’ll find these are a worthwhile investment. Trouble is, there are literally thousands of different styles that use many different

FEATURE Maps The thing about heading out into the unknown, is that you’re in the unknown, and it’s easy to get lost out there. Carrying a GPS is a handy bit of tech, but you know, a good old-fashioned topographical map will never run out of batteries. Find maps for the area you tend to explore and don’t be scared to write down trails, markers and need-to-know information to help guide you back out to civilization or for future missions.

ways of emitting light. Which ones will work best for your situation? Stay tuned; we’ll have a full rundown of how each type works, and what is best for a particular situation. First Aid Kit Rarely have I been on a 4x4 trip where blood hasn’t been spilt. A g oo d f i r st aid kit is an absolute must in your rig, because anything can happen and chances are you’re a long ways away from a place where an ambulance can pick you up, let alone a medical centre. Don’t cheap out, get the big packs, and even put a couple of extra goodies in there like matches, candles, gloves, and thermal sheets in case you need to spend the night out in the woods. High-lift Jack Believe it or not, tire punctures have been known to occur in off-road conditions. And guess what, now that your rig is six inches taller than stock, that roadside jack ain’t going to get the job done. A good high-lift jack not only makes the job of getting your truck up into the air easier, it also comes in handy for all sorts of other jobs, like lifting a wheel out of mud to lay down a dry surface.

Tow Strap One of the easiest, cheapest and most overlooked items you can have in your rig. If you are a newb, you’re going to get stuck. Hopefully you are smart enough to go out into the bush with others while loosing your virginity, so you can hook up with

another truck to get you out of a sticky situation. However, it is important to note that not just any piece of rope will do. Be sure to get a proper trail-rated tow strap like that seen here. These will not only handle the added weight of pulling a heavy truck out of mud, but can also be used as an elastic, giving extra pulling power while not ripping your bumper off. Tow Points The absolutely most overlooked bit of kit for your truck is tow points. If you have a buddy with a winch or a tow strap, you

Jerry Can It goes without saying, if you are heading to a destination that challenges the range of your fuel tank, you are going to need a reserve. Rough terrain burns up fuel faster than smooth roads, and the same goes when you get stuck. Long idling and hard shots of throttle in 4-low is going to drain your tank quick. It’s always a good thing to have a Jerry Can of fuel as back-up; it beats walking. FEB / MAR 2013

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FEATURE need something to connect these lines to your truck. If not, these must-haves are useless. And don’t think that the little tie-down hooks under the chassis will be enough, because digging down to those things in deep mud not only sucks, it takes a long time. Many aftermarket companies build heavy-duty hooks or shackles that bolt higher up to stressed members. Ideally, two points for the front and back.

Tools F i n a l l y, t h e m o s t i m p o r t a n t things to have are tools! Nobody wants to lend out their prized goods; even worse, out in the bush. You’ll find good friends that would rather do your work for you with their tools rather than give them up. Know what the most popular hardware attachments are on your truck and have a high-quality kit with the necessary ratchets, wrenches pliers and screwdrivers. And don’t just think of tools for your truck; axes, shovels, picks and saws may be just as important; depending on the type of terrain you plow through. And then, there is one last thing worth bringing with you into the great outdoors, and that is common sense. Yes it is a dying character trait these days, but a good off-roader will know how to get out of a sticky situation with only the tools and parts at hand. Whether it is burying a spare to pull a truck out of the sand or to use a spare steering arm to jump a dead battery, imagination and ingenuity are vital on the trail.

Spare Parts Now this is a tricky one. If you are new to off-roading, you don’t have the experience to know what the weakest links on your rig are. Conversely, you don’t want to be lugging around a whole other truck worth of “what ifs.” This is where you are going to need help. Talk to others with the same rig who have similar modifications to find out what best to pack for the trail, be it steering arms, axles or a spare set of shackles.

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Now, we know there will be no shortage of criticism of our list, and rightfully so. Different kinds of four-wheel-driving in different kinds of environments call for a slightly modified approach to the basics. We have been guided by the law of averages, so if you plan to start off-roading in a not so average way, say, rock crawling, be sure to ask around your local clubs and others that have much more experience, and you’ll find people are more than willing to help you in a common pursuit.



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Tools of the Trade

What helped me make it through the Outback

Story and Photos by Budd Stanley, additional photos courtesy of ARB, Banana Boat If you read the last issue of Trucks Plus Magazine, you would have read about my little adventure Down Under in search of a Guinness World Record. Well, the basics down in the Outback are much different to what an off-roader will need up here in the Great White North. While I’ll get to the ten things you didn’t think you needed for off-roading on this side of the equator, here is a quick look at what was absolutely necessary in the Outback:

will challenge adventurers with all manner of sticky situations, whether it be deep loose sand, rugged rocky terrain or even flash floods creating mud pools that will swallow vehicles whole, so a 4WD is a must. The best-suited for a romp into the Outback, and pretty much the only vehicles you see out there, are the Toyota Land Cruiser and Nissan Patrol diesel. Our trusty Patrol likely spent as much time off-road as it did on; anything less utilitarian than this would have spelt our doom. We found ours in used classifieds for around $4,000.

4WD – Nissan Patrol/Toyota Land Cruiser You only have to look at what all the locals are driving to know that a 4WD will come in handy in the Outback. The Outback

Bull Bar and Spots – ARB If there is one thing that I can say about Australia, it is that it is teeming with wildlife, even if that wildlife doesn’t seem to be too bright. During the 10,000 kilometres of driving that I did all around the country, the truck we were driving was in constant danger of being struck by the native species. From wild pigs, to koalas, sheep, cows, camels and of course, the ‘roos, a good quality bull bar is absolutely required, equipped with long-range spots to illuminate eyes of potential victims 48 Trucks Plus

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FEATURE as far down the road as possible. Hell, even cars carried bull bars in the Outback. $900 - $2,000 depending on vehicle, at off-road shops. S u n S c re e n / B u g R epellent – Whatever you can find As many know, there is a rather large hole forming in the ozone layer directly above Australia. As a result, UV radiation, the stuff that gives the Aussies that lovely bronze tan, is extremely high, burning paleskinned Canadians like myself in as little as five minutes. It’s for this reason that two out of three Aussies will develop skin cancer in their lifetimes. Not to mention the sheer number of insects that come out at dusk and dawn are enough to carry away a morbidly obese man. Oh and did I mention that many of them still carry diseases not heard of since biblical times. DO NOT go out into the Outback, without some kind of skin and insect spray. $4 $15 for the good stuff found at any supermarket.

from the nearest barn, let alone medical facility, sorting yourself out is mandatory. Having a goodquality kit brimming full of bandages, splints, medical creams and even precondition shots, dehydration tablets and thermal blankets is a must. $10 -$100 at outdoors or off-road shops. Extraction Kit – ARB The red dirt and sands of Australia are unique in the way they react with the grip of your 4WD. The earth will seemingly open up beneath the vehicle and start to suck it down if you are not paying attention. If - I mean - when this happens, a proper Extraction Kit is a must if you are to salvage your only means

Good Hat – Propper BDU Boonie Cap As I mentioned, the sun is a cruel beast down there in Oz, and you won’t always find a good tree to take shade under during the heat of the mid-day sun out in the Downs, areas flatter than our own Prairies. As such, you’ll want to be making a little of your own shade in the form of a full-brimmed hat. The

of transportation in one of the most desolate environments on Earth. You need to be ready to deal with a stuck truck, and we had ours firmly planted on more than one occasion. Bare minimum is a tow strap, and hopefully a passerby will be along in a day or two, but a good winch with snatch blocks, shackles, gloves, shovels and anchors is ideal. $150 to as far as you can take it, at off-road shops.

traditional Aussie Outback hat is ideal, much like a cowboy hat, but with a little Aussie flare. However, authentic examples can be quite expensive down there, so I showed up with a hat that I was quite familiar with, a Canadian Forces Field Cap. The cap served me well, as it went through nearly as tough a time as boot camp, with two-and-a-half months of sweat, sun and red dirt being ground into it. I made sure it was on every time I stepped outside, helping keep the sun off my head, and keeping me cool. $14.99 Surplus Store, $5.00 for flag.

Flashlight – Rigid Industries The sun goes down fast at the 24th parallel; it hangs high in the sky all day long, then plummets straight down to the horizon around 7 pm in the summer. Having a good quality flashlight on hand is ideal. More often than not, I’d find myself repairing motors, equipment or simply setting up camp when the daylight would be turned off mid-project. The Rigid LED flashlight provided massive amounts of illumination with 800 lumens and extremely long battery life, while able to take a beating. In two-and-a-half months, I had to charge it only twice, and usually used it every day. $99 at off-road shops.

First Aid Kit – Any brand The Outback can be a very unforgiving place and let me tell you, blood was spilled more than once on our two-month trip across the Outback. When you are sitting 400 kilometres FEB / MAR 2013

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FEATURE not enough to keep me standing upright, dehydration tablets helped make up for the losing battle. Another DO NOT go to the Outback without. Dehydration tablets must be part of any proper first aid kit. $80 to $170 at outdoors shops.

Multi-tool – Gerber Suspension During my time in Australia, there was one tool that came in handy each and every day. The first thing I did every morning was strap my Multi-tool to my hip. It never failed; I’d always have a problem, mechanical issue or obstacle that needed dealing with, that would see me reach for my hip anywhere from four to eight times a day. The tool that I had attached on my hip was the Gerber Suspension Multi-tool, which always had what I needed, stayed sharp and never let me down. $35 at outdoors shops. Water Pack and Dehydration Tablets - Camelbak There is one thing about Australia; anywhere you go, it’s going to be bloody hot. From the humidity-soaked coast, to the hot savannahs, to the moisture-killing desert, you need to keep your hydration levels topped up down here. When I left Canada for Oz, it was -25 degrees Celsius. I had just built up my cold-weather acclimatization when I jumped an 18-hour flight to Sydney, where +40-degree weather and full humidity was waiting. My body went into shock for a good two weeks, peaking in Townsville where +46 temperatures had me sleeping with a water pack stuck in my mouth as I was not able to replenish water as fast as I was sweating it out. The 3-litre pack was refilled two, sometimes three, times a day just to combat the dryness of the Outback. And when just water was

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2013 Dynamax Trilogy 3800 Story by Howard J Elmer


t’s funny what will catch your eye, as in a subdued feature on a fifth-wheel, like an absence of windows on one side. But then, that’s how the Trilogy drew me in. This trailer by Dynamax has a driver ’s side that is all about automotive smooth. Frameless slideouts, radius corners, slick-looking sidewalls - and, okay, one tiny glass window at the very back of the trailer. Looking at it, I instantly got it - focus all the live activity to one side of the trailer, while offering a complete wall of privacy on the other. Simple really. It’s just a design feature after all; however, after reviewing the interior, it’s obvious that this privacy wall is just one of many features aimed at full-timers and snowbirds. These owners will spend months in these units and frankly, the design appeal should never wane. That’s why Dynamax builds radiused sidewalls, and uses eye-catching paint schemes and fluidic styling. The company suggests that the resulting aerodynamic properties also offer better fuel efficiency. I can’t speak to the fuel claim, but when I tested this trailer, I was just really looking for a workout for the Ram 3500 dually I had it hooked to. At a weight of around 14,500 lb, I towed it for over 300 miles and (with the proper truck of course), I can say its road manners were solid and predictable, even in 52 Trucks Plus

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the 50-mph wind gusts we experienced that blustery October day. It tracked easily and the drive was pleasant – no white knuckles. After the testing was done (that was the latest running of the Canadian Truck King Challenge. See, my interest had me go inside. This unit is upscale, and the price reflects that, but then so does the fit-and-finish, which is what you get full-on as you enter the trailer. The cabinets throughout are made of Cherry wood, beautifully finished. Then check out the fireplace with stone fascia below the big, flat-screen.

RV-ING This look extends to the freestanding dinette which also has some clever space-saving features. Here, the hardwood dinette table top lifts for storage. It also has a flip-up extension for guest space. In fact, many Trilogy features have dual uses throughout. There are also ample cupboards, clothes and coat closets and even space under the flip-up stair tops. The dinette chairs have additional storage under the seat cushions. For extra people space, across from the dining area, a hide-a-bed sofa (with air inflation mattress) easily converts to a sleeping area. But, really, this is a long-term unit best suited to a comfortable environment for two. The kitchen speaks to that, with a recessed residential cooktop (holds spills - great idea). Above it is a 30-inch stainless-steel convection microwave oven. Behind it all is a real ceramic tile backsplash and LG solid surface countertop. Trilogy’s residential 22.6 cu. ft.



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Attractive new grill pattern. Rubber edge trim to prevent scratching of factory grill. Available in stainless steel or black powder coat.



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RV-ING SPECIFICATIONS: GVWR: .......................................................................... 18,000 lb Dry Weight: ................................................................... 14,800 lb Length:............................................................................... 41’ 10” Height: . ............................................................................... 13’ 2” Fresh Water: ...................................................................... 64 gal Grey Water: . ...................................................................... 80 gal Black Water: . ..................................................................... 40 gal LP Gas:................................................................................ 97 lb

stainless steel refrigerator has water spigot and an icemaker in the door, just like home. And that’s the point. There will be a lot of living in a trailer like this, so they have included a standard Dyson rechargeable vacuum that is stowed neatly on its recharging rack. What else would you bring from home? A large shower? A second vanity? A roomy King Bed? Yes to all three, and they are here. The passage to the bedroom cuts through the wall-to-wall bathroom that is dominated with the 28-inch deep by 60-inch long shower. Above it, the tinted skydome provides natural light and added headroom. The additional vanity has countertop and backsplash, a single-handle faucet and a mirrored medicine cabinet in the front bedroom. Past the King bed, note the walk-in closet that uses the entire nose of the trailer to great advantage. You’ll never run out of shoe space here; of course (depending on your point of view), that might not be a good thing.

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The Original Compact

Looking back at the introduction of the Datsun Pickup Story by Budd Stanley, photos courtesy of Nissan


ast summer, I had the pleasure of taking an old Datsun 720 4WD off-road on a weekend getaway into the mountains. I’ve always loved these stout little trucks, even when I gazed at them when they were new as a five year-old kid. However, today, the old Datsun is aged, tired and like most Japanese-built vehicles from the ‘80s, has a mortal case of vehicular cancer. Yet, despite its age and the fact it seemed to be leaving a trail of bread crumbs to find its way back, the 720 was still remarkably solid, incredibly capable and actually raised cheers from complete strangers at the mere sight of it. As much of my testing sees me piloting large, new machinery on such trips, I’d forgotten just how good these old classics still are.

pickup truck, this early ‘80s model would be the final generation in a long line of Datsun trucks that introduced North America to the compact pickup back in 1959. Datsun has actually been building haulers for quite a bit longer, though, with the first truck-bodied vehicle, the Model 13, being bred in 1934, as the tides of war were breaking out across the globe. Datsun would resume production in 1949, with the new 3135 followed by the 6147; yup, charismatic names, eh. In 1958, the company wanted to make a move into the North American market and showed its current product, the 220, at the 1958 Los Angeles Auto Show. The 220 was produced off the Datsun 1000 sedan, adding a truck bed onto the back, with either a regular cab or double cab option. It was a massive change from what


However, while the 720 was my first-ever introduction to the FEB / MAR 2013

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North Americans were used to, big domestics packing big V8s, and the pint-sized 220 with its 860cc four-cylinder engine just didn’t seem up to the challenge. Datsun was up to the challenge, and in 1959, the Japanese invaded with the 220, the first of its kind, offered with a 1.0-litre inline four-cylinder packing a feisty 37 horsepower and quarterton load capacity. Datsun increased the displacement of the four-pot only a year later by 200 cc, which upped horsepower

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to 60. The 220’s life cycle was coming to an end in Japan, so the all-new 320 would make its debut in 1961. The new 320 still used the same 1.2-litre engine, but saw modernized design inputs in body design as well as structural improvements to both the body and frame. The 320 proved successful, but Datsun soon came to lose its monopoly on the compact truck market as many others scrambled to fill spots in the new niche. With the fuel crisis in full swing,

HISTORY to offer the King Cab option, Datsun was leading the compact truck revolution. This brings us to the 720, the last pickup to wear the Datsun name, at least here in North America. Along with the loss of the Datsun name, we also lost the true Datsun truck, as Nissan chose to continue compact truck production in Tennessee to bypass the ridiculous Chicken Tax. Since then, Nissan trucks just haven’t had the same feel as the robust go-anywhere character of the Datsuns. Ironically, there is talk that Nissan is in the midst of reviving the Datsun name. Likely reserved for overseas markets, the Datsun brand will represent a budget brand. Regardless, we pay tribute to the first, the original, the compact that led the way, the stout little Datsun Pickup. 620 the idea of a compact pickup didn’t seem so crazy after all. So much so that Toyota came to market with the Hilux, Ford with the Courier, Mazda with the B-Series and Chevrolet with the LUV. To counter these products, Datsun launched the 520 that saw a sales jump of then-historic proportions from a few hundred units per year to more than 15,000. The 520 was more of a traditional pickup, now packing the new 67-horsepower 1.3-litre four-cylinder. Later years saw the 520 increase horsepower to 77 with a new engine architecture, making the 521 the first half-ton compact pickup sold in North America. 1972 would see the 521 give way to the 620, which also had a list of firsts. The first to offer a long bed and the first

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GEARING UP New Extang Tool Box Tonneau Covers New from Extang is its line of Tool Box Tonneau Covers that will fit most standard size truck bed tool boxes no matter what brand. Each cover features an L-Channel which is an adjustable sealing system that will bridge the gap from the tool box to the tonneau cover, and also provides rain drainage. As with all Extang tonneau covers, these feature a no drilling, quick and easy installation and are available in all five of Extang’s styles - Trifecta, Solid Fold, Express Tonno, Fulltilt, and Classic Platinum. For more information please go to

New Fastway Electric Jack Pack Fastway Trailer Products is introducing its all-new Electric Jack Pack, which includes Fastway’s electric jack and Flip automatic jack foot. The 12V electric jack is a high-quality, 2 ¼-inch A-frame jack that is pre-drilled to make installing the jack foot even easier. It features a 4,000-pound lifting capacity with a 50-amp fuse and 24-inch stroke. The Flip Automatic jack foot extends down and locks into place as you extend your jack, and once you raise the jack foot, it automatically tucks up under the frame, ensuring it is out of the way. For more information please go to

AMP Research BedXtender HD AMP Research’s newly-redesigned BedXtender HD has a classic U-shape design for maximum capacity and features super-lightweight 6063 T6 aluminum alloy tubes, and glass-reinforced nylon composite uprights. Flip the extender out when the tailgate is open and you gain up to two feet of enclosed cargo area. Once you flip it inside and close the tailgate, it provides an area to keep all tools or cargo contained in the truck bed. It is available in black or silver powder coat finish and features an easy installation process. For more information please go to 58 Trucks Plus

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GEARING UP Bully Dog GT for Hemi Plus Bully Dog is now offering the Hemi Plus Gauge Tuner for the 2011-2012 Hemi Plus. It has a multi-function vehicle monitoring system and automated engine protection that lets you know when something important is happening with your vehicle. The tuner will drastically improve the utility of the truck by improving horsepower, fuel economy, torque, and by providing a set of monitoring and diagnostic features. Other features of the tuner include auto door unlock/lock, TPMS, pressure thresholds, and much more.



For more information please go to

Xtrude Trans Oil Cooler from BD Diesel Performance The BD Diesel Xtruded Transmission Oil Cooler provides 22 percent more cooling over other designs, and the 200 micro extruded passages provide a large surface area to transfer heat for external air flow cooling. The cooler features large 5/8-inch ports that will stop inlet/outlet restriction, and the furnace-brazed rails have been tested with up to 300 psi of pressure. An 80-watt, 10-inch, 800-CFM thermostatically-controlled electric fan offers outstanding automatic oil temperature control. The Xtruded Transmission Oil Cooler packages come available to accommodate 5/16, 3/8, 1/2, and 5/8-inch transmission cooler lines and can be picked up for Chevy, Dodge, and Ford applications. For more information please go to

Single Row Mini LED Lights from Rigid Industries

SIDEWIND DEFLECTORS Fast & Easy Installation Reduces Wind Noise Tape-Onz™ or Snap-Inz™ Available in Chrome, Smoke and Camo

Rigid Industries has created the smallest light fixture it has ever produced, the Single Row Mini (SRM) LED lights. Rigid took its patented optical system and encased it in a 100-percent magnesium housing. The light unit’s weight is surprisingly low at 7 oz with hardware, but can still project almost 1,000 feet with a hybrid spot, or 1,050 raw lumens with the spector optic. The lights feature a near unbreakable polycarbonate bracket, series 3800 polyester powdercoat finish, instant on/off times, and an operating temperature of 40-145 degrees Fahrenheit.


For more information please go to FEB / MAR 2013

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GEARING UP New Fifth Wheel Tailgate with Backup Camera Mount from Husky Liners Husky Liners now offers an all-new Fifth Wheel Tailgate that features a backup camera mount so you won’t lose that feature when towing a fifth wheel. The tailgate is manufactured from aircraftgrade aluminum for strength and durability, but is lightweight enough to improve fuel economy. The camera mount allows you to install the camera of your choice, and the mount itself, as well as the housing, is completely weather-resistant in order to keep your camera safe from water and other debris. For more information please go to

Warn Medium-Duty Winching Accessory Kit Warn Industries has upgraded its most popular winching accessory kit, so you are able to get even more out of your Warn winch. The kit is designed for winch capacities of up to 10,000 lbs. It has a 20,000-

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lb maximum capacity snatch block with a grease port, a 2x8-inch tree trunk protector, and a 2-inch x 30-foot standard recovery strap with a rating of up to 14,400 lbs. Also included are two ¾-inch D-shackles, Warn winching gloves, and a heavy duty denier bag to carry the kit around in. For more information please go to

ICON Vehicle Dynamics Toyota Lower Control Arm Skid Plates ICON Vehicle Dynamics has released bolt-on skidplates for the 2005+ Toyota Tacoma, 2007+ FJ Cruiser, and 2003+ 4Runner, that are designed to provide ultimate protection to the vehicles lower control arms. Made from 3/16” laser cut steel, the skid plate system will protect lower arm failure during any kind of driving from everyday errands, to running the local off –road trails. The plates offer extreme durability, a precision fit for easy installation, and have a durable black powdercoat finish. For more information please go to www.iconvehicledynamics. com


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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 and if we use your photos we’ll send you a cool Trucks Plus hat!

Once again, being stuck is better than the alternative.

This is one of the best/worst stuck trucks we’ve ever seen.

Did he really think he would make it through?

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At least he didn’t go completely over into that mountain.




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