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CONTENTS

Keeping Fresh

The F-150 sports new improvements to stay fresh n the market ...pg 12

Outlander The Outlander looks to compete in the mid-size crossover market ...pg 30

Frontier

Police Ram

Concept

RVing

History

Chrysler now offers speciallyequipped Ram to police forces ...pg 18

The 2013 Flagstaff Shamrock23RS ...pg 55

Nissan’s new PRO-4X version of the Frontier ...pg 34

ALSO INSIDE

The Ford Atlas concept made its debut at Detroit Auto Show ...pg 36

Fresh Tracks---------------------------------------- 4 New Wheels: BMW X1 vs. X3-------------------22 New Wheels: Lexus LX570----------------------28 The Truck Guy ------------------------------------40 Product Review: EnDuro Cover-----------------42

The original Range Rover Evoque ...pg 54

Feature: Portal Axles Explained----------------- 44 Feature: The Rolling Dead----------------------- 48 Feature: Small pickups in Canada-------------- 50 Gearing Up ---------------------------------------58 Stuck Trucks--------------------------------------62

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JUNE / JULy 2013

Trucks Plus 


FRESH TRACKS Volume 6, Issue No. 3 June/July 2013

Shelby Jumping Into Trucks

Publisher/Editor: Dean Washington dean@rpmcanada.ca

Associate Publisher: David Symons david@rpmcanada.ca

Circulation: Brenda Washington brendaw@rpmcanada.ca Editorial Coordinator / Graphic Design: Jordan Allan jordan@rpmcanada.ca Copy Editor: Gerry Frechette gerryf@rpmcanada.ca Sales & Marketing Elaine Fontaine elaine@rpmcanada.ca Contributing Writers/Photographers: Jordan Allan Howard J Elmer Gerry Frechette Ian Harwood 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: info@rpmcanada.ca WEBSITE: www.rpmcanada.ca Trucks Plus is published six times per year by RPM Media Inc. Second Class Mailing Agreement #40050183

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Shelby has created some of the most powerful, fastest and manic renditions of Ford cars ever. Well, now it seems that the iconic performance tuner is testing its hands at the off-road game with this lovely specimen. Not since Carroll Shelby tweaked every Chrysler product available, including the little Dodge Rampage pickup, has the firm taken on a truck-based vehicle. And what better starting point than the Ford Raptor. The Shelby boffins stroke their magic by massaging 575 horsepower out of the 6.2-litre V8 via a supercharger along with several drivetrain modifications. Additional features include Shelby-spec wheels and tires, a Shelby light bar, and Shelby bumpers along with future items to be announced. Shelby announced that it would charge $17,995 USD for the upgrade, not including the donor Raptor, and originally had planned to build just 100 examples per year. It seems they grossly underestimated demand, and that number has been pushed up to 500 units.

New Range Rover Sport Evoques High Performance

With the new Range Rovers hitting the streets, with them should come a redesigned Range Rover Sport. And voila, Land Rover has revealed what the next Rover Sport will look like, and there is no missing its similarities to the Evoque, with good reason. The word from Land Rover is that this is the most road-oriented vehicle it has ever made, stressing that it is still a great off-roader. As such, two different 4WD systems will be available: one with a very offroad-oriented and traditional 4WD layout, and another for optimum on-road behaviour. We’re digging the off-roader that boasts best-in-class wheel travel at 260 mm front and 272 mm rear, and the car now has an overall range of movement of 185 mm. Wading depth is up to 850 mm, which means you really can do the Tough Mudder in a tuxedo. An aluminum monocoque, much like the full-size Range Rover, is used, which is said to cut weight between 420 and 513 kg from the previous car. While a diesel is available overseas, we’ll likely only get the 500-horsepower 5.0-litre supercharged V8, attached to a ZF 8-speed to start, while additional diesels and a diesel hybrid may make it our way in the future. While its abilities might not match up to the big Rover, it has to be said, this is likely the sexiest 4WD we’ve ever seen.

Durango Next to Get 8-Cogs

While the two-year-old Pentastar 3.6-litre V6 has become the darling of the Chrysler


FRESH TRACKS line-up, being mounted into just about anything the engineers can shove it into, there is a new fuel efficient toy in the lab, the 8speed automatic transmission that is quickly following suit. And the next vehicle to benefit from the eight ratios of efficientlydelivered power is the big Durango. It is combined with cylinder deactivation and a new Eco mode that alters the transmission’s shift timing. These new advances are all oriented to make the Durango a more fuel-efficient option in the large SUV market, while it also receives several other refreshments to the interior and exterior trim.

Jeep Cherokee Shows Its Controversial Face

Last issue we brought you the lowdown on the latest version of Jeep’s Grand Cherokee in both Diesel and SRT formats. Now, Jeep has another Cherokee for our eyes, the Grand Cherokee’s odd-ball little brother. Replacing the aging Liberty, the new Cherokee most obviously has some controversial looks, likely evoking a ‘love it’ or ‘hate it’ response. With the Liberty gone and remembrance faded as to the off-road qualities of the original Cherokee, Jeep has brought back the nameplate, now pasted to this new design atop Chrysler and Fiat’s new compact platform which also underpins the Dart. With that in mind, the new Cherokee will not be an off-road icon like its grandfather, and is more aimed at the CR-V and RAV4 demographic. Due later this summer, the Cherokee will be available in four trim levels featuring Chrysler’s 184-horsepower, 2.4-litre “Tigershark” fourcylinder with the option of the 3.2-litre Pentastar V6 with 271 horsepower. Both engines will direct power through Chrysler’s new nine-speed automatic which should provide impressive efficiency ratings.

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Mercedes’ New Crossover

Mercedes-Benz showed us the sleek and futuristic CLA at Detroit, Chicago and Vancouver, and now it has a similar Crossover to show us from Shanghai. The GLA is based off the CLA platform and is scheduled to have a full production version ready for the Frankfurt Show later in September. Most interestingly, the concept included headlamp clusters with lasers embedded inside that are capable of projecting videos and images on a screen. Plus, a pair of removable video cameras mounted on the roof that can be used to capture on-board footage. Back in the real world, expect that the production GLA-Class will be powered by either a 2.0-litre four-cylinder with 208 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission throwing power to all four wheels, or a diesel or two. And as with all Mercedes, an AMG version, the GLA45 AMG said to boast 300 horsepower, is also planned.


FRESH TRACKS emissions and increasing efficiency by four percent to meet Euro VI standards. On top of the newfound efficiencies, the chassis and body have also received attention with the 4000 and 5000 series getting a completely redesigned panoramic cab, new work and power hydraulics systems as well as synergetic traction drive which allows changing over from manual transmission to hydrostatic transmission while driving. A torsionally-flexible frame (600 mm), torque tubes and retained coil springs also adds to the Unimog’s legendary off-road abilities. Of course, Unimogs are still not available on this side of the pond, so potential owners will have to make do with the simpler and likely more reliable technology of the first two generations of imported Unimogs.

Sprinter Ready for On Comers with Fresh Updates

The commercial van market seems to be hotting up as of late. Only a few years ago, Nissan jumped into the game with its NV and since then, both Ford and Ram are bringing over European-based commercial vans to do battle for trade industry dollars. Of course, the original Euro-commercial van is the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, and Mercedes has given the 2014 model some much-needed firepower to take on the new comers. The new Sprinters get a new base engine, the 2.1-litre four-cylinder BlueTEC diesel to complement the 3.0-litre V6 BlueTEC. This smaller engine will produce 161 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque, and will be paired to a seven-speed automatic transmission. The optional 3.0 V6 puts out 188 hp and 325 poundfeet of torque, and will be mated to a six-speed auto.

Mercedes Reveals New Unimog

The Mercedes-Benz Unimog is an icon in the all-terrain world. The go-anywhere, do-anything platform has been the tool of choice for everyone from farmers to the military. To meet the ever-increasing demand for efficiency and low-pollution vehicles over in Europe, Unimog has come out with two all-new cleaner, more efficient and powerful terrain crushers. Utilizing Mercedes BlueEfficiency, the new 5.1-litre four-cylinder and 7.7-litre six-cylinder engines produce 156 horsepower and 354 horsepower respectively, while cutting

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Reid Bigland Gets Top Spot at Ram

There have been some big time moves at the top of Chrysler’s chain of command, and there is a Canuck picking up an important new role. With the sudden departure of Fred Diaz from Ram Truck, Canada’s own Reid Bigland has been named President and CEO of the Ram Truck Brand. The move will see the B.C. native tackle his biggest challenge yet, as he continues as head of U.S. Sales, and President and CEO of Chrysler Canada. Bigland has etched out a reputation for being a motivated up-and-comer, since arriving at Chrysler in July 2006 from Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation. Most recently, he was President and CEO of the Dodge Brand.


FRESH TRACKS GM Enlightens on New Small Pickups

Are Hyundai and Kia Thinking Trucks?

While it seems that all but the foreign manufacturers are running away from the small and midsized pickup truck market, there seems to be news emanating from Korea that hints that the Japanese may not have a complete monopoly over the segment. The Automotive News is reporting that key players at Hyundai are saying they are “studying” the possibility of bringing a pickup to the U.S. “very hard.” Lee In-cheol, Hyundai’s vice president of international sales, was caught at the automaker’s Korean training centre noting that a pickup is one of the few products it doesn’t have and that it could be important to offer customers one in the future. Another strong indication of a new foreign pickup introduction is new developments being made on the “Chicken Tax.” For those who don’t know, the Chicken Tax is a U.S. tariff created to combat European tariff on cheap U.S. chicken, with U.S. automakers successfully lobbying for 25 percent on foreign trucks to be tacked on. Well, it seems that tax will be phased out in the next eight years, opening up the possibility for more foreign trucks to come into the market.

While the Chevrolet Colorado may be dead here in North America, it lives on in Asia with an all-new design. Well, we’ve recently found out that the General is looking at bringing the small-ish trucks back to our shores, and now have hinted at what directions it may take in the new design. At a small speaking event in Michigan, GM North American President Mark Reuss said that the new, smaller pickups expected as 2015 models will go after the “lifestyle” truck buyer and take direct aim at the Toyota Tacoma. According to the Detroit Free Press, Reuss noted that the new trucks will offer packages and colours likely to be popular with younger buyers on the coasts. Specifically, Reuss says GM is working hard to come up with the right names to identify the trucks as something different as well as lure non-truck buyers over to the utility side. While details are sketchy at best currently, we eagerly anticipate future updates to GM’s progress.

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NEW WHEELS

New and Improved

F-150 sports new improvements and a touch of class to stay on top of game Story and photos by Budd Stanley

I

n the next issue of Trucks Plus, I will be reviewing both the all-new Chevrolet Silverado that is due out this September, as well as the Ram 1500 equipped with the Pentastar V6 and allnew eight-speed transmission. With both GM and Ram sporting fresh new ideas, Ford was feeling a little left out, so before I give my impressions on the Chevy and Ram, let’s take a quick look at the truck that sparked off a war of fuel efficiency and refinement between the big three truck makers, the Ford F-150. Ford wasn’t going to be left standing motionless just prior to big improvements from the others, and has made some small tweaks to the F-150 to keep it fresh as it is currently sitting in the lull between major redesigns, as the thirteenth generation is not due out until 2015. So to keep the F-150 fresh in its fourth year, Ford has cleaned up the exterior with some new designs including a new “C-clamp” grille and some very good-looking HID headlights standard on all models north of the FX trim line. Customers will also have the option of outfitting their F-150 with very handy power-extending double mirrors for towing large trailers, lifted from the Super Duty line, as well as kick-extending steps hidden up just behind the cab capable of stabilizing 227 kg (500 lb) total weight. For those looking for a Raptor, beadlock rims will now be available as an option for those who plan to drop air pressure to the max. Inside, FX and XLT trims get Ford’s SYNC, MyTouch and Truck Apps technology. These systems are a very helpful, yet very complicated, way of feeding the driver with just about any amount of information pertaining to either the vehicle, climate or media they could ever ask for. I hate scrolling through the 12 Trucks Plus

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NEW WHEELS screens to find what I need, but we of an age old enough to remember the ‘80s can negotiate with the voice control feature at the push of a single button, which is one of the best systems available. Also, redundant controls for HVAC and stereo on the dash can still get the basics sorted out. Ford has also announced improvements to the tow and load ratings of both the 3.7-litre V6 and 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6. The naturally-aspirated 3.7 gets a tow rating of 3,039 kg (6,700 lb), while the turbo gets upped to 5,262 kg (11,600 lb), giving it best-in-class towing abilities, at least until GM and Ram get their numbers out, likely by summer. And of course, these are all non-J2807 certified standards, so who’s really the best? We just won’t know until all manufacturers decide to obey. In the case of the F-150, that will be in 2015 with the new re-design. One of the major developments is the addition of a new luxury trim line, the new Limited. While Ford is already sporting two luxury-focused versions of the F-150 with both the Platinum and King Ranch offering up high levels of interior comforts and technical features for high prices, I just can’t help but ask, why do you need a third? Ford’s man in charge of truck marketing, Darren Halabisky, says that each model has its own theme; the King Ranch is for the rural owner who wants the western feel of saddle leather, and the Platinum is angled to the urbanite who likes lots of chrome and a more metropolitan feel. The Limited is a cleaner, more understated way of getting your upscale fix. Chrome is limited to the front grille and the exclusive 22-inch wheels, while the rest of the trim has a nice brushed satin finish. Inside, the Limited gets outfitted with high-quality full-grain leather on seats and the centre console, complemented by piano black and aluminum trim on the doors and dash. That dash is also set with SYNC with MyFord Touch as standard,

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while “Limited” logos are placed in the seat back and 3D badging adorns the bedsides. In the same ballpark as the other upper scale F-150s, the Limited starts at $67,800 and will only have a small production run. On the road, my impressions are a bit mixed. I absolutely love the EcoBoost; it still doesn’t quite get Ford’s published 9.0L/100 km on the highway, as in the real world, I was pushing the high 12s when speed limits are in the triple digits, mid-10’s

are quite achievable near built-up areas where speeds are restricted to the 70-80 km/h range. What makes this engine great is the way it works. A 3.5-litre V6 that pushes a full-size truck along effortlessly, and can handle 5,262 kg (11,600 lb) worth of trailer, (and well, I might add, as I pushed the limits with 11,000 lbs up a 9-percent grade with relative ease) while still getting pretty good fuel efficiency, the EcoBoost is a game


NEW WHEELS SPECIFICATIONS: Price (MSRP): ...........$50,999 (EcoBoost Lariat 4x4 Supercrew) Price as tested: .........................$61,544 plus $1,600 destination and delivery (EcoBoost Lariat 4x4 Supercrew) Type: ................................................................2 – 4 door Pickup Layout: ..............................................Front Engine – RWD, 4WD Engine: . ................. 3.5L Turbo V-6, 3.7L V-6, 5.0L V-8, 6.2L V-8 Horsepower: . ....... 365 (3.5L), 302 (3.7L), 360 (5.0L), 411 (6.2L) Torque: .................. 420 (3.5L), 278 (3.7L), NA (5.0L), 434 (6.2L) Curb Weight: ..................................................... 2,126 – 2,723 kg Fuel Efficiency (L/100km): ....... 12.7L City - 8.9L Highway (3.7L) 9.0L City – 12.9L City (3.5L) 9.7L Highway – 14.0L City (5.0L)

changer that put the rest of the market on its heels. The mad rush to catch up will get its day in the next issue. And all for an extra $1,250 cost; why would you outfit an F-150 with anything else? Except maybe, say, a 3.2L diesel; come on Ford, pull the trigger on that one. There is no doubt, Ford has raised its refinement game big time, and the F-150 is a wonderful place to spend a lot of time, as many must. The ride and power delivery is silky smooth, while the cabin is as quiet traveling at 100 km/h as it is at 40. My only real problem is cheap hard plastic that is used on all the interior panels, and the regard with which they are put together. Yes, this is a pickup truck, and many will think I shouldn’t be banging on about interior quality for such a segment. However,

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in the case of the Supercrew 4x4 Lariat I was driving, it’s a $61,000 truck, and I would expect better materials and panels that are not on the verge of popping off, for that money. That’s what you get with any one of many luxury SUVs available for that same price. Regardless, the F-150 still surprises me with its quality, refinement and powertrains. Yes, the interior materials are poor and there were a couple of fit-and-finish issues that never should have made it past quality control. However, the F-150 scores big in all other areas with great refinement, a comfortable interior, massive amount of space and brilliant drivetrain options, still proving there is a reason the F-150 is the best selling truck in Canada, and has been for an incredible 47 years. However, are the extra little improvements and the addition of a new luxury trim enough to hold off GM and Ram?


NEW WHEELS

2013 Ram 1500 Police pickup truck By Howard J Elmer

I

f you’ve memorized the silhouette of the Police Ford Crown Victoria and Dodge Charger (as they gain on you in the rearview mirror), then you’ll have to add another vehicle to your watch list – the Ram 1500 pickup truck. Starting this year, Chrysler is offering a specially-equipped Ram pickup to police forces across North America. This is a first, though after a moment’s thought, a truck for the cops just seems a natural fit. Recently, I had a chance to drive a demo unit, complete with siren and lights, around Brampton, Ontario. The eye-catching black and white colour scheme with POLICE emblazoned on the sides and rear of the truck didn’t go unnoticed, causing traffic to slow and me to grin. Everything about this truck makes sense - its size, visibility, and superior driver position, and its open interior design, perfect for add-on security screens, computers, racks and other security vehicle requirements. Then there is the simple fact of rough terrain and the 4WD truck’s go-almost-anywhere ability. Throw the Hemi into the mix, and it just makes so much more sense. It also doesn’t hurt that the Special Service Vehicle market is a steady 70-80,000 unit consumer – annually. Of course, that’s why the Dodge Charger has been serving police departments for several years now; but offering a Special Service Vehicle package on a pickup truck is a new twist that, on the face of it, looks to be a home run for Chrysler. This entry is just the latest bid by Chrysler to re-establish itself in a market that for many years it virtually owned. Yes 18 Trucks Plus

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indeed, in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s, Chrysler product made up almost 60 percent of police cars on North American streets, and for that matter in the movies and on TV. These vehicles included the Dodge Monaco, Coronet, Diplomat and the Dart, while Plymouth built the Fury, Gran Fury, Volare, and Chrysler contributed the Newport. These cars were mainstays on TV shows like Adam 12 and Dukes of Hazzard, and in movies like the Blues Brothers and the Smokey and the Bandit series. But in 1989, Chrysler withdrew from the market. Into that void, Ford and Chevy pushed the Crown Vic and Impala. That changed in 2003 when Chrysler returned to patrolling the streets with a new Police Pursuit package, one that was very


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NEW WHEELS different from its past large rear-wheel-drive offerings. Based on the 2003 front-wheel-drive Chrysler Intrepid SXT, the Police Package featured a 3.5-litre V6 engine that delivered 242 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque, a high-performance suspension, heavy-duty four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, purpose-built lighting, fog lights and severe-duty powertrain cooling system. By comparison, the current Charger has returned to a rearwheel setup, but can still be had with a V6 for departments looking for fuel savings. While the Ram truck is not “pursuit rated,” it will come standard with the 5.7-litre Hemi engine coupled to the new eight-speed transmission – the Torqueflite8. That automatic is said to deliver between 15 and 20 percent improvement in fuel economy. As for power, the Hemi generates 390 hp and 407 lb-ft of torque. So while not rated for pursuit, it’s awfully quick. The truck will also come standard with selectable 4WD, and it has unparalleled hauling and towing capability by virtue of simply being a truck. And, with its four-door Crew Cab cabin, it offers as much interior space as a conventional patrol car. The RamBox cargo management system will also be available as an option, one I expect to be popular, as the lockable outside storage is ideal for all manner of equipment placement. In Canada, Chrysler says, the Ontario Provincial Police has already ordered several for northern detachments. Aboriginal Forces have also seen the utility of this vehicle and ordered some. Other units will also be going to Ontario Power Generation and the Government of British Columbia.

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NEW WHEELS HISTORY SIDEBAR For at least the first 30 or so years of the last century, a police car was simply just a car - albeit one with “Police” painted on the side. When chasing bad guys, police were often at a disadvantage because budget considerations had relegated them to cheaper, slower cars than their adversaries. In fact, depression era bank robber John Dillinger once sent Henry Ford a letter saying how much he liked Ford V8s - because they could outrun any police car on the road. He wrote Henry that from then on, he’d only ever steal Fords. It wasn’t until the thirties that a car company started thinking about the special needs of a fleet vehicle, and then they were really thinking about taxi fleets. In 1936, DeSoto offered a taxi model that was an upgrade from its consumer model. The taxi model had a 118- inch wheelbase, two inches longer than the

regular, a ten-inch clutch opposed to a standard nine-inch, and a transmission from either the Chrysler or Dodge truck division. It had extra bracing in the cowl, pan and trunk, heavy-duty seat springs, larger generator and heavier battery, larger radiator from the truck line, hydraulic brakes, and the standard engine was a 241 cu.in. six-cylinder that made 100 horsepower as opposed to 93 in the civilian model. The story goes that the demand by police for this “taxi” is what started the industry taking note of this special market segment that this new Ram police truck will now become the next new member of.

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Trucks Plus 21


NEW WHEELS

BMW’s Sport Activity Vehicles

Perfect transportation for the urban jungle Story and photos by Russell Purcell

T

he BMW X1 and X3 models are marketed as Sport Activity Vehicles (SAV) rather than Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV), as these compact vehicles have not been designed to carry large loads or to venture too far off the beaten trail. Instead, their petite dimensions favour hauling small family units and their gear through the streets of the urban jungle. Canadian weather patterns can be unpredictable and harsh at times, especially in the winter, so the X1 and X3 are equipped with BMW’s venerable xDrive all-wheel drive system which will help you conquer slush and slippery road conditions as well as being perfectly suited for travel on gravel roads and cottage trails. A quick glance at both vehicles will reveal that they share many of the same styling cues both inside and out. In fact, the only real major difference between the two models is the size difference, as both vehicles come equipped with the same powertrain packages and offer similar performance. BMW’s TwinPower Turbo engines and the company’s full suite of EfficientDynamics technologies - Brake Energy Regeneration, High Pressure Injection, and Valvetronic - are on board to help consumers get the most from each and every tank of gas while still delivering a driving experience worthy of a BMW. BMW X1 xDrive35i I recently spent a week behind the wheel of a 2013 BMW X1 and must admit, its performance caught me off guard. Sure, my test unit was a fully-loaded model fitted with the twin-turbo 3.0-litre inline sixcylinder engine, 6-speed automatic transmission, xDrive all-wheel drive, and the optional M sport package, but how can such a cute vehicle drive so angry? 22 Trucks Plus

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The X1 benefits from a near perfect 50:50 weight distribution and a very low centre of gravity which helps deliver exceptional handling. I was impressed by its rally car performance and impressive manoeuvrability. The X1’s diminutive size made it possible to carve through clogged traffic and boy, did it come alive on twisty country roads. It shouldn’t be surprising when you factor in that this dynamo sports 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque under its extended hood. With Sport mode engaged, the 6-speed automatic transmission executed shift targets like a champ as I seemingly bobbed and weaved my way through traffic in my leather-clad barnstormer. However at an as-tested price of $53,150, the overall package seems a bit steep given the vehicle’s space limitations. The majority of X1s I see in the Vancouver area are the less powerful and more fuel efficient X1 xDrive28i variant which starts at a more reasonable $36,900. Under the hood of this urban prowler resides BMWs clever 2.0-litre twin-turbocharged, in-line four-cylinder engine which produces 241 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. This capable little engine can propel the X1 from 0-100 km/h in 6.7 seconds and with the assistance of an 8-speed Steptronic automatic transmission is still able to deliver outstanding fuel economy for this segment. My sister purchased a similarly equipped X1 when they first arrived on our shores as an urban runabout to shuttle her two small children around the city to their various sporting and artistic activities. Luckily, her children are pre-teens, as the X1’s rear passenger compartment leaves little room for adult legs and feet, but she has been impressed by the vehicle’s parking lot-friendly size, fuel efficiency, and overall build quality. When my sister initially asked for my advice prior to her purchase of the X1, I had tried to steer her towards the slightly larger X3 as an alternate choice as I know that children grow like weeds and she would one day find herself wanting a little more room. As a larger individual, I must admit that I found the X1 a little tight, so I was excited when news came that I could spend the following week behind the wheel of an X3. BMW X3 xDrive28i The BMW X3 xDrive28i carries a base price of $42,450, which seems reasonable given its level of standard equipment, but my test unit hit the magic $50,000 mark due to the addition of a number of optional

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equipment packages. If you plan to purchase an X1 or X3 as your sole means of transport, then I can understand splurging on goodies from the long menu of available options, but if this is a secondary vehicle, the added cost of these accessories may seem a bit excessive. My BMW X3 test unit featured the same 2.0-litre twin-turbocharged, in-line four-cylinder engine one gets in the entry level X1, which

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NEW WHEELS SPECIFICATIONS: 2013 BMW X1 Base price range (MSRP): .......................... $36,900 (xDrive28i), $39,900 (xDrive35i) Price as tested: .............................. $53,150 (Includes Executive Package ($2,900); M Sport Package ($2,900); Nav and Communication Package ($2,200); Premium Package ($1,500); BMW Apps Package ($300); and assorted stand alone options) Fuel Economy (L/100 km/h): . .........City 9.1 / 11.4; Hwy 6.2 / 7.4 2013 BMW X3 Base price range (MSRP): .......................... $42,600 (xDrive28i), $47,550 (xDrive35i) Price as tested: ..............................$50,000 (Executive Package ($2,900); M Sport Package ($2,900); Nav and Communication Package ($2,200); Premium Package ($1,500); BMW Apps Package ($300); and assorted stand alone options) Fuel Economy (L/100 km/h): . .........City 9.7 / 11.1; Hwy 7.0 / 7.7 produces 240 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. BMW’s silky smooth 8-speed Steptronic automatic transmission helped the X3 accelerate to 100 km/h in a mere 7.0-seconds. Both the X1 and X3 proved to be equipped with exceptional brakes. The X3 sits a little higher and is larger than the X1 in every dimension, but it still behaves like one of the company’s 3-Series sports sedans when it comes to handling. This is probably the main reason buyers seem to flock to the X3.

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I must admit that I still found the cockpit and cabin of the X3 a little small for my liking, but I would classify it as being cozy rather than snug (X1). The rear passenger footwells are large enough to accommodate man-sized feet, and four adults will find the cabin comfortable enough for extended road trips. Available cargo space jumps from 1,350 litres (47.6 cu.ft.) to 1,792 litres (63.3 cu.ft.) when the rear seats are folded. Conclusions: I enjoyed my time behind the wheel of both of these vehicles and can understand how they appeal to the urban commuter. Both seem perfectly suited to the tight confines of the city environment where parking spaces tend to be small and having the ability to point and shoot through traffic is a necessity. I must admit that I was initially shocked by the seemingly high price of entry required to get into one of these vehicles, but after pricing out a loaded Honda CR-V and a Titanium-level Ford Escape, I realized that the BMWs were quite competitive. Especially when you factor in their high level of fit-and-finish and obvious image cachet.


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NEW WHEELS

The Bigger, The Better Story and photos by Russell Purcell

D

espite the current economic conditions and outrageous fuel prices, there always seems to be a market for large, luxury SUVs in North America. Affluent buyers find these rolling leviathans appealing due to the fact that they can haul a tremendous amount of cargo and provide a comfortable environment for passengers. Add to this the all-weather capabilities that come with four-wheel drive, and you have the perfect rig for shuttling the family and friends to the cottage or ski hill. The third-generation Lexus LX 570 rolled into showrooms for the 2008 model year as a complete redesign. Its arrival had an immediate impact on sales of its many competitors, as the new LX was bigger and more luxurious than its predecessor, but it also came with the company’s now legendary reliability and exceptional build quality. In an effort to keep the LX570 looking fresh, the vehicle has undergone some styling changes both inside and out. The most obvious alterations were made up front, where the truck benefits from a new front fascia which supports a newly designed grille treatment which more closely resembles that fitted to other Lexus products. The headlights look more sculpted than before, and are advanced bi-xenon units fitted with LED daytime running lights. A pair of high-intensity driving lights sit recessed low in the bumper. The rear end of the vehicle also benefits from a new bumper and fascia design, and bold LED taillights enhance safety. The large side-view mirrors now feature integrated turn signals, and there are new standard or optional features. The Multi-Terrain traction control system includes driver-selectable modes for Mud and Sand, Loose Rock, Mogul, Rock and Tarmac, and a new Off-Road Turn Assist allows for very sharp turn-in angles at low speeds. While the LX 570 is impressive in size, its cousin, the Toyota Sequoia is bigger. You would expect that these two vehicles would share a common platform, but in fact, the LX is based on the Toyota Land Cruiser while the Sequoia shares its foundation with the Tundra pickup truck. There is still room for eight passengers to stretch out and the power-operated, swing-away seats that make up the third row are almost as comfortable as those in the rest the vehicle. Now that is an accomplishment! 28 Trucks Plus

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If I was to have one complaint, it would be the fact that for some reason, the designers have decided to mount the two front seats on rather tall rails, which made me feel somewhat like a bird on a perch. Although the driver seat features a wide range of adjustability, I couldn’t get the seat low enough to make room for my head. At 6’2” tall, I had to keep the sunroof slider screen open just to keep my head from brushing the headliner. In comparison, the BMW 3-Series sedan I was testing the following week offered about two inches of air space above my head, and that was with the sunroof screen closed. The interior is well-designed with most controls, dials, and instruments within easy reach of their intended operator. The seats are firm and wrapped in fine leather, and attractive Mahogany wood trim is used to class up the cabin. Visibility is excellent out front and to the side due to the tall seating position and extended windows, but you will definitely learn to appreciate the large side mirrors and Lexus Intuitive Park Assist, a sonar parking assist feature. A powerful four-zone climate control system (complete with dust, pollen, and deodorizing air filter) will keep the clan riding in comfort on stuffy summer days and blustery winter trips to the ski resort. A voice-activated hard-drive-based navigation system is standard, and its 8-inch LCD display doubles as the screen for the backup camera system as well as the new Wide-view Front and Side Monitor system cameras. Other standard techie gear includes SiriusXM satellite radio with NavTraffic, and of course, Bluetooth connectivity. My test rig was equipped with the Ultra Premium Package ($7,350) which replaces the 9-speaker audio system with a 19-speaker, 450watt, Mark Levinson Reference Surround Sound Stereo System (with hard drive memory storage) which will satisfy even the most finicky audiophile. Other features of this package include a dual seatback DVD entertainment system with 7-inch viewing screens, premium leather, a heated wood steering wheel, and a centre console cooler big enough to store a family’s worth of chilled beverages. Safety improvements


NEW WHEELS pretty communicative, but I failed to notice much of a difference when I switched things over to the Comfort setting. This is a large, top-heavy utility vehicle, but Lexus has done an excellent job of disguising that fact when it comes to drivability and handling response once you slide behind the wheel. A large portion of the LX’s frame has been constructed using a high tensile steel and it employs crossmembers comprised of hydro-formed steel. This method of construction gives the LX a very sturdy foundation and as a result, it feels really stable on the road. The suspension setup is a double wishbone design up front, while the rear employs a multi-link suspension with the beefy solid rear axle.

are also part of this package, such as Dynamic Radar Cruise Control and a Pre-Collision System. There is plenty of cargo room (2,560 litres to be exact) and a plethora of storage bins and cubbies sprinkled throughout the cabin. All seating positions have abundant legroom, and there are plenty of grab handles to help pull yourself in or to stabilize yourself when on a bumpy adventure. The second row seats partially recline for passenger comfort, but they also tumble forward to allow passengers to access the third row seating area, and fold flat when hauling cargo is the order of the day. The power-operated, twin third- row seats are operated by switchgear accessible from the rear cargo door, and they retract up against the side wall when not in use. The cargo area itself is accessed via a dual door design. The upper portion is a power-operated hatch while the lower portion is a tailgate which folds down to act as a floor extension, a handy shelf, or even a bench. With a maximum towing capacity of up to 3,900 kg (8,500 lb), the LX is perfectly capable of transporting an average size travel trailer or boat. The LX 570 features a 5.7-litre V8 engine producing a healthy 383 horsepower and 403 lb-ft of torque. This proven power plant is mated to a six-speed sequential-shift automatic transmission (with manual mode) and a well-sorted 4WD system which utilizes an electronic Torsen centre differential. While not a rocket ship, the big Lexus still manages to make short work of long stretches of highway in short order. Acceleration is brisk and linear as the big rig’s nose gently rises before settling down and entering cruise mode. By setting the steering and suspension to Sport mode, I found that it tightened things up enough that you feel confident carrying a little more speed into corners, and this is how I tend to roll so I made this setting my preference. The Normal setting proved

Unlike many of its rivals, the Lexus LX 570 has the chops to tackle just about any obstacles or terrain you may encounter, as it shares its underpinnings with the rugged Toyota Land Cruiser. The vehicle is fitted with a proven full-time four-wheel drive system with electro-hydraulic suspension, Active Height Control and Variable Suspension. With the flick of a switch you can lower the chassis up to five centimetres to make for the easy ingress or egress of passengers, or conversely, raise the vehicle 7.5 centimetres to maximize ground clearance. Once the vehicle gets back up to regular cruising speed, it will return to its normal height, but when it accelerates to highway speeds, it will lower itself to help increase stability. In an effort to give the driver the proper tools to tackle whatever terrain he / she may encounter, the LX570 is equipped with a MultiTerrain Traction Control System. In short order, the operator is able to customize the truck’s drivetrain for a variety of terrains including Mud and Sand, Loose Rock, Mogul, Rock and Tarmac. There is also an innovative Crawl Control system which will help less-experienced drivers traverse more difficult obstacles at low speeds by acting much like an auto-pilot with regards to both throttle and brake inputs. New for 2013 is something Lexus calls Off-Road Turn Assist which allows the driver to make very sharp turn-in angles at low speeds. During my short time with the LX, I didn’t get a chance to take it offroad, but if this feature can make a vehicle of this size perform with a little more agility when the going gets rough, I can see where this would be an excellent tool. There is a lot of competition in this segment of the automotive marketplace and the LX 570 is somewhat long-in-the-tooth when compared to its many rivals. However, the biggest Lexus is worth a long look, as few companies can compete with this brand when it comes to safety, build quality, reliability and overall dependability. When it comes time to choose a vehicle to serve the transportation needs of your family, these are factors you cannot overlook.

SPECIFICATIONS: Base price: ....................................................................$87,500 Price as tested: .............................. $96,845 (Includes optional Ultra Premium Package $7,350; Freight: $1,895, A/C tax: $100) Type: ....................................4-door, 7-passenger full-size SUV Layout: ........................................Front engine/four-wheel drive Engine: . ..................................... 5.7-litre V8, DOHC, 32 valves Horsepower: . ..................................................383 @ 5600 rpm Torque (lb-ft): . .................................................403 @ 3600 rpm Transmission: . ............................................. 6-speed automatic Tires: ............................................. P285/50R20 mud and snow Curb weight: . ...............................................2660 kg (5564 lbs) Wheelbase: .................................................2850 mm (112.2 in) Length: .......................................................4990 mm (196.5 in) Width: . .........................................................1970 mm (77.6 in) Height: . ........................................................1920 mm (75.6 in) Ground clearance: ..........................................225 mm (8.9 in.) Towing capacity: .........................................3856 kg (8500 lbs) Cargo capacity: ................. 438 L (15.5 cu.ft.)(behind 3rd row) 2560 L (90.4 cu.ft.)(behind 1st row) Fuel consumption (L/100km): .................... City: 17.0 (17 mpg) JUNE / JULy 2013

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NEW WHEELS

A Fierce Competitor

The Mitsubishi Outlander faces strong competition in its segment Story by Gerry Frechette, photos courtesy of Mitsubishi

T

he mid-size crossover market is a saturated one, and the competition is brutal. It is in this market, maybe the fastest growing and most interesting on the continent, that Mitsubishi is launching its third-generation Outlander. If it is true that the first impression of a vehicle is its face or front-end, it could be said that the first two generations of Outlander have been polarizing designs that haven’t resonated with the buying public. The 2014 model addresses this, with a more ‘aerodynamic’ sort of approach that doesn’t stray far from the brand’s design tradition, and will hopefully be a harbinger for future models. Mitsubishi calls it a “fresh new look;” we say it looks much more mature and highclass. It contributes to a reduction in co-efficient of drag of some 7 percent, down to 0.33, which isn’t surprising when you compare the two designs. The old reverse-angle front-end just couldn’t be justified anymore, on either technical or esthetic grounds In any case, this new Outlander is, as one would expect after some seven years since the last once was introduced, a great leap forward in technology. That usually starts under the hood, and here, the offerings are as before – a 2.4-litre four and a 3.0-litre V6, the latter becoming more and more unusual in this class. The four, with 166 horsepower, is no longer a twin-cam DOHC design, thanks to a new continuously-variable valve lift system. Utilizing a single mechanism design to simultaneously vary the lift amount, valve opening and closing time, the lighter-weight SOHC design reduces the amount of energy lost when air is drawn into the cylinder. Dubbed Mitsubishi’s Smart MIVEC engine, it improves fuel economy and uses fewer parts versus the previous DOHC design. The V6 gets 30 Trucks Plus

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by with high-ignition spark plugs and an improved exhaust system, so not much to report on changes there. It must be said that neither combination is at the top of the class for outright performance. Mitsubishi has been a proponent of the continuously variable transmission, and the four still has one. A CVT is still “different” to those who have only ever driven a regular transmission with gears, and there is even Mitsubishi promotional material touting its improved shift feel, except that the whole idea is that there is no shifting at all in the traditional sense. In any case, the latest CVT has been tweaked via new software to improve acceleration at higher engine speed while optimizing the fuel efficiency at lower rpm. Acceleration Control provides better throttle response at the early stage of acceleration and postpones upshifts until later in the rev range. These CVTs have improved greatly the past few years, and this one performs seamlessly. The V6, meanwhile, continues with a six-speed automatic, with updated torque converter.


NEW WHEELS their eco-driving habits and automatically dials-in energy saving instructions to the engine, air conditioning and four-wheel drive. It promotes smarter and more fuel-efficient vehicle operation using a real-time bar graph and a five-leaf gauge to show the driver how economically they are operating the vehicle. Positive reinforcement, if you will, for the decision to let the system dial down the shift points and get the revs as low as possible, as soon as possible, plus disengage the AWD system unless it is absolutely needed. It seems that one of the key features for these mid-size crossovers is seven-passenger seating, which means three rows of seats, and if you really need room for more than five people (and the concurrent disappearance of most of the cargo space), then the Outlander can do that. That third seat has grown in size and quality from before, and will fold flat for a useful cargo compartment, which we predict will be the normal configuration for most. There are three different final drive systems available, one being the front-wheel drive system on the entry-level Outlander ES 2WD. But every model above that has all four wheels driven, by two different systems. The ES AWC and SE AWC offer multi-select All-Wheel Control with 4WD ECO/4WD Auto/4WD Lock drive selector, which is a technologically simple system compared to the Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) that is similar, if not quite as performance-oriented, as that found in the legendary Lancer Evolution compact supercar. Even at that, though, it is one of the more capable AWD systems in a small crossover, using electronically-controlled four-wheel drive with integrated control of the Active Front Differential, splitting torque to either left or right, providing power to the wheels with the most traction for superior cornering and stability. One must spring for the top-ofthe-line GT model to get this technology, and that means V6 engine only. Of note, S-AWC has both an Eco mode, which is essentially front-wheel drive until AWD is needed, and a Lock mode for highest traction on loose surfaces. The GT also benefits from all the latest in safety technology. Forward Collision Mitigation (FCM) detects obstructions in front of the vehicle and issues warnings if there is a danger of a collision, and will apply the brakes if the driver doesn’t. Lane Departure Warning (LDW) (not intervention) alerts drivers if they’re drifting to another lane, and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) uses radar to automatically follow a vehicle at safe distances and speed. Outlander is among Canada’s first compact SUVs to offer these advanced safety technologies. All Outlanders get Active Stability Control and seven airbags (including a new driver’s-side knee airbag ), plus an new ultra-rigid chassis that benefits from what Mitsubishi says is the most advanced form of the company’s RISE (Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution) impact-absorbing safety cell technology ever. The Outlander boasts a significant reduction in the weight of its platform through the extensive use of high-tensile steel, while the weight of the suspension and brakes has also been decreased, for a total reduction in weight of up to 100 kilograms. In what is becoming a ‘normal’ feature for many vehicles, a new driver-controlled Eco Drive Assist system allows drivers to monitor 32 Trucks Plus

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The new interior is a big improvement in looks and refinement, the dashboard in particular getting piano-black trim and soft-touch plastic on most surfaces. The optional touch-screens (the bigger one has navigation) work well, and the optional ninespeaker Rockford Fosgate sound system has 710 watts! Should be adequate....All the details are too numerous to discuss in this limited space, but we encourage you to look at the Mitsubishi website, or visit a dealer. We had the chance to take an S-AWC-equipped model out on some loose gravel and mud, and we must say that in Lock mode, it was outstanding in its traction and control. For the enthusiast who needs this kind of vehicle, this system will get you and your family almost anywhere. On tarmac, it drives on a par with its rivals in the class, except that the new electric power steering is a little numb, not uncommon for this new technology. Some of the basic shopping points include a starting price of $25,998 for the base ES 2WD, which delivers fuel consumption ratings of 6.3 L/100 km (highway) and 8.2 L/100 (city), and you can add $10,000 to get the GT with V6 and S-AWC. And, the Outlander is backed by the longest warranty in the industry – 10 years or 160,000 km limited powertrain, five years or 100,000 km limited new vehicle, and five years, unlimited mileage roadside assistance. This is no Evo crossover in its performance; any pretence the last generation had towards edginess or sportiness has been mostly replaced with value and style, which Mitsubishi had to do to have the Outlander compete in this segment. That it does.


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NEW WHEELS

An Adventurous Attitude

Nissan’s Frontier PRO-4X still playful for its age Review and photos by Budd Stanley

I

don’t need to tell you the massive advancements that have been made in the efficiency of modern trucks. The problem is that it has been the full-size trucks that have received all the attention, while the midsized trucks have either languished without development for years, or died off altogether. The Frontier is just one such vehicle that has not had any proper development for nearly a decade. So why is it that I was so excited to be getting back into the now-archaic Frontier? Because this particular vehicle is the PRO-4X, Nissan’s off-roadinspired trim level that is one of very few 4WDs being offered today that you really can take off the beaten track. The PRO-4X trim line outfits the standard Frontier 4x4 nicely for off-road duties with Bilstein shocks, electronic locking rear differential, skid plates, P265/75R16 BF Goodrich Rugged Trail T/A OWL tires, 16-inch aluminum-alloy off-road wheels, High Utility Bed, fog lights, roof rack with crossbars along with satin chrome grille, digital compass and outside temperature display, PRO-4X embroidered logos in the seats, plus a bunch of other luxuries that really aren’t needed for an adventure truck. I gave the Frontier a pretty good evaluation of all the facets one would expect in a 4WD truck. Hauling a payload of 450 kilograms (on a 467-kilogram capacity for the truck), the Frontier performed admirably with little notice of the extra weight in the box, climbing hills with ease and recording a minimal increase in fuel consumption of .8L/100km. Over the long haul, with an empty box, the Frontier was quite at home on tarmac, unlike most off-road-focused trucks, although it did leave me with a hefty fuel bill. While Nissan claims a not-so-bad 10.4L/100 km rating on the highway, real-world testing yielded a not-so-efficient 14.2L/100 34 Trucks Plus

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km. The old 4.0-litre V6 still has lots of power on tap for anything you might want to do with the Frontier, albeit with rather archaic efficiency. However, while redesigned, the engine itself is now eight years old and lacks the benefits of modern technology to bring it up to compete with the likes of the full-size trucks that are posting much better numbers. If Nissan is smart, it will dump a certain 2.8-litre Cummins diesel into the next rendition of the Frontier. Hey hey. However, this truck is for getting out into the wild, and I did just that. Being based in B.C. in the spring, I felt it was a good time to see if some of the mountain trails were clear enough to reach some summits in the Okanagan area. With spring melt in full force, the Frontier tackled deep muddy ruts around the mountain’s base, then wet ice part way up, finally finding the snow pack that was just too deep to see me reach the summit. The snow was only a few feet deep, and with enough time I could have pushed my way through, but time was a factor.


NEW WHEELS

However, experiencing all manner of conditions, the nice and meaty BF Goodrich Rugged Trail T/As proved their quality even crawling up jagged rocky washouts with ease. Mind you, taking off the mud flaps first would be highly recommended. The added roof rack option I had also ups the cargo carrying versatility of the crew cab. If the cab is full and the five-foot box is not enough, tossing a lockable cargo container on the roof ups the usefulness. However, the biggest surprise came with the build quality. There is something to be said about the sound of a door closing and to my amazement, all four doors on the this off-roader closed with the finesse of an Infiniti. Likewise, while cheaper materials are used in the interior, the same solid feel and quality build cannot be overlooked. Not all was well with the PRO-4X. For instance, as a dedicated off-road trim level, you would think Nissan would give it a rather hardy paint job to deal with the obvious foliage rash that happens every time someone takes a truck into the wilderness. While I loved the colour combination of this truck, the durability of the paint was just ridiculous, as even lightly brushing up against leaves left paint damage. You also won’t want to go on any long-distance runs without rest stops. While the PRO-4X gets nicely-wrapped leather seats, they are not only quite firm, but become uncomfortable over a long period of time.

Then there is the early ‘90s look of the graphics plastered on the bed. Hey Nissan, Tony Hawk 2 called, they want their fonts back. Keeping with the dated looks, the little dimples formed into select trim panels do reek of designs long since past. Regardless, I had been looking forward to my time in the Frontier, and my expectations were met. Certain disappointments like fuel efficiency were expected, but the level of refinement really caught me off guard. But it was the adventurous attitude that the PRO-4X exudes, seemingly calling me to go and find a new way to get to the top of a mountain, to see what is waiting at the end of an unknown trail.

SPECIFICATIONS: Price (MSRP): ...............................................................$27,698 Price as tested: .............................................................$38,362 Type: ..............................................4-door, 5-passenger Pickup Layout: ........................................................ Front-engine, 4WD Engine: . .........................................................................4.0L V6 Power: . .....................................................261 hp @ 5,600 rpm Torque: ....................................................281 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm Curb Weight: ................................................................ 2,067 kg Tow Capacity: .............................................................. 2,767 kg Fuel Consumption (L/100km): ........ City - 14.8; Highway - 10.4

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NEW WHEELS

Ford F-Series

How much bigger can it get? Story by Howard J Elmer, photos courtesy of Ford Canada

T

he North American International Auto Show in Detroit had an unexpected visitor this past January – the Ford Atlas pickup truck concept. This truck, lowered from the rafters in the Cobo Hall theatre, was a surprise to the assembled journalists; frankly, this type of reveal is usually expected or at least suspected. Not this time, though. What dropped ever so gently from the ceiling was an even larger body (than the current F-150) and a host of technical changes/ advancements. Mind you, Ford wants readers to focus on the

To answer that question, we have to look at this iconic truck’s history; specifically, at Ford’s attempts to predict what future truck buyers would want. For me, the first significant event occurred back in 1999 when the Super Duty lineup of pickups was reinvented by Ford. The Super Duty was to fill the bill for the over-3,855 kg Gross Vehicle Weight segment; one that had both commercial-use and heavy recreation-use customers steadily moving to heavier GVWs. This introduction was also seen (certainly by me) as a move to take the pressure off the F-150, as in the pressure to grow the body, leaving it to serve the under-3,855 kg hauler. At least, that seemed to be the plan at the time. The Super Duty line was to take on the heavy haulers and leave the smaller, lighter F-150 to do the duty of the half-ton. But, interestingly, Ford changed its mind soon after, and while the Super Duty would grow in its own right, the F-150 would grow too. Certainly a big part of that change had to do with the clamour for more passenger room in pickups.

new technology, as it looks to satisfy the work and play needs of its future customers – not size, it says. However, there was just no overlooking the dimensions of the Atlas. Is this really where pickups are headed? I remember asking that question the last time I tested a newgeneration F-150 back in 2009. That year, the F-series was resized – for the third time in as many generations – to become the biggest F-150 ever. Now, if in 2014 the Atlas becomes the template for the next body, then we will continue that trend for the fourth straight time. This growth is what prompts the question - how big is too big? 36 Trucks Plus

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In 2001, Ford responded with the SuperCrew, putting 12 more inches of room into the cab, though at the expense of the cargo bed, which shrunk to just 5.5 feet. Then in 2004, Ford resized the F-series again – making the rest of it just as big. Now, the cab was big and the box was big; that truck looked muscle-bound with its taller hood which also caused the box height to rise by three inches to level the beltline. That was then the biggest F-150 ever. That body also added two more inches of cargo depth as well, and considering how it sold, Ford was right – it’s what customers wanted. That year, Ford also responded to calls for more power; for the first time, the base engine was a V8, the 4.6-litre making 231 hp. The optional 5.4-litre V8 engine would make over 300 horsepower and the maximum tow rating jumped to 4,309 kg and payload to 1,315 kg. By 2009 (the next generational update), the F-150 team continued to respond to the same two strong trends, both started by the ’04.


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NEW WHEELS It grew again, and Ford went on to offer only V8s along with a new six-speed automatic transmission. The second trend saw the cabs grow again, but now so did the whole chassis. With a new longer wheelbase supporting the four-door SuperCrew, it was stretched another six inches in the back seat alone, this time without robbing the cargo bed. As a direct result of this new frame, towing capacity increased to 5,125 kg, while payload rose to 1,374 kg. Still, everything that came out of Dearborn that year was bang on the money, with only one misstep – engines. Ford must have known this, even as it was rolling out the ‘09s, because a scant two years later, the V6 EcoBoost engine would drop into the F-series frame. In 2011, Ford went from all V8s to two V6s and two all-new V8 offerings – but the one that hit home was the 3.5L EcoBoost V6. This is a success that Ford will continue to capitalize on. So it was no surprise that the Atlas concept was shown with a nextgeneration EcoBoost powertrain. That said, I’m not sure what that means, so I asked Darren Halabisay, product marketing manager for trucks in Canada, about the future of EcoBoost. “I can’t discuss future product” he said. This negative answer tells me that there is something to discuss – so I’m probably right about the engine offering expansion. The current V6 EcoBoost makes 365 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque while still managing fuel economy of 13.0L/100 km average (14.7L City and 10.7L Highway). This would move a truck as big as the Atlas as is. However, Ford did say that the new EcoBoost powertrain would feature at least one new technology - StopStart; which has been shown to lower fuel bills by as much as five percent a year.

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Past this, the new F-series (due at the end of this year) could feature some, or all, of the following technologies: • Active Grille Shutters: Automatic shutters behind the grille that stay open when extra engine cooling is needed. • Active Wheel Shutters: Automatic shutters in the wheels automatically close at highway speeds to improve aerodynamics. • Drop-Down Front Air Dam: A wind spoiler that lowers at highway speeds to improve underbody airflow. • To make trailer towing and cargo hauling easier, several new innovative features will be offered. So, how big will the next generation F-series body be? Does it matter? Am I the only one wondering if we have to stop calling a pickup that will haul over 5,000 kg a half-ton? I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see.


TRUCK GUY

Tips For Towing A Trailer

By Ian Harwood

T

owing a trailer can be safe and fun. Here are some tips to remember before you head out this season.

The way you load the trailer can determine how easily you can tow it. While loading, keep in mind that the tongue weight should be 10-15 percent of the overall trailer weight. One of the main causes of trailer sway is not having a large enough percentage of trailer tongue weight compared to gross trailer weight. To help prevent the trailer from swaying back and forth, a few things can be done. Try placing heavier cargo in the front of the trailer, ahead of the trailer’s axle. Also, centre the cargo left to right and use tie-downs to keep the load from sliding. Trailer Sway can also lead to a loss of vehicle control. When starting out with a new load on a trailer, make sure it will not sway by gradually increasing your speed in intervals until highway speed is reached. If the trailer does begin to sway, try adjusting the cargo and equipment accordingly and then repeat the test. If repositioning the load and equipment did not help reduce the sway, a sway control or a weight distribution system with sway control may be needed. Check your hitch ball, coupler, and safety chains every time you tow. Many people with long-time trailer experience use a check list to be sure all equipment is hooked up and in good condition. Damage can happen quickly when something goes wrong. For example, safety chains can be worn through very quickly if they make contact with the pavement. Never allow 40 Trucks Plus

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anyone in or on your trailer while it is being towed. Speed limits for trailers are generally lower than for other vehicles. Trailers present unique safety problems in cornering, rough roads and windy conditions. Leave a little extra room between you and the vehicle in front of you. Even if you are using trailer brakes, you will not be able to stop nearly as fast as you can without a trailer. A good general rule is to double the two-second rule, making sure you maintain at least a four-second gap between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. For heavier trailers, you will need to leave even more space.


TRUCK GUY an improperly loaded trailer. If this happens, do not panic. Take your foot off the accelerator and coast to a slower speed, and avoid sudden movements of the steering wheel. Apply the brakes slowly when you are down to a safe speed. Once you are stopped, determine the cause of the sway. Often the problem is insufficient tongue weight. If this is the problem, move some weight forward on the trailer. Remember that some vehicle/trailer combinations require anti-sway devices. When approaching a hill, you will want to keep your speed consistent whether you are going up a hill or down. When descending, be extra careful not to overwork your brakes. Use a lower gear that will keep a consistent speed without constant use of the brakes. Pull off the road occasionally to let your brakes cool and to check your trailer brakes. If you use your trailer only occasionally, habit can cause you to make mistakes. Stay focused on your driving and do not try to perform other tasks. Remember to check your rearview mirror frequently. The longer the trailer, the farther you will have to drive straight into intersections before beginning your turns. Your first time with a trailer will be a learning experience. Watch your mirrors carefully and go extra wide, at first, until you get used to it. For the beginner, backing up a trailer can be a headache. To develop your skills, go to a large, empty parking lot and practice. Basically, the trailer will move in the opposite direction of steering input when backing. Many people find it easier to position their hand at the bottom of the steering wheel; the trailer will go towards the same direction their hand travels. Also, it is best not to rely on your mirrors; turn around and look at the trailer. When there is any chance of damage, use a spotter who can tell you to stop before damage occurs. Trailer sway can be a scary experience, especially if it is a large trailer. Ask my wife, who will not drive with me anymore due to

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FEATURE

Product Review: EnDuro Cover Story and photos by Howard J Elmer

Last fall, at the Stratford, Ontario Farm Show, I walked by half a pickup truck covered with a soft tonneau cover. Working this small display was Rob Musselman, entrepreneur and energetic pitchman for what turned out to be a “better mouse trap.” Tonneau covers have been around since truck owners first started strapping tarps to their beds with nylon rope – so the concept is far from new – but Rob’s execution is what interested me. His EnDuro Cover rolls up into an all-aluminum cylindrical housing using a hand crank. The weather-resistant material cover is held (and guided) on both sides by extruded aluminum runners. This makes the process quick and glitch-proof. This same crank pulls the cover tight once in place. It sheds water easily and everything under the cover stays dry.

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When I met Rob, I had had my 1971 Chevy Cheyenne for just a few months, but the need for a cover was obvious. The ’71 is a regular cab with the gas tank behind the seat – there is no storage space in the truck – unless you count my wife’s lap! But,


FEATURE I told Rob that being a vintage truck, I did not want to drill holes in it or modify the body. Turns out, the aluminum side rails clamp on – no holes or screws needed. He offered me one and I have now had it on my truck for several months with no problems. What should be obvious to anyone looking at the photos is that this cover opens and closes in seconds – it does not obstruct the bed - and it’s anything but complicated. That’s what I like about it – it’s quick and easy to use. For instance, the pallets in the photos were a side-of-the-road-find. I stopped, cranked the top into its housing, and 15 seconds later, loaded the pallets. Slick. If you own a fifth-wheel, the advantages are clear. As for the size of the EnDuro Cover, just tell Rob what truck you are putting it on and the bed dimensions. The whole package shows up in a couriered box and it takes about an hour (with one buddy) to install. For more information contact Rob Musselman, 519-897-7047 or sales@endurocovers.com www.endurocovers.com

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FEATURE

Portals Explained

What exactly is a Portal axle, and why are they worth a small fortune? Story by Budd Stanley, photos courtesy of Jeep, Mercedes and Dynatrac If you are new to the off-road world, you have probably heard the term Portal axles bantered around club circles. But what are Portal axles and why should you care? Truth be told, they are incredibly useful things, but they come with a fair number of negative points as well. So to shed a little light on these popular modifications for aggressive 4WDs, we take a look at the notso-new concept of Portal axles. The Rundown On any vehicle equipped with a solid axle, the lowest point, whether the truck is lifted or not, is the differential yoke. The first modification anyone makes to a 4WD is to install larger

tires. This does provide you with better grip off-road with the correct tread pattern, but the biggest reason for bigger tires is that is the only way to lift the differential yoke up higher. You can mount all the suspension and body lift kits in the world, but that yoke is still going to be only as high off the ground as the height of your tires. So what are Portals? Well, quite simply, they are a solid axle system that has the differential yoke placed well above the axle’s centreline. From the differential, the axles run out to the wheels like any other solid case. However, instead of running through a bearing and on to the hub, the axle connects to a gearbox that utilizes a drive gear, two idler gears, and a large driven gear that directs drive down to hub units, which are much lower than the case. In most cases, five to six inches lower. This means the hubs are mounted lower, increasing the ground clearance of the axle itself. It is an incredibly useful feature to have in a 4WD vehicle that sees aggressive terrain; however, there are many good and bad reasons to consider purchasing them. The Good There is a reason why just about anyone who has put larger, meatier tires on their 4WD lusts after Portal axles. In short it is the ultimate

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FEATURE

off-road modification you can make to your rig, doing away with the weakest link when it comes to ground clearance. Not only do Portals up the clearance level of your rig, they are, for the most part, very rugged and reliable in adverse conditions. As many use military-style units, these are designed to keep people alive in combat situations and are more than adequate for navigating the most aggressive trails, or even building your own. The Bad First of all, these things are heavy, and they are heavy in a bad way. 4WDs already have a massive amount of unsprung weight. Unsprung weight is the weight of all the components on a vehicle not being held up by the suspension, like the axles, for instance. The more weight,

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FEATURE off a Unimog or some other manic military vehicle. This will require a heavy amount of fabrication to make the axles fit within the specifications of your vehicle, as well as keeping the proper suspension geometry. Portals have more parts, which means they require more maintenance, as you would expect. Along with the differential, there are oil reservoirs required for both portals. Ideally, you will need to replace the oil in all three reservoirs every 8,000 km.

the more this mass responds to movements and forces on its own, eliminating the effects of proper suspension tuning. They are also not known for their on-road performance, and many are only good for a top speed of 100 km/h, if that. So if your 4WD is a daily driver, Portals may not be for you. Of course, dumping a Portal axle into your rig is never going to be a painless affair. While there are dedicated bolt-in axles designed to fit popular 4WDs, the cheaper way is to get a set of Portals

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Of course, anything this extreme costs big boy money, and in the case of Mopar Portals, expect to dump at least $12,500 on a single axle. Double that with the two needed and you have a fair chunk of change that really can be better used on all manner of off-road modification that will likely yield better results per buck than some really cool and complex axles. There is also the option of getting used units off a Unimog or similar military vehicle for around $3,000. While Portals are magnificent things that massively increase the clearance of anything they are mounted too, they are also very much not for everyone. Now that you have a little more information about what Portals are, you can now decide for yourself if Portals are worth the price.


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FEATURE

The Rolling Dead Story by Budd Stanley, photos courtesy of GM, Suzuki and Jeep Canada

A

ll good things must come to an end, or at least so they say. While trucks like the F-150, Silverado and Ram have been built for decades and will continue to be so, there are quite a few ‘flashes in the pan’ that will not stand the test of time. For a variety of reasons, the Canadian market will see the loss of four trucks/SUVs for the 2014 model year. So, to recognize those that will not survive 2013, we pay tribute to the four rolling dead.

Four trucks that won’t be around in a year’s time

doing away with the third row of seats in favour of a decentlysized truck bed, that, along with the Ford Explorer Sport, kicked off the Sport Utility Truck segment…as well as killing it, as they were they only real offerings. However, what made the Avalanche so good was the engineering applied to the rear of the cab. Called the “Mid-gate,” the rear window was removed, the seats folded and the body panel below the rear window folded down flat, increasing the square footage of the truck bed into the cab, albeit, with roof height restrictions. Unfortunately, despite an early adoption by truck buyers, the Avalanche slowly fell out of favour, as sales steadily slumped.

Chevrolet Avalanche One of the trucks we’ll miss the most is the unique Chevrolet Avalanche. Debuting back in 2001 as a 2002 model, the Avalanche was one of GM’s most refreshing out-of-the-box designs that merged the versatility of an SUV and the utility of a pickup. It shared the long-wheelbase chassis of the Suburban while

Cadillac Escalade EXT The Cadillac Escalade EXT may only be a badge-engineered Chevrolet Avalanche, with an extra bit of leather and tech, but in an era where wealthy truck buyers seem to flock to luxury versions of regular work trucks, rather than a true luxury brand, these trucks suffered. While the Lincoln Mark LT has long since been canceled, replaced with the F-150 Platinum, the last remaining luxury truck left is now being phased out before 48 Trucks Plus

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FEATURE missed. Suzuki had a knack for building unique vehicles with a level of quality that the larger mass production competition had long since walked away from. Unfortunately, in a world where only the multi-brand name conglomerates can survive, Suzuki just didn’t have the advantage of platform sharing or a strong marketing budget to convince the public of its quality.

disappearing completely for 2014. The Cadillac EXT made use of the unique mid-gate design of the Avalanche, but as it is based on the Avalanche, and that truck is being discontinued, there is no point in keeping a factory line open for such a low production vehicle. However, GM will have upscale versions of the Silverado and Sierra, with the new Silverado High Country and the Sierra Denali. Suzuki Grand Vitara While the Suzuki Equator has already been put out to pasture, the subsequent cessation of operations of Suzuki Canada has also meant that another 4WD will not be making it to 2014. While the Grand Vitara may not be the off-roading force that its ancestors may have been, the Grand Vitara will still be sorely

Jeep Liberty While Jeep continued to build the Grand Cherokee, the well-respected Cherokee was canceled back in 2000 and replaced with the unibodied Liberty. The largest of Jeep’s unibodied line of SUVs, it still sold overseas under the Cherokee name. After 11 years of steadily declining sales, Jeep is ready to throw in the towel on the little Liberty. However, it is not leaving the segment completely, choosing to create an all-new vehicle from the ground up. The replacement will be built on a Fiat Group platform already being utilized by the Dodge Dart and in an additional irony, this new, tamer crossover will be called the Cherokee, a name dropped once Jeep went from off-road-friendly body-on-frame construction to the unibody of the Liberty. However, while it may (or may not) be sad to see these vehicles go the way of the Dodo, the news is not all bad. To leave on a positive note, the number of new trucks currently in development is quite large as the segment continues to grow, and of those vehicles, many will be all-new vehicles like the return of GM’s mid-size trucks, as manufacturers start to see there really is a need for small trucks. The circle of life continues on.

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FEATURE

Would Canadians buy small pickup trucks if they had a choice?

Reuss has said that the new GM compact trucks will be built in the States – but he doesn’t say that they won’t also be built elsewhere – or that some version of them doesn’t already exist. But then few readers will question where these trucks come from; they will assume (as we Canadians will) that they are being built for “us.” And, why is this? Because we live in geographic snugness to Big Brother, we unconsciously assume that we also live at the epicentre of all things automotive. In other words, if we don’t have it here in Canada, it’s probably not worth having. Certainly, this theme applies doubly to pickup trucks, as everyone knows they are a North American social mainstay (of country music, anyway).

By Howard J Elmer

G

eneral Motors has announced plans to bring new midsize trucks to market here next year. Mark Reuss, GM president, says these are not Canyon and Colorado replacements; instead, they are new trucks that would be a little bigger than Toyota’s Tacoma. Okay, so that’s the news – yet, when I saw the photo that accompanied this story, I realized that I’d seen that truck somewhere before – or at least I thought I had. Two years ago, I was in Chile to cover the Dakar off-road race; after several days of travel I started to note all the different pickups. I saw every brand I had ever known and a few I had never seen, and I could swear that’s where I saw this Chevy.

I write about trucks all week, every week, and even I come to this thinking some of the time – that is, until I went to Chile, in South America, for Dakar. Turns out (as my enquires revealed) that Chile has no domestic automobile industry – no auto plants – and no strong leanings to any particular brand. Because of this, the official government position on importation of vehicles is a completely “free market” approach. This is why I was seeing trucks from all four corners of the earth – and I started to take pictures of them. So what? Well recently, I wrote a history of the Ford Ranger, certainly one of the more successful of the compact pickups here that has disappeared along with most others. The dol50 Trucks Plus

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FEATURE lars and sense of this social buying shift is that small pickup sales have fallen to just two percent of the total truck market – and so the models disappeared. However, this got me thinking about the chicken and egg conundrum; as in, which came first? If we had a variety of small pickups available (like in Chile), would they sell? Or do small pickups not sell in Canada because we don’t want them – OR because there are virtually none available? Sadly, I can only pose this question, not answer it. But, I do have an example of an automotive market that sports an extensive variety of trucks, and I wonder what our landscape would look like if we had all these brands, too. Have a look at the variety I encountered down south – way down south.

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HISTORY

Odd Ball Landy

The Glenfrome Facet, the original Range Rover Evoque Story by Budd Stanley, photos courtesy of Glenfrome

L

and Rover just released the latest iteration of the Range Rover Sport a few months ago at the New York Auto Show, and what a stunner it is. However, before Land Rover ever thought of appeasing those who want a sporty off-roader, companies have been morphing Range Rovers into unique bespoke vehicles for years. Yes, Overfinch and Hamann have been building blinged-out versions for well over a decade; but the work they do is mere tinsel and spit polish compared to what one company was doing in the early ‘80s. Over three decades before the Evoque hit the scene, creating a buzz over a 4WD coupe, there was already a coupe based off the Range Rover tearing up the paddocks of England and the sand dunes of the Middle East. Glenfrome of England was a fairly well-known coachbuilder which took boring standard vehicles, and made them special. They gave them a unique design for a niche market and built low production runs. When they saw the Range Rover, their imaginations started to run wild. At first they were building custom Range Rovers during the late 1970’s for the Arab market, with options like 6x6 drivetrains, stretched wheelbases and even Range Rovers with six doors. But they really wanted to build something special, something that combined lavish appointments while being one of the greatest off-road vehicles. The Glenfrome Facet was presented at the 1983 Motorfair in London as a new design by Dennis Adams. Adams was already well known for the Marcos 1800 and the Adams Probe, the odd car in the Stanley Kubrick movie “Clockwork Orange.” However, none was as far-fetched and futuristic as the Facet. Looking like it just came off the set of a mid-eighties sci-fi action movie, the Facet’s fibreglass Targa-type body was placed JUNE / JULy 2013

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HISTORY on top of the original Range Rover chassis and reinforced with a tube roll cage and a cast aluminum windscreen frame to protect occupants in case of a roll over. The mid section of the Facet’s Targa roof was detachable and could be placed underneath the hood, which by t h e w a y, w a s hydraulically lifted. Bullbars on the front and rear protect the fragile body from any impact damage, and incorporate a winch in the front. Despite the futuristic look, the Facet was also extremely capable as an off-roader, with increased approach, break-over and departure angles as well as aggressive mud terrain tires; the Facet was a natural for getting through the water-logged English countryside. It also came with a fine list of optional features that was cutting edge for 1983, the likes of which were colour-keyed bumpers, electric windows, central locking, electrically adjustable mirrors, high-fidelity radio and the choice of quality interior materials like burr walnut, lamb’s

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wool and leather. With all these luxuries and a low production run that only lasted a couple of years, the Facet was a very expensive 55,000 GBP, or $86,000 in today’s Canuck Bucks. That’s an extravagant price for a 4WD, what with being the mid-eighties, especially when a regular Range Rover only ran about $13,000. Despite the sheer cost of this wild and imaginative creation, the Facet as well as its topless sibling, the Profile, were built for just over four years. However, high fashion turns tacky fast, and let’s face it, while the Facet had a cool look, it was just downright ugly at the same time. The result was both the Facet and Glenfrome fading off into obscurity. Thirty years later, the Evoque is Land Rover’s hottest selling vehicle thanks to a similar recipe, high fashion in a fun coupe. Will the Evoque go the way of the Facet? Time will only tell.


RV-ING

2013 Flagstaff Shamrock – 23RS

Story and photos by Howard J Elmer

I

picked the Shamrock travel trailer to test because it was nicely matched (weight-wise) to the new Ram 1500 V6 I had on loan recently. As the first truck of its kind to be available in Canada, I was anxious to see how the powertrain behaved. This is the truck with the 305-horsepower Pentastar V6 engine that drives an 8-speed transmission - the TorqueFlite 8. The powertrain is rated to tow (by Chrysler) a maximum weight of 6,250 pounds. However this Ram was also equipped with full air suspension – at all four points – and so it auto-levelled empty and towing. A full report on this new truck and how it handled the towing experience with the Shamrock is also found in this issue.

However, past this trailer being just ballast for a truck test (as this particular Shamrock weighed in at around 5,000 pounds) I had a look at the line (there are 12 different models in total) and picked the one with an interesting feature – a rear wall slideout. My tester housed the 74 x74-inch main bed in this slide that pushed this wall out almost five feet. That’s a sizable expansion – particularly in a trailer that has no other slideouts. Past this, though, I was reminded of a trait these types of trailers have that many buyers overlook in the dealer’s lot – sound proofing. This unit I tested had a hard-walled slideout with glass windows that closed, which keeps noise out. As opposed to what? Well, the popular soft-sided pop-outs. Those units that expand using drop-down walls and tent material for the housing are great for space, but you can hear everything from outside and vice-versa. At this point, most people will point to the price difference and yes, there certainly is one, and if that is your driving factor, fine. I simply point out this difference because, as I said, it’s a trait that doesn’t really make itself known until you are in the campground that first night. This Shamrock is a family unit with the potential for nine sleeping spaces in just 28 feet of (open) space. It has five sleeping spots starting with just outside the rear slide where a wall-hugging 72-inch sofa folds down. Across from it is the dinette that also folds down into a double, while at the rear is a 54 x 72-inch bed that folds up for daytime use. Above it is a single 32 x 72-inch bunk that can be folded up and fits flush with the front sidewall of the trailer. I noted that each of these convertible beds has some mechanism that will flip, fold or twist a section of couch, cushion or backrest into a flat position. Simply put, the Shamrock has some neat, simple solutions for a quick bedtime changeover from daytime use to go flat JUNE / JULy 2013

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RV-ING for night-time use. However, this is also important, because when the slide is retracted, the couch and dinette have to be in the flat position, as the slide moves over the top of them.

So what else makes this a family trailer? The kitchen and bathroom. Look at the interior of the trailer and the fact is that the designers made choices – they used the space for sleeping, eating and bathroom needs; there is no real lounge space in the unit. Which is fine – kick everybody out to enjoy the outdoors! The kitchen features a three-burner range with folding metal cover that doubles as a backsplash. It also has a good-sized oven (optional) and above, a vent hood and a microwave (optional). The double sink has a nice tall gooseneck faucet next to some counter space. I say some because it’s limited; I suspect the dinette table will have to do double duty as a kitchen prep area as well. Still, thank goodness for flat-screen TVs; the one just above this counter is on a wall-mounted swing-arm and won’t eat up this valuable space. By contrast, there is an ample amount of cupboard space above and below the counter. The bathroom across the main corridor here featured a half-tub for bathing the little ones and a very large shower for the adults. Over-

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head is a bubble skylight for headroom and brightness. The toilet opposite the tub has a lot of room around it – thank you! This means you won’t have to sit side-saddle to fit. However, even with this use of space, a full-length vanity counter provides an oval sink and an equal amount of counter space. Below this is room for towels, supplies, etc. Above the sink is a decent mirrored medicine cabinet. All in all, it’s a big bathroom for a small unit, but one that can expect a lot of traffic. Speaking of traffic, the floor treatment is all-vinyl flooring – a must. Easy to clean and wear-resistant. Carpet would have been a mistake here. The front couch with the bunk overhead is probably the only space in the trailer where you could sit antsy kids while mom/dad worked in the main aisle that serves the kitchen. However the TV is at the other end of the counter, right in the way of whomever is working/serving/cooking. Granted, there is a couch right across from it; I just hope they can all sit there; otherwise, expect whining. This front couch/lounge space does have a second purpose though, and a second access point. A four-foot-high exterior door opens on


RV-ING the driver’s side to access space, either under the couch if opened, or to place bicycles in for transport. Bikes are a pain to get in normal man-doors; this is a good feature. Outside, the Shamrock is clean-looking and white with vacuum-bonded smooth sides. On top is a vinyl/rubber composite roofing membrane. It uses flush windows with rubber/vinyl framing. The aluminum wall frames carry in-wall insulation (R-7 side wall; R-12 floor; R-14 ceiling). This will aid the optional A/C unit in keeping the trailer cool in summer, but also keep it cosy in the shoulder seasons. This trailer does not have a furnace. Interestingly (because of this I assume), an optional heated mattress is offered. The trailer rides on twin axles with hard rubber torsion suspension and nicely finished aluminum wheels. As part of the Convenience Package C (see below for details), the trailer sports a full-size awning, and outside speakers – both valuable for keeping kids outside. Cost-wise, I can see where the Shamrock is saving money (lack of light fixtures, for instance) and an option pricing system that really lets you strip the trailer down, load it up, or just cherry pick the few things you really want. This makes even more sense when you consider that it’s a three-season trailer at best. The basic unit covers most needs, and it’s not stuffed by any means with extras, but because its purpose is so specific, I’m OK with that. If you are a couple that tours, this is not your trailer, but if you have kids, particularly younger kids who want their friends along on weekends (and perhaps Grandma and Grandpa dropping by), this unit will put you into the heart of what makes camping great.

SPECIFICATIONS: Length: .............................................................................23’10” Length (open): ...................................................................28’5” Width: . ..................................................................................96” Height (w/out AC): ..............................................................116” Height (interior): ....................................................................78” Fresh water: .............................................................36 gal (US) Gray water: ..............................................................30 gal (US) Black water: .............................................................30 gal (US) GVWR: . ........................................................................ 5,976 lb Dry weight: .................................................................... 4,143 lb Base Price: . .............................................................$22,137.15 Optional Equipment on Test Unit Night Shades: ...............................................................$123.25 Power Tongue Jack: .....................................................$137.75 Gas Oven: . ...................................................................$290.00 Raised Panel Reefer Front: ..........................................$123.25 Convenience Package C: Tinted safety glass windows, microwave oven, TV antenna, roof A/C (ducted), awning, LCDTV, gas/electric hot water heater, outside speakers: ...........................$1,522.50 Power Awning w/ C package: .......................................$210.25 Spare Tire carrier & cover: ............................................$137.75 Aluminum wheels: . .......................................................$391.00 Outside Grill: .................................................................$145.00 Heated mattresses: . ..................................................... $116.00 Carbon Monoxide detector: ............................................$36.25 Water Purifier: ...............................................................$123.25 Create-A-Breeze bath roof vent: ...................................$217.50 Base plus options – Suggested Retail: ...................$26,130.80

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Trucks Plus 57


GEARING UP All-New LRG103 Radial 12-Spoke Wheels New from LRG (LargeRimGroup) is the all-new LRG1013 radial 12spoke wheel. It comes in two different finishes, a black/milled finish with highlighted ribs and simulated rivet heads, and a chrome finish with shining reliefs and details. Both versions of the wheel feature covered lug nuts for a smooth, integrated appearance. They utilize a new casting technology making for not only a better looking wheel, but stronger as well. They come in 17, 18, 20, and 22-inch diameters, with 9, 10, and 14-inch widths, multiple bolt patterns and backspacing. For more information please go to www.lrgrims.com

Easy Mount Electrical Brackets from Curt MFG New from Curt MFG are these Easy Mount Electrical Brackets. The brackets will provide a simple solution for unkempt trailer wiring by mounting to the trailer hitch receiver tube using stainless steel carriage bolts. No drilling is required for installation and the solid steel brackets won’t break like some plastic ones do, and feature a durable powder coat finish for rust resistance. This product won a Best New Product for 2013 by SEMA and is available in all common trailer hitch receiver tube sizes. For more information please go to www.curtmfg.com

Big Wig Air Suspension from Hellwig The all new Big Wig Air Suspension from Hellwig features 2,800pound air springs for each side and heavy-duty brackets to handle the most demanding loads. The air springs are three inches larger in diameter and up to three inches taller than most standard air springs on the market, and require half the air pressure that a 2,500-pound air spring would require for the same load. The lower air pressure results in a softer spring rate for improved ride quality and less wear and tear on the chassis. For more information please go to www.hellwigproducts.com

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GEARING UP Westin Automotive Pro Traxx Four-Inch Oval Tube Step Bar Westin Automotive has released its all new Pro Traxx four-inch Oval Tube Step Bar which will add style and functionality to your truck. They come in two different finishes, black powder coat or 304 stainless steel. Both styles feature angled ends and fully welded caps, and the four-inch textured logo step pads will provide excellent grip for safe and easy access to your cab. The kit comes with everything needed for installation including zincplated stainless steel hardware and detailed instructions.

DEFLECT IT. PROTECT IT.

EXPERIENCE IT. stampedeproducts.com

SIDEWIND DEFLECTORS Fast & Easy Installation

For more information please go to www.westinautomotive.com

Reduces Wind Noise

Extang EnCore Tonneau Cover Now with BOLT Locks

Available in Chrome, Smoke and Camo

The low profile, hard panel tri folding EnCore Tonneau Cover from Extang now features BOLT one-key lock technology. The front panel lock can be coded to match your truck’s ignition key. The EnCore is made using one inch-thick panels of FRP (fibreglass reinforced plastic) for superior UV protection and thermal stability. The frame is textured powder coated, and the cover features rubber corners to resist dents and scratches. For more information please go to www.extang.com

2007-2013 Jeep Wrangler JK Power Plant Winch Bumper New from OR-Fab is the Mid-Width Centre-Mount Winch OEM Fog Light Bumper. The mid-width bumpers provide strong front end protection that is more compact and weighs less than most full sheet-metal bumpers. Precision lasers cut out the bumpers, and CNC press brakes are used to form them into shape. The bumper has an integrated winch mount for centre winches and 205-mm diameter grill hoop with light tabs.

HOOD PROTECTORS Fast & Easy Installation Superior Wind Deflection Provides Full Hood Protection

For more information please go to www.orfab.com

800.858.5634 JUNE / JULy 2013

Trucks Plus 59


GEARING UP New Single Row LED Light Bars from Performance World Performance World has released its new Single-Row LED Light Bars that come available in sizes from 10-40-inches and feature 5-watt super bright CREE LEDs. The lights boast an impressive 30,000-plus hour lifespan, are IP67 certified waterproof, and are protected by a tough polycarbonate lens and extruded aluminum housing. They come in either flood, spot, or combo beams, feature sealed Deutsh connectors and have over/under voltage protection. For more information please go to www.performance-world.com

ICON Hydraulic Bump Stop Kit for 2007+ FJ Cruiser and 2003+ 4Runner ICON Vehicle Dynamics has introduced its bolt-in Hydraulic Bump Stop kit for the 2007-present Toyota FJ Cruiser and the 2003present Toyota 4Runner. The kit reduces rear-end kick and helps improve the vehicle’s overall performance while off-road. The OEM

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rubber bump stops have limited energy absorption capacity that is released upon rebound, resulting in a harsh ride. The ICON Hydraulic Bump Stops are velocity sensitive, which means the amount of energy absorbed increases the faster they are engaged. Using the ICON bump stop kit will result in having an increased bottom-out resistance over stock, and improved drivability off-road. For more information please go to www.iconvehicledynamics.com

Volant PowerCore Filtration Technology Manufactured by Donaldson to Volant’s specifications, the PowerCore air filters use a high-quality synthetic material that doesn’t deteriorate as easily as traditional paper element and cotton/gauze. It’s water resistant and never requires oiling. The PowerCore Filtration Technology works by directing air into the front of the filter where it gets channeled into its fluted design. The channels are alternately sealed and this allows the air to be filtered in one pass with less restriction, allowing cleaner air to enter your engine. For more information please go to www.volant.com


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Presented by:

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 stucktrucks@rpmcanada.ca and if we use your photos we’ll send you a cool Trucks Plus hat!

They went in just a little too deep.

Are axles supposed to turn that way?

Some people deserve to get stuck; this guy is just unfortunate

Would love to see how he got up there.

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Trucks Plus June/July Issue