Last autonews about trucks and auto makers (Hyundai, GM, Dodge, Chevy, Mercedes-BenzB, Cadillac, BMW, Toyota), photos/videos of supercars and from auto shows
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Trucks/Pickups auto news

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BMW X4 reclaims dash of utility with Clemson student project [w/videos]

08/06/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Aftermarket, Concept Cars, Trucks/Pickups, Videos, Crossovers/CUVs, BMW, Design/Style

BMW X4 Clemson University Project

BMW seems willing to exploit every automotive niche it can find with creations like the four-door, 'crossover coupe' X4 and X6. Of course, these designs come with a compromise. That svelte fastback means that they just can't haul as much cargo as a more traditional, boxier hatchback. Fortunately, students at Clemson University's International Center for Automotive Research might have a novel solution: the engineering graduate program has turned the crossover into a unique pickup.

Dubbed Deep Orange 4 concept, this functional prototype has an enclosed cargo area with a sliding glass panel that opens up to expose a pickup bed if more room is needed. Think of it as the GMC Envoy XUV of German crossovers. This isn't just an X4 with its roof hacked off, though. The students actually started with an X3 and grafted on this top later in addition to the two barn doors for access to the bed.

To make this project even more impressive, this pickup-crossover could conceivably be produced. The graduate students conducted an in-plant analysis of BMW's manufacturing abilities and went back to the university to create a plan for a low-volume vehicle that could actually be built. "The students working on this phase of the project did an excellent job of keeping costs down while finding optimal integration opportunities," said Rich Morris, vice president of assembly at BMW Manufacturing, in the university's release.

Deep Orange 4 is now on display at the CAR Group Management Briefing Seminar in Michigan. Scroll down to read the university's release and watch two videos about the concept; one shows the final product and the other a time-lapse of the build going from X3 to X4-looking pickup.

Continue reading BMW X4 reclaims dash of utility with Clemson student project [w/videos]

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Get ready to Camino-ize your fourth-generation VW Jetta with this kit

08/06/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Aftermarket, Sedans/Saloons, Trucks/Pickups, Volkswagen

Volkswagen Jetta Ute

Inexpensive, small pickup trucks used to be everywhere in the US, whether they were from Japanese brands like Datsun or Toyota, the truly weird Subaru Brat or even from Europe with the Volkswagen Caddy based on the Golf. These days that market has completely disappeared, but if you're willing to pick up some tools to build your own, there's a company out there bringing the Caddy back as a kit for the Jetta.

Mark Smith knows a thing about building a vehicle at home. He has over two decades in the DIY-car business as a co-founder of Local Motors and the company that became Factory Five Racing. His latest venture is Smyth Performance and already offers a mid-engine, VW-based kit called the G3F. His new product, though, started as a fluke. "I just wanted a shop truck," said Smith to Autoblog. He already had a Ford F-450 but found that he was driving around with the bed empty most of the time. The result was a pickup truck based on the fourth-generation Jetta that he dubbed the Ute.

The kit retails for $3,500 and ships in three, big boxes, and it's designed to be built and painted in a weekend. Buyers get fiberglass exterior panels, a fiberglass rear window surround, sliding rear window, an aluminum reinforced bed with a tubular steel subframe, taillights, a fully functional steel tailgate, and other parts. In the end, you get a vehicle with a six-foot bed and a payload of around 700-750 pounds. The Ute maintains all of the factory suspension, fuel tank and emissions equipment and requires just a few cuts in the body to complete. "We did a modern Caddy," admits Smith.

Sales are already progressing well for the Ute with "hundreds, not thousands" moved so far, Smith said. You can learn more about this reborn compact pickup at the Smyth Performance website.

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2015 Chevy Colorado to start at $20,100*, GMC Canyon at $20,995**

08/06/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Car Buying, Trucks/Pickups, Chevrolet, GM

Chevy Colorado

General Motors has just announced pricing for its new midsize pickup trucks, the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon. Chevy's truck starts at $20,100, *not including $895 for destination, and the GMC starts at $20,995, **not including $925 for destination. These prices are for the base, extended cab models with the 200-horsepower, 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine.

Comparatively, these prices fit nicely with the $18,125 starting MSRP of the Toyota Tacoma and the $21,510 of the Nissan Frontier. Compared to the Colorado, the Canyon's extra $895 gets you niceties like LED running lamps, 16-inch alloy wheels, and a four-way power driver's seat.

Both trucks come standard with the 2.5-liter engine, and a more powerful, 305-hp 3.6-liter V6 will also be available. Pricing has not been announced for the upcoming diesel model, which is expected to launch for the 2016 model year.

Chevrolet has confirmed that the Colorado LT Crew Cab 2WD with a five-foot box will start at $27,090, and the more upscale Colorado Z70 Crew Cab 4x4 with a five-foot box comes in at $34,095. On the GMC front, the Canyon SLE Extended Cab 2WD will start at $$26,595, and the SLT Crew Cab 4x4 arrives at $36,950, including the aforementioned V6.

Optional features on the trucks include GM's new 4G LTE connectivity with a built-in wifi hotspot, forward collision alert, lane departure warning, and the GearOn accessory system. Specific option pricing has not been released as of this writing.

Scroll down for the full details in the pair of press releases.

Continue reading 2015 Chevy Colorado to start at $20,100*, GMC Canyon at $20,995**

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What you missed on 8.4.2014

08/05/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Spy Photos, Coupes, Sedans/Saloons, Sports/GTs, Trucks/Pickups, Supercars, Luxury

Daily U-Turn

First Drive: 2015 Acura TLX

Our man Michael Harley takes his turn behind the wheel of the brand-new Acura TLX and finds it a better car than either the TSX or TL, both of which it replaces in the automaker's lineup. Read the full review to find out the how and the why, and to see if it has what it takes to compete in such a hotly contested segment.

Ford F-Series Super Duty prototype burns while hot-weather testing

Yikes! Our intrepid spy shooters captured these images of a 2016 Ford F-Series Super Duty prototype burning to the ground out in Death Valley. Fortunately, nobody was hurt. The truck, as you can see, did not fare so well. Ford is investigating the cause of the blaze.

Hennessey Venom F5 gunning for 290 mph and 1,400 horsepower

How fast is fast enough? Well, we suppose that depends on who you ask. John Hennessey, for instance, has his sights set on 290 freaking miles per hour, and to achieve such ludicrous velocity, he's planning to pack 1,400 horsepower in the engine bay of his upcoming Venom F5. A total of 30 examples are planned. Get in line now.

Top Stories

  • Ford announces free brake pad offer if customers stop by dealers
  • Jay Leno gets his denim mitts on Dodge's new Challenger Hellcat
  • It's been 5 years since Cash For Clunkers, was it a success? [w/poll]
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Ford F-Series Super Duty prototype reduced to smoldering mess of aluminum and steel [UPDATE]

08/04/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Spy Photos, Trucks/Pickups, Ford

2016 Ford F-Series Super Duty prototype on fire

The most important bit of information you need to know after looking through our high-res gallery of images depicting a prototype 2016 Ford F-Series Super Duty pickup truck burning to the ground is that nobody was hurt. There were two engineers inside the vehicle when it caught fire, and both exited to safety.

That's the good news. The bad news is that the truck, which appears to have been testing in Death Valley, appears to be a total loss, minus, of course, whatever information Ford can glean from the conflagration - particularly tracing it back to its root cause. Besides that, we're also expecting the body of the next Super Duty to be hewn from aluminum, as is the case with its smaller brother, the brand-new F-150. Note the little aluminum droppings littering the roadway as apparent proof of that.

Our spy photographers report that it took just 21 minutes for the F-Series Super Duty to burn completely to the ground. The fire appears to have started in the driver-side front wheel well, spreading to engulf the entire front end in three minutes. We can't confirm the source of the blaze, but we're curious if the car's black vinyl cladding, meant to obscure the secrets within, contributed to the fire.

Check out the complete gallery of images to see how a fully working prototype can be reduced to a smoldering mess of aluminum and steel in just 21 minutes flat. We'll let you know if Ford can shed any light on the cause of the fire as soon as we hear back.

UPDATE: Ford has issued the following statement: "While testing an experimental vehicle in Death Valley, there was a fire. We are investigating." That much is clear, and we'll keep you informed of any new information we get.

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Toyota prices TRD Pro Tacoma, 4Runner

08/01/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: SUVs, Trucks/Pickups, Toyota, Off-Road

Toyota TRD Pro Series Family

Toyota is finally all set to drop more details about the upcoming off-road ready TRD Pro Series models of the 4Runner, Tacoma and Tundra after first revealing them in February. These trucks and SUV might not get the big engine and other mods that desert-stormers like the Ford F-150 Raptor have, but they are still a nice step up over the stock versions. All of the TRD Pro vehicles come as 4x4 models with Bilstein shocks with remote reservoirs in the rear, TRD front springs, skid plates, black wheels, retro-inspired "TOYOTA" badging and TRD-branded floor mats and shift knobs on the inside. They're available in three colors: Inferno, Attitude Black Metallic and Super White.

The Tacoma hits the market first in early August with prices starting at $35,525, plus $885 for delivery, processing, and handling, for an Access Cab V6 with a six-speed manual. Opting for a five-speed automatic brings things up to $37,390 after the destination fee. A Double Cab with a manual goes for $37,320, or $38,300 for the automatic, after the delivery charges. The 4Runner follows in September with just a single trim priced at $41,110 - $41,995 after the charge - for the V6 and five-speed auto.

Toyota is holding off on revealing more about the Tundra for now. It's coming in the fall, but the company isn't announcing prices yet. We don't have to wait long, though. "Within the next month we'll reveal that," said Toyota spokesperson Sam Butto to Autoblog about the TRD Pro Tundra's price.

Each model gets its own individual upgrades, as well. The Tacoma gets a 1.75-inches of additional wheel travel up front with softer springs, 16-inch wheels and a TRD exhaust with polished tips. The 4Runner gets 17-inch wheels and an inch of additional wheel travel in the front. Finally, the Tundra has two more inches of travel up front and 1.25 inches in the rear thanks in part to different Bilstein Zone Control three-stage shocks from the other models, plus a TRD dual exhaust. Scroll down to read even more details about these off-roaders.

Continue reading Toyota prices TRD Pro Tacoma, 4Runner

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GM also sheds parts from its pickups to boost payload ratings [UPDATE]

08/01/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Trucks/Pickups, Commercial Trucks, Chevrolet, Ford, GM, GMC, Special/Limited Editions, Ram

Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD

The row between Ford and Ram over who boasts the best-in-class tow rating for heavy duty pickups has revealed a number of things. Chief among them is a report that Ford removes items like the spare tire, jack, radio and center console from its trucks in a bid to lower its base curb weight, and therefore its gross vehicle weight.

For those that need a refresher, GVW is the combination of a truck's curb weight plus its payload. Gross vehicle weight rating, meanwhile, is the maximum amount of weight a vehicle can handle, and it's also used to classify pickups. In Ford's case, tweaking the GVW by removing parts allows it to station the F-450 among the so-called Class III pickups. This is despite the fact that it's hewn from stiffer stuff than the average Class III and has the elevated towing capacity to prove it.

Ford explains away these deletions, saying a customer could order their vehicle in such a manner. It has also come to light that Ford is not the only automaker to engage in such practices.

General Motors started deleting the rear bumper and swapping in alloy wheels for heavier steel wheels for its 2014 pickups (both light-duty and heavy duty models). This is despite originally claiming that it did no such thing, a statement GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson told Automotive News was a mistake.

Wilkinson, like Ford, justifies the practice, explaining to AN, "You can delete the rear bumper, which some business customers do so they can install a custom bumper or other equipment on the back of the truck."

What are your thoughts on this? Is the process for figuring out tow ratings and GVWR too easy to manipulate? We want to hear from you. Head into Comments, and let us know what you think.

UPDATE: This story originally stated that gross vehicle weight rating was a combination of curb weight and payload. To clarify, GVWR is a fixed figure, which a vehicle's curb weight and payload cannot exceed. The story has been edited to reflect this.

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GM also sheds parts from its pickups to boost payload ratings

08/01/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Trucks/Pickups, Commercial Trucks, Chevrolet, Ford, GM, GMC, Special/Limited Editions, Ram

Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD

The row between Ford and Ram over who boasts the best-in-class tow rating for heavy duty pickups has revealed a number of things. Chief among them is a report that Ford removes items like the spare tire, jack, radio and center console from its vehicles in a bid to lower its base curb weight and therefore keep the truck's gross vehicle weight rating down.

For those that need a refresher, GVWR is the vehicle's curb weight plus its maximum payload. A lower GVWR allows Ford to station its F-450 among the so-called Class III pickups, despite the fact that internally, it has the makings of a more brutish Class IV truck.

Ford explains away these deletions, saying a customer could order their vehicle in such a manner. It has also come to light that Ford is not the only automaker to engage in such practices.

General Motors started deleting the rear bumper and swapping in alloy wheels for heavier steel wheels for its 2014 pickups (both light-duty and heavy duty models). This is despite originally claiming that it did no such thing, a statement GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson told Automotive News was a mistake.

Wilkinson, like Ford, justifies the practice, explaining to AN, "You can delete the rear bumper, which some business customers do so they can install a custom bumper or other equipment on the back of the truck."

What are your thoughts on this? Is the process for figuring out tow ratings and GVWR too easy to manipulate? We want to hear from you. Head into Comments, and let us know what you think.

Read more..

2015 Ford F-150 appearance guide takes the truck from mild to wild with options

08/01/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Car Buying, Trucks/Pickups, Ford, Design/Style

2015 Ford F-150

2015 Ford F-150 Trim GuideWe already know that the 2015 Ford F-150 has a base price coming in at just $395 more than the 2014 model, despite all of the new standard tech and aluminum-intensive construction in the upcoming version. Now the Blue Oval is finally giving us an idea of what that extra money actually buys customers, with the release of the appearance guide for its latest pickup.

The guide basically explains everything you could want to know about what changes occur among the multitude of trims on the 2015 F-150. There are five levels for the new truck. Although, that is something of a misnomer because most of them are also available with either Sport or Chrome packages, plus the FX4 Off-Road option with Hill Descent Control, an electronic-locking rear axle, off-road shocks and skid plates. With 13 available colors, including 4 new ones, and 14 wheel designs in various sizes, pickup buyers should have no problem specing one to fit their style.

The lineup starts out with the base XL with a black grille and fascia and 17-inch wheels. However, across most of the range the Sport and Chrome packages are also available to add either body-color or chrome accents, respectively. Next up is the XLT with a standard chrome grille but also available with a black, billet-style one with a body-color surround. Things really start getting plush with the Lariat model with leather trim, a three-bar front end and 18-inch wheels. The King Ranch sticks with that look but adds power running boards, 20-inch wheels and two-tone paint. Finally, the top-dog Platinum is all about bling with yet another frontal design, chrome door handles and mirror caps, a big logo running across the tailgate and more.

All of the options are certainly a lot to take in, and Ford clearly doesn't want any potential customers to fall through the cracks in terms getting exactly what they want from their F-150. Check out the gallery to see all of the differences between the trims for yourself.

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What you missed on 7.30.14

07/31/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Time Warp, Coupes, Hybrids/Alternative, Sedans/Saloons, Sports/GTs, Trucks/Pickups, Auctions, Chevrolet, Nissan, Rumormill, Electric, Diesel

Daily U-Turn

Nissan Frontier diesel muleNissan lets us sample a diesel Frontier prototype

Hey. You. Yeah, you. Do you think Nissan should build a midsize pickup truck with a diesel engine? Yeah, so do we. And we just got the chance to drive just such a beast, though it's anything but a production model at this point. This particular example is fitted with a 2.8-liter four-cylinder from Cummins, and it puts out 200 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque, enabling it to tow as much as 7,000 pounds.

2016 Chevy Volt spy shot2016 Chevy Volt coming soon to an auto show near you... probably

There sure is a lot we don't know about the next generation of Chevy's extended-range electric vehicle. What we do know, though, is that it ought to be making its auto show debut sometime soon. How soon? Likely either Los Angeles later this year or else Detroit, Chicago or New York in early 2015, according to an anonymous source.

Blood muscle auctionBlood Muscle auction? Sounds terrible, looks awesome

It's nicknamed the Blood Muscle auction because the cars, which will be sold each to the highest bidders on September 12, were attained by the president of a blood-testing company who is now incarcerated for alleged bribery. There's a Boss Mustang, a trio of Yenko Chevrolets and our personal favorite, a Plymouth Superbird, among others, up for bidding.

Top Stories

  • Parents of terminally ill child sue after son dies following make-a-wish-style ride
  • Jaguar shows the face of its upcoming XE S sports sedan
  • New drifting world record set in Toyota GT86
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