Diesel Jeep Wrangler Concept
Jeep and Mopar showed off several concept rigs this May at the 49th Annual Easter Jeep Safari. The most exciting to diesel fans was the Jeep Wrangler Africa, powered by a 2.8-liter diesel engine mated to an automatic transmission. The Africa is touted as the ultimate Jeep Wrangler for backcountry and overland expeditions, with room for extra gear and auxiliary fuel tanks.
The Wrangler four-door-based vehicle sports Desert Tan exterior paint, high-clearance steel front bumper with winch, power step rock rails, power dome vented hood and an extended rear body and high-top roof. The Wrangler Africa also features fender-mounted auxiliary fuel cans. The Africa sports 17-inch body color steel wheels with 35-inch BF Goodrich Mud Terrain tires.
The Jeep Wrangler Africa is also outfitted with a 2-inch lift kit and Fox shocks, sway bar links and front and rear Dana 44 axles from Jeep Performance Parts. The spare tire is underbody-mounted, and the cargo area, inner roof and floor are finished in a durable spray-in truck bed coating.
There were a total of five Jeep concepts this year, but only the Wrangler Africa was an oil burner. We can hardly wait for the next generation or Wranglers, as all signs point to them finally having a diesel option.
Colorado Box Delete Package
Chevrolet has introduced a box delete package for the 2015 Colorado, their midsize pickup. This will allow the platform to be tasked by owners and truck builders for alternative uses that would be restricted by a standard box bed.
“With the segment-leading efficiency and maneuverable size, the Colorado makes a great, flexible choice for urban businesses and fleets to make the most of a midsize truck,” said Ed Peper, U.S. vice president, GM Fleet & Commercial. “It’s ideal for utility companies requiring service bodies, as well as landscapers and other businesses needing the utility of a flatbed.”
The box delete package—RPO order code ZW9—is available on Colorado Work Truck 2WD extended cab models and is offered exclusively with the 305-hp 3.6L V-6 engine and six-speed automatic transmission. A $300 credit is applied to the Colorado’s suggested retail price when the option is selected.
Here at DW, we’re confident that this package will also be offered with a diesel option, when the much anticipated 2.8L I-4 Duramax is released. This is expected to be for the 2016 model year. GM has already shown a Colorado ZR2 concept truck that’s powered by the new 2.8L Duramax diesel the packs an estimated 181 horsepower at 3,400 rpm and 369 lb-ft of torque at 2,000 rpm. This torquey I-4 will be perfect for work and play.
F-750 Tonka Truck
A Ford F-750 Tonka truck was unveiled at the 2015 NTEA Work Truck Show in Indianapolis, Indiana. No child’s toy, however, this diesel-powered rig is nearly 10 feet tall and is truly “Built Ford Tough.”
Based on the all-new 2016 Ford F-650/F-750, the bold dump truck is painted signature Tonka yellow with a custom blackout nostril grille and fully functional dump body from Truck Tech Engineers. The F-750 Tonka is ready to move dirt at job sites, create new playgrounds and fuel the imaginations of kids of all ages.
The F-750 Tonka is powered by the proven 6.7- liter Power Stroke V-8 diesel paired with a commercial-grade six-speed TorqShift HD automatic transmission. The available power takeoff provision that runs the dump body can power other accessories in the field, including a crane or other vocational equipment.
The mighty Ford F-750 Tonka truck—which will be on display at major work truck, commercial and vocational trade shows through the end of the year—is a collaboration between Ford and Funrise Toy Corporation, manufacturer of Tonka-branded products under license from Hasbro.
New Mercedes-Benz Diesel
Mercedes-Benz is expected to replace the M-Class with the GLE-Class for the 2016 model year. This new entry into the SUV segment is expected to include the GLE300d. The “d” denotes a diesel engine, and the current 2.1L I-4 diesel is the most likely candidate. That engine currently puts out 200 hp at 3,800 rpm and 369 lb-ft of torque between 1,600 and 1,800 rpm. In the ML, mileage is 22/29. We expect the new GLE300d will be the same or better on mileage. The initial specs show a 1 hp gain with 201 horses at 3,800 rpm and the same torque rating as the current engine.
The new vehicle’s also said to be more off-road capable due to the DYNAMIC SELECT handling control system of the new GLE. It will offer up to six drive programs. In addition to the established settings—INDIVIDUAL, COMFORT, SLIPPERY and SPORT in the 4MATIC models—the driver can choose the additional OFFROAD setting for mild terrain with the DYNAMIC SELECT controller on the centre console.
If the GLE model is equipped with the optional Off-Road Engineering package, the OFFROAD+ setting is available. In this setting, the off-road reduction gear and a 100-percent inter-axle differential lock come into play to generate high traction even in challenging terrain. This is further boosted by the expanded functions of the optional AIRMATIC air suspension with raised ride heights for a ground clearance of up to 11 inches and a fording depth of 23 inches. The reinforced under-floor paneling of this equipment variant protects important components against not so gentle contact with the ground.
While not a rig for running the Rubicon Trail, this package will make the GLE more capable on the roads less traveled.
Golf SportWagen Alltrack
Volkswagen has announced the introduction of an Alltrack model of the Golf SportWagen. Alltrack is a 4MOTION all-wheel-drive system that offers nearly an inch higher ground clearance, wheel-arch moldings and flared side sills that offer extra body protection. Other features are newly designed bumpers, and a more upscale interior.
The 4MOTION all-wheel-drive system uses the latest generation Haldex-5 coupling, activated via an electro-hydraulic oil pump. In normal driving, the Alltrack acts like a front-wheel-drive car for better fuel economy, but as soon as the system detects wheel slip, up to 50 percent of the drive torque can be shipped to the rear wheels. In addition to the Haldex coupling that acts longitudinally, electronic differential locks (EDL) at the front and rear axles act laterally in concert with the electronic stability control system. The system briefly brakes a wheel that’s slipping, enabling uninterrupted and stable transfer of drive power to the wheel on the opposite side.
In combination with the higher ground clearance, this 4MOTION all-wheel drive system helps to give the newest Golf SportWagen the off-road capability and load-carrying capacity of a compact SUV along with the on-road manners and fuel economy of a compact wagon.
“We’ve heard from dealers and customers that they want to see a Golf SportWagen with the all-terrain capability that comes from all-wheel drive,” said Michael Horn, President and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. “We’re delighted to introduce the SportWagen Alltrack in 2016 in the U.S.”
Currently, the 2015 Golf SportWagen is available in a TDI Clean Diesel model. This engine is the new EA288 150 horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged and direct-injection diesel engine. This engine drives the front wheels through either a six-speed manual or a six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission. In these packages the TDI has an EPA rating of 31/42 for the auto trans model and 31/43 for the manual trans model. EPA rating and TDI availability are still to be announced. However, we’re confident that the demand for a TDI-equipped version will ensure its eventual availability.
The 2017 Jetta SportWagen with Alltrack will go on sale in 2016 as a 2017 model.
Sprinter Vans To Be Made In USA
Mercedes-Benz is investing and estimated $500 million in new van plant in South Carolina beginning in 2016. This plant will produce the next generation of Sprinter vans for the North American market.
The new Sprinter plant in the United States is essential for Mercedes-Benz vans only at this time. The large van segment is expected to grow rapidly in North America over the next few years, and the United States is one of the most dynamic van markets in the world. At the same time, Mercedes-Benz vans currently face high U.S. import duties and a complex disassembly process of Sprinters made in Germany for sale in the U.S. The new plant and the vehicles “Made in USA” will enable the company to more economically meet the growing demand from North American customers in the future and to considerably reduce delivery time.
The 2015 Sprinter vans are currently available with either the OM651 four-cylinder with seven-speed 7G-TRONIC transmission, or the OM642 V-6 with five-speed transmission. Both of these engines are diesel, with 161 hp/265 lb-ft and 188 hp/325 lb-ft, respectively.