Team Miller Fisher drove a stock Hummer H3 I-5 that was on loan from Hummer France and set up with Rod Hall special-edition Fox Shox, Recaro seats, and a Monit Rally computer. The rear of the interior was gutted for gear and equipment. Miller praised the team's Maxtrax sand ladders. "We only had to dig out three times; the Maxtrax sand ladders were incredible and we used them to help other vehicles. The Hummer was the best vehicle that could have been chosen for this rally. Its ground clearance was incredible. We didn't have one single problem. The H3 is incredibly capable and durable." The team plans to return to the Rallye in 2011 and hopes to have more Americans with them.
The Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles was founded in 1990 by Dominique Serra and is known for extensive humanitarian and environmental efforts and initiatives. To learn more, visit www.rallyeaichadesgazelles.com.
This Just In
•At the other end of the spectrum from the Raptor's 6.2L V-8, Ford plans to put a 3.5L EcoBoost V-6 in F-150s by the end of the year. Ford claims the six-banger will offer "best-in-class fuel economy along with the power and towing capability of a V-8." We'll see.
•Chrysler announced it may reenter the compact truck segment with a unibody pickup. This would not be a Dakota-size truck, but something smaller to clearly differentiate it from fullsize Rams. "If you look at Dakota today, it is large," said Joe Veltri, Chrysler Group vice president of product planning, as quoted in Automotive News. "It is very capable, can tow 7,000 pounds, [and] comes with a V-8 and a V-6. It is a mini fullsize truck. Everybody has gotten the formula wrong-expensive, too capable."
•Still waiting for the Mahindra pickup? So are we, and so is the rest of the country, apparently. Automotive News reports the Indian manufacturer missed its third target date to start selling the compact trucks here. What's the holdup? Vehicle testing, EPA certification, setting up parts distribution, and other details are taking longer than expected. One Mahindra exec was quoted as saying, "A launch date is very important to us, but not as important as getting our product right."
•New regulations on fuel efficiency and carbon dioxide tailpipe emissions will go into effect for the '12-'16 model years, reports SEMA. The two issues are related, since carbon dioxide is released in direct proportion to the carbon-based fuel that is burned. The Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) average rating for all '16 vehicles will be 35.5 mpg, based on a combined 39 mpg rating for passenger cars and 30 mpg for light trucks. (Right now the standards are 27.5 mpg for cars, 23.5 for trucks.) Individual vehicle mileage targets will be based on the vehicle's size, or "footprint," which will force automakers to improve the efficiency of every vehicle rather than downsizing some vehicles to offset bigger ones. The new CAFE standards will also encourage car companies to sell more hybrids, electric cars, and advanced gasoline engines. The automakers will likely rely on more fuel-efficient tires, turbochargers, low-friction lubricants, six-speed automatic transmissions, and similar technological means to achieve the standards.
New Touareg Hybrid
Volkswagen has unveiled its next-generation Touareg, which is available with several engine options, including a gas-electric hybrid. The hybrid system, which will also be used in an upcoming Porsche Cayenne SUV, combines a 3.0L V-6 engine with an electric motor to produce 380 hp and 428 lb-ft of torque. This is a full hybrid powertrain, meaning the Touareg can run on electricity only, but only for short distances and at limited speeds.
The new SUV also has two drivelines. Most Touaregs are now AWD with a 4Motion system that uses a Torsen limited-slip diff combined with computerized controls to tune the traction systems. The V-6 TDI models receive the 4XMotion system we're accustomed to in previous Touaregs, with a low-range transfer case and center and rear locking differentials.