Preview: 2014 Ram Chassis Cab trucks designed for easy upfits

Windsor, ON – For 2014, Ram Chassis Cabs will pack a bigger punch with the introduction of a new 6.4-litre V8 gasoline engine.

Ram Chassis Cab engineers design trucks for upfits and develop unique features to ease installation of multiple systems and bodies without interference or difficult relocation of components, including:

• Industry-standard frame lengths 1524 mm (60-inch), 2133 mm (84-inch), 2743 mm (108-inch) and 3048 mm (120-inch)

• No components or lines above the rear frame rails

• Through-the-frame plumbing and electrical

• DEF refill port is conveniently located at the rear of the cab on the driver’s side to ensure easy access at pump stations

Engineering

For 2014, Ram engineers have enhanced the 3500 Chassis Cab model with a new three-link front suspension that provides greater load-carrying capability and best-in-class towing.

Ram 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs have received upgrades as well. Both models are now rated at 3175 kg (7,000 lb.) of front Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR) on 6.4-litre gas engine-equipped models and 3288 kg (7,250 lb.) GAWR on 6.7-litre Cummins Turbo Diesel models.

Gross Vehicle Weight Ratings (GVWR) for Ram 3500 models equipped with single rear wheels have been raised, now ranging from 4763 kg (10,500 lb.) to 5443 kg (12,000 lb.). Ram also features an available 4536 kg (10,000 lb.) GVWR model that falls below certain provincial truck-weight restrictions.

Front suspension springs handle heavier loads while maintaining front ride height and improving overall roll stiffness. Greater roll stiffness, also known as body roll, is an important characteristic in taller vehicles, especially trucks with heavy payloads. An advanced five-link front suspension on Class 4 and 5 Ram 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cab trucks helps provide good ride and handling for a higher GVWR and for use with heavy front loads, including snow plows. The Hotchkiss rear leaf spring suspension not only provides a minimum of zero degrees rake angle at max load, it also maintains objectives for ride and handling.

With upfits in mind, the 2014 Ram Chassis Cab trucks feature frames built with high-strength 50,000 psi steel, including eight separate cross-member construction. Designing the frames for upfits creates a competitive advantage, improves durability and reduces warranty costs from unapproved modifications.

Steering

The drag link is positioned over the track bar to reduce roll oversteer and to improve tracking at highway speeds. Also, the drag link is attached directly to the knuckle, offering improved efficiency for driver input. The caster and track are engineered for more wheel-aligning torque, which improves return-to-centre at the steering wheel. A ball joint alignment feature and sealing method improves alignment and service for lower total cost of ownership. This design results in enhanced and precise on-centre feel, despite the vehicle’s impressive towing and payload capacities.

Body

The 2014 Ram Chassis Cab comes equipped with engine, transmission and body mounts for noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) control.

Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cab commercial trucks are available with an engineering-approved, upfitter-friendly solution for customers who require back panel removal on regular cab trucks. Because the instructions were created and approved by Ram Commercial truck engineers, the cutaway design retains the structural integrity of the truck.

Electrical

As the Ram Chassis Cab continues to offer more featured content, it created the need for a technology that allows more information to be electronically communicated within the truck. The Powernet system allows both high- and low-speed data networks to be equipped with as many as 40 individual modules, all designed to improve vehicle performance and enhance the comfort and safety of driver and passengers.

A majority of the commercial truck customers need to tie into the electrical system, and certain fleet customers require access to vehicle information. A best-in-class vehicle system interface module (VSIM) is capable of communicating between aftermarket modules and various Chassis Cab control modules. The class-exclusive module acts as a secure gateway to the vehicle’s electrical systems and data bus architecture to enable safe, secure plug-and-play connectivity for up-fitter use.

An optional dual 220-amp alternator system (440 amps total) on the diesel-equipped Ram Chassis Cab provides best-in-class electrical capability for the higher electrical loads required in select upfits such as emergency lighting and electric clutch pumps. The new 6.4-litre gasoline powertrain gets a dual-alternator option, pairing a 220-amp unit with a 160-amp, for a total of 380 amps.

Operating costs are of great consideration for owner’s who use their trucks for work. The 2014 Ram Chassis Cab claims class-leading features in extended maintenance cycle (up to 24,000-kilometre oil change, fuel filter life); brake life with advanced engine exhaust brake; and upfit integration.

The 2014 Ram Chassis Cab comes with a five-year/160,000-kilometre diesel and five-year/100,000 gasoline Powertrain Limited Warranty. The powertrain-limited warranty covers the cost of all parts and labour needed to repair a covered powertrain component – engine, transmission and drive system. Coverage also includes free towing to the nearest Ram Truck dealer, if necessary. The warranty is transferable allowing customers who sell their truck during the warranty period to pass the coverage on to the new owner. The standard three-year/60,000-kilometre Basic Limited Warranty provides bumper-to-bumper coverage for the Ram Chassis Cab, from the body to the electrical system.

Powertrain

The 2014 Ram Chassis Cab 3500, 4500 and 5500 come standard with the new 6.4-litre HEMI V8 gasoline engine — the first implementation of a gasoline engine for the Ram 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cab models. The Chassis Cab version of the 6.4L HEMI is similar by design but is engineered for a different duty cycle, when compared to the version offered in the Ram 2500 and 3500. The all-new powerplant provides a worthy gas-powered option to the segment’s overall standard-bearer – the 6.7-litre Cummins Turbo Diesel.

The new 16-valve engine provides an estimated up to 410 horsepower at 5,600 rpm (4,660 rpm for Aisin in 4500/5500) and a peak torque rating of 429 lb.-ft. at 4,000 rpm. Ram’s new 6.4-litre V8 gasoline engine is the first of its kind for Class 4 and 5 Ram 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cab trucks.

The new, big gasoline engine offers a number of features important to the hard, working, heavy- and medium-duty segments, including the dual-alternator option and a programmable idle shut-down timer. Additionally, the engine features Fuel Saver cylinder deactivation operation under normal driving and during PTO mode to improve efficiency.

The new 6.4-litre HEMI is available with the 66RFE six-speed automatic transmission or the AS66RC six-speed automatic transmission with segment exclusive, gasoline engine left- or right-side PTO capability.

The 3500 Chassis Cab also is available with the legendary 5.7-litre HEMI V8 gasoline engine. The engine produces 383 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and generates peak torque of 400 lb.-ft. at 3,950 rpm. Mated to the 66RFE six-speed automatic transmission, the HEMI features enhanced fuel efficiency and power output, thanks to the incorporation of variable-valve timing (VVT) and a compression ratio of 10.5:1. Refinements and other applied technologies provide the latest-generation HEMI with performance and fuel economy improvements to rival multi-valve V8 offerings.

Unlike the competition, Ram offers two engine variants based on the 6.7-litre Cummins for diesel supremacy in the segment.

The first version features 320 horsepower at 2,800 rpm and 650 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,500 rpm. The engine is paired with Ram’s segment-exclusive six-speed manual transmission, which features a wear-compensating clutch for consistent performance and a dual-trunion shift tower to accommodate a compact shift pattern.

A second high-output diesel delivers 325 horsepower at 3,000 rpm and generates best-in-class torque of 750 lb.-ft. at 1,600 rpm. The engine is paired with an Aisin six-speed automatic transmission (AS69RC).

The Aisin AS69RC transmission features robust components and impressive shift performance, transmission efficiency and drivability when compared to the competition. The transmission is designed for high engine ratings and enables a left- and right-side PTO option, as well as allowing for a split shaft PTO configuration (diesel). Fire pumpers, dump beds, aerial buckets, cranes and onboard compressor/generators are typical PTO based upfits.

New for 2014, Ram 3500 Chassis Cab 4×4 trucks are equipped with a front-axle disconnect for greater fuel efficiency.

All Ram Chassis Cab diesels benefit from an advanced cooling system. A high-efficiency fan, dual radiators, dual transmission coolers and charge air cooler provide impressive heat-rejection capacity to align with Best-in-Class GCWR. Low operating temperatures deliver unsurpassed performance, durability and low operating costs.

These Ram models offer the industry-exclusive Ram Active Air intake system, activated by monitoring capabilities in the engine controller. When the exclusive intake system senses extreme heat, it draws cooler air from the front of the vehicle – a function that also engages at high altitudes for superior throttle response in low-oxygen environments. When conditions are wet from snow, ice or water fording, the system pulls air from an under- hood inlet, clear from snow packing and water ingestion.

A new, dual fuel tank option combines 197-litre and 83-litre tanks for 280 litres of extended, integrated onboard fuel range for low operating costs. A mid-ship 83 litre tank is now an option for gasoline-powered Chassis Cabs, as well.

Emissions performance

The Cummins power plants utilize a large exhaust-gas recirculation cooler, which complements the selective catalytic reduction (SCR) and accommodates a best-in-class oil-change interval of up to 24,000 kilometres. Oil life is longer by reducing soot production and reducing fuel dilution of the oil.

When needed, the diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) is injected into the exhaust to reduce NOx (Nitrogen Oxides) emissions coming out of the tail pipe. Unlike the competition, the Ram Chassis Cab maintains full power when fluid is low. The state-of-the art DEF system applied on the Ram Chassis Cab features an electric heater in the DEF tank to ensure the fluid is available in a liquid state regardless of climate. The result is a less complex system for enhanced durability.

Competitive designs have used a network of glycol-circulated cooling/heating lines. The DEF refill port is conveniently located at the rear of the cab on the driver’s side of the vehicle, and clear of upfit zones, a configuration that ensures easy access at fuel stations when compared to the competition.

Combined with an improvement in fuel economy, due in part to the engines’ high-pressure common-rail fuel system, SCR provides a net reduction in Ram Chassis Cab operating costs.

The SCR-equipped Cummins engines also operate cleaner by lowering greenhouse-gas emissions and better managing soot production than Lean NOx Trap (LNT) technology.

Exterior design

Ram Chassis Cab trucks are available in ST, SLT and Laramie trim levels.

Three grille designs are available on the 2014 Ram Chassis Cabs, and a premium headlamp features bi-functional halogen projectors and LEDs for park/turn and side markers. The LED light housings are functional hardware with appeal and durability over incandescent bulbs.

Ram 3500 Chassis Cab single rear wheel models get three new 18-inch wheels: steel (ST), chrome-clad steel (standard on SLT, optional on ST) and polished aluminum (standard on Laramie, optional on ST and SLT).

An exclusive, backup camera is available and delivered with factory wiring and multipurpose mount for easy installation by the upfitter. The camera provides a view of the rear with high definition and dynamic imaging in the available 5.0-inch and 8.4-inch radio display or 1.7 x 3-inch display in the rearview mirror.

Exterior door and fender badges are located in a portrait style format providing usable real estate on the door for a commercial customer’s logos and graphics.

Ram Chassis Cab offers 12 different colours, including Black, Black Gold Pearl, Blue Streak Pearl, Bright Silver Metallic, Bright White, Deep Cherry Red Crystal Pearl, Flame Red, Granite Crystal Metallic, Maximum Steel Metallic, Prairie Pearl, True Blue Pearl and Western Brown Pearl.

Ram Chassis Cab models are also available in an additional 18 specialty paint options, including Midnight Blue, Case Construction Power Tan, Case IH Red, New Holland Construction Yellow, New Holland Agriculture Blue and Robin Egg Blue.

Interior design

In four-door models, rear-seat occupants enjoy the same quality, fit and finish as the driver. With points of contact a priority, premium, durable materials are on all four doors.

The 2014 Ram Chassis Cab features the available next generation 8.4-inch Uconnect system. The centre stack includes matching materials found throughout the interior. To complement the range of Chassis Cab models, the interior design team created individualized themes with different colours and materials.

The HVAC controls feature simple function meeting the highest Human Machine Interface (HMI) standards. The HVAC system includes a redundant architecture allowing the operator to use either the 8.4-inch touchscreen or manual controls to alter the truck’s environment. Below the HVAC arrangement is a switch bank with easy-to-use controls for a number of features depending on vehicle models and options. The top row is for functional features and includes exhaust brake, tow/haul and electronic stability control (ESC). Five instrument-panel mounted auxiliary switches are standard on all Chassis Cab models. The fifth switch becomes a PTO on/off switch when equipped. The bottom row comes standard as an auxiliary switch bank for all five spots with a power take-off (PTO) option when equipped.

Contiguous to the switch bank is a prominently placed adjustable integrated trailer brake control allowing the driver to add or reduce trailer brake function on the fly. The console centre stack includes one 115-volt and two 12-volt outlets on either side with an optional powered USB port on the driver’s side.

All Ram Chassis Cab trucks continue to use a column shifter for the automatic transmission. Electronic Range Select (ERS) is located on the column. Diesel models offer an exclusive manual six-speed transmission, the only manual transmission offering in the segment. On all models, the transfer case retains full capability with a rotary e-shift to control “4WD Auto,” “4WD Lock,” “4WD Low,” “2WD” and “Neutral”.

The 3.5-inch vehicle information centre screen is a standard feature. The premium 7-inch reconfigurable in-cluster display is available on SLT and Laramie models. The 7-inch screen features fully customizable function and configurability giving the owner a variety of systems to monitor from transmission temperature to navigation.

Chassis Cab trucks with bucket seats offer additional storage capacity in the center console. Six-passenger capability is available with the 40-20-40 bench-seat configuration.

The centre consoles for both the bucket and 40-20-40 bench-seat configurations keep efficient storage in mind. The bucket seat console uses the extra space as additional storage. The bench seat design includes three cup holders built into the console lid that features a washable rubber bellow lining allowing storage for most cup sizes as well as other personal items. Folding back the centre console and centre front seat base reveals a large storage bin that houses an optional CD player. Both versions of the console feature two tiers of storage and are available with a multimedia port with USB, SD card and auxiliary inputs in the upper tier. Additionally, a 2.5-amp USB power port and 12-volt outlet are available to meet device-charging needs.

Uconnect

Building upon base radio capability, two Uconnect systems are offered to provide Ram customers with a range of features and connectivity options. The Uconnect 8.4A and 8.4AN provide Ram truck owners with a high resolution touch screen and available GPS capability.

Available hands-free communications with Bluetooth allows drivers to control their mobile phone, music and navigation system while staying focused on driving. The phone book within a compatible phone is automatically downloaded, synchronizing as many as 1,000 phone book entries, which can then be selected by simply saying a contact name. The feature also allows drivers to switch radio modes, tune to AM/FM and SiriusXM Radio stations.

Uconnect supports Bluetooth-equipped cell phones with message access profile (MAP) advanced text messaging. This voice recognition uses the embedded connectivity to access cloud-based voice-recognition and enable advanced text messaging, which converts the spoken word into verbatim text messages. Communication is limited only by the user’s vocabulary.

Filling the gauge cluster in front of the driver is an available premium 7-inch, full-colour, premium multiview display, featuring a reconfigurable function that enables Ram customers to personalize information inside the instrument cluster. Ram’s information display is designed to visually communicate information, using graphics and text, quickly and easily. The multiview display offers drivers a wide range of customization options, from a basic digital speed read out to specific vehicle status information. Operation of the display is clearly communicated to users with easy-to-understand icons and instructions.

Safety and security

Ram Chassis Cab trucks offer more than 45 active and passive safety and security features, including standard front air bags with Enhanced Accident Response System (EARS), knee bolsters, seat-belt pretensioners, BeltAlert and ParkView rear backup camera system.

A segment exclusive selective tire pressure display is standard for both single- and dual-rear-wheel 3500 models.

The 2014 Ram Chassis Cab models include standard electronic stability control (ESC), a segment exclusive on Class 3, 4 and 5 Chassis Cabs over 4536 kg (10,000 lb.) GVWR. ESC hosts a number of technologies including all-speed traction control, trailer-sway control, Hill-start Assist (HAS) and anti-lock brake system (ABS).

The 2014 Ram Chassis Cab also offers Keyless Enter ’n Go technology, which allows the doors to be unlocked and the truck to be started without having to touch the key fob. An available remote start feature allows a driver to start their truck from up to 91 metres (300 feet) away. Door controls, illuminated entry, engine immobilizer and panic alert are standard features with the Keyless Enter ’n Go system. Auto rain-sensing wipers and SmartBeam headlamps also are offered, adding to a long list of content.

Manufacturing

Start of production of the 2014 Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cab is scheduled for the first quarter of 2014 at the Saltillo Truck Assembly Plant in Coahuila, Mexico.

For more information, visit www.ramtruck.ca.

Posted in Latest News

2014 Silverado and Sierra Score a safety first for trucks

Detroit – The 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and High Country and the GMC Sierra and Sierra Denali 1500 are the first pickup trucks to receive the highest possible five-star Overall Vehicle Score for safety since the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) changed its New Car Assessment Program for the 2011 model year.

NHTSA only tested the crew cab models of Silverado and Sierra. Chevrolet and GMC expect crew cab models to account for 60% of their 2014 light duty full-size pickup truck sales.

“Safety is as important to truck buyers as it is to car buyers,” said Gay Kent, GM general director of Vehicle Safety and Crashworthiness. “Silverado and Sierra set a benchmark for pickup truck safety by offering a full array of advanced features designed to protect occupants before, during and after a collision.”

Silverado and Sierra offer fully boxed frames, extensive use of high-strength steel, and several segment-exclusive safety features are available, including Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning, and Safety Alert Seat.

• Safety Alert Seat warns the driver of potential traffic danger using directional vibration pulses from the seat cushion. The patented warning approach is tied to all of the on-board crash avoidance systems.

• Forward collision alert technology helps prevent frontal crashes by alerting the driver when the truck is closing in on a vehicle ahead too quickly, giving him or her additional time to react and avoid a crash.

• Lane Departure Warning technology alerts the driver when the truck drifts over a lane line when traveling at least 35 mph.

• Rear Vision Camera with Dynamic Guidelines allows the driver, when in reverse, to view objects directly behind the vehicle via the radio screen in the center stack, allowing for easier parking and backing manoeuvres.

• New, standard lap belt pretensions in the front-seat outboard safety belts.

• Six standard air bags and 360-degree sensor system, including dual-stage frontal air bags, head-curtain side-impact air bags with rollover protection, and seat-mounted side-impact air bags.

• Trailer-sway control that works with StabiliTrak to provide the driver with additional assistance when towing a trailer. When it senses trailer sway, it intervenes with braking and/or reduced engine power to bring the trailer under control.

• Four-wheel, four-channel, antilock disc brakes (ABS) that help provide straight, more controlled stops by preventing wheel lock-up in most road conditions.

• OnStar is available, using GPS and cellular phone technology to automatically call for help in the event of crash. OnStar service also includes MyLink mobile apps, which offer vehicle information and OnStar services via the customer’s smartphone.

Posted in pickup truck, safety

Few Canadian drivers familiar with common vehicle safety features

safety features, driver safety, safe trucks, safe cars, safe vehicles

Brain on Board website aims to boost driver knowledge about vehicle safety features.

Ottawa – Although consumers identify safety as a priority when purchasing a new car, the majority of Canadians reportedly have limited awareness of how vehicle safety features work. In an effort to change that, the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) and the Toyota Canada Foundation have launched Brain on Board, a public education program to engage Canadians to learn more about modern vehicle safety features, dispelling myths about how they work and reminding drivers that knowing more about their vehicle’s safety technology will help them to be safer drivers.

“Cars today are equipped with more safety features than ever before. Knowing more about them is an important part of making the most of your car’s safety features,” said Stephen Beatty, director, Toyota Canada Foundation. “We want to empower Canadians to learn more about how their cars work and to use that knowledge every time they get behind the wheel.”

Brain on Board is designed to engage drivers, helping them learn more about modern safety features, what these technologies can and cannot do, and how knowledgeable drivers can make the most of them. Through this program, the Toyota Canada Foundation and TIRF hope to reduce accidents by encouraging smarter driving habits across Canada.

“If a driver is unfamiliar with how a car’s safety features work – or even what certain dashboard symbols mean – there may be more safety benefits that could be realized,” said Robyn Robertson, TIRF president and CEO. “Brain on Board is about making it simple for people to find information about the safety features and human factors that contribute to safer driving.”

At www.brainonboard.ca, Canadians will find a variety of easy to use tools ranging from plain language descriptions of common safety features, details about the human factors that contribute to safe driving and other educational materials.

The basis for Brain on Board is a national research initiative, Vehicle Safety Features: Knowledge, Perceptions, and Driving Habits, led by TIRF and funded by the Toyota Canada Foundation. In the largest study of its kind in Canada, researchers asked 2,506 Canadians from across the country 120 questions to assess knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions of vehicle safety and safety features, and the impact these have on driving habits.

Commenting on the report’s findings, Robertson noted, “Canadian drivers believe they are safer drivers than others on the road. This leads to a false belief that the risk of driver safety sits with ‘others’ and not with ‘me’.” When asked about their own driving in terms of safety, the majority of Canada drivers rated themselves 8/10 while rating their fellow motorists 5/10.

“It is important that we all take the time to understand how our vehicles work before we get behind the wheel. Increased knowledge of safety features can have a positive impact on driver safety as drivers become more familiar with proper use,” added Robertson.

Following are additional highlights from the study:

– Safety is a top priority: When purchasing a vehicle, safety (15.6%) is a top priority for Canadians, ranking second behind price (29%) and ahead of fuel consumption (13.2%) and reliability (6.1%).

– Canadians are not familiar with the majority of safety features: With the exception of ABS and traction control, less than one-third of Canadian drivers were familiar with various other modern safety features such as adaptive headlights and collision warning systems. Despite this lack of awareness, the majority report they believe safety features would be easy to use.

– Knowing about safety features makes for safer drivers: When asked about the different safety features, a majority of Canadians drivers said they would use them if their vehicle had them.

“Drivers need to understand their safety features so they can make the best use of these technologies. At the end of the day, it is a combination of the car’s features and having an alert and skilled driver behind the wheel that gives us the best chance to drive safety,” added Robertson.

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Sustainable materials help to make Ford F-150 pickup environmentally friendly

2014 Ford F-150.

2014 Ford F-150.

Ford is showing that pickup trucks can be green by adding rice hulls to the list of sustainable materials used to build F-150. Ford is using plastic that is reinforced with rice hulls – a by-product of rice grain – in an electrical harness in the 2014 F-150. The company will need at least 20,400 kg of hulls in the first year of production.

“The 2014 F-Series exemplifies our continued efforts to use recycled content in our vehicles,” said John Viera, Ford Motor Company global director of sustainability and vehicle environmental matters. “We can have greater impact in this case because of the size and sales volume of this product.”

The rice hulls are sourced from farms in Arkansas and will replace a talc-based reinforcement in a polypropylene composite made by RheTech, a Whitmore Lake, Mich.-based automotive supplier.

“We developed this resin specifically for Ford over the past three years, working with the automaker closely, including in all phases of material qualification,” said David Preston, director of business development for RheTech. “The whole process has been a rewarding success for both Ford and RheTech, which can add yet another natural-fibre based product to our RheVision line.”

Rice hull-reinforced plastic is the most recent example of Ford researchers and engineers using sustainable material whenever possible in the F-Series. F-Series trucks already feature:

– Recycled cotton: Used as carpet insulation and a sound absorber; every 2014 F-150 contains enough recycled cotton to make the equivalent of 10 pairs of jeans

– Soybeans: Used to make seat cushions, seat backs and head restraints

– Recycled carpet: Some F-150 trucks have cylinder head covers made with EcoLon, a nylon resin produced from 100% post-consumer recycled carpet

– Recycled tires: A thermoplastic material made from recycled tires and post-consumer recycled polypropylene is used to make shields and some underbody covers on the F-150

– Recycled plastic soda pop and water bottles: A lightweight fibre derived from recycled plastic soda pop and water bottles is used to construct F-150 wheel liners and shields. The parts are significantly lighter than traditional injection moulded parts and lead to a quieter ride. Select F-Series trucks feature fabric made from recycled fibre

– Recycled post-industrial plastics: Used in interior finish panels, including around radio and climate controls

Researchers in Dearborn are constantly searching for the next sustainable material that can feasibly be used in Ford vehicles. Finding a source of material is only the beginning of the process, however, because before making it to production, components made from recycled content must perform as well or better than comparable virgin-grade material.

Materials development engineers at Ford Materials Engineering, Testing and Standards in Dearborn, in conjunction with RheTech, conducted testing of the rice hull material for more than a year, examining everything from smell and appearance to functionality and flammability. The rice hull-based material successfully passed all tests.

With F-150 as Canada’s best-selling truck for 47 years and the F-series as America’s best-selling truck for 36 years – averaging more than 650,000 sales per year – the environmental impact of being as sustainable as possible adds up fast. Ford estimates more than 4.5 million kg of recycled cotton is used in F-Series trucks annually.

“Fuel economy is a top priority when it comes to Ford’s environmental impact,” says Carrie Majeske, Ford product sustainability manager. “But we also recognize the tremendous impact that can be made by using sustainable materials inside our cars, utilities and trucks.”

The eco-friendly aspects of F-Series extend to the powertrain. The available 3.5-litre EcoBoost engine combines technologies typically associated with heavy-duty truck diesel engines – turbocharging and direct fuel injection – in a gasoline engine. The engine delivers fuel economy gains of up to 20%, while reducing CO2 emissions by up to 15%.

The complete F-Series Super Duty pickup truck and chassis cab lineup is available with gasoline, diesel, B20, and dedicated compressed natural gas or liquid propane gas capability, or CNG/LPG bi-fuel capability, while Ford F-650 and F-750 medium-duty trucks can be outfitted for gasoline, biodiesel or CNG/LPG operation. In addition to biodiesel and CNG/LPG offerings, the 6.2-litre V8 can operate on E85, an ethanol-gasoline mix.

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Free lube, oil and filter changes to be provided by GM Canada for two years on 2014 models

Oshawa, ON — GM Canada has announce a new two-year scheduled Lube-Oil-Filter (LOF) maintenance program that will be included with the purchase or lease of all new 2014 model year Chevrolet, Buick and GMC vehicles. General Motors says the Canadian two-year scheduled Lube-Oil-Filter maintenance program will provide all owners an LOF service at no additional charge, for two years or 40,000 km (whichever occurs first).  Customers are limited to four LOF events during this service period.

“We are focused on providing our customers with the best possible experience in all areas of our dealerships from the initial sales experience throughout the life of their new car or truck,” said David Bakos, general director, customer care and aftersales, GM Canada. “This new program is our opportunity to provide all of our new vehicle customers with exceptional service experiences and continue to build a trusting, loyal relationships.”

 

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GM reveals plan to bring back Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon mid-size pickups

2014 Chevrolet Silverado, 2014 GMC Canyon

The 2014 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon will be built at GM’s Wentzville, Mo., assembly centre.

Acme, Mich. – General Motors plans to return to the market with mid-sized pickup trucks in 2014. The mid-size pickup models had been discontinued in 2012 as the company focused its marketing on its full-size pickups.

On Aug. 8, 2013, at the Center for Automotive Research Management Briefing Seminars, Dan Ammann, General Motors executive vice-president and chief financial office, provided the first look at the next-generation Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, designed to be capable, versatile and fuel-efficient alternatives to full-size pickups. However, all he showed was a photo of the front faces of the mid-size pickups, so this reveal was simply a teaser.

The Colorado and the Canyon will join the all-new 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500 full-size pickups, and the upcoming Chevolet Silverado and GMC Sierra HD heavy duty full-size pickups, for the 2014 model year.

“This is just the beginning of the GM truck story coming in the next two years,” said Ammann. “The new mid-size truck will redefine the market. We’re building off the success of the global Chevy Colorado, but we’re taking that truck and bringing it into the North American market in a different kind of way … and a way that will redefine the segment that hasn’t been done before.”

The 2014 Chevy Colorado will be directed right into the sport-truck segment — for lifestyle and sporting activities — and Ammann said it will help redefine that part of the market. In contrast, the 2014 GMC Canyon will be aimed at professional markets and luxury buyers.

“Not everybody needs or wants a full-size truck,” said Ammann. “We think there’s an opportunity to meet an unmet need.”

Production of the new mid-size pickups is scheduled to start sometime in 2014 at GM’s Wentzville, Mo., assembly centre.

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Hay farmer heads development of new 2014 Toyota Tundra pickup truck

2014 Toyota Tundra pickup truck

The Toyota Tundra pickup truck has been redesigned and re-engineered for 2014. Photo: Toyota Canada.

On farms throughout North America, pickup trucks are like a member of the family. Mike Sweers is living the dream of every kid who was raised in farm country: He gets paid to create trucks. Sweers, who still runs an active hay farm in Northern Michigan, has used his mechanical engineering degree, and life experiences as a farmer, to aid him as the chief engineer of Toyota pickup trucks; especially the development of the new 2014 Tundra full-size pickup.

“I have a Tundra Double Cab with an eight-foot-long bed that I use on the farm all the time,” Sweers said. “We raise hay, make maple syrup, and we have some dairy cattle that my kids show at fairs. I use the truck as a truck, which means it’s had a rough life in a short period of time. Daily hard driving of the truck allowed the farm to become a personal proving ground for my own development research on the new Tundra.”

Development of the new Tundra, which began in the summer of 2010, was the result of great teamwork from Toyota Technical Center (TTC) engineering, Calty designers and the team members at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas (TMMTX). Sweers and his engineering team worked closely with Calty Design Research Inc. president Kevin Hunter and his design teams at Toyota’s design centres in Newport Beach, Calif., and Ann Arbor, Mich.

Engineering discussions began early at the sketch level as they strived for a bold exterior design from the very start. As sketches were modified, the use of computer-aided-design (CAD) enabled the team to check the early designs’ stamping feasibility on the fly, a process that was much quicker than in the past.

Drivers want their trucks to look different

Sweers and his team also had a vision where each Tundra grade would be unique. Research showed customers want their trucks to look different and reflect their individuality. They want people to recognize they are driving something special when they see them in a Tundra Platinum or the new 1794 Edition.

The final design resulted in a powerful exterior to embody the Tundra’s performance capabilities. The front design featured a bold front end with a higher hood line that is integrated into the grille for a chiselled and modern industrial image.

“With the chiselled styling and bold appearance on the front end, it delivers the message of Tundra’s capability and announces that we are a truck to be reckoned with in the industry,” Sweers pronounced.

Sweers’ own experiences with damaged bumpers on the farm led to the design of three-piece front- and rear-lower bumpers, allowing for lower replacement costs. Fenders and wheel wells have been squared-off for a wide and sturdy stance. A new bed and tail gate has an integrated spoiler with a one-piece forged look. The redesigned tail lamps express a tool-like quality to match the appearance of the body.

“Our goal was to make a truck that is more traditional, more chiselled and emphasizes the outstanding power and performance of the truck,” Sweers said. “The final product is actually very close to the original sketch. It is a very polarizing design, and one that I would want!”

Interior innovations

Sweers was previously the vice-president of interiors at TTC in Ann Arbor, which was a big advantage in developing the new, refined interior. Calty worked closely with his engineering team and product planners to come up with the design for the new Tundra interior.

Key design elements of the new interior include a new front dash with a centre stack that was moved 2.6 inches closer to the driver, putting all controls within easy reach. The slide and recline of the rear seat on the CrewMax grade now folds up, catering to customer demands for additional interior storage space. Refinement was a top priority as all Tundra grades were designed with newly structured seats and premium leathers and fabrics for more comfort and eye appeal.

“With the interior, we wanted to go after a refined look and feel to complement the bold exterior design,” Sweers said. “We really focused on craftsmanship and premium interior materials, looking at colours and grains and textures.

“We also added technologies our customers would appreciate, such as Toyota’s newest-generation audio system with an all-new interface, a standard backup camera, and the first full-size truck with a Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic alert. My goal was to show the true quality of the truck and raise the bar for refinement in the segment.”

Once the design was complete, Sweers recruited the help of 30 of the best and brightest team members from the manufacturing home of the Tundra, TMMTX, in San Antonio. The 30 team members were brought up to TTC Ann Arbor for two months to help the product engineering team hand-build the first test units.

“Having the help of the 30 team members from TMMTX was invaluable to the entire project,” Sweers commented. “It helped us realize what we needed to change from an engineering standpoint, but it was also a benefit to TMMTX as it assisted them in determining what they may need to change on the production line.”

Tearing apart the competition

To be the best truck in the segment, you have to know what makes the competition so good. Early in the development of the new Tundra, Sweers and his team dissected all competitors’ trucks. They looked at every nut and bolt. How the competitors put their trucks together, and how they marketed their trucks. Sweers and his team looked at their specifications and grade packages, and even their price points.

“Our goal is to make the best truck in the industry,” Sweers pronounced. “We tried to pay attention to every detail, no matter how big or small, because it’s the details that really help sell a truck. I think from a drivability standpoint, and from where our competitors have gone, I think we may be a little bit better.”

“I feel the new Tundra reflects the future of where trucks are going. The new styling really emphasizes how bold and capable our truck actually is. The fact we’ve had the most reliable truck seven of the past eight years, according to J.D. Power and Associates, is not by accident. It’s by design.”

If the successful development process of the new 2014 Tundra provides any indication, Toyota’s redesigned full-size pickup may be making a lot of ‘hay’ in the truck market.

For details on the 2014 Toyota Tundra pickup truck, visit www.toyota.ca.

 2013 Toyota Tundra pickup truck

For comparison, here is a look at the design of the 2013 Toyota Tundra pickup truck. Photo: Toyota Canada.

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How to adjust your driver’s seat to eliminate pains and strains

Here’s a helpful new podcast on driving ergonomics from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Healthy and Safety (CCOHS) in Hamilton, ON. Dhananjai Borwankar, a technical specialist at CCOHS, explains how drivers can adjust their car seats to ensure proper posture and eliminate pains and strains while driving.

The podcast runs 8:45 minutes. Listen to the podcast now.

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2014 Mitsubishi Outlander compact SUV gets new look

2014 Outlander

More substantial and sophisticated than the model it replaces, the third-generation 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander compact sport utility vehicle (SUV) has been redesigned and re-engineered to provide more comfort, optimize fuel efficiency and provide advanced, new technologies.

The 2014 Outlander has a highway fuel-economy rating of 6.3 L/100 km from its newly designed 2.4-litre, four-cylinder Smart MIVEC engine. Advanced safety technologies available on the new model include Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning and Forward Collision Mitigation on premium V6 models.

The first Outlander arrived in Canada in October 2002. The second generation Outlander arrived in early 2007 and was freshened in 2010. Since launch, over 52,000 Outlanders have been sold in Canada.

Fresh new look

The new-look Outlander is more refined and less cluttered – a slim front grille with stylish chromed strips link to the new, super-wide HID headlamps. A raised beltline, clean surfaces and soft-contoured fenders contribute to an aerodynamically slick 0.33 co-efficient of drag, a 7% improvement.

The 2014 Outlander looks and feels like a premium SUV with available seven-passenger seating. For added comfort, second row seats receive 170 mm more travel slide for additional legroom; third-row seats are more comfortable (120 mm wider and provide 60 mm more legroom), and the cargo area behind the front seats has grown, including 335 mm more length.

Available new conveniences include an automatic open/close power tailgate, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, premium audio and next-gen SD navigation and all-new Display Audio and 6.1-inch QVGA liquid crystal display with multi-function touch panel. New, high-grade materials (padded surfaces, soft-touch finish, silver highlighted, carbon-look instrument cluster, accents, and gloss black appliqués) grace a more ergonomic cockpit that is anchored by a glossy, piano-black centre panel. The steering wheel is also re-designed and now features tilt and telescopic functions.

Outlander is also quieter with added insulation to the dashboard, floor and headliner. A reshaped A-pillar, side mirrors and weather stripping, new insulator tuning for the suspension and tires, plus redesigned engine mounts all contribute to significantly reduced noise and vibration.

Improved engines

The compact SUV’s 2.4-litre, 166-hp, four-cylinder engine has a new continuously variable-valve lift system. Using 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.

A second engine, a 3.0-litre, 227-hp, V6, receives high-ignition spark plugs and an improved exhaust system for reduced fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. A six-speed Sportronic transmission has a new final drive ratio for improved fuel economy as well as an updated torque converter for better performance.

Advanced safety

Features standard on the 2014 Outlander GT S-AWC model include Forward Collision Mitigation (FCM) detects other vehicles in front of the Outlander and issues warnings if there is a danger of a collision, and will apply the brakes if necessary. Lane Departure Warning (LDW) 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.

The addition of a driver’s-side knee airbag brings to seven the number of SRS airbags on all 2014 Outlander models.

High-tension steel plates have been incorporated throughout the frame to reduce weight while maintaining a high level of collision safety, particularly the structure for the second and third row of seats. Additionally, Outlander uses Mitsubishi’s Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution body system. RISE includes an impact energy-absorbing front end and a high-rigidity cabin structure.

An improved chassis design includes re-tuned suspension and the extensive use of high-tensile strength steel. The addition of a sub-frame and a reinforced structure offers a refined driving experience, quieter cabin with reduced noise, vibration and harshness.

In the 2014 Outlander, both All-Wheel Control (AWC) and Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) functions are improved and receive a new ECO driving, push-button selection mode for optimum fuel efficiency. For AWC models, the new selections are 4WD ECO, 4WD Auto and 4WD Lock; for S-AWC models it is AWC ECO, Normal, Snow and Lock.

Fuel economy

In addition to improved aerodynamics and redesigned four-cylinder valve train, Outlander’s fuel economy ratings of 6.3 L/100 km (highway), 8.2 L/100 (city) and 7.3 L/100 km (combined) are abetted by reduced weight – the 2014 Outlander is over 100 kg lighter than the model it replaces.

A new Eco Drive Support system allows drivers to monitor their eco-driving habits and automatically dials-in energy saving instructions to the engine, air conditioning and four-wheel drive.

2014 Mitsubishi Outlander Models

The 2014 Outlander is available in four trim levels: Outlander ES 2WD, and three models with standard all-wheel control – Outlander ES AWC, SE AWC and, at the top of the line, Outlander GT S-AWC, which features Mitsubishi’s S-AWC advanced traction technology. Available packages include: ES AWC Premium, SE AWC Touring, and GT S-AWC Navigation.

S-AWC uses 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.

Entry-level feature list

The entry-level 2014 Outlander ES 2WD features a strong list of standard equipment:

– 2.4-litre, 166-horsepower four-cylinder engine with redesigned SOHC Smart MIVEC variable timing mated to the Continuously Variable Transmission

– Seven airbags – dual front seat-mounted side-impact, dual side-impact curtain and driver’s knee airbag

– Four wheel anti-lock disc brakes and electronic Brake-Assist System, Electronic Brake-force Distribution and Brake Override System

– Active Stability Control (comprising stability control which stabilizes the vehicle when it detects skidding, and traction control to control wheels from spinning when detecting loss of traction over slippery surfaces)

– Hill-Start Assist system

– MacPherson strut front suspension, multi-link at rear

– Tilt and telescopic steering, power locks, windows and mirrors, USB/iPod input, AM/FM/CD audio system with six speakers and Bluetooth 2.0 hands-free cellular phone interface with streaming audio and voice control

– 60/40 split folding rear seat with recline

– Heated front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls

– Cruise control, keyless entry, electronic power steering, halogen headlamps, intermittent front & rear wipers, heated door mirrors, front/rear reading/cargo lamps and security system.

The Outlander has a warranty of 10 years or 160,000 km limited for the powertrain, five years or 100,000 km limited for the new vehicle and includes five years unlimited mileage roadside assistance.

The Canadian base price for the entry-level 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander is $25,998. It is available now.

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Refreshed 2014 Honda Odyssey minivan features several safety upgrades

2014_Odyssey_detail_overview_hor_02.jpg

The Honda Odyssey minivan has been thoroughly refreshed for 2014 with core safety upgrades, a sharpened exterior styling and a revised interior with a host of new features and technologies designed to make the minivan even better. The 2014 Honda Odyssey will also mark the debut of HondaVAC, the first-ever in-vehicle vacuum system. The 2014 Odyssey goes on sale in Canada in the summer of 2013 with a starting price of $29,990.

“We believe the Odyssey is the benchmark in its segment and the changes incorporated for 2014 further distinguish Odyssey as the must-have vehicle for modern family transportation,” said Dave Gardner vice-president of sales and marketing at Honda Canada.

The 2014 Honda Odyssey brings an array of improvements to the minivan, including structural upgrades expected to help it achieve top marks in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) stringent new small-overlap frontal crash test, which is part of IIHS’s new Top Safety Pick+ protocol. The refreshed Odyssey Touring will also come equipped with advanced Honda driver assistive and visibility technologies such as an Expanded View Driver’s Mirror, Forward Collision Warning (FCW) and Lane Departure Warning (LDW).

The 2014 Odyssey features sleeker, more sophisticated exterior styling with a new, more deeply sculpted aluminum hood, new aluminum front fenders, a new bolder twin-bar grille, and a revised lower front fascia with integrated chrome-trimmed fog lights. New two-tone mirror housings, darker-finish projector-beam headlight housings, and LED taillight bars add to the 2014 Odyssey’s premium look.

Inside the 2014 Odyssey, new finishes brighten the cabin and an all-new centre stack offers new features. Additional standard technology on the Odyssey Touring brings new levels of ease and connectivity to owners, including keyless Smart Entry with Push Button Start, an SMS text messaging function, and HondaLink featuring Aha Mobile interface. HondaLink, which debuted on the 2013 Honda Accord, enables Odyssey owners to connect quickly and easily to a wealth of cloud-based content. The free HondaLink smartphone app uses the owner’s favourite online content to create live, personalized radio stations, allowing drivers to put away their phones and hear updates and news feeds from Facebook and Twitter, as well as check out restaurant reviews or find the closest coffee shop.

Standard on the 2014 Odyssey Touring the all-new HondaVAC was developed in conjunction with Shop-Vac, and is composed of a powerful vacuum, replaceable filter and canister bag, with nozzle accessories neatly integrated into a dedicated space on the driver’s side bulkhead of the rear cargo area. HondaVAC makes quick clean-ups a snap no matter the location, offering powerful cleaning suction and an integrated hose and cleaning attachments that reach into every corner of the Odyssey’s cabin. The HondaVAC system’s powerful electric motor never needs an outlet or recharging, can operate continuously when the engine is running, and will continue to operate for up to eight minutes when the vehicle is turned off for additional family duties.

For more information, visit www.honda.ca.

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