New York Torque: Three Hot Sport Trucks

[cars name="2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer"] SS

Now that sales of the mid-size Chevy ute have softened, resulting in mega discounts at dealers around the country, the bow-tie division is attempting to inject some sex appeal with this SS derivative. The main selling point is the installation of the Corvette‘s LS2 6.0-liter V-8 engine, making a solid 391 hp and 395 lb-ft of torque–enough to motivate the truck from 0 to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds. To make sure that the truck isn’t just about straight-line go, GM’s High Performance Vehicle Operations tuned the suspension and upgraded the brakes. The SS features stiffer springs, an inch lower ride height, and thicker anti-roll bars, as well as standard StabiliTrak stability control. Larger, 12.8-inch diameter front brake discs are fitted, allied to new iron twin-piston calipers, while the monster twenty-inch aluminum wheels have 255/50 V-rated tires. The SS actually looks pretty mean and serious, thanks to more aggressive fascias, a black mesh grille, body color trim, and removal of exterior cladding. Inside, the SS gets a new instrument cluster, front bucket seats, a T-shaped shifter, and leather-wrapped steering wheel. Cloth seats are standard, while leather is optional. The SS comes with rear-wheel drive–a limited slip differential is standard–or with available full-time all-wheel drive. The truck goes on sale late this fall.

SportTrac Adrenalin

After showing a concept preview of the next Explorer Sport Trac at the Detroit Auto Show, Ford gave an early look at a high-performance SVT version of the Sport Trac at New York. The Sport Trac Adrenalin features a supercharged 4.6-liter V-8, a six-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive, and a four-bucket-seat interior. Based on the current , the upcoming Sport Trac will switch to an independent rear suspension and will add stability control. Compared to today’s truck, it will have a larger, four-foot, composite bed with in-floor storage. The SVT version’s supercharged V-8 makes an estimated 390 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque, and mates exclusively with a console-shifted six-speed automatic borrowed from the . Ford’s AdvanceTrac all-wheel drive, with a rear-biased 40/60 fixed torque split, should help keep wheelspin in check. The truck isn’t just for play, however, as it’s rated to tow 6000 pounds. This concept is decked out with a vented hood (functional, and likely to stay), front fender vents (not functional, and likely to be dropped), a VW GTI-like black front grille section, integrated running boards, 21-inch wheels, and a two-tone black and red leather interior. Ford’s first sport-utility muscle truck won’t rumble into showrooms until 2007.

SRT8

Jeep‘s first entry into the SRT8 club has a lot in common with fellow members–the orange and black paint covering a 415-hp, 6.1-liter Hemi V-8, the SRT racing bucket seats, and the massive exhaust tips poking out in back, for example–but the Grand Cherokee is a stand-out in many ways. The quickest, most powerful Jeep ever made is the first SRT model to feature full-time all-wheel drive. And SRT engineers did not simply carry over the system directly from a stock Grand Cherokee. A unique transfer case trims off 60 lbs., and a European Grand Cherokee Diesel driveshaft is employed to handle the increased torque. All that power is put to the ground through massive 20-inch rubber wrapped around aluminum wheels, with monstrous 285-series tires in the rear to keep this sled pointed down the road, rather than perpendicular to it. Also unique to Jeep is the 3500-lb towing capacity, allowing owners to not only beat most passenger vehicles in a stoplight duel, but tow a boat while doing it. Look for the {{{Porsche Cayenne}}}-beating Jeep to show up at dealers at the end of this year at $6000 or so over the 340-hp HEMI model’s $36,000 base price.

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Buying Guide

2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Fair Market Price $8,641 Laredo 2WD

EPA MPG:

15 City / 21 Hwy

Cargo (Std/Max):

NA / 67.4 cu. ft.

Seating:

5/5