The standard-wheelbase model will be available first in the first quarter of 2006, with the Texas-sized ESV and the EXT trucklet following later in the year.

2005 Tokyo Motor Show
The 2005 Motor Show, which ran from October 21 to November 6, affirmed the Asia Pacific region's commitment to small cars, as epitomized with the slogan "Small Cars for a Big Future." As for what that means for the pickup truck and SUV market, smaller is also better. Granted, there were no pickup concepts, but crossover SUVs did garner some attention. Here are some snapshots of what some of these were about.

Number Crunch
October was a tough sales month for automakers doing business in North America; for some, the toughest in history. Here are some numbers:

14% North American sales decrease for Porsche to 2,729 vehicles due to an almost 50-percent drop in demand for the Cayenne SUV.

31% Drop in overall sales of truck-based SUVs as compared to previous year due to 30% and 44% decline in mid-and large-sized SUVs, respectively. A small boost in small SUV sales did little to counter this trend. Domestic brands fared the worst.

Introducing Our Long-Termers
Keep your eyes open for ongoing coverage of the Jeep Commander and Dodge Ram Mega Cab, our Truck and SUV of the Year winners and our new long-term testers.

Check This Out
Three stripes down, 9 more to go. Here is 3/13 of our spine image for your pubescent edification. More to come next issue. This spine image is brought you by the truck suspension and accessory folks at AIM Industries, Dept. TR, 260 S. Hibbert, Mesa, AZ 8501, (800) 289-9980,

High-Def Automotive Hotness
Hot Rod TV and Four Wheeler TV are going High-Definition. These two programs are the television counterparts to our two sister publications Hot Rod and Four Wheeler and are broadcast on The Outdoor Channel's all-high-definition Outdoor Channel 2 HD.

According to The Outdoor Channel's executive vice president, Jake Hartwick: "These two shows are absolutely perfect for HD-you see the car colors and chrome as if you're standing there in person. You can practically smell the burning rubber and feel the jolts as your Jeep climbs that rocky canyon. The combination of action and detail are so stunning, so lifelike, that every fan of motor sports owes it to themselves to see their sport depicted in true HD."

Check out for airdates and times.

Alcoholic F-150
Ford plans to introduce a flex-fuel vehicle version of the F-150 and other vehicles in 2006. This is part of the company's effort to promote diversity in fuel sources, stimulate demand for ethanol-powered vehicles, and to grow the availability of ethanol in the nation's filling stations. This would potentially decrease the U.S.'s dependency on fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The F-150 pickup with the 5.4L will burn an E85 fuel mixture (which is 85 percent ethanol and 10 percent gasoline) as well as normal gasoline. The powertrain will optimize itself according to the fuel mixture it is running. Other models that will be E85-capable include the Ford Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis, and Lincoln Towncar.

A blend of 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent gasoline, E10, is commonly used today in some states as a means to improve tailpipe emissions. E85 is dispensed in only 500 filling stations nationwide. Ford is teaming with ethanol-maker VeraSun to drive the ethanol infrastructure. In addition to ethanol, Ford is pushing other alternatives to the traditional powerplant, including its recently announced goal to have hybrid versions of more than half its Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury vehicles by 2010.