In the years leading up to the introduction of the International CXT (Commercial eXtreme Truck), Chevrolet was busy showing off its big, bad Kodiak C4500 Concept as well. Both trucks offered unique plus-size personality and style, but relatively little additional practicality from their standard medium-duty stablemates.

International floated the idea of a production line monster pickup in Truck Trend's May/June 2001 issue. Later, there was a test of International's "Big Red" pickup in Las Vegas that was covered in the Sept/Oct 2003 issue. (Chevrolet's Kodiak was covered in the same issue.) It wasn't until late in 2004, however, that we got our hands on a full-fledged production model of the CXT. There was no denying the look-at-me aspect of the CXT. Rob Swim, director, vehicle center marketing strategy, International Truck and Engine Corporation, states it clearly, "The International CXT is a truck for businesses that want to promote themselves as much as perform."

The basic CXT specs lay out like this:
Four-Door Pickup
4WD
DT 466 I-6 Diesel
Turbo
Intercooler
220 hp
540 lb-ft of torque
Allison 2500 HS
153" Wheelbase
12" Ground clearance
Live axle/leaf springs front and rear
25,999 lb GVWR (note the GVWR is under 26,000 lb, the minimum weight that requires special licensing)
42,000 lb GCWR
73-gal fuel capacity
8 mpg

Our test model had the optioned $4K tilt-bed upgrade. Base price was $100K. Our truck as tested would list for $129K.

Driving something of this size requires adjustments in attitude and awareness. It was surprisingly easy to operate if you keep in mind its weight and center of gravity. It casts a mighty shadow upon the landscape, and more than a couple of my fellow commuters seemed annoyed at its mere existence.

Nevertheless, the International CXT represents an interesting blip in the historical timeline of pickup trucks. Another may be right around the corner if the recent images of Ford F750 pickups floating around the Internet are any indication.