2011 Future Trucks & SUVs

The Future vehicle Files, Part 2: More of the Coolest, Most Interesting, and Most Significant New Trucks & SUVs Coming in the Near Future

Editors of Truck Trend
Oct 7, 2009
The economy's still in the proverbial dumpster. The fate of two of the Detroit Three is hanging on by a lug nut that's almost off the thread. No one who builds cars has been unscathed by the carnage. As John Krafcik, U.S. CEO of Hyundai -- one of the few automakers who have managed to keep its head just above a sea of red ink -- remarked recently: "flat is the new up."
And as if there isn't already enough for board members and CEOs to fret over already, pressure continues to build to deliver ever greener, stratospherically high mileage machines with technologically advanced alternative powertrains, and oh yeah, do it like yesterday.
It's in this incredibly challenging and dynamically changing automotive landscape that the world's automakers, despite the myriad challenges confronting them, continue to forge ahead with plans for their next generation of four-wheeled offerings.
Despite it all, there's still a lot to look forward to in the near future. So we've went ahead assembled another list of more than two dozen vehicles that are on the way to showrooms within the next two years or so as a follow-up to our recent 2010 Future Cars roundup.
Here's hoping that once the economy finally climbs out of its doldrums that what remains of the automotive industry emerges stronger and better equipped to build cars like the ones you'll find on the following pages.
BMW X1 - All-new
Chevrolet Silverado HD - Redesign
Dodge Durango - Redesign
Ford Explorer - Redesign
Ford F-250/350 Super Duty - Redesign
Ford F-59 Super Duty Chassis - Redesign
Hyundai Santa Fe - Redesign
Hyundai Tucson - Redesign
Jeep Grand Cherokee - Redesign
Lincoln MKX - Refresh
Mini Crossman - All-new U.S. Production
Mercedes-Benz Gl - Refresh
Mitsubishi Outlander GT - New Variant
Nissan Murano Convertible - New Variant
Nissan NV200 - All-new
Nissan NV2500 - All-new
Volkswagen Touareg - Refresh
Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid - New Variant

BMW X1
Photo 2/32   |   BMW Concept X1 rear Three Quarter View
The X1 is BMW's latest foray into the crossover market. Following the huge initial success of the X6, BMW has been working on a new crossover based on the 1 Series platform. The X1 is expected to share most of its technical features with the 1 Series, such as the 3.0L inline-six engine producing 230 hp and the twin turbodiesel I-4 making 204 hp, but it's not expected to get the top-level 300-hp twin-turbo inline-six. The X1 is expected to get BMW's X-Drive all-wheel-drive system, though. Transmission choices are expected to be either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic.
Photo 3/32   |   BMW Concept X1 front View
Via BMW: Description in Brief.
* World debut of a concept BMW X model in the premium compact segment.
* BMW, the founder of the Sports Activity Vehicle segment, is consistently expanding the range of BMW X models.
* Authentic transition of the features and design language typical of a BMW X model into a new class of vehicles. A concept study offering a clear expression of modern style, agility, versatility and premium quality through its design alone.
* As an innovative vehicle concept in the premium compact segment, the BMW Concept X1 sets the standard for cool elegance, modern style, and variable function.
Photo 4/32   |   BMW Concept X1 front Three Quarter View
* The BMW Concept X1 offers ample room for spontaneous mobility in many different ways, clearly reflecting the lifestyle of a modern and active target group. Numerous details on the Concept Car provide a clear hint as to the actual production of an appropriate series model within one year.
* Typical features of a BMW X model combined with elegant, sleek proportions. This alone gives the BMW Concept X1 unique character with the range of BMW X models as a whole.
* The striking frontal view clearly expresses the robust and powerful character of the car by emphasising its sheer width. A floor protection element finished in a different colour gives additional emphasis to the wide track.
* The BMW Concept X1 comes with dual round headlights cut off at the top in the typical style of the BMW brand, complete with a white-coloured horizontal cover at the top edge. The position of the headlights and foglamps brings back the three-eye face of other BMW X models.
* Six contour lines and the three-dimensional shape define the surface design of the engine compartment lid emanating a strong feeling of dynamic performance. The inner lines taper out sharply to the front towards the BMW kidney grille, the outer lines continue into the shoulder contours at the side.
* Through its centre of gravity visibly positioned right in the middle, the small distance between the front axle and the steering wheel, and the almost square contours of the wheel cutouts, the side view of the BMW Concept X1 draws a clear parallel to other BMW X models. Black body surrounds made of a special, robust synthetic material highlight the clear orientation towards the wheels. The sturdy, silver-coloured roof railing extends far to the rear, determining the course of the roofline together with the spoiler at the back.
* Characteristic rear end with L-shaped rear light clusters ensuring a homogeneous light effect thanks to LED light tubes. Raked to a low angle, the rear window gives the BMW Concept X1 a truly sporting touch, the horizontal lines emphasising the sheer width of the vehicle.
* As a special design feature specific to this model, three-dimensional surrounds encompass the headlights and rear light clusters and help to create the special graphics of the side windows.
Photo 5/32   |   2011 Chevy Silverado front Bumper View
Chevrolet Silverado HD
Chevy has been spotted with an updated front bumper. The bumper corners have been softened with the addition of plastic to their uppermost portion from end to end. The inlet in the middle of the bumper that feeds air to the transmission oil cooler has been enlarged by about a third, which may signify changes to the Allison transmission. The spotted front grille is likely to be temporary, with a different grille for 2011 still under wraps.
For 2010, the Duramax diesel is expected to see increased power numbers (reportedly over 700 lb-ft of torque), while meeting the upcoming 2010 EPA diesel emissions regulations.
Stay tuned for details as we learn more about the future of GM HD Trucks!
Ford Explorer
All right. Ford has the Escape, Edge, Taurus X (for now) and Flex. Does it need another crossover? The automaker's hope is that a 2011 Explorer, based on the Taurus/Flex's D3 front-drive unibody platform can capture a small portion of the 400,000+ per-year buyers the body-on-frame Explorer attracted in its heyday.
Previewed by the 2008 Explorer America concept drawn up at Freeman Thomas' advanced design studio in California, the next model looks to become a direct competitor for the Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot, delineating itself from the Flex's larger, people-mover image. Unlike the current Explorer, it's not likely to be offered with a V-8 engine, but with V-6s ranging up to the 3.5L Ecoboost engine.
Bottom Line: The Explorer goes from erstwhile bestseller to niche model within Ford's thinly sliced lineup of crossovers.
Click here to watch video!: Ford Explorer America Concept at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show
Photo 6/32   |   ford Explorer America Concept interior Detail View
Photo 7/32   |   ford Explorer America Concept front View
Photo 8/32   |   ford Explorer America Concept rear View

Ford F-250/350 Super Duty
Photo 9/32   |   2011 Ford F250 Super Duty Spied front Grille
Our spies have caught the first covered and camouflaged test trucks of the Ford F-250 Super Duty, scheduled to arrive by 2011. The 2011 Super Duty is expected to receive a major styling refresh, probably as significant as it received as part of the 2008 model year update. The current blue oval Super Dutys took their exterior inspiration from the mighty Ford F-350 Tonka concept that made its debut at the 2002 Detroit auto show. For the new pickup, the inspiration appears to be the bold Ford F-250Super ChiefConcept first shown at the 2006 Detroit show. The photos show two massive chrome bars stretched across the grille with a prominent Ford oval badge resting between them. There's likely a third bar resting above the strong front bumper. The tester's grille bars have more space between them than the tight tolerances of those on the Super Chief, allowing for real-world cooling and airflow. The current Super Duty's hallmark side nostrils appear to have vanished, replaced by distinctive trim pieces on the sides of the grille that (at least for now) end abruptly at the top intake. You can also expect to see new taillights, which will probably be similar to those on the new 2009 Ford F-150.
Photo 10/32   |   ford Super Chief Concept front Grille
Mechanically, we expect the 2011 Super Duty will carry over Ford's 6.7-liter Scorpion V-8 diesel that's expected to make its debut in the 2010 model year trucks. The gas engine will likely be the new 6.2-liter premium V-8, which should replace the current 6.8-liter V-10 next year. We also anticipate an end to the availability of manual tranjies, though the engineering mules in these pictures show Ford continuing its unique tradition of manual locking front hubs for four-wheel-drive Super Dutys.
2011 Ford F-59 Super Duty Chassis
Photo 11/32   |   2011 F59 Super Duty Commercial Stripped Chassis side View
The revamped 2011 F-59 Super Duty commercial stripped chassis was introduced at the National Truck Equipment Association show in Chicago earlier this year.
More demanding commercial duties might better be undertaken with the revised F-59 Super Duty chassis. It's based on the current F-53 Super Duty motorhome underpinnings, but is made significantly stronger for commercial form and offers three new gross vehicle weight ratings (GVWR) for improved versatility. E-Series vehicles today feature a maximum 14,000 lbs GWVR rating, but the buffer F-59 Super Duty units can be ordered with 16,000 lbs; 19,500 lbs; or 22,000 lbs spec.
Pulling the load is the lineup's proven 6.8L Triton V-10 with five-speed automatic TorqShift gearbox. It's a five-year old combo, but still seems to do the job quite well, Ford claims. Bigger stabilizer bars along with smoother riding Bilstein shocks provide a suppler, yet capable, suspension setup. Additionally, variable-rate jounce bumpers were installed to further help dissipate road vibrations. Standard four-wheel ABS brings the whole package to a standstill confidently when the situation calls for it. Pricing has yet to be announced, but it's expected nearer to the platform's January 2010 introduction.
Hyundai Tucson
Photo 12/32   |   2011 Hyundai Tucson rear View
Hyundai's mid-range 2011 Tucson crossover has recently been spotted undergoing some very intense cold weather testing in the freezing Bavarian forest under a well-camouflaged guise.
As you can tell, the black coverings hide the new SUV fairly efficiently without any real clue as to the upcoming model's future design language. Insiders, of course, describe its styling to be a modern, more exciting rendition of the current crossover's bland and round looks. Designers most likely will take character traits from its sleek Genesis siblings.
Word on the street indicates the redesigned off-roader will be powered by a four-cylinder lineup of engines in both naturally aspirated and turbocharged forms. A recently finished in-house developed six-speed automatic designed for less fuel consumption in mind will likely find its way into the sportier 2011 Tucson as well. As usual, diesel variants are expected to be offered to customers outside of North America.
Currently, the 2008 Tucson employs either a 2.0L four-cylinder (140-hp/136 lb-ft) or 2.7L V-6 (173-hp/178 lb-ft) mated to a five-speed manual or automatic transmission. Expect more images and information to spring up in the coming months as its rumored late 2009/early 2010 release date approaches.
Photo 13/32   |   2011 Hyundai Tucson front View
Photo 14/32   |   2011 Hyundai Tucson rear View
Photo 15/32   |   2011 Hyundai Tucson side View
Photo 16/32   |   2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee rear View
Jeep Grand Cherokee
The Jeep Grand Cherokee has long been one of the most handsome SUVs on the market, and the new model is no exception. With Chrysler design's newfound emphasis on what's on the inside, the interior may no longer be a disappointment. The company touts the crossover's "premium soft-touch interior materials for all price classes," and even a leather instrument panel for the top-of-the-range Overland trim model.
A rare viable Chrysler model in Europe, Jeep promises the new one will be built in left- and right-hand-drive versions. It will come only with two rows of seats and with a bit more emphasis on luxury to compete with the new Cadillac SRX and Lexus RX, among others. The slow-selling Jeep Commander is a short-timer -- you'll find a new three-row Dodge Durango sharing the Grand Cherokee's rear-drive, unibody platform next year at your local Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep dealer.
The new Grand Cherokee is also the first Chrysler product to make use of the new Phoenix V-6 engine family, in this case a 280-hp, 260 lb-ft, 3.6L unit. The 360-hp, 390-lb-ft, 5.7L Hemi V-8 will still be offered and Europeans will be able to check a box labeled "diesel." Suspension is all new, independent at the four corners.
Three 4x4 options remain: Quadra-Trac I, Quadra-Trac II, and Quadra-Drive II with electronic limited slip. A new Selec-Terrain system with Quadra-Trac II and Quadra-Drive II has five terrain settings, automatic, sand/mud, sport, snow, and rock. The 4x2 will have the highest tow rating, however, at 7400 lb. Jeep has added 3.0 gal to the fuel tank, for 24.6, and claims a range of more than 500 miles with the new V-6.
Bottom Line: Looks good -- that is, if Chrysler can stay around long enough to produce it
Click here to watch video!: 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee - 2009 New York Auto Show
Photo 17/32   |   2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee front View
Photo 18/32   |   2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee dash View
Photo 19/32   |   2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee interior View

Mini Crossman
These photos illustrate the Mini Crossover Concept first revealed at the Paris auto show last fall. We're pleased to tell you that this baby has life, and is on its way to production.
Expect a Clubman-like package with an increased ride height and either standard or optional all wheel drive. It won't be as "shiny" as the show car, likely trading some of the gloss for sturdier materials and perhaps a cargo area trimmed for outdoorsy duty.
No word on powertrains at this point, but its reasonable to expect the first Mini crossover will be offered with the Clubman's naturally aspirated and turbocharged powerplants. The production version will likely debut at the Frankfurt auto show this fall, going on sale some time in mid to late calendar 2010. The name is still TBD, but we vote for Crossman or Traveler.
BOTTOM LINE: How could this not succeed in the U.S.?
Photo 20/32   |   mini Crossman Concept side View
Photo 21/32   |   mini Crossman Concept top View
Photo 22/32   |   mini Crossman Concept rear View

Mitsubishi Outlander GT
The Mistubishi Outlander GT Prototype's most prominent exterior feature is up front where the automaker has grafted on the menacing "Jet Fighter" snout from the Lancer Evolution. And the fun doesn't stop there. Mitsu is planning to use the sportier Outlander to showcase a host of technological goodies including Idle Neutral Logic, a system that automatically shifts the Outlander's six-speed Sportronic automatic transmission into neutral when at a standstill to conserve fuel. Under the hood, the 220-hp 3.0-liter MIVEC V-6 engine from the top-line Outlander XLS will be linked to Mitsubishi's Super-All-Wheel-Control drive system.
No official word on when or if this vehicle will hit production for the U.S. market. But we recently heard Mitu failed to have the name registered. Stay tuned as we learn more!

Photo 23/32   |   Mitsubishi Outlander GT Concept front View
Photo 24/32   |   Mitsubishi Outlander GT Concept rear View
Photo 25/32   |   Mitsubishi Outlander GT Concept interior View
Nissan Murano Convertible
A Nissan Murano convertible made news tickers nearly 9 months ago, but little has been heard about it since that last summer. Reportedly, it is still in the works and is slated for a release by the summer of 2010 as a 2011 model. It will be released in limited numbers and is targeted at empty-nesters who want a fun ride for the grandkids with all the amenities. Similar to the current 370Z, the Murano convertible will use a soft top to keep the weight and cost down.
In addition to the soft top, the 2011 Nissan Murano convertible will use a two-door configuration, and be powered by the current 3.5L V-6 with 265 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque. The transmission is expected to be Nissan's CVT, which will be linked to either front or all-wheel drive.
No official photos have surfaced as of yet, but we'll keep you posted as soon as we see them!
Bottom Line: Is a convertible SUV what we need?
Nissan NV200
By Scott Evans
Photo 26/32   |   nissan Nv200 Van front Drivers Three Quarters View
The new Nissan NV200 made its debut at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show, following hot on the heels of the U.S.-model Transit Connect's debut in Chicago earlier this year.
Little brother to the recently debuted NV2500 commercial van, the NV200 boasts some impressive capabilities of its own. For starters, as a pure cargo-carrier, it will swallow 144.8 cu-ft of cargo with a payload up to 1700 lbs thanks to its FWD architecture and low-profile leaf-spring rear-suspension. That's nearly 10 more cubic-feet and 100 lb-greater payload capacity than the Transit Connect. The NV200's load floor is also eight inches longer than the Transit Connects at 80.5 inches, and Nissan has Ford beat in seating as well, offering seven seats to the Transit Connect's five.
Photo 27/32   |   nissan Nv200 Van rear Three Quarters View
Where Ford has an edge, though, is under the hood. The U.S.-spec Transit Connect's 2.0L gasoline engine makes more power, at 136 hp, than either of the NV200's engines and only the Nissan's diesel can beat the Ford's 128 lb-ft of torque. The NV200 will sport either an all-aluminum 1.6L gasoline engine that produces 106 hp and 113 lb-ft of torque or a Renault-sourced 1.5L diesel producing 85 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque. Both of the NV200's engines will be mated to a five-speed manual transmission, while the Transit Connect gets a four-speed automatic with overdrive.
Photo 28/32   |   nissan Nv200 Van rear Drivers Three Quarters View
The NV200 will come in three flavors, as a cargo van, a "Combi" version that hauls seven people and cargo or a more plush seven-passenger people-mover. Unlike other vans, the NV200's seats will not be removable, should you order them. Instead, the middle-row seats will split 60/40 and will tumble forward and stow to create a flat cargo floor. The rear seats, meanwhile, will fold against the sides of the van to make more cargo space. All models will come with dual side sliding doors, though the side windows will be optional on the cargo van. While the cargo van will receive two French doors on the rear, the passenger-friendly model will feature a full-sized tailgate. Buyers of the Combi model will be able to choose between the two rear-door options.
Bottom Line: Should the NV200 come to the U.S., it would likely put up a tough fight against Ford's new commercial van.
Click here to read the full press release!

Nissan NV2500
Photo 29/32   |   nissan Nv2500 Concept Ccommercial Vehicle front View
Nissan will continue the planned launch of its Commercial Vehicles division. The group will be focused squarely on taking a chunk of market share from the dominant domestic automakers. The NV2500 concept seen here, serves as a preview of the three all-new vehicles Nissan CV will bring to North America once operations are in full swing in 2010.
Built on a modified Titan chassis, this particular NV2500 model was designed specifically for construction contractor applications. It features original styling, with a bold front grille, flared fenders and steeped roofline. A retro-inspired wraparound glass windshield also makes it into the front design. To the rear, 60/40 split rear doors open completely to give access to the "wall-less" three-zone interior space.
Photo 30/32   |   nissan Nv2500 Concept Ccommercial Vehicle rear View
While inside, contractors will find multiple storage bins for tools, a computer workstation, conference table, cargo racks and nearly six-feet of interior height. An awning-style side panel provides weather and sun protection while accessing tool chests.
Nissan has invested over $118 million into its Canton, Mississippi production plant to accommodate for additional CV production. Five other models already in production around the world will join the three North American designed CV vehicles.

2011 Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid
Photo 31/32   |   volkswagen Touareg Hybrid Prototype driver Side View
Underneath the hood of the upcoming 2011 Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid will be a gas V-6 TSI engine paired with an all-new eight-speed automatic transmission. A parallel hybrid system will utilize a 52-hp electric motor, which will be capable of operating in tandem with the gas engine when slightly more oomph is needed. At maximum power, 374 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque will be temporarily available when the transmission is either kicked down or the gearshift selector is in the "S" position. Normal power output is rated at 333 hp, and the Touareg Hybrid is capable of returning 26 mpg. The Touareg Hybrid will be able to run on the electric motor alone at speeds of up to 31 mph.
Also impressive is the Touareg V6 TSI Hybrid's reported towing capacity. The towing capacity is rated at 3.5 metric tons, just shy of 4 U.S. tons at 7716 lb.

Photo 32/32   |   acura Zdx Concept front View
Acura ZDX
Due 2010

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