Stylists and engineers are exploring new ways to personalize pickup trucks, the best-selling type of vehicle in the U.S.
Go big or stay home
If keeping up with the neighbor's truck is your overriding concern, then the CXT from International Truck & Engine Corp., Warrenville, Ill., is the behemoth for you. Standing 9-ft tall and 21.5-ft long, the CXT was originally planned as a commercial vehicle. International thought it might sell 50 or so last year when it was introduced. Then some conspicuous consumers such as actor Ashton Kutcher and pro-basketball player Jalen Rose decided they had to have one and the truck soon became a status symbol, a very large one. By the end of 2005, International was on track to sell between 500 and 1,000 of the $93,000 trucks ($115,000 with all the options).
The CXT, billed as the largest production pickup truck, is built on the same platform used for cement mixers and dump trucks, so consumers can get versions with a tilting and dumping bed. The 7.25-ton truck can haul up to 6 tons in the bed and tow up to 22 tons (but the hitch costs extra).
Powering all this is a 7.6-liter in-line six-cylinder diesel engine with 300 hp and 860 lb-ft of torque. The engine boasts an electronically controlled turbocharger with adjustable vanes that optimize boost across the entire operating range. An Electro-Hydraulic Generation 2 fuel system lets the truck run on diesel, jet A, JP-8, and B-20 bio-diesel. There's even a five-speed automatic Intuitive Shift transmission and on-demand four-wheel drive. And although the truck carries four-channel ABS and air brakes sized to stop 13-ton loads, an optional exhaust brake built into the turbocharger supplies up to 150 bhp and an optional engine brake generates 275 bhp. On the downside, the truck gets about 7 to 10 mpg, but it does have a 70-gallon gas tank.
On the inside, CXT's air-ride-equipped crewcab has seating for five. Go for the options, and you can add a flat-panel TV, DVD player, leather, air-suspension seats, satellite radio, back-up assist, a navigation system, walnut-burl trim, and custom paint schemes. As International says, "For drivers who want to make a statement, this is how to broadcast it."
For those who don't want to make quite such a large statement, there's the International RXT. International brought it out ahead of schedule in response to consumer demand for the CXT. The RXT is only 8-ft tall but the same 21.5-ft long, and costs between$70,000 and $90,000. It weighs 2 tons less than the CXT, tipping the scales at 10.5 tons, and can only carry 5 tons in the bed and tow up to 11.5 tons. It can be equipped with a 9-ft cargo bed or, if you wait until this fall, with a tow body perfect for hauling horse trailers or race cars.
International also makes an MXT, a military version only 7-ft tall, and a concept XT vehicle they call ProjectXT. ProjectXT features twin glass roof panels, a spoiler on the back of the roof, and a streamlined cargo bed that does not have wheel wells.
Just imagine what Roush could do with an XT truck.