Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California on May 7, 1993 · Page 11
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Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California · Page 11

Ukiah, California
Issue Date:
Friday, May 7, 1993
Page 11
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THE UKIAH DAILY JOURNAL On The Road 11 FRI..MAY7- SAT., MAYS, 1993 Toyota's T-100 offers lots of room for travelers. More room for passengers and cargo in T-100 By RON MOORHEAD for Th« Journal Following years of success building small trucks, especially four-wheel drive trucks, Toyota has developed a new mid-size pickup that is aimed at filling many needs. The owners of small trucks wanted to move into a larger load capability without sacrificing economy. Large truck owners wanted the added economy while keeping the load-carrying capacity. Toyota saw both these needs and the potential market for such a truck in their line up and went about building one which is roomy, economic and capable of handling large loads. One very crucial criteria was the ability to haul a four by eight sheet of plywood laying flat on the bed between the wheel wells. Not only have they provided this capability, Toyota also has a two-tier loading system which allows for two load- ing'surfaces in the bed of the T-100. It is like having an airea similar to a hold in" a ship where cargo'can 6e stored under'a platform and the upper surface can be put to other uses. I think the idea would especially work well for campers. A couple of boards can be set across the bed held in place by the special slots in the bed sides, then plywood could be laid across, allowing it to be used for sleeping. This would allow all your cargo to be stored under you, and not strewn about. Nor would you have those uncomfortable nights of trying to curl up around your camp Ron Moorhead stove and bait bucket. There have been many times I have wished for such an area for my camp gear. With the larger body panels, the exterior of the new T-100 seems just a bit bland or plain. The SR5 model, with its added trim, helps dress up the exterior, but the truck's •lines are not as appealing as they are on Toyota's smaller truck. With that said, I have discussed the one characteristic of the truck I was nut enthusiastic about. Oh sure, I would like to see an extended cab model and a step side styled rear box made available, but it isn't necessary for this truck to do what it was built to do. I think the T-100 will be every bit of a work horse as it was nieaiu to be, and will follow the heritage set by its smaller sibling. If the T-100 is half as successful as other Toyota (rucks Toyota executives will be happy. Improving upon the method of maintaining the maximum amount of ground clearance, Toyota designers have raised the front torsion bars up near the frame rails. This design establishes about two inches of additional ground clearance from other torsion bar systems. During a recent press introduction, the question asked by most people was; Why not have a V-8 engine? A Toyota spokesman gave us three answers: To save weight, the transmission and transfer case would have to be redesigned and the Lexus V-8 is just too sophisticated to install. These answers may have been pulled from a hat to satisfy the probing press, but they do make sense. But, will the fact the T-100 doesn't have a V-8 available hinder its growth? This will be seen in the sales data. The omission of a V-8 shouldn't make any difference. But, in the V-8 hungry field of trucking, this may be a huge factor on the success of Toyota's move .to make their trucks grow up. I had the opportunity to drive the 4X4 T-100 many hundreds of miles, both on our country lanes and over interstate highways. And, I must say that the T-100 was quite pleasant and surprisingly comfortable. The three across seating which Toyota is proud to offer, provided ample space for my photo equipment and other luggage I carry. This is where I make my case for needing an extra cab styled truck. I tend to carry a lot of stuff and most of this stuff can not be carried in the rear bed. It is evident that Toyota is interested in building other models by the show truck dubbed "Sidewinder." This is a special styling exercise which incorporates a step side bed and body modifications to Judge public reaction. And by the interest the Sidewinder received at the Los Angeles International Auto Show I suppose we will see something similar for street use in the near future. The ulterior on the SR5 is very car like, many of the controls and switches appear as though they have been transferred directly from passenger car models in the Toyota family. The dash is designed with a flowing instrument panel visor which runs from the left door panel making up 3/4 of the dash. It is utilitarian, but very attractive The ride quality was surp i -.ingly very nice. As I mentioned em tier, I spend many miles behind ' . wheel of the T-100 and felt ve- y mfort- uble. Gone is the r.'pica? '1X4 stereotypical rough liile "f L- 4X4 truck. Yet with tbe so iciic.1 ride comes the ability to comfort passengers without sacrificing he off road ability. Toyota has gone into the intermediate truck market with their eyes open. As they have with every vehicle they have brought to market, they have researched what was needed and put it in'o their T-100. In the case of the 199.3 T- ±00 pickup it seems they have a very good package. Now all they have to do is convince the small truck owners they can have the advantages of the mini-truck with the room and cargo space of a full size. Honda del Sol lets lots of sun shine in By ANN MARIE JOB Th« Associated Prsss Slather on the suntan lotion. Don't forget the sunglasses. Better pack an itinerary or you're liable to forget where you're headed in Honda's latest little mover, the del Sol. A fun two-seater with a removable aluminum roof panel, suprisingly large trunk and a wonderfully designed roof storage rack, the del Sol is Honda's first open-top auto sold in the United States. The test del Sol Si, the uplevel model with a base price of $15,000, had spirited power — 125 horsepower at 6,600 revolutions per minute — supplied by a 1.6-liter, 16-valve four cylinder with variable valve timing. Torque is 106 at about 5,200 rpm. It's the same engine as in some Honda Civics, and while it can sound loud and buzzy in aggressive driving, it offers a bit more power than the 116-horsepower four cylinder in the two-seat Mazda Miata convertible and the 100-horsepower in the base Mercury Capri. The del Sol four-wheel, double wishbone suspension, too, is bor- rowed from the Civic and set on a shortened Civic platform. But because the front-drive del Sol is an open-top car and requires extra rigidity, some parts are thicker or bigger. As a result, the ride is more civilized than expected in such a sporty-looking car. Riders aren't jolted by every bump on the road; on the other hand, drivers will notice that the del Sol has more of an everyday-car feel than a true sports car. There is a bouncy ride when traveling over uneven roads because of the del Sol's short, 93.3-inch wheelbase. And despite the fact that the del Sol is more than an inch taller than the Miata, riders sit low. Prom the del Sol driver seat, rninivans can look as big as buildings. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, with the del Sol Si fuel economy rated at 29 miles a gallon in the city and 33 mpg on the highway — better than either the Miata or Capri. An airbag is standard for the driver, as it is on the Miata and Capri, and interior appointments are well-designed. Vents are nicely positioned high on the sides of the center console to blow on riders' legs. A plastic panel can slide over the radio controls, protecting them from the elements during open- air riding. Dashboard gauges are clustered in front of the driver and clearly visible between the spokes of the compact steering wheel. The two locking storage compartments behind the seats can accommodate a decent number of items. But there are no map pockets on the doors and the two cuphol- ders are a bit too far back between the seats to be within easy reach. The body-hugging seats, covered in a cloth-type fabric rather than a thick upholstery, brought complaints from one rider who felt they were cheap-looking. But another thought they added to the novelty of the car, especially when the $50 factory floor mats — with splashy color — are part of the package. The del Sol shines most during open-top rides. There's a surprising lack of buffeting, and riders don't have to shout to be heard. Best of all, it's not an ordeal to let the sun shine in. The power rear window goes down with the push of a button, and the targa- type top is a single panel that's a snap to take off. An imagnative roof rack in the trunk holds the panel motionless during driving, leaving a good 8.3 cubic feet of space underneath for ice chests and other beach gear. When the roof panel is not in the trunk, there's 10.5 cubic feet of room back there — more than in either the Capri or Miata. Fit and finish on the test car was excellent, and the del Sol Si's larger, 14-inch tires and four-wheel disc brakes are a doii nite plus compared with the lower-priced, $13,200 base 0.1 Sol S. The Si also has more standard equipment, including power side windows and cruise control. The Mercury Capri starts at $14,966, while the Mazda Miata starts at $15,300. Because the del Sol is a new model, Consumer Reports magazine does not list owner trouble reports. Feds aive Nissan rare fourth chance to fix minivan defect ** . i ..„!..„ „„„», ..aoi^t*. !„ T..IW vertical-flow radiator for improved coolii WASHINGTON (AP) —The government is giving Nissan a rare fourth chance to repair a vehicle defect — engine fires in its older minivans — but warned that the extensive recall must be a thorough fix this time. Nissan spokesman Tony Wells said the auto* maker's recall would consist of a major overhaul to eliminate the fire tendency. It would focus on an inadequate fan belt, he said. About 33,000 vehicles are involved: 1987, 1988 and 1990 Nissan GXE or XE C22 minivans. The company didn't make a 1989 model but sold leftover 1988s that year. In July 1987, Nissan recalled its 1987 mini- vans to replace valve cover gaskets; in July 1990, Nissan replaced power steering hoses that leaked fluid because of "inadequate heat resistance," installed a new engine-cooling fan coupling and replaced several other components that it believed could be damaged or deteriorate in the future; and in February 1992, the company tried to address engine fires by replacing cooling system hoses with "improved heat resistance" hoses. This time, the automaker plans to install a fan belt system with a life expectancy in excess of 120,000 miles, an electric cooling fan to cool the compartment in case the belt breaks and a vertical-flow radiator for improved cooling. It also plans to install a new warning system and an engine speed control system that would engage if the driver continued to operate the minivan, Wells said. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received 156 complaints about the rninivans. No deaths or serious injuries have been reported. Agency spokesman Tim Hurd said there have been a few other cases of an automaker getting four or more chances to correct a problem. He acknowledged, "It is unusual to have four different recalls regarding the same prob- USED SPRING KEN FOWLER AUTO & TRUCK CENTER 1992 PONTIAC SUNBIRD CONVERTIBLE A/T, A/C, P/W, P/L, Low miles, wheels ll)#563402 $ 11 f 995 1992 MAZDA Ml ATA A/C, cass., FUN..Like New! 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