First Drives of the 2022 Tundra, Tacoma, Hummer, and More
Show Notes for Podcast Episode #61
First Drives of the 2022 Tundra, Tacoma, Hummer, and More
Scott Brady and Matt Swartz discuss their experiences driving the 2022 Tundra, Tacoma, Hummer EV, Subaru Wilderness, Grand Wagoneer, and more.
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Full Transcription below:
Scott Brady: [00:00:00] Hello, and welcome to the Overland journal podcast. I'm your host, Scott Brady and my co-host Matt. Scott is not with me today because he is at the Rebel Rally and that is an amazing event. You should all check it out if you have not had a chance to take a look. It is a multi-day... in fact, it's the longest skills race of its kind in North America. Very cool event. Check out the Rebel Rally. But I do have one of our senior editors here with me today, another Matt. So it makes it very easy on me. I've decided that I'm only going to hire people that are named Chris or Matt and so far, that's worked out really well for me. So I don't have to remember anybody's name so I can just say Matt Chris, and then somebody responds. Someone will raise their hand. Yeah. So I've got Matt Swartz with me today and Matt is our senior editor for the Expedition Portal and the Overland Journal. Matt has a long history. of spending time in remote areas. He [00:01:00] does paragliding all kinds of human powered adventures as well, lived for multiple years in an RV in remote areas of the country, currently drives a 2,500 Ram with an Airstream behind it and Matt has been fortunate to go on a bunch of different vehicle launches recently. So we're going to spend some time today talking about the vehicle launches that Matt has been on and the vehicle launches I have been on. There's some very interesting vehicles that are coming to the market that we want to talk about and let you guys know. So we're going to start off with the new Tundra. Yeah, because that is an important one for our audience, because it is one of the most popular brands within the Overland segment being Toyota. And then the Tundra continues to gain in popularity. As we see full-sized trucks in general. Increase in popularity and in fact, that's part of your motivation. What motivated you to go full size?
Matt Swartz: I've wanted a truck for a long time and, and my partner, Amanda, did too. Just the utility that you get out of [00:02:00] them is so cool for adventuring. Like you mentioned, you know, we have a lot of human powered endeavors, hiking, paragliding is the big one right now, and you really need a truck to haul the gear and get to the places where you do these things. So previously we drove a Prius also. So it was pretty limited for, you know, anything off the highway. So we knew we wanted a truck, but we had actually been looking at Toyota trucks, smaller, you know, Tacoma's at first. Yeah, and you know, I love that platform. It's super fun and if you've driven them… Anyone that's driven a Tacoma generally has a good experience except when it comes to towing or payload, they're limited there, which, you know, I wouldn't say it's a negative of the platform. It's just a reality of that midsize truck. When we started thinking about being on the road again, because we'd been living in Denver, we were kind of getting itchy feet and we weren't sure exactly what our plans were. And then we got an Airstream, we fell in love with it, we said this is what we want to do. Now we need to [00:03:00] find a truck that can get us where we want to get to but can also pull an 8,000-pound trailer. So that's where the full-size truck platform came in.
Scott Brady: And they have so much flexibility as you, as you talked about, and we're seeing them growing rapidly within the community, people are finding the limits of the midsize trucks and they're finding the limits of these smaller SUVs and to be able to get the kind of either equipment that you want to bring along, or a level of camping comfort that maybe is important to you. That's when the full-size started to really make a difference and the Tundra became very popular, but again, they tend to be overbuilt by the owners. So they tend to get too heavy and that's why we're seeing more and more of the three-quarter ton and the one-ton domestic products being used for that. But the new Tundra, the 2022 Tundra, starts to address a few of those concerns. So it was great to see the vehicle. About a month ago, I went near their facility [00:04:00] in Plano, Texas, and I was able to see the vehicle in person, make a bunch of notes. We did a pretty extensive article on that for expedition portal, but then just last week I was able to go and drive the truck and I came away with a lot of praise for the vehicle, a few things that are just of note they're not necessarily criticisms, but they're definitely items to note for someone who's looking to purchase one. But the first thing is they've really improved the capability of the truck. Previously, when you got a Tundra, you got this great five, seven V8, super powerful, also very reliable used in the Land Cruiser globally. It just provided a great platform for kind of a general runabout full-size truck, but it never had a rear locking differential. So you relied entirely on traction control to navigate technical terrain and the traction control was never that good. So that was the big difficulty. You had a V8 with a lot of torque and power. You [00:05:00] had fairly poor performing throttle modulation from the vehicle. So we talk about it in technical terms as tip-in when you first apply gas to the accelerator, the Tundra because of the V8 and because of the way that they tuned the throttle, it would put a bunch of power down initially, which when you go for a test drive, it feels great. You feel like you're buying this really powerful vehicle and that's why manufacturers do that. They do that for a reason to give this sense of power and authority in the vehicle, makes for a very positive test drive, makes for a very positive initial ownership, but on the trail, it's a lot more difficult to manage and to modulate.
Matt Swartz: It makes sense because I mean, you may have a better idea of the statistic, but I've heard that something like 75% of truck owners won't even ever take them on the dirt. Might not even use the bed. So, I mean they're really designing that for the majority, you know, and for those majority of people, that's not going to be a bad thing. Like you said, it's your first experience behind the wheel and you've got [00:06:00] power and you're like, oh this is great.
Scott Brady: Yeah, totally. And the 57 sounds great and all those other things and then they released the TRD pro model, which interestingly enough, I was actually able to drive that up to the Trudeau Bay and above the Arctic circle. So I was able to experience that vehicle in a pretty wide range of conditions. But the nice thing about the new truck is that it does have a lot of power. In fact, it has more power than the V8.
Matt Swartz: It's a twin turbo now, right?
Scott Brady: It is, so if you buy an SR5, you get a twin turbo V6, and it makes good power. It makes very similar numbers to the outgoing V8, or you can get the hybrid model, which is the i-Force Max, and that has 430 plus horsepower. It has 580 plus foot pounds of torque. It is a very powerful vehicle to drive. Impressive in that regard for sure, but how they've addressed those problems with traction and the traction control is that you can now get a rear locking differential. [00:07:00] So that's the first huge win with this new 2022 Tundra. You can get a driver selectable rear locking differential.
Matt Swartz: Is that standard equipment, or is that an option?
Scott Brady: It's an option package. So if you were to buy an SR5, which as we kind of go through this we'll talk about the vehicles and how we would prep them ourselves. But I would personally not do the TRD pro because I would want to maximize payload. So I would go with an SR5 model and then just put on the option package of the TRD. And the TRD gives you that rear locking differential, which is super important. Now if you have multi terrain select, which you can get with the TRD package or with the TRD pro, you can put it into rock mode and then Toyota has done this very clever thing where they have remapped the throttle in rock crawling. So it gives this very soft tip-in which makes a huge difference in controllability. So we now have the most capable Tundra ever produced from Toyota and that's by a wide [00:08:00] margin. So you've got a locking differential, which settles everything down. You have great throttle modulation; you have a really impressive approach departure break over angles compared to the outgoing model as well. Plenty of ground clearance. The TRD pro includes over an inch of lift from the factory in the front. So it's more of a kind of a leveling if you think of it that way. So better ground clearance as well. Some Falcon all-terrain tires on there. So this vehicle is a big improvement with regards to that. The other big news with the 2022 Tundra is that it's built on what they call their F1 chassis, which I think that's kind of a fun thing. I mean, F1, right?
Matt Swartz: Who doesn't want an F1 chassis?
Scott Brady: Exactly, so we have this F1 chassis is what they call it, which is the same chassis that they use for the 300 series Land Cruiser.
Matt Swartz: Does this come back to where you were calling the new Tundra the new Land Cruiser?
Scott Brady: It is because we're not going to get the 300 series Land Cruiser, at least not [00:09:00] initially. Most likely we're going to only see it as Alexis variant which isn't the end of the world. At least we can get a version of a Land Cruiser here. It's pretty amazing that Toyota recognizes the advantage of starting to pair this world-class global platform of the Land Cruiser with some of the models that we get here in North America. So that's a huge win for the consumer and this frame is incredibly impressive. I actually went to the factory where they make the frame, and it is 10% lighter and 20% stronger than the outgoing frame.
Matt Swartz: That seems to be kind of a trend. I've seen that with a bunch of the new vehicles, like some of the other ones we're going to talk about the TRX. It's like it's lighter, but it's stronger.
Scott Brady: Yeah, and how Toyota does that is they strategically placed these thicker pieces of metal on the frame and it's all robotic welded. In fact, the blanks for the frame come in on a robotic forklift, [00:10:00] and then it goes through the entire process without a human being touching it. It is extremely sophisticated. Every single frame is a hundred percent tested for the depth of the weld, the quality of the weld, all of these very, very tight tolerances. So you end up with a Land Cruiser frame underneath a Toyota Tundra, which in of itself is notable. But with that you gain a five-link rear suspension. So it's the first of the Toyotas to have a five link, and I suspect that we're going to see that extend onto the Tacoma as well. It's going to only make sense. They're learning all of this great information about how to do that.
Matt Swartz: So for someone like me, who is adventuring is like... I've grown up adventuring, but vehicles are a new component of adventuring to me. So tell me a little bit about five link suspensions as someone who doesn't know some of these more technical details, because by doing that, they got rid of the leaf spring suspension in that truck. Right? And that's [00:11:00] kind of a big deal. It's the first time they've done that on that platform.
Scott Brady: It is, and they each have their advantages. So a leaf sprung suspension has an ability to manage a much wider range of weight. So it can be a little bit better ride quality when unloaded, and then it can be very heavily loaded without a whole bunch of squats in the rear, which is why most. Three-quarter ton and one-ton trucks still have leaf springs in the rear. They're also very simple and they're less expensive to produce. The advantage of the five links is that you can typically gain articulation from that. You gain ride quality, and the most important thing is you gain a huge step up in handling and ride quality. So the handling improves because you now have these five links that are isolating the rear axle and exactly the path of travel that the designer wants it to work. So you don't get a lot of flex from the Springs when you're [00:12:00] coming around, like let's say a higher speed corner. You don't get all that deflection of the leaf pack. It all very much stays planted and it gives a lot better control over that. And then you also don't get any axle hops. So one of the things that we don't like about leaf sprung vehicles is that when you're on a corrugated road or you go to take off, they really can hop...
Matt Swartz: You get that chatter.
Scott Brady: Exactly and that goes away, other than if there's already corrugations on the road, you'll feel those cycling, but it doesn't impart additional chatter from the suspension. So that's why most SUVs that have a solid rear axle are a five-link rear because they're very isolating. They're very controllable. They're very consistent. They're very confidence inspiring to the driver. But then again, the downside is managing the weight and Toyota does that on the Tundra. They handle that on some of the models by including airbag suspension. So once you have a five link with airbags, now you've solved all of that variability in the payload. So if it's a lightly loaded [00:13:00] truck, great, if it's a heavily loaded truck, it rides great. So the TRD pro doesn't come that way. The TRD... anything with the locker, you can't get the airbag suspension, which some people will see as an advantage because it's less complex. I actually am a huge fan of Toyota air suspensions. I had one on my Lexus and it was very reliable. Toyota has got that all figured out, it's not the air suspensions of old, where you're always worried about them failing. They're much better now. Yeah, that five link is a real upside. Now here's the interesting thing and it's worth noting on the Tundra. The airbag suspension system is not available on the TRD or the TRD pro. The coil sprung version actually has a little bit less articulation than the leaf sprung version. So people will oftentimes think like a leaf Springs are going to have less articulation, that's not always the case. So it's just important for people to know when they buy this new Tundra, that it actually has a little bit less flex and the reason. Is that the shocks are outboard of the frame, [00:14:00] and because of the packaging, they can only be so long. So the articulation is only limited by the shock length, so that's really easy to fix with the aftermarket. So you shouldn't not buy it because it has a little bit less flex than the other version, but it's important to know the aftermarket will respond with longer shock packaging and some adjustments to the mounting configuration to allow for I suspect a ton of flex out of the back of these Tundra’s.
Matt Swartz: We were just talking about that the other day; I was asking you about articulation with lift installation and do you get more, and you said not automatically. So it depends on the vehicle and depends on the lift that you're putting on it.
Scott Brady: Exactly. So overall, the new Tundra it's an impressive vehicle. It's a huge step up from the outgoing model. I think that it's going to be extremely popular. They're anticipating a quarter million units a year. This facility that I saw in San Antonio was massive. I mean, they are ready to make a lot of trucks and there's a lot that I like about it. In fact, on the TRD pro the only thing that... There's two things I didn't care for [00:15:00] : the payloads only 1600 pounds, which again is an improvement over the outgoing mode and then it has this super red interior, and I get it. Like it, it's supposed to be the sporty fun model and probably I'm not the right buyer for that interior, but I think some people will love it, but for me, they make a 1794 model, which is named after the ranch that the factory is built on. So that ranch was opened in 1794 and that interior is beautiful. It's super Over Land-y with wood and nice camel colored leather and stuff like that. So it's really...
Matt Swartz: A bit of a vintage feel.
Scott Brady: Yeah. It's super handsome interior and you can get the 1794. With the TRD package. So you can kind of get what you want, which is nice. You can make that selection. So overall, a big thumbs up for me on the Tundra. I think it's a great new option for people to consider. Payload is up so you can get an SR5 [00:16:00] with the TRD package and you can get up into the high 1800-pound range on payload, which is a big improvement over the outgoing model. So yeah, Tundra is a nice one.
Matt Swartz: Nice. Well, I hope I get to drive one at some point.
Scott Brady: I think we'll get one here for some longer-term testing, which I think will be good. But you drove kind of the opposite of that. You drove the TRX super truck and what'd you think of that?
Matt Swartz: Well, It's the first super truck I've ever driven. You know, I haven't driven too many trucks period, so yeah, it's a pretty wild vehicle, you know, it has that Hellcat engine at...
Scott Brady: 6.4, I think.
Matt Swartz: 6.4. Okay. Yeah. So it's big. It makes 702 horsepower. I don't remember the specs on the torque, but it's a lot. I think you're right. I'm picturing the... 6.2?
Scott Brady: Oh yeah. Maybe there's a, there's a 6.4, and then there's a couple of different variants. Monster engine...
Matt Swartz: Monster engine. It sounds really nice. The sound when you bury the accelerator on that is [00:17:00] just wild. It's very, you know, visceral. Emotional feeling. And I'm not one for that kind of thing. I've never owned a fast car in my life. Like I owned a 2001 Subaru Forester. That was the first car I ever owned. It wasn't a turbo, it was slow, you know, and then we had a Prius and now we have a truck. But yeah, so the TRX super cool vehicle, we got to drive it in the cinders by Flagstaff.
Scott Brady: It's a nice spot for that.
Matt Swartz: Oh yeah. I mean, if you could come up with the perfect place to demonstrate the capability of that truck, that's it, you know, maybe that or Baja, I dunno, you know, driving on some sand, but yeah, I mean, the truck has the incredible power, but that truck also has a really great suspension from Bill Steen and active suspension, which is cool. So it's actually adjusting in real time to the Terrain, which is... when you're behind the wheel of it, it's just such a comfortable experience on such a variety, you know, we drove on some straightaways fast. They look flat, but they're actually [00:18:00] bumpy. And just the trucks’ ability to make up for those bumps was incredible. It's surprising that it could handle trains like that so well.
Scott Brady: It has the five links in the rear on that too. So again, very controllable, and one of the things that I think is interesting about a lot of these new vehicles with the increased capability is it gives the driver so much confidence. So you were driving that truck likely faster than you would ever consider driving a vehicle on that terrain?
Matt Swartz: Oh yeah. I would never drive my personal truck like that. You know, but I was encouraged to drive it like that kind of like drive it like you stole it.
Scott Brady: But how fun is that to just like, have someone say, we really believe in this truck, see what it can do?
Matt Swartz: Yeah. I mean, it's a blast. We started off our test by using the launch control feature, which is really cool, you know, it lets you set a predetermined RPM range that the engine will hold even when you're flooring the accelerator. So, you basically hit the launch button. You stand on the brake, on the display. It [00:19:00] actually shows you the PSI that you're generating with the brakes. So you hold the brakes, you jam the accelerator to the floor, and you know, you watch the tachometer go up and it holds that your predetermined RPM range and then you let off the brake and it takes off.
Scott Brady: Yeah, I think it goes 0 to 60 in just under four seconds.
Matt Swartz: Yeah. I think if you read on the Ram website, they say 4.5 seconds, but I've since found a lot of third parties who have driven it and tested it. And they've gotten it under four seconds. I've heard as little as three and a half, which I don't know if that's accurate, but yeah, it's wild and I mean... so we were driving it mostly on these cylinders. So this loose material, we obviously air down the tire significantly because it is so loose. But it was still just wild how well it did, how it managed to float over that terrain. We did kind of some slow, narrow trail sections where we got to, you know, experience the articulation that the truck has and is actually very good. There were some pretty off camber and cross axel [00:20:00] sections and I don't recall ever losing wheel contact. I believe you get 13 inches of travel on all four corners of the truck, which is... I'm not sure how that stacks up in this segment, but I assume it's pretty good.
Scott Brady: That's really good and Matt, Scott has one as well and he praises the vehicle and if you think of it from, if you wanted to own one vehicle, you kind of end up with a sports car and you end up with a desert racing vehicle, like it would be your version of a UTV or something like that, and then you can also take it on technical terrain because it has locking differential and it has those capabilities, right?
Matt Swartz: It definitely has locking differential and it has selectable driving modes too. We drove it in Baja mode most of the time, which I think turns off traction control and it, you know, it really just loosens the truck up and I mean... It's so fun. We did a high marking exercise in this volcanic crater, which is like... [00:21:00] this is work apparently. You know, but it was incredible. So, you know, driving it up this steep hillside and the. This was a really interesting thing because you know, a truck that has this much power and these many features, you still have to rely on your driving prowess, you know, because you can still bury a truck like this and one of our participants did they, you know, they came up around the high part of this, this exercise, and then down through the loose senders and they didn't quite carry enough power and they bogged down and then they flooded after they lost momentum and they just sank right down, you know, just about to the axles and you know, it's no fault of the truck. So we pulled out the Maxtrax. We did some digging, we got it out. No problem.
Scott Brady: Yeah, what a fun vehicle. I mean, in my mind it just does so many different things. It just doesn't have any payloads. So you basically, you bring a backpack along and go and go have some smiles. I mean, you don't, you don't really load it up because I think it's under a thousand pounds of payload.
Matt Swartz: So yeah, it's not much in [00:22:00] the, in the towing's limited to which.
Scott Brady: It's not meant for that.
Matt Swartz: No, it's not. I think the thing that comes to mind with that truck is fun. It is about fun. It feels a little bit like a toy, you know, an expensive toy, but it feels like a toy. It's fast, it's sporty. I mean, kind of like the Toyota, the interior is a statement, you know, it's very sporty. You've got this like suede and leather wrapped steering wheel. You've got a big touchscreen display; you've got a loud stereo. It's just beautiful and comfortable and it's super fun. I mean, if I win the Powerball...
Scott Brady: That's what you're getting.
Matt Swartz: That's yeah. I've said that a few times now, you know, not exactly practical for my lifestyle right now, but man, if I could afford to have a second vehicle just for fun, that would maybe be high on my list right now.
Scott Brady: I'm thinking just going down Baja, you bring a tent and, you know, spear fishing stuff and throw it in the bed and just, I mean, it would be great on Mex 1. It would be great on all the back roads. It'd be a super fun vehicle for that.
Matt Swartz: I think like you said, you know, as long [00:23:00] as you don't need to load it up with payload, if you can go super light, maybe, you know...
Scott Brady: I think it'd be a fun travel vehicle for sure. Awesome. Well, let's pivot a little bit, so. You also drove the Subaru Outback Wilderness, which there's an enormous amount of interest in this vehicle because Subaru’s, they have this reputation for reliability and durability for a car, and then they have slowly added capability through the years with improved traction control, additional ground clearance, better approach and departure angles. Subaru keeps pushing the envelope of crossing the lines between basically a car and a high clearance crossover car. What were your thoughts on the wilderness?
Matt Swartz: Like I mentioned, Subaru is probably the car that I have the longest relationship with. My first car was a Forester. My whole family... I grew up on the east coast, in the Northeast, so everyone that doesn't have a [00:24:00] truck generally drives a Subaru so that way you don’t get stuck in the snow. So driving the Wilderness edition was very reminiscent of driving other Subaru’s. It was very comfortable, first of all, I mean, the one that we were in, you know, its comfortable interior, leather loaded, loaded up loaded. It's got great driving features. It has selectable driving modes that are kind of akin to the stuff we've been talking about already, like a rock and sand mode, and the car does a great job of adapting to the terrain. So we use some of those. I got to drive on some steep, loose and rocky terrain. Maybe a little bit more technical than what most people would want to take a Subaru on, and this car did fantastic actually. A little bit of slip here and there, but that was more my fault, you know, just because this is a different kind of driving style, it's not four-wheel drive. It doesn't have a locker. It's all wheel drive. And you know, I didn't have big NABI tires on it, but had some AT tires, [00:25:00] so it took a little bit more skill to get through some of the more technical terrain that other vehicles just had no problem with.
Scott Brady: But it sounds like it also did it wherever the other vehicles went.
Matt Swartz: It did it. The wilderness edition. I believe they give it a little lift. They go down to, I think it was a 17-inch wheel with a bigger tire. They have skid plating on it. It's got the turbo engine, so it's got a good amount of power.
Scott Brady: Is it a CVT or does it shift and does it have a continuously variable transmission or does it...
Matt Swartz: That's a good question. I think it was a CVT Don't hold me to that.
Scott Brady: We'll check that out.
Matt Swartz: We can look at that, but super comfortable to drive and surprisingly capable for what it was and then when you get on just the dirt that's not technical. I feel like that's its sweet spot. I mean, you can drive it fast, and it sticks. It doesn't get loose in the corners. It feels like a rally car kind, or what you pay for a rally car.
Scott Brady: Which is fun. And it's a rally car with a little bit of a lift.
Matt Swartz: [00:26:00] Yeah. I mean, that's kind of their route for off-road stuff, right? Like Subaru is big in the rally world and yeah. Yeah. Great car. I mean and I had a rooftop tent set up on it. They had it set up for, you know, having fun going out into the backcountry. On this trip, this was prior to Overland Expo West in Flagstaff, and we went up to the north rim of the grand canyon and we had a whole handful of vehicles and I mean, some really, really capable vehicles. I would say this is probably when. Least capable in the group, but it hung, it had no issue. It did everything that the other trucks did. It never got stuck. Yeah, it was great.
Scott Brady: Yeah. There's a lot to say about a Subaru that you can drive every day, get reasonable gas mileage out of it. I think the key to them is not to over modify them. We see a lot of them that get too heavy and then it just starts to ruin the attributes of the vehicle, like the gas mileage plummets, typically when you over modify them.
Matt Swartz: Sure. I destroyed my Subaru by hauling firewood. I would just go and [00:27:00] cut full trees, cut them in the six-foot pieces, put them in the back and obviously my suspension suffered, but I think one of the other really cool things about the Subaru and, and this was something that came up on our test drive, but you know, it's valuable for everyone to know about is, is the value you get out of this vehicle. It's under 40K and it's got a turbo. It's got skid blading. It's lifted, you know, it can do. Many Overland adventures that you would want to do, but it's less than 40 K and that's something that you can't say about many of the vehicles that we talk about, you know, especially when you get into modifying them. So just to be able to, to enter this Overland, you know, for a new vehicle, right? But you know, to have an option for, like you said, something that you can daily drive and it feels like a practical daily driver, but you can also take on an adventure like this. That's super cool and that's awesome because you know, it's great to see more vehicles coming to market that will allow people to explore the space that we like to play in, because it's so cool, but it shouldn't feel like an exclusive [00:28:00] space and you don't need this, you know, you don't need a crazy, super truck to go do that. You can get a Subaru...
Scott Brady: And they're kind of small and nimble and I remember, well you were with us that day when we were, we took the Ranger out, we took that Wrangler out and we had that problem with the brakes locking up on the ranger. So we had to just kind of leave it there and then I hopped in Aaron, my girlfriend's, Subaru and we... It's a stock vehicle, Subaru Forester, totally stock. And we drove all the way in on that trail to go get the Ranger and it was no trouble. And it wasn't even like, oh I'm going to drive it because it's technical terrain. I mean, she's a good driver and there was no reason to swap out. So I actually got out and took some photos and like rutted, you know, deep roots and deep ruts and little rocks and stuff. And the car just literally didn't even hiccup. It didn't have to spin a tire through the whole thing. And it makes you realize that maybe we kind [00:29:00] of overgame it too much when something that's simple and close to stock is usually the best option.
Matt Swartz: Yeah. I mean, it's just a good reminder, you know, it's fun to have the vehicle with all the bells and whistles, but you can get by with something much simpler and for a lot of people, that's going to be more appealing because not everyone wants to take the time or spend the money to do what we do to some of these vehicles.
Scott Brady: Totally. Well, that's a good example. So like with my Sierra, I've got the camper on there and everything else. I just don't drive it as often as a daily driver anymore, cause it's kind of set up for travel. So now we take her car a lot of the time and so I'm going to get a little spring lift for it. I'm going to get a little bigger tire. That's all I'm going to do. Right? It's just a couple of little things because we take it hiking and take the bikes out. I mean just to have a little bit more capability, maybe kind of along the lines of the wilderness, and then you've got a super capable little vehicle that can get you where you want to go. Yeah. That's pretty fun. Well, I'm glad you got a chance to test that because it's a vehicle that I think. There's a lot of interest. In fact, [00:30:00] some of our most popular articles have been about Subaru’s. So there's a lot of people that want to use them for this kind of travel.
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Very cool. We're gonna pivot it back again. The extreme opposite direction again from the TRX to the Hummer.
Matt Swartz: Yeah. I want to hear about this one.
Scott Brady: Yeah. So a couple of weeks ago I had the chance to be one of the first to drive the Hummer EV and it is... yeah, it's difficult to describe because it is so contrary to most of our experiences driving vehicles. So it weighs 9,000 pounds.
Matt Swartz: That's a big vehicle.
Scott Brady: So it weighs more than any... I mean, it weighs more than your Ram, for example. It's extremely heavy because of the batteries and all of the hardware and the size of the hardware that needs to be on it, to handle all of that power and then it makes a thousand horsepower, and it makes the electric vehicle equivalent to 11,000 [00:32:00] foot pounds of torque. Which is insane.
Matt Swartz: Does that equate to torque in a gasoline engine, like, is that as if you had 11,000-foot pounds of torque gasoline engine.
Scott Brady: It's their equivalent of it. So it's like trying to compare an internal combustion engine's fuel economy to electric fuel economy. It's like a calculation that kind of takes it into consideration, but it feels like 11,000-foot pounds of torque. I mean, it is... I mean, I'll just start with the fact that it has this mode, that's called WTF.
Matt Swartz: I remember writing about this when it came up.
Scott Brady: Yeah. Which means Watts to freedom. But of course it actually means exactly what you think it means, because when that thing launches zero to 60, that's exactly what you say in your mind. Well actually you don't say anything at first, cause you're trying to catch your breath and not slam your head into the headrest.
Matt Swartz: I was going to say, you're getting pinned back into your seat. I watched your video, which is on the YouTube channel [00:33:00] and it... I mean, it looks like you're in a race car.
Scott Brady: It was incredible. I mean, and I was anticipating it. I mean, I knew it was going to launch hard. There was no way I could hold myself in that position on the seat, I was pinned against the headrest and yeah, 0 to 60 in three seconds.
Matt Swartz: Must have a pretty decent traction control system to manage all of that power without just immediately losing traction and giving you wheel spin.
Scott Brady: In fact, I would say that the greatest engineering feat that they accomplished is managing that amount of power in the seamless way that it does. So we always think about Land Rover or Jeep when it comes to traction control and those kinds of systems. But GM has absolutely nailed it with this, to have that kind of power and for it to break the tires free... so it'll actually, you can hear the tire squealing, but it doesn't just light them up and then you lose performance going forward. It's very seamless. You don't feel it [00:34:00] cutting the power. It just feeds this tremendous amount of torque to these tires. Now it has like the equivalent of a 35 12 50 tire on there. It's a custom-made tire specifically for the Hummer to be able to handle that kind of power and it'll take up 37 with essentially no modifications. So it's just incredible to go that fast, like a sports car or faster than most sports cars, and then still be able to have a 37-inch-tall tire. You know, it's got the equivalent of a, a virtual rear locking differential because it has two motors in the rear, the motors work together to the effect of a locker.
Matt Swartz: So it's two in the rear. Is it...?
Scott Brady: One in the front.
Matt Swartz: One in the front.
Scott Brady: Okay. Yeah. Which is different from the Rivian in which it has four motors and the one in the front, it feeds a differential. Like we would have on a standard four-wheel drive in the front.
Matt Swartz: Interesting. So it's kind of like a hybrid.
Scott Brady: It is.
Matt Swartz: There's a lot of hybrids that do just [00:35:00] four wheels... they do a motor per wheel, right?
Scott Brady: Like a Tesla, will do two motors that feed the differentials.
Matt Swartz: They do differential too?
Scott Brady: Yeah, and it depends on the, it just depends on the design. The Rivian one is quite interesting. Cause then it is. Total control over each wheel, which actually allows it to do that tank mode. So it can, it can rotate within its wheelbase and that's all the interesting stuff that comes with an electric vehicle. You can just do things that internal combustion didn't allow, and you can think outside the box and they really did that with the Hummer. I mean, it has a front locking differential. I found an interesting situation. We were in the rocks, and these were fairly large boulders. I mean, it would be a challenge even for a Rubicon Wrangler and I was going very slow because I was trying to get a sense for how the vehicle, you know, modulated all that kind of power and I had the, the front right up against the ledge and the rear left up against the ledge and I kind of stopped up against the ledge and I was trying to see [00:36:00] how. How much traction performance had had and what's the interesting thing about electric motors until they get moving a little bit, they don't have that kind of power. So it's not like it's sitting there idling or at a low RPM, like it would with an automatic transmission or with the manual transmission. The engines are just sitting there idling at a certain amount of RPM. So it's already got some mass in motion. The electric motor is not moving at all. So if you're up against a ledge and the motor isn't moving at all, you aren't making even a fraction of that power. So I was actually able to stall the electric motors because it was trying to do brake traction control at the same time as climbing the ledge, which was too much for the weight of the vehicle. Got it. So how I solved it was I did the virtual locking in the. And then I did the front locking differential. So now the brake traction controls are not robbing torque from the system, and it climbed right up the rock. No problem, [00:37:00] but that was an interesting thing. Is that with an electric vehicle, you don't really want to come to a stop. Like even if it's just the wheels are barely rolling. That's going to be an ideal way to get through technical terrain, like coming to a full stop up against the ledge. It's pretty difficult for an electric motor to overcome that, especially in a 9,000-pound vehicle.
Matt Swartz: So now this is, just to clarify again, you know, try and understand it from a technical perspective, electric motors do have full torque at the bottom of the RPM range. Right. But what you're describing right now is a little bit different.
Scott Brady: So the motor has to start moving in order for it to generate all of that torque. So the fact that the motors were stopped and then they were having to overcome all of that resistance of a 9,000-pound vehicle. It couldn't. Moving couldn't even get the motor turning fast enough to begin to generate all of that insane amount of torque. So that's where another way to solve it would have been, I [00:38:00] could have backed up two inches and then
Matt Swartz: A little momentum...
Scott Brady: It wouldn't even have to have been a lot of momentum, just something to get the motor turning, and then it would have solved the problem, but it just means as we start to use electric vehicles more in the backcountry, there'll be a little bit of a learning curve for us as drivers of like, okay, this is how this system works and this is how we can help it optimize for, for performance and that was, so that was an interesting revelation with that.
Matt Swartz: What kind of... can you comment on like what kind of range you actually got with off-road driving? Was it still pretty good?
Scott Brady: It was difficult to know because I mean, we hardly used any power, but it was a fairly short route because it was, it was really just a first drive. These were still prototypes. They had a lot of even 3d printed components and stuff still on them, but they were functionally like production. They were very, very, very close. But I think that based upon what they're saying 300 to [00:39:00] 350-mile range, I think if you're in mixed terrain, like I'm thinking an ideal situation would be. Like in Colorado when you're up in the mountains, because first of all the electric motor doesn't care about atmospheric pressure, right?
Matt Swartz: Oh yeah. You're not worried about full ratios to air, it's indifferent to changes.
Scott Brady: Totally indifferent, which means you're making just as much power at 12,000 feet as you are at sea level. It's not affected by that at all. So that's one big advantage for the electric and then when you're going up and down Hills, you can take advantage of the regen.
Matt Swartz: Yeah, if you're doing like a long descent off a pass in Colorado, I mean, you're talking like you could be doing five to 10 miles of downhill. I don't know what kind of regen that gets you, but I mean, it's actually getting some power back.
Scott Brady: It's a lot because those motor generators, they generate an enormous amount of power in regen.
Matt Swartz: And it gives you great control on the way down too right?
Scott Brady: It does. It's amazing. It's totally amazing. And it [00:40:00] actually has a low selector on the gear shifter. It's not a gear shifter... on the suggestion of a gear shifter. So you have a standard driving mode and then you have a low, and the low changes the way that the motor interacts with the throttle, and it also engages region much more quickly so it's like being in low range and then this was very clever. I've never seen this before in an electric vehicle, but it is like, we would have a paddle shifter at the steering wheel. It's on the left side, there's a regen paddle. So when you're coming down off of an allegation or whatever, you can grab the full region and it will nearly bring the thing to a stop.
Matt Swartz: So it's almost like engine braking at your fingertips on the steering wheel.
Scott Brady: It's incredible, and this is when it gets even more fun. So you're driving fast on a gravel road coming around a big sweeper and you want to step the rear end out. You don't even have to do it with the accelerator, you can just grab a handful of that regen [00:41:00] and it just rotates the car around and even then, you can feed into the throttle and it'll just hang this beautiful drift all the way around the corner. So, I mean it's really fun. It's extremely capable. I mean, we have to talk obviously about the contrary to that, which is also $112,000. So it's a very expensive vehicle, but again, in the context of a king ranch, F350 it's just a little bit more money. It's not as much as we would think with how expensive new cars have gotten. But it is very expensive. 112,000 bucks is a lot of money. And then as these manufacturers come online, the infrastructure has not quite come up to be able to support electric for a lot of backcountry use. So like for example, you could do the El Camino Del Diablo trail in Arizona because of. It's the longest unsupported route at 156 miles, but you would have access to charging on both [00:42:00] ends where it would get complicated would be I'm going to go into Southern Utah and I'm going to kind of bounce around in the mountains and in the, in the desert with just these small little towns where we would normally get gas. There's no charging infrastructure there yet. So until some charging infrastructure develops where you would find a rural gas station that's going to become more difficult. But once that happens, then you're looking at essentially the same range as you have with a current four-wheel drive. It is the reason why I like the small displacement diesel like in the Sierra that I drive. Cause I get 600 plus mile range. Which is really incredible, and in your truck, you can add a larger fuel tank and you could easily match that as well. So then you're out, you're down in Baja and you're driving for weeks without needing to refuel in the backcountry, because you have so much range whereas that would be an impossibility currently with electricity.
Matt Swartz: It seems like for off highway use for, [00:43:00] for electric vehicles, the hybrid still kind of has the edge because you get some electric power. With some of these hybrids, you can drive in pure electric mode, but then you have the backup of the gasoline or diesel engine or whatever it is. So you're not going to get stranded necessarily.
Scott Brady: Well, yeah. Which is a perfect segue into talking about the Wrangler. I mean, that one, it was the first hybrid or electric that got me the most excited because it was literally a perfect solution the day that it dropped. Like you could use that vehicle, however you would normally use an Overland vehicle, but then you could also drive a short commute without you consuming any fuel, is that correct? It'll go in electric only mode.
Matt Swartz: Yeah, I can say electric only mode. And I think you get about 24 miles of range on pure electric driving, which is awesome. I mean, for 90% of people, that's going to be enough to use that vehicle as a daily driver, not spend any [00:44:00] money on, you know, gasoline commuting to work or running errands around town, and then you can go and do longer drives and you'll still get decent gas mileage, but you can go on the trail in, and it does significant regen also, if you put it... there's a regen mode. I don't remember what the term is that the Jeep uses for that. But I mean, you can have the electric batteries in that down to zero. You can put it in regen mode, drive it on the gasoline engine and recharge the batteries completely just through normal driving. It takes some time, obviously, you know, Yeah, you can recover that. And and it's, it's just, it's super cool to have a plugin hybrid like that. You know, where you don't have to... you're not having to use the gasoline engine. If you don't want short trips, you can really take advantage of the electricity.
Scott Brady: Yeah. I mean, I think about my own, you know habits for my own daily routine. I live 5.7 miles from the office. Yep. So it would be, I would never have to consume any fuel and [00:45:00] right now, I mean, fuel prices are going through the roof. There's a shortage of supply and a vehicle like that completely removes that as being a concern, unless you're going to go on a long trip. So if you're driving a short commute every day, it doesn't really matter what the price of fuel is at that moment. If we're having these spikes in prices like we're experiencing right now. So I think that that's really useful. And then the torque of an electric motor in conjunction with a gasoline engine, that's a really nice combination.
Matt Swartz: Absolutely. I mean, when I drove that vehicle down in Texas, I wasn't wanting for any more power. I mean, it feels powerful. It takes off pretty quickly, especially for a Wrangler platform. How fast you want it to be. Yeah, exactly. You don't need it to be faster. It's not about speed with that, but yeah, the combination of the electric and the gas, I think gets that... I don't remember how much horsepower it generates. It's plenty. Let's just say that. And especially for off-road [00:46:00] driving too. I mean, one of the really cool things about having the ability to put it in pure electric mode is if you have the power in the batteries, when you're on the trail, you can do that and it's also quiet. So it's a very different driving experience in that way. Which I really liked. I kind of... I didn't laugh at that suggestion that that would be significant, but I didn't quite realize how, how much I would appreciate that.
Scott Brady: I remember some of the Hummer engineers talking about that, cause they do so much testing in Michigan and there'll be in these little back roads in the Hummer... and you'll only hear like the crunching of the tires and they said the number of times that they surprised deer and other animals when they're out there, because it's so quiet and to me, that I think is going to be one of the real upsides to electric for overlanding is we can, when we're out in the mountains and we're. We're more connected with nature a little bit. I think that there are times when the roar of a TRX, there's nothing that brings a smile to your face [00:47:00] faster than that. But then there's also times when you do want to be totally silent and just how often do we get to be in the Outback. And it's not that often. So why not just fully experience that as quietly as possible.
Matt Swartz: Yeah, I agree. I mean, I think that's part of... we love getting out there into the backcountry and part of that's also disrespecting the resource and the other people out there, right? Like not everyone wants to have a vehicle-based adventure. There's some people hiking out there, there are people, mountain biking. And I think, you know, this could help kind of break down a rift between these user groups too, you know?
Scott Brady: I think it would help.
Matt Swartz: Yeah. If people... side-by-sides right, they are very loud, they make a lot of noise so much so that there are even some communities that are starting to introduce local legislation to prevent them from, you know, driving, like we've seen in Moab. So having electric vehicles is... I think it could be a really big game changer as far as off-road vehicle-based recreation.
Scott Brady: And I think UTVs will eventually be electric [00:48:00] too. I think it's going to be the only way they're going to solve the problem. I mean they're so loud.
Matt Swartz: Electric vehicles seem to be the future. I mean, I've only... My only real experience so far is driving the four by e in pure electric mode and driving a Tesla. I don't remember which model it was.
Scott Brady: And then you had the hybrid F-150 for a little while too.
Matt Swartz: I did. I got to drive that too and I haven't... no vehicle that's a hybrid or electric vehicle has let me down so far as being capable and, you know, it's... I'm excited for it. It does make me a little bit sad. You know, having invested in a diesel vehicle, it's like, there's going to be an end to the lifespan of that at some point.
Scott Brady: Maybe... I think that a lot of households will end up being two vehicle families. It's going to make sense to have something like your Ram that can... cause you try to tow an Airstream with an electric vehicle and your range is going to be very, very short.
Matt Swartz: That's a good point. So maybe they kind of fall into the category of [00:49:00] being very specialized vehicles.
Scott Brady: I think that's what will happen. I mean, over a hundred years ago, people, they rode horses, and they would draw their carriage with a horse and people thought, oh its they ended the horse. No, one's going to own horses anymore. Lots of people own horses, because they're a joy to ride. It becomes something of pleasure, or they become something for a very specific task. Like if you are working on a ranch or whatever, and it'll be the same thing for internal combustion engines, they're not going to go away because well... they may eventually, but not likely within my lifetime because they still have a very specific purpose. If you're in the middle of Africa, where there is no infrastructure, there is no power infrastructure. You're going to need to have a diesel-powered vehicle. And if you're. Wanting to tow a real heavy trailer like that, or over the road trucking is another challenge that they're trying to overcome as well. So I think for a while, at least it'll be that way, but the average consumer for the average commute. It's going to come pretty quick. In my mind. All right. [00:50:00] Well, let's talk a little bit about the 2022 Tacoma that you drove and then there was also a factory available lift for that too.
Matt Swartz: So that was another recent test drive in Colorado. We were in the front range area, kind of Kenosha pass, Georgia pass around the Colorado trail. So we took a 2021 TRD pro Tacoma with Toyota's new factory lift kit, and we took a 2022 Tacoma TRD pro , a 2022 Tacoma Trail Edition and a 2022 Forerunner TRD pro. So we had all four of those vehicles out for three days of driving. And it was a great experience. I would say starting with the 2021 with the factory lift I don't recall exactly how much of a lift it gives you.
Scott Brady: I think it's a couple of inches. Yeah.
Matt Swartz: I think it basically, it brings the 2021 up to the same lift clearances as the 2022 or approximately around there and I think like you talked about it's a bit more of a leveling than anything. [00:51:00] Cause I think you get... it's like an inch and a half in the front, maybe a half inch in the back, something like that. It was very comfortable, I think, as far as the comfort of the suspension it was very similar between the 2021 and the 2022, although the 2022 has a new Fox suspension, I believe it is, and that was the plush vehicle. 2022 with the Fox suspension. It was so settled driving through obstacles. You know, having big events like coming up onto rocks, coming down off of rocks. There was not a whole lot of bouncing around or movement. It just felt... settled is the way I would describe it.
Scott Brady: Oh, and that's really nice for the driver too. Cause then you're not getting all of that head toss, the passengers not getting thrown around and yeah, it's interesting cause the new Tundra's the same way. If you get the TRD pro Tundra, the ride quality improves quite a bit, and also we were just talking about hybrids and the new TRD pro only comes as a hybrid. So, I mean, you, you develop [00:52:00] 583-foot pounds of torque from a hybrid drivetrain.
Matt Swartz: Oh, this is the Tundra.
Scott Brady: The new Tundra. Yeah.
Matt Swartz: Got it. Yeah. So. Other notable stuff about the Tacoma. I guess stylings changed a little bit, you know, it's not performance related, but you know, now, now the badge is stamped in the rear quarter panel instead of a decal you've got these machined red billet, aluminum, upper control arms that are like... you see them from like 50 feet away, peeking out from, you know, underneath the fender wells. What else? The badge has changed. It's like a little bit of a retro badge now.
Scott Brady: Some bright colors now, too. Yeah.
Matt Swartz: That bright... I think they call it electric lime green.
Scott Brady: You won't lose your truck in a parking lot.
Matt Swartz: No, you won't. It's amazing how polarizing that is. I mean Toyota is pretty well-known for doing these bold colors, whether it's like...
Scott Brady: I think it's great.
Matt Swartz: I love them too. The lunar rocks still are my favorite out of the new colors that they're doing. Yeah. But that electric lime is bright. But then feature-wise, I mean, it's got all this stuff that we've kind of talked about. It's got the [00:53:00] terrain select modes, you can do, you know, rock and sand and there's a few other ones and then there's even like a corrugation, like type setting. I had it in rock mode most of the time, because that's what we were encountering on the trail. Sure. It was great. I had no traction issues. Again, trying to use my abilities to manage that as well. You know, cause any vehicle will spin the wheels if you don't know what you're doing. But yeah, just a really comfortable vehicle to drive overall.
Scott Brady: Yeah. Tacoma's are so capable.
Matt Swartz: The size is just so nice. You know, especially now having the full-size truck. Anytime I get back into a medium sized truck, it's like, if it feels like a sedan to me and for tight narrow trails, I mean, that's awesome. You're not worried about scraping up against things you can get through narrow sections. And it still had... I was really impressed by the clearance that it had. I mean, we drove through a lot more technical terrain than I would ever want to attempt. I think it was to prove [00:54:00] the vehicle's ability and it did really well, and I had no issues. Even in the Trail Edition Tacoma, which was a pre-production model that we drove it... the locker wasn't working.
Scott Brady: Trail Edition Tacoma, not a Trail Edition Forerunner?
Matt Swartz: Yeah. It was the Trail Addition Tacoma.
Scott Brady: So it's a new model.
Matt Swartz: It is. Yeah, and it's, it's got these really handsome, bronze rims and you know, it's mostly a styling thing. It's not quite as capable as the TRD pro in terms of all of the features that it has, but even on the pre-production model, without the locker working, I did the, all of the same obstacles as the TRD pro with the locker and I didn't have any issues with wheel spin or, you know...
Scott Brady: Did it have multi-terrain select as well.
Matt Swartz: I believe it did. Yep.
Scott Brady: Yeah. So then going into rock mode would really... it would make the traction control pretty aggressive, which is good. You can see why Toyota sells a quarter million Tacoma's a year or more. I mean, they are so capable and they're so easy to modify. Huge aftermarket support and they don't need a lot of [00:55:00] modification, like right out of the box. You can drive it around the world on just about any trail you can think of. So they're pretty impressive right out of the box
Matt Swartz: I was going to say, based on that driving experience, I mean, it doesn't need anything. Yeah. You know, for again, like 95% of people are going to buy that. It's going to do everything you want, you know, maybe adding some protection, a little bit of additional protection. If you're going to take it on some more technical terrain, not a bad idea, but yeah. It kind of reminds me of a Rubicon, right. It will do so much straight from the factory. You don't need to do anything.
Scott Brady: Yeah. Unless you're doing recreational rock crawling. I mean, if you're out traveling, it's going to be pretty hard to find something that's going to stop that truck for sure. Yeah. Oh, that's a cool one. So let's talk really quickly about the Grand Wagoneer. It's interesting for me because Jeep is very much targeting the expedition, they're targeting the excursion customer. They're targeting the suburbs, the Yukon.
Matt Swartz: The large SUV market.
Scott Brady: Exactly, with a third row and it is, it's a big vehicle... and [00:56:00] it's a very capable truck overall. It's got all of that Jeep traction control hardware, all of that thoughtfulness that Jeep puts into capability, and it has air suspension as well. Extremely luxurious on the inside. It's also clear that they're targeting Range Rover customers as well, because this can be a hundred thousand dollars vehicle if you option it that way. So overall it is, it is a very comfortable vehicle. If you wanted to have the luxury of a Range Rover, but not have the impression that a Range Rover would give to people in your circle, then something like a Grand Wagoneer here is actually a great choice because it gives you all of that capability of arranging. All of the luxury of a range Rover, but then you don't have a range Rover badge when you pull into your, in your parking lot at work.
Matt Swartz: A little more understated, maybe on the outside.
Scott Brady: Yeah. So overall, I was really impressed with the vehicle for what it is. It's important to note that it's not... it's big, and [00:57:00] it's going to be difficult to modify with it being independent front rear suspension. So it's not going to get a lot of attention from the Overland market, but I think for someone that's looking for a large vehicle to tow their boat and haul along a bunch of people, it's actually a really interesting vehicle to consider. The only thing I thought that they could have done a little differently was the wheel well is really small and the wheel well is also really low down on the BeltLine. So it actually doesn't make the vehicle look quite as athletic and, and adventurous as it could. If they just moved that wheel-well line up higher, they could fit a larger tire from the factory. And I think it would offset some of that really tall belt line, particularly above the tires. So it would be nice to see that come in like a trail edition or you know, they've got all their different monikers that they use for trail performance. But to see some kind of a trail Hawk kind of Grand Wagoneer where they had a little bit larger wheel [00:58:00] well and larger tire, I think that would look really handsome on that vehicle. And it would also really improve the capability too.
Matt Swartz: Now, is that like a remake of... that vehicle has been round, right?
Scott Brady: Correct. Yeah. They used to make a Wagoneer and a Grand Wagoneer and they are extremely popular even to this day. I mean, this is like the classic late seventies, eighties.
Matt Swartz: Didn't it have like the wood paneling on the outside?
Scott Brady: Many of them did. The Grand Wagoneer in particular did have wood paneling, which is really fun, and those were super popular. They've been buying those up and restoring those with a lot of popularity. It's fun to see Jeep bring back the Grand Wagoneer.
Matt Swartz: It's like a trend in general, right. We've seen a lot of remakes of older vehicles and a lot of them have too much anticipation...
Scott Brady: Yeah, I mean, the Bronco's a great example of that. We did a whole podcast on the Bronco, not that long ago, so you guys can check that out, but yeah, the Bronco, a great example of properly [00:59:00] executed retro styling from the front. It looks just awesome. So a really fun one... let's talk a little bit about your Ram. So as we're wrapping things up here, what model did you buy and what was kind of your first attack on modifications?
Matt Swartz: Well, so like we talked about at the beginning of the podcast, you know, we got the full truck for towing and so when it came down to towing and capability, we didn't want to be left wanting for any more power for any more capabilities. So we got the tradesman trim, which is the basic trim, which is pretty simple, but actually I've been really impressed with it. It is surprisingly comfortable in it's, you know, modesty. The seats are comfortable. It's got everything you need. We got a few little upgrades here and there, you know, bigger infotainment screen, things like that. So as far as the engine, that's where we really invested our money. We got the Cummins. So the 6.7-liter turbo [01:00:00] diesel can pull 20,000 pounds and the truck has a payload somewhere in the neighborhood of... I think 2300 pounds maybe. Actually, one of our readers corrected me on that. Cause I published an article recently, and I actually love that. I love being corrected; you know.
Scott Brady: It's important.
Matt Swartz: It's really important. I want to be kept honest with this stuff and I do my best to get accurate information, but yeah, I've got some really good feedback on that. But so I did, I published the first article on the truck on the expedition portal, sort of talking about our reasoning behind it. And like I said, I wanted towing ability and when we're pulling the 8,000-pound Airstream, it's almost like it's not there. I mean, you can literally go 90 on the highway no problem. Which is incredible.
Scott Brady: Really fast Airstream.
Matt Swartz: Yeah, exactly. We're often passing people, going uphill, pulling the Airstream, which you know, we don't drive it recklessly, but the fact is it has no issues pulling and...
Scott Brady: You figure every sprinter that you pass is the better campsite for you.
Matt Swartz: If we can beat them there. Exactly. [01:01:00] Yeah. But you know, in addition, I think some of the other benefits of the diesel engine are... it used to be an option, but now the exhaust brake comes standard with a diesel engine, which it is... having driven an old RV previously that was all drum brakes and having the brakes overheat multiple times on dissents.
Scott Brady: Scary.
Matt Swartz: It's terrifying. Yeah. That's like your heart almost just falls out of your body when that happens and so with the Ram with towing and the, the exhaust brake, it's like, you don't even have to touch the brakes. You can put it in tow haul mode, turn the exhaust brake on and it will go down some of the steepest grades without any brake input necessary. It's great.
Scott Brady: So what were the first couple modifications that you did? I think you just put some bumpers on.
Matt Swartz: Yeah, we did some bumpers from expedition, one they're based in Ogden, Utah. They're an awesome company. They source all of theirs... so the bumpers, the Range Max Ultra HD. I found it to be one of the best executed full-sized truck bumpers. It doesn't look overly, chunky and huge, yet it [01:02:00] has space for a winch. We optioned ours with a full bulbar, so we have some more protection against animal strikes cause you know, for pulling the air stream going even just 70 and a deer jumps out, I'm not slamming on the brakes. That's more dangerous than just keep going. So we've got the full bull bar. We've got a space for our winch. We've got plenty of pods for light. We've got additional clearance. It got rid of it's like an air fairing... air dam. Yeah, so getting rid of that and putting the new bumper on and we have extra clearance in the front and then the rear bumper is also pretty functional. It's got dual swing outs... dual swing outs on the rear bumper, so we can mount some accessories, so we're going to be putting a topper on the truck at some point from RLD. We're going to be able to mount a ladder on the swing out to easily get up on the roof of that, which will be good. Yeah. You can also pull the spare and put it on the back, swing out as well. Although I tried that and I'm going to need to get a tongue extension for the Airstream if we're going to do that, because it protrudes back a little too far [01:03:00] and it kind of cuts our turning radius down significantly because of the...
Scott Brady: Chris Cortis had the same thing when he had the excursion.
Matt Swartz: We kind of talked about that actually just the other day and his takeaway was I'm just going to leave the spare underneath it if I can, and you know, in addition to being very functional, I think the bumpers look good. They're just good-looking bumpers. Yeah. They've got a nice black powder coating finish and yeah, it's kind of step one in our modifications to the truck.
Scott Brady: Congratulations on the new vehicle and the Airstream. I mean, what a cool way to work and see the country from the road and all of that and we're excited to see what you do next with it, and we'll make sure we do a podcast as you finish up the project as well. So for those that are listening, make sure you check out ExpeditionPortal.com to see Matt's series of articles on his new truck, and then you can continue to follow my build of the Sierra 1500 diesel as well with the scout camper on the back. Matt, how do people follow you [01:04:00] on social media so they can keep up with what you're working on?
Matt Swartz: Yeah, so I mean, obviously I publish as much as I can on expedition portal. That's kind of the first place to find me. But if you want to find me on Instagram, you can find me at M.B.Swartz. My last name SWARTZ. I share a little bit more of my personal adventures.
Scott Brady: And your dog and all the important stuff.
Matt Swartz: Lots of dog photos on there. Yeah. Lots of paragliding stuff.
Scott Brady: And if anybody wants to give Matt feedback or have some ideas for his new build, that's a great way to get a hold of him. You can reach me at Scott.a.Brady on Instagram as well and we will talk to you all next time.