"Cool Dads" with New SUT Concept
01-04-04 22:00 PT
hoping to continue its strategy of delivering popular new vehicles while
rounding out its model lineup when it produces an all new sport utility
truck for the 2005 model year. The four-door mid-size pickup was previewed
today as a lightly disguised concept vehicle at the North American International
Auto Show in Detroit.
aiming its SUT at "cool dads" - young fathers with 9-to-5 jobs
and growing families that like to tear it up on the weekends with their
ATVs and jet skis.
to Dave Marek, lead SUT designer, the "front half of the vehicle
is responsible and safe. The back half is the hobby, gear hauling part
of the vehicle that you can get dirty and not mess up the interior."
executive vice president of American Honda Motors, says this SUT "reflects
a growing diversity in the way trucks are being used and viewed by American
consumers, many of whom are looking at trucks not as work vehicles but
instead as products to support their active lifestyles."
Colliver also adds that Honda is, "not really targeting traditional
domestic truck buyer with this [vehicle]."
it's definitely not.
trucks Honda has been selling in the US for the past decade use unibody
construction, not the well entrenched body-on-frame design most other
truck manufacturers use and this truck will continue to do the same. The
benefit is an integrated cab and bed that give the SUT additional torsional
stiffness and rigidity and a more car-like ride.
also features stereo speakers integrated into the bed and full time all-wheel-drive.
the interior a "Mad Max" environment that uses geometric shapes
and metal surfaces to convey power and symmetry. A large, rectangular
IP houses a huge speedometer and data display screen. The seats are styled
like roll bars and Maglite flashlights have been integrated into the front
door linings. Climbing rope is used to hold items in the seat back pockets.
The SUT concept
is powered by the same six cylinder, high output engine the Honda Pilot
uses but Honda claims the production SUT will have more horsepower and
torque than the 240hp and 242lb-ft the Pilot is currently rated at.
says towing is estimated to be 4000-5000 lbs but didn't disclose payload
figures for the 5-foot long cargo box.
of the box, Honda still has some lessons to learn about pickups.
The bed rails
angle back from the c-pillar with a rakish slope. While this gives the
SUT a nice stance and aggressive appearance - that's actually remarkably
similar to the Chevrolet Avalanche's profile - the height of the rails
near the cab is close to that of a full-size pickup. Combined with flared
wheel wells, this makes it extremely difficult to reach into the back
of the bed to get at whatever gear you are hauling. There's a reason why
truck bed rails run flat the length of the box.
says Honda expects produce 40,000-70,000 SUT units annually at its Alliston,