Believe it or not, there is a need for a semi-truck with a pickup bed, and International Truck has not only identified this need, but is pursuing it with the same tenacity that Donald Trump might for large plots of cheap Manhattan real estate or gold digging ex-models half his age. Heck, the paint is barely dry on the hulking four-wheel-drive 2005 International CXT, and already the legendary producer of heavy-duty commercial trucks has a two-wheel-drive version called the RXT slated for production in 2006, and is going to start building the MXT for both military and civilian use starting this fall.
Towing and hauling are the primary reasons to purchase a member of the International XT-Series. For some people, a heavy-duty pickup truck just won’t do, and that’s where International Truck rides to the rescue. Though the diesel engine selections found under the clamshell hoods of the International XT-Series trucks might not match the most powerful Dodge Ram 3500 equipped with a Cummins “610” turbodiesel, the Internationals can tug and tote far more weight and payload because of their massive, commercial-truck frames and components. For example, the Ram 3500 Cummins “610” peaks at a trailer weight of 15,800 pounds. An International CXT, when properly equipped, can move a trailer weighing 44,000 pounds.
By the end of 2006, three International XT pickups will be on sale. The International CXT arrived for 2005, and is a 4WD crew cab pickup with an eight-foot cargo box starting at about $90,000. A 220-horsepower DT466 diesel inline six-cylinder engine peaks at 540 lb.-ft. of torque, and power is managed by an Allison 2500 HS five-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy ranges between 7 and 10 mpg. The International CXT is equipped with antilock air brakes, and is the towing and hauling leader of the bunch with a GVWR of 25,999 pounds and a maximum trailer rating of 44,000 pounds. Next year, the CXT’s engine will develop as much as 310 horsepower for improved performance.
Truck buyers who don’t need 4WD or maximum capabilities can select the less expensive International RXT, which starts at about $70,000. International calls the RXT “sleek and sporty, strong and athletic,” and maybe if we read “Truckin’ Weekly” we’d see how that’s remotely accurate. Flush headlights, a cleaner bumper, and a lower ride height must be what does the trick. Equipped with an eight-foot bed like the CXT, the RXT is very different under the skin. This one has a diesel V8 capable of 230 horsepower and 540 lb.-ft. of torque, shuttled through an Allison 2200 five-speed automatic transmission and capable of achieving as much as 12 mpg. Hydraulic rather than air brakes are used on the International RXT, and this truck is equipped to handle 20,500 pounds GVWR or a trailer weighing up to 24,000 pounds. In the fall, power ratings rise to about 300 horses.
A different beast entirely, the International MXT appears ready to tackle a HUMVEE, chew it up, and spit it out – but in an elegant, post-depression 1930s way. Specifically designed to meet military requirements, the MXT will nonetheless be available to the general public in 2006, which must put a smile on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s mug. The MXT sits low, with a shallow seven-foot bed on the back. Behind the classy chrome grille is a diesel V6 engine making 230 horsepower and 460 lb.-ft. of torque, routing power through an Allison 2000 five-speed automatic. The MXT’s mission evidently doesn’t include significant huffing and puffing, since the GVWR is 18,000 pounds and International didn’t discuss towing capacity.
But wait, there’s more! International also rolled out the Project XT, a concept truck with front driving lights, an integrated pickup bed with flat interior sides, dual cabin skylights, and a rear spoiler that serves to shield rear seat riders from direct sunlight. Under the Project XT’s hood is the 300-horsepower version of the diesel V8 bound for the RXT this fall.
Hey, Dodge, now who’s your daddy?