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Monster pickup's kid brother
Navistar's truck unit unveils a slightly smaller, cheaper giant that still towers over competition.
February 10, 2005: 3:57 PM EST
By Chris Isidore, CNN/Money senior writer
The RXT, left, only looks small compared to its big brother CXT.
The RXT, left, only looks small compared to its big brother CXT.
The MXT concept truck, due out in late 2005, would be the smallest of three monster pickups from International.
The MXT concept truck, due out in late 2005, would be the smallest of three monster pickups from International.

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - So you want a monster pickup, something that towers over SUVs and the Hummer H2 -- something that lets you see eye-to-eye with the driver of an 18-wheeler.

But your garage won't hold a nine-foot tall pickup that began life as a cement mixer, and your paycheck can't handle the circa six-figure price tag.

Relax.

International Truck, the unit of Navistar (Research) that debuted the CXT pickup last year, unveiled its slightly smaller, cheaper sibling Thursday -- the RXT.

The CXT gave conspicuous consumption a new set of wheels last year, and ended up being far more popular than even International Truck had hoped.

The company said it expected to sell about 50 of the trucks, and instead has already taken orders for about 200 since the first deliveries in September.

It's now hoping to sell between 500 and 1,000 by the end of 2005. The CXT starts at $93,000 and can cost as much as $115,000 with all the creature comforts a driver would expect in a six-figure vehicle, even one built on a platform originally used for dump trucks and cement mixers.

"We're totally surprised. We didn't know what we had until we started showing it to customers," said Rob Swim, director of vehicle marketing for International. "We thought at first it'd be a commercial vehicle that looked big. We were pleasantly surprised it became more of a status vehicle."

Sales were helped when celebrities such as actor Ashton Kutcher and basketball star Jalen Rose bought the trucks, while other celebrities including Jay Leno took test drives.

The waiting time for CXT can be about four months, depending on the dealer. So International decided to roll out the RXT at the Chicago Auto Show this week, sooner than it originally expected to unveil a second model.

The RXT, due to be available this fall, is built on a platform formerly used by beverage delivery trucks and tow trucks. Both the CXT and RXT are the same 258 inches, or 21.5 feet, long, (only a couple of inches longer than Ford's F-350 Crew Cab), but the RXT is only eight feet tall.

And the RXT's price is expected to be in the $70,000 to $90,000 range, for the monster pickup shopper on a budget.

Mileage estimates are not yet available for the RXT, but don't expect a big improvement from the 7 to 10 miles per gallon the CXT is getting. And all these trucks are diesel only, although a 70 gallon tank should allow drivers go longer between fill ups than drivers of many compact cars.

Empty, the RXT weighs about 10,500 pounds, about two tons less than its big brother. It can carry about five tons in its standard pickup bed, compared to a six-ton hauling capacity for the CXT. But that still gives the RXT the capacity to carry the equivalent of four Mini Coopers. And the RXT's towing capacity is also less, about 9 to 12 tons, compared to 17 to 22 tons for the CXT.

International also showed two concept monster pickups at the auto show. One was the MXT, which is only seven feet tall, or about four inches taller than the Ford Excursion SUV or Hummer H2. The MXT is based on the platform used by military vehicles. Pricing for that model is not yet available, although International expects it to be available in late 2005.

The other concept, the ProjectXT, has such styling features as dual sky glass roof panels and a rear roof spoiler, along with a truck bed that does not have wheel wells. A expected release time is not available for that.  Top of page

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