|Vehicle type||Gang car|
|Body style||4-door pickup truck|
|Capacity||4 (driver and 3 passengers)|
|Appearance(s)||Grand Theft Auto III|
GTA Liberty City Stories
|Related vehicle(s)||Sandking (GTA V)|
The Cartel Cruiser (known simply as Cartel in the non-English versions of the game) is the gang car of the Colombian Mob in Grand Theft Auto III and Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories. This car is the predecessor of the Sandking off-road truck featured in later games.
In general, the Cartel Cruiser is a 4-door pickup truck, resembling a generic 1990s Ford F-Series pickup truck with frontal styling reminiscent of the 1979-1991 Chevrolet Suburban. The Cruiser also features a roll bar in the back, side runners, a blue paint job, and foglights on the grill. Similar to the Forelli Exsess, Sindacco Argento and Yardie Lobo, it does not have a non-gang variant, but its closest non-gang counterpart however is the Bobcat. It is one of the only two 4-door pickup trucks in the 3D Universe.
At one point of game development of GTA III, the Cartel Cruiser was known as the Columbia, which is possibly a reference to the Colombian Cartel's name. The old name is still evidently used in a showcase of the truck at the official Rockstar North website. In the beta, the car was also black.
Powered by Diablo Stallion's turbocharged V8 engine, it is powerful enough to send its all wheel drive system into slides, which is unusual for the GTA III engine. However it suffers from turbo lag, where the car has poor acceleration from a standing start, until the turbo cuts in. This can be heard, when the engine noise becomes louder and more aggressive. At higher revs, it can outrun a Patriot or a Sentinel in a straight line drag race. However, its high center of gravity causes the body to roll in corners. Strangely enough, it has the engine sound of a muscle car, which is unrealistic for such a large vehicle.
In GTA Liberty City Stories, the Cartel Cruiser performs similarly to the one in GTA III, only being much heavier, resulting in a noticeable moderate acceleration. It is also have a more appropriate engine noise, being the same as the Bobcat. Its heavy weight, however makes up for better durability and low center of gravity, thus it has a better handling, stability and traction at high speeds. Unlike the GTA III rendition, rollovers and tailspins are less prone to occur in cornering, making it one of the best drifting cars in the game. It is also capable to ram other cars more easily, due to its aforementioned weight.
- Two of them can be seen and obtained during the mission Bomb Da Base Act II (the only time it will spawn in Portland).
- In the construction site in Fort Staunton, Staunton Island (only until Grand Theft Aero).
- In the Cartel mansion in Cedar Grove, Shoreside Vale.
- Near D-Ice’s phone in Wichita Gardens, Shoreside Vale.
- Driving around Fort Staunton and Cedar Grove.
- Six Cartel Cruisers can be found during the mission The Exchange.
- Can be found as one of the burning vehicles during Firefighter missions.
GTA Liberty City Stories
- Driving around Cedar Grove and Francis International Airport in Shoreside Vale.
- Can be obtained during the missions Panlantic Land Grab and Love on the Run.
- Very rarely spawns in Belleville Park.
- Can be found as a target vehicle in Scooter Shooter.
- It has been speculated that in GTA Liberty City Stories, the Cartel Cruiser was meant to have a same engine sound as the Leone Sentinel and the Sentinel XS, but it is changed to the Taxi's engine sound, as Leone Sentinel's engine sound are considered too speedy for a pickup truck.
- The GTA III rendition's performance seems to be reused for the Sandking.
- The default radio stations for the Cartel Cruiser are:
- The car is apparently inspired from the stereotype of Latin Americans and Middle Eastern, which is typically associated with off-road cars and pickup trucks.
- According to the engine sound, it is strange that in GTA III the car has a vintage engine (carburetor), but in Liberty City Stories it has a modern fuel-injection engine, despite LCS passing in 1998 and III in 2001.
- The GTA Liberty City Stories version is exceptionally durable compared to the GTA III version. It is also the most durable gang car in LCS, together with the Triad Fish Van and the Yakuza Stinger.
- Cavalcade FXT, a somewhat similar SUT in HD Universe, but with more luxurious design and larger engine.
- Patriot, a four-wheel-drive crew cab truck that shares the same vehicle polygon model as the Cartel Cruiser, but different textures, accessories (bumpers and trunk rack), engine, and handling characteristics.
- Contender, another truck in GTA IV which has a similar body design, but not crew cab and is based on a newer model Ford F150.
- Gang Rancher, GTA Vice City Stories counterpart which shares an almost similar performance.
- Sandking and Sadler, GTA V counterpart which is also based on Ford F-Series.
- Bobcat, closest civilian version.