Categories
Automobiles

Can the US-based Ford Edge conquer premium SUV territory?


It’s the largest-selling crossover SUV in the USA. And it’s crossed over the Pond. But does its presence mean that Ford can actually make inroads into what is already a well-established premium SUV category? We’re aiming to find out.

It certainly has a presence, the Ford Edge. It’s big, in the American full-size mode. There’s that extremely large and confident front grille, the light line running right round the rear; it’s all pretty American, but the rest of the lines look pleasing to a European. And it really is large, being almost exactly the same length as Mercedes’ GLE.

It comes with a choice of two diesels, effectively the same 2.0-litre unit, but with either 178bhp and 295lb ft or, as here, a twin-turbo version with 207bhp and 332lb ft of torque. It’s fitted here with the six-speed Powershift dual-clutch auto transmission and what the company calls ‘intelligent’ all-wheel drive.

It has suspension. That’s about it, so there’s no height-adjusted air suspension, or self-levelling ability if you’re towing or adaptive dampers. There is an option for adaptive steering, although it wasn’t fitted to our vehicle.

On the road the engine works reasonably well but needs to be worked. It’s a heavy vehicle and so it does need to keep working, which it can do. The gearbox isn’t the best as it doesn’t seem to like kicking down or holding a gear long enough when you’re in a hurry-up, but there’s enough power and torque for most normal driving conditions.

Reassuringly for a big SUV, braking is strong. And handling is what you’d expect. This is a big American rig and it’s best when it can roll steadily along, at which point it’s very comfortable indeed. It actually handles quite well, better than the soft suspension would lead you to believe, but it’s hindered by some seriously uncommunicative steering.

The cabin is pretty much what you’d expect too. Which means it doesn’t exactly dazzle a market used to some premium cabins. None of it looks that high quality, and then you start noticing the things you wouldn’t get in say an Audi Q5 like lots of bits of chrome trim with every bit a slightly different shade. However stowage areas are good, with deep everything from cupholders to centre cubby to door pockets.

It’s not just the Slurpees that get the space though. There is tons of room in the Edge, with those in the rear getting some of the largest personal spaces in the sector. Headroom is equally good but compromised by the panoramic sunroof.

There’s plenty of kit in there, including a powered tailgate, DAB, reversing camera, sat nav and heated sports seats among the goodies thrown in. Active and passive safety levels are also high.

The pricing means this is up against smaller SUVs, so it looks better than if it was up against similar sized SUVs. However, you simply can’t disguise that the Edge simply doesn’t match up in areas like the cabin, the dynamic capabilities and sophistication when placed against some of the formidable incumbents in the SUV sector. The Edge is a worthy effort, but it still feels like Ford is consigned to the edge of the SUV market and isn’t yet ready to take centre stage. 

Categories
Automobiles

2016 Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost 100 ST-Line review


Ford is cashing in on the popularity of its Fiesta ST hot hatch by lending its name to this less potent model. It makes a lot of sense

What is it?

A Fiesta with the sporty looks of the ST but without that car’s sparkling performance. As part of a rejig of its award-winning Fiesta line-up, Ford has replaced Zetec S trim with the Ford Performance-inspired ST-Line.

No shrinking violet, ST-Line versions are easy to spot because they wear a full body styling kit, including a rear diffuser and bigger rear roof spoiler, a lip spoiler on the front bumper, a black honeycomb-style grille and dark surrounds for the foglights. Sports suspension that lowers ride height by 10mm and intricate 17in eight-spoke alloys complete the exterior alterations.

On the inside, there are red-stitched sports seats, a leather-clad steering wheel, aluminium pedals and ST-Line kick plates.

There’s slightly less to get excited about when it comes to engine options: initially, there are three versions of the three-cylinder 1.0 petrol unit plus the 94bhp 1.5 TDCi diesel. We tested the entry-level turbocharged Ecoboost petrol, which produces a cost-conscious 99bhp.  

What’s it like?

The racier styling of the ST-Line ups the anticipation before you get behind the wheel. Pushing the start button on the dash is a bit deflating, though, because it results in a weedy sounding trill from the little three-cylinder lump under the bonnet. Still, that’s hardly a surprise. 

Shift the closely spaced five-speed manual gearbox into first and pull away and the disillusionment continues. This ST-Line’s 0-62mph time of 11.2sec isn’t going to get you away from the lights before many other cars. That’s the price you pay for this model’s frugal official combined economy figure of 65.7mpg and its eco-friendly 99g/km of CO2 emissions.

However, there’s more to this little hatch than off-the-mark acceleration. We’ve seen how well this diminutive engine performs in other Fords, including the ST-Line’s predecessor, the Zetec S, in the past few years, so we know it should be good.

True to form, if you crank it up past 1400rpm it starts to zing. Its 125lb ft of torque may not sound like a lot, but it’s enough for the ST-Line to zip around slower moving traffic on urban roads and get up a good head of steam on quiet A-roads.

Working the little powerplant hard makes it sound great, too; it’s not the throaty hum of the ST-Line’s far more potent big brother, the ST200, but it’s a pleasant, whizzy thrum. This is a good thing, as engine noise is the main accompaniment to driving, especially at higher speeds when it blocks out most tyre or wind noise.

The deft handling of the 10mm -owered chassis, the superbly weighted and accurate steering and the short, crisp gearshifts all add to the mix, making the ST-Line a joy to drive. The suspension is a bit softer than that of its brawnier siblings, so it crashes a little less over uneven surfaces, but Ford hasn’t turned the ST-Line into a wallowy soft touch and it still clings to the road with little body lean through bends.

It’s not a perfect package though. Inside, the Fiesta’s switchgear is showing its age compared with newer rivals. The plethora of switches on the dashboard and the tiny, hard-to-read 4.2in TFT infotainment screen look like they should have been put out to pasture a long time ago. At least it has Ford’s SYNC hands-free Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity, so you can call a friend while you spend an entire journey trying to retune the radio.

The amount of black trim is rather overwhelming, too: roof lining, carpets and seats are all black, with only the red stitching on the fabric sports seats adding a splash of colour. And while the seat fabric looks durable, it doesn’t exactly feel premium.

The three-spoke steering wheel clad in soft leather is good to grip though, and some nice touches to the interior feel a bit more special, such as the aluminium pedals and ST-Line kick plates. If you’re after Audi-esque levels of sophistication, however, you should look elsewhere. 

Should I buy one?

If you want to enjoy the looks and superb handling and poise of the Fiesta ST but can’t stretch to its £17,745 starting price or afford its higher running costs, then the £1200-cheaper ST-Line should be on your shortlist.

In 99bhp guise, Ford’s peppy turbocharged 1.0-litre Ecoboost isn’t the swiftest but it is still fun, as well as being light on fuel and emissions. And the ST-Line handles just as well as its hotter ST sibling, so it’s still more fun to drive than a Vauxhall Corsa SRi VX Line or Volkswagen Polo 1.2 TSI.

Ford has recently deleted the two cheapest trim levels from its Fiesta range, so the line-up now starts at £13,395, with the cheapest five-door 1.0 Ecoboost pitching in just below £15,000 in plain Zetec trim. If you factor in the ST-Line’s bodykit, sports suspension and other extra kit, it seems rather good value for around £600 more. It’s also cheaper than a Renault Clio GT-Line or Corsa SRi VX Line. 

Categories
Automobiles

Ford F-150 STX package added to 2017 lineup 


Just like the previous generation, the 2017 Ford F-150 will be available with a new STX package adding numerous exterior and interior features that aren’t offered on base XL models. It can be had from $40,499 in SuperCab configuration.The list of STX extras includes:

20” machined-aluminum wheels;

Black billet-style grille with body-colour surround;

STX Sport Box Decal;

Unique black sport cloth seats with lumbar support;

Flow-through console (with steering column-mounted shifter);

Privacy glass;

8” touchscreen with SYNC 3 and support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto;

And more.

Categories
Automobiles

2017 Ford F-150 Gets Upgraded 3.5-Liter EcoBoost Engine


As reported before, for the 2017 model year, Ford is updating its premium EcoBoost V-6 engine and offering 10 more horse power and 50 pounds-feet more torque compared to the outgoing engine. It’s even more than it was thought, delivering more torque than other half-ton (liking all V-8s) in the sector.

Categories
Automobiles

The Ford Edsel


Almanac: The Ford Edsel –

And now a page from “Sunday Morning” Almanac: September 4th, 1957, 59 years ago today … the day Americans got their first look at a brand new car.

“This is the Edsel … Unlike any other car you’ve ever seen!”

 

 

Named for Henry Ford’s son, who had died years before at the age of 49, the Edsel was the Ford company’s bid to expand market share.

In its TV commercials, Ford showcased the Edsel’s futuristic features, including its push-button steering wheel.

“With Edsel’s exclusive ‘Teletouch’ drive you can shift and turn the wheel more safely and easily than ever before, because both hands remain on the wheel while the Edsel shifts electrically.”

The Edsel rollout was a huge event, featuring a mountain of print ads and TV commercials, and an all-star television spectacular (here on CBS), called “The Edsel Show”:

The jazz-inflected show (featuring Frank Sinatra, Rosemary Clooney, Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong), was produced at CBS Television City and aired on October 13, 1957:

Edsel_ad

Critics mocked the Edsel’s distinctive vertical grille as a horse collar, or worse.

And owners complained of problems with all those space-age features.

Sales fell drastically short of projections, and in the fall of 1959, Ford shut down the Edsel assembly line.

Although collectors and enthusiasts still keep a few Edsels on the road, for most Americans the Edsel remains synonymous with failure … failure on something of a cosmic scale.

Categories
Automobiles

2017 Ford Fusion V-6 Sport First Review


For all its dashing good looks—James Bond would not look out of place in this Aston-faced sedan. 

There is a hybrid and a plug-in hybrid, as well as a trio of 4-cylinders, two of them turbocharged.
With the corporate 2.7-liter EcoBoost under its elegant hood, the Fusion Sport becomes the pacesetter for the entire sedan category.
But horsepower, 268 for the Toyota Camry’s like-sized V6. Fusion’s hottest engine option has been the 240-hp 2.0-liter EcoBoost four.
Borrowing the 2.7 turbo V-6 from the truck inventory (Explorer, F-150) creates a much more vigorous midsize sedan: 325 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque, both arriving at 5,500 rpm.

As you’d expect, an extra 85 horsepower adds considerable urgency to the Fusion’s forward progress. Throttle response is right-now, not a hint of turbo lag. What one might not expect: the Fusion Sport hooks up and leaves the line in a hurry without a hint of wheelspin or torque steer, thanks to standard all-wheel drive.

While the additional haste is welcome, the Sport model’s dynamics are even more impressive—decisive responses to orders from the helm, nicely controlled body motions, impressive grip from a set of all-season performance tires on handsome 19-inch wheels, and, a pleasant surprise bonus, supple ride quality.

Adaptive suspension
The key to the foregoing is Ford’s adaptive suspension—Continuously Controlled Damping—which instantly adjusts to road surface, vehicle speed, cornering loads, steering angle, and severe pavement irregularities such as potholes. Is it as effective as GM’s cutting edge magnetorheological damping system? Without a direct comparison, that would be hard to determine.

But an afternoon of driving some challenging roads in southeast Michigan made it clear that Ford’s system does the job, particularly in Sport mode.

Sport mode is achieved by pushing a button in the center of a new rotary gearshift, like the ones used by Jaguar and Fiat Chrysler vehicles. Pressing that switch makes a number of changes in the Fusion’s operating parameters: the suspension damping stiffens; the engine control computer raises shift points of the 6-speed automatic transmission; the transmission holds shift commands from the paddle shifters up to redline; throttle responses, already prompt, perk up even more; steering effort increases; the exhaust note acquires more authority; and a small tachometer—dormant in ordinary operation—materializes in the instrument display.

The net of all this is a powerful Fusion that shows impressive composure in fast corners, building driver confidence with every turn. The Fusion Sport is quick on its feet, hangs on at high velocities like a bat in a wind tunnel, and responds with enthusiasm in quick maneuvers. Braking is another strong suit, thanks to a more robust system—bigger vented rotors front and rear.

Pros and cons
Weak suits? Not many. The steering, though quick and nicely weighted, could be more informative. Up- and downshifts using the paddle shifters are unhurried—the Fusion Sport 6-speed will never be mistaken for a Volkswagen dual clutch DSG automated manual. And could there be a little less up-and-down suspension motion in Sport mode? Yes, but there’s not really much, and it would probably be reduced at the expense of ride quality, which is very good.

Inevitably, more power from an internal combustion engine inevitably equates with increased fuel consumption—17 mpg city, 26 highway.

And of course the substantial increase in all-around performance includes a corresponding uptick in price. The MSRP for the V-6 Sport, which is on sale now, is $33,475, putting it near the top of the Fusion range. Our test subject, which was enhanced by a number of optional features, stickered at $41,350.

That’s tops among Fusion competitors. On the other hand, this Fusion makes the competition look a little tame, sprinting right to the head of the class—and without sacrificing any of its civilizing traits.

 

Categories
Automobiles

2017 Ford Super Duty says-tanks-a-lot


Did you catch that the new 2017 Ford Super Duty pickup trucks now have more fuel capacity, which will translate into much longer distances between fill-ups? Here’s how Ford has staggered the three sizes of fuel tanks — 29, 34 and 48 gallons — now offered.
Long-bed regular-cab and short-bed or long-bed SuperCab Super Dutys equipped with the gas engine get the 34-gallon tank.

Long-bed regular-cab and long-bed or short-bed SuperCab Super Dutys equipped with a new Power Stroke diesel engine get the 29-gallon fuel tank and the larger 7.5-gallon diesel exhaust fluid tank. Short-bed crew-cab Super Dutys (160-inch wheelbase) with the diesel get the 34-gallon fuel tank and 7.5-gallon DEF tank.

The big news for the heavy-duty segment is that a Super Duty crew cab with the 8-foot bed (F-250, F-350 or F-450) comes standard with a class-leading 48-gallon fuel tank when equipped with either a gas or diesel engine.

And if offering larger fuel tanks isn’t a big enough draw to lure prospective buyers to dealerships, Ford has embarked on a nationwide tour with the new Super Dutys. During stops at 14 cities now through Nov. 13 (Ford says more events may be added), Ford will have Super Dutys and competitive vehicles on hand for visitors to drive, empty and loaded, on test tracks. Ford also will offer demonstrations of the new features on 2017 Super Dutys.
Curious about pricing for the 2017 Super Duty? Check out the chart below. All prices include a $1,195 destination fee.


Categories
Automobiles

New Cars for 2017



Escape: The Blue Oval’s small SUV journeys into 2017 with new front and rear fascias that make it look more like the larger Edge. Inside, there’s a subtle redo that moves the shifter, increases storage space, and brings the latest version of Ford’s Sync infotainment system. The base 2.5-liter four carries over unchanged, but the rest of the engines are new or revised. A turbocharged 179-hp 1.5-liter four-cylinder replaces last year’s 178-hp 1.6-liter four, and the 245-hp 2.0-liter turbo has five more horses and five more pound-feet of torque than before. See test ››
Fiesta: The hatch gets new front and rear styling while the sedan gets only the front-end refresh.
Focus: On the low end, the 123-hp 1.0-liter three-cylinder turbo engine can now be had with an auto. On the high end of the performance spectrum, the 350-hp Focus RS is for sale. Fusion/Energi/hybrid: Now in the middle of its life cycle, Ford’s mid-size sedan receives nearly imperceptible nose and tail jobs plus a refreshed interior. The gas and hybrid powertrains carry over from last year with one exception: the Fusion Sport, which gets a 325-hp 2.7-liter twin-turbo V-6 with 350 pound-feet of torque and standard all-wheel drive. Unfortunately, there’s no manual transmission, but the Sport is likely capable of a five-second run to 60 mph. For those who want more luxury in their Fusion, there’s a new top-trim level called Platinum, which adds quilted leather that’s a dead ringer for the hides in Lincoln’s fancy Black Label vehicles.

F-150: The return of the Raptor is nigh. Available as the four-door SuperCrew or the smaller SuperCab, this dune-jumping, dirt-smashing, high-performance pickup is probably what Robby Gordon drives to the opera. A new 10-speed automatic connects to a heavily revised twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6, promising more than 410 horsepower and more than 450 pound-feet of torque. Lesser F-150s will get the 10-speed automatic but a different version of the redesigned twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6 with 375 horsepower and 470 pound-feet.


F-Series Super Duty: Ford’s heavy-duty mule, the one intended for work, work, and work, is thoroughly redone for 2017. An aluminum body, like that of the F-150, sits atop a stiffened steel frame with beefed-up axles and suspension components. The aluminum cab and box help reduce weight by a claimed 350 pounds. Adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, and lane-departure warning become available. Engine choices remain the same but boast more power. How much more? Ford won’t say, but we expect the standard 6.2-liter V-8 will make more than 385 horsepower and 425 pound-feet of torque. The optional turbo-diesel 6.7-liter V-8 ($8595) makes 440 horsepower and 925 lb-ft of torque. Both engines come with a six-speed automatic.


GT (shown above): Ford’s Le Mans class–winning supercar goes into production in late 2016. The company is still saying the twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6 will make more than 600 horsepower. The almost-entirely carbon-fiber GT will also carry a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and race car–style pushrod suspension.

Categories
Automobiles

Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Allen regarding their F-150 purchase! 


Congratulations to Mr. Richard Allen and Mrs. Kay Allen regarding the purchase of their 2014 Ford F-150! 

Thanks so much for conducting business with Mullinax Ford of Mobile! On behalf of the entire team here we wish y’all the absolute best of luck in the future and sincerely hope that y’all enjoy your ’14 F-150! 

Categories
Automobiles

2017 Ford Expedition Available at Dealerships Now



The 2017 Ford Expedition is available at Ford dealerships now, priced from $47,420. 

That price for the base 2017 Expedition XLT represents an increase of $790 over the 2016 model.
The better-equipped Limited trim level is priced from $56,565, the King Ranch edition starts at $61,135, and pricing for the top-of-the-line Platinum model begins at $64,502, all with destination charge.
Competitors to the Expedition in the full-size SUV market segment include the Chevrolet Suburban, GMC Yukon, Nissan Armada and Toyota Sequoia.
With an all-new Expedition expected for 2018, the 2017 model is primarily a carryover from the previous year, but there are a few changes worth noting.
For example, there’s a new Limited Appearance package that includes 20-inch Magnetic color wheels, grille and mirror caps, as well as a black roof rack and unique door switch plates, instrument panel finish and lower panel finish.
In addition, continuously controlled damping and 22-inch polished wheels are now standard for the Platinum trim level, and Expedition buyers can opt for a new color, White Gold.
The engine in all Expeditions for 2017 remains the twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, which puts out 365 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque and comes mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.
Also standard are such features as 18-inch alloy wheels, LED foglights, running boards, a roof rack, rear parking sensors, rearview camera, air-conditioning, six-way power driver seat, the Ford Sync voice-control system, a 4.2-inch display, Bluetooth connectivity and a six-speaker sound system.
Options abound, including four-wheel drive, a heavy-duty radiator and oil cooler, trailer-towing equipment, power-adjustable heated side-view mirrors, power liftgate, heated and cooled leather-trimmed seats, power-adjustable pedals and steering wheel, and a premium sound system.
Edmunds

says: After a slight refresh last year, the Expedition continues to offer one of the best combinations of size, capability and comfort in the full-size SUV segment.

Categories
Automobiles

 F-150 Wins Hearts of America’s Wealthiest Buyers


The most popular vehicle among the wealthiest Americans is the Ford F-150 pickup truck, according to a new analysis from Edmunds.com.
Though rich buyers can park just about anything in their garages, it turns out that their tastes are not so different from ordinary Americans.

“Affluent buyers are satisfied with the technology, utility and performance that mainstream brands have to offer,” said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds.com executive director of industry analysis.
Other top 10 favorites among buyers with an annual income of $250,000-plus include the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Wrangler, Lexus RX, BMW X5, Ford Explorer, Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot.
Nine of the top 10 most popular vehicles in the top income bracket are trucks or SUVs, compared to six out of 10 for all buyers. More than 53 percent of cars registered to the wealthiest Americans are SUVs, compared to just more than 40 percent of all buyers.

Categories
Automobiles

Right of the bat, the Super Duty’s drivetrain made a big impression. “Keep it in 4 High and drive up the hill,” Ford’s off-road driving expert instructed. I was impressed with the 2017 F-250 Super Duty diesel’s ability to get traction to the ground on the steep ascent—with nary a hint of slip and without low-range gears. Our ride was Ford’s new Super Duty King Ranch Crew Cab 4×4 that sits on a wheelbase of 159.8 inches and tips the scales at over 3 tons.

  
Now, when you can’t see forward on your own anymore, we’ll turn on the 180-degree front camera so you can continue with a clear view. Then stop, engage 4 Low and the e-locker, and you can drive to the crest of the next slope, where we’ll actuate the hill-descent control. Make sure you look at the graphics on the off-road screen to see the truck’s steering angle, wheel placement, and the degrees of slant on the inclinometer. Following that, you can drive as fast as you’d like around the upcoming winding track and through the large mud hole.
  
Yee-haw! Fun? Indeed. Frivolity? To the contrary. This was only one exercise of many that included towing evaluations, maneuverability comparisons while hauling a weighty payload, plus acceleration and braking assessments against competitors. It was part of a two-day deep dive into Big Truck waters that have been stirred and shaken by Ford’s all-new-from-the-ground-up 2017 Super Duty. The magic in the miracle of our slo-mo crawl and high-speed prowess? A massive 925 lb-ft of torque under our belly—the segment’s best. Then again, the pickup’s updated gasoline engine and its best-in-class 430 lb-ft completed the course with ease as well.
  
  
  
  
Pickups are big business and the largest of the land. Ford’s Super Duty, GM’s Silverado/Sierra HDs, and Ram’s HDs are in a perennial war of numbers that rivals the battle to become the U.S. president. This fight is purely political for some buyers with party or brand loyalty, but for the truck purveyors, bragging rights and ways to win votes are centered on supremacy of sales, peak payload, and top-most towing.
Ford rules when it comes to numbers: Since 1998, when the Blue Oval launched this line of heavy dutys for the ’99 model year, Ford has sold more than 12.5 million F-Series pickups (including the smaller F-150) and moved more than 460,000 in the first half of 2016. These sales numbers have given Ford bragging rights for 39 years. As for the Super Duty, it claims more than 40 percent of country’s heavy-duty market share, according to Doug Scott, Ford’s Truck Group marketing manager.
The revamped pickup is built with high-strength, military-grade aluminum alloy topside and high-strength steel underneath, netting a weight savings of up to 350 pounds. Engineers reinvested the weight, adding more robust components that have paid the dividend of increased towing and hauling ability, and boosted horsepower and torque by augmenting the gnarly bits, including the driveline, chassis, and suspension, to support the increases. The pickup now beats the competition with a collection of best-in-class numbers and technologies. Other significant upgrades are a new transfer case, larger DEF tank capacity (7.5 gallons), plus bigger axles and brakes and larger fuel tanks on the heftiest models.
The all-new, fully boxed frame is more than 95 percent high-strength steel and up to 24 times stiffer than the previous version, while the aluminum-alloy body shared with the all-new 2016 F-150 has proven to be more dent and ding resistant than the steel body it replaces. In a move of efficiencies, Super Duty shares the half-ton’s cab from the A-pillar rearward and wears a familiar family face up front.
  
We drove a variety of the trucks and found the 6.2-liter V-8 gasoline (it’s E85 Flex Fuel capable with CNG/propane prep) as likeable when towing a 10,000-pound trailer as the surprisingly quiet, second-gen 6.7-liter Power Stroke Turbo Diesel V-8 (B20 biodiesel capable). Both are mated to a Torq Shift six-speed auto transmission, which is a new version on F-250 models and carryover on others.
Three new driver assistance features added a wow factor while making the truck feel safer and lighter on its feet: adaptive cruise, which controls acceleration and slows to keep pace with traffic using preset distances and adding brake support, even when tugging a trailer weighing more than 32,500 pounds; adaptive steering, which reduces steering input needed for slow speed, smooths steering at higher speeds, and is especially helpful for towing stability arching the truck and trailer on a straighter cornering line; and the Blind Spot Information System with trailer coverage, which uses sensors in the outside mirrors to provide cross-traffic alerts and detect objects behind your truck and trailer.
Among the positive takeaways from our drive were the ease of access to get in and out of the truck with deployable running boards, the ergonomics of reaching pedals (adjustable pedals are available but not needed, even for our 5-foot-2-inch driver) as well as controls and knobs (they’ve been designed for use with gloved hands), and the comfort of the upgraded interior with multi-contoured seats that kept us snug through all our evaluations—unlike some of the competitors’ seats.
  
Our top surprise and delight features are a collection of new technologies for those who tow. There are seven cameras available for driving guidance, including a 360-degree view; some will direct you to a perfect hook up of your gooseneck or fifth-wheel trailer. Side-view mirror cameras and rear cameras work in tandem to project images on your interior monitor or provide information from the “smart towing assistance technologies,” Jackknife Warning, and Straight Line Backup Guidance, which has a dynamic steering wheel icon with arrows to indicate the direction of turn. You too can be an expert at the boat ramp, horse show, or RV campground.
Another feature of note: The truck’s trailering platform extends under the frame of the truck, eliminating the need for a weight-distributing hitch; it will now accommodate large boat trailers and pintle hitches, with the added bonus of new 2- and 2.5-inch receiver inserts included and nestled into the 3-inch receiver.
The new Super Duty comes with three cab choices, five trims, and several frames, engines, and drivelines. “There are up to one billion configurations,” said Scott. “More buyers choose 4WD and diesel powerplants, and the trend today is toward more upscale trims, as our buyers use their trucks for work but are seeking comfort and luxury, so we have tried to accommodate their needs. We even have buyers that still want a manual transfer-case shifter and manual locking hubs and, although that’s a small percentage, we have made a model available for them. But, the number one purchase decision for our buyers is towing. Nine of 10 buyers use their truck to tow.”
  
While the F-Series truck dates to 1948, as a stand-alone model line, the 2017 Ford Super Duty is the fourth-generation Super Duty to join the F-150 lineup in 1998. It was engineered with different mechanics and designed with unique cosmetics, whereas today’s new truck borrows the cab and many of the winning technologies and features from the smaller pickup. It will be built at Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant. The gauntlet has been thrown.
17 for ’17: New class-exclusive features
1. Adaptive cruise control and collision warning with brake support
2. Adaptive steering
3. Blind Spot Information System with trailer coverage
4. BoxLink with premium locking cleats
5. Factory-installed customer-placed trailer camera
6. Inflatable rear outboard safety belts
7. Multi-contour front seats with Active Motion®
8. Power-deployable running boards
9. PowerScope power-telescoping and power-folding trailer tow mirrors
10. Remote tailgate release with power lock
11. Standard flat load floor on SuperCab and Crew Cab
12. Stowable loading ramps
13. SYNC 3
14. Tailgate step
15. Trailer Reverse Guidance16. Trailer tire pressure monitoring system
17. Utility lighting system (LED side-mirror spotlights)

  
 2017 Ford F-Series Super Duty Specifications
 

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

Categories
Automobiles

2017 Ford F-150: Trouble For Ram EcoDiesel?


2017 Ford F-150: Trouble For Ram EcoDiesel?

 

The three top-selling vehicles in the US are full-size pickups. At number one if the Ford F-150 which wins based on appeal as a fuel efficient heavy worker, while at number two is the tech-forward Chevrolet Silverado. At third is the Dodge Ram 1500, special on the merit of its EcoDiesel engine.

Blue Oval boasts excellent fuel economy on its marque truck, but because it runs on gas and nothing else the Ram 1500 tops it in mileage. Whereas the F-150 attains 23mpg combined, the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel does 25mpg combined.

At around 21mpg, the Silverado unfortunately doesn’t come close, in spite of boasting a Duramax diesel variant. Apart from the three best-sellers, the Toyota Tundra manages only 17mpg combined.

It appears that Ford could take on the Ram EcoDiesel at its own game and come out a winner, if the rumor of a 3.0L diesel arriving for the 2017 F-150 proves to be true.

That’s because Blue Oval has been going all-in with fuel economy improvements, unlike the FCA truck, from adopting a fully aluminum construct to the introduction of a new ten-speed auto transmission. Surpassing 25mpg combined shouldn’t be an issue for a diesel F-150.

Categories
Automobiles

Ratings and Review: 2016 Ford F-150


  
You’re looking at the new 2016 Ford F-150 Limited, a pricey pickup truck built for work, for play, and for luxuriating. 

  
MSRP
$26,540

ENGINE

3.5-liter EcoBoost V6

POWER

365 hp., 420 lb.-ft. of torque

You work hard. You play hard. Perhaps you’re lucky enough to do both at the same time. Working hard and playing hard sometimes requires the transport and use of heavy, bulky gear. For that, nothing else matches the functionality of a full-size pickup truck, and no other light-duty pickup matches the breadth and depth of the 2016 Ford F-150 lineup.
That’s the opinion, anyway, of one easily drawn after spending a week behind the wheel of the new luxury-themed F-150 Limited, which priced out at $66,810.
Sorry. Didn’t mean to make you choke, or spit out whatever might have been in your mouth.

While that might be a kingly sum, keep in mind that Ford offers the F-150 in a seemingly endless array of cab styles, bed lengths, and powertrain choices. A basic F-150 XL with a regular cab, a short bed, and rear-wheel drive starts at less than $28,000, including the $1,195 destination charge. The ritzy Limited version stands at the opposite end of the F-150 spectrum and is, for all intents and purposes, a luxury vehicle.
Still, despite its layer of luxe, the F-150 Limited retains the essential function and utility that defines a pickup truck. Even without all of the extras, and by both my own evaluative yardstick and the relevant numbers, any F-150 in any form has what it takes to beat the competition.
Design: 9.0 rating

  
Decked out with 22-inch wheels and satin finish trim, the F-150 Limited unmistakably resides atop the F-150 trim level ladder. 

In many ways, designers of pickup trucks have a simpler task than those penning other kinds of vehicles. Trucks need not boast saucy curves or sharp creases, nor must they project an air of speed and affluence. Pickup trucks simply need to embody an image of strength and toughness, while burnishing a brand’s image.
The latest Ford F-150, redesigned for the 2015 model year, manages to hit all the right stylistic notes, equipped with an enormous, monolithically constructed façade amplified by my test vehicle’s standard 22-inch aluminum wheels. The Limited trim level also wears a multitude of satin-finish trim elements that whisper the clear dialect of sophistication.

Inside, most of the F-150 Limited’s materials were prettily wrought. Rich, caramel-colored leather complemented by matte-finish eucalyptus wood trim looks terrific, and aluminum accents and piped floor mats add further flair to the cabin.
Though clearly upscale, the F-150 Limited is no precious snowflake. Aside from the surface trimmings, the interior materials look and feel tough, built more for durability than for luxuriance. While the ambiance is different from that of a lavish SUV or sedan that is built mostly for sybaritic pleasures, there’s no denying that the F-150 Limited’s cabin is deluxe.
Comfort: 9.5 rating
  
Covered in Mojave leather, which describes the color and not the material, the F-150 Limited’s front seat are heated, ventilated, and contain massagers that are perfect for long road trips.

Despite the rough-and-tumble purpose of a pickup truck, the 2016 Ford F-150 proves remarkably civilized for running everyday errands in a suburban setting.
While its high ride height and tall ground clearance makes getting inside a bit of a task, thanks to its power deploying running boards my two young kids were able to clamber into the cabin with quite a bit of satisfaction. At night, ambient lighting illuminates the ground beneath the doors, so it’s easy to avoid stepping in something unsavory.
Once you’ve climbed aboard, the Limited model’s standard SuperCrew cab configuration provides a cavernous interior. Settle in to the nicely bolstered and supportive front bucket seats, equipped with 10-way power adjustment for an ideal perch. Limited models come with standard heated and ventilated seats, and both the driver and passenger are pleased to discover their multi-contour massaging function. Three adults can easily ride abreast on the rear bench seat, and room for legs, feet, shoulders, hips, and elbows is quite generous. Air conditioning vents, a three-prong power outlet, and heated outboard seats make calling “shotgun” a needless exercise.

Controls: 9.0 rating

  
Clearly upscale yet rugged and ready, the F-150 Limited’s dashboard provides a simple, logical, and easy-to-use control layout. 

Pickup trucks must convey strength and rugged capability both inside and out, and despite the F-150 Limited’s layer of luxury fittings, the dashboard’s bold and bulging if wonderfully symmetrical design elements are a success.

Through that symmetry, it is obvious that Ford put quite a bit of thought into the F-150’s control layout. They are easy to find. They are easy to understand. And they are easy to use. If I question the company’s approach, it would be with regard to sizing and arrangement of some secondary functions, which do not appear to be operable while wearing a set of work gloves.

Perhaps best of all, for the 2016 model year, Ford has done away with the oft-criticized MyFord Touch infotainment system and replaced it with a new Sync 3 setup. Other touches that owners are sure to appreciate include a button near the rearview mirror that operates the power sliding window behind the rear seat, and an available tailgate release system to better facilitate loading and unloading.

Utility: 9.5 rating

  
Optional cargo bed step deploy just forward of the F-150 Limited’s rear wheels, making it easier to secure cargo. 

Planning a move? Doing a little furniture shopping? The first person you call for help is the one with the pickup truck.

Should that person show up driving a Ford F-150, especially one wearing “LIMITED” lettering on the hood, you can trust that it can tackle up to 1,720 pounds of payload inside of its short, 5-foot 7-inch cargo bed. Optional cab side steps and an integrated tailgate step will make loading and unloading even easier. Alternatively, connect a trailer and haul almost six tons of weight thanks to the 11,800-lb. trailer rating*.

Aside from traditional truck capabilities, the F-150 Limited supplies an incredible amount of storage inside the cab. The center console accommodates a laptop computer and then some, and the glove box is huge as well. You’ll find plenty of storage areas in which to keep your phone and other belongings, while water bottles and other detritus can be placed within the stacked bins and trays embedded into the door panels. 

If you need a sizable amount of covered, locked, weather-proof storage, flip the SuperCrew’s rear seat cushion up and slide bulky cargo into the rear of the truck’s cab. Ford has also designed the rear seat to accommodate smaller items beneath the bottom cushion when they’re in use by passengers.
Technology: 8.0 rating

  
In the 2016 F-150, Ford offers a new infotainment system called Sync 3. A new Pro Trailer Backup Assist system is also available, seen here as the knob directly below the 4WD system controls to the left of the climate system. 

As previously reported, the F-150 gets a new Sync 3 infotainment system for 2016. Ford says it is faster, easier to use, more modern in terms of its appearance and functionality, and is designed to accept easy software updates via an external Wi-Fi source. Launch the navigation system, and Sync 3’s capacitive touch display screen allows you to swipe and zoom the map to your heart’s content.

Ford’s claims of improvement are accurate, and I find Sync 3 to be far superior to the old MyFord Touch system. I especially appreciate the Siri Eyes Free compatibility. However, what’s missing is smartphone projection technology in the form of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. After my test drive and before this review was published, Ford officially announced that these features would be offered for 2017, and can retroactively be installed in older models with Sync 3 as long as the owner buys a hardware upgrade and performs a software upgrade.

Ah, remember the good old says, when a transfer case shifter was the most confusing thing about your truck?

Another new technology for 2016, the available Pro Trailer Backup Assist system is designed to help F-150 owners to reverse a trailer. It works in conjunction with the F-150’s available front and rear parking sensors and autonomous parking assist steering technology in order to simplify the process of getting a trailer backed in to where you want it to go. The driver twists a knob on the dashboard, using it to “steer” the trailer in the intended direction, and the hands-free steering assist takes care of the rest.

Another parking assistance feature, a 360-degree, top-down camera system with a split-view display, is also available for the F-150. It stitches together images gathered from four cameras located at each corner of the truck in order to create a top-down view of the F-150 and its surroundings. The driver can also use the forward cameras to “see” around blind corners, such as when exiting an alleyway.

Especially as pertains to the F-150 Limited, we’ve just scratched the technological surface here. Rest assured that the F-150 is one of the most technologically advanced vehicles in its segment.

Safety: 8.0 rating

  
Once Ford offers an automatic emergency braking system for the F-150, it will ace all crash tests. In the meantime, know that this modern pickup truck has been engineered for top crash protection. 

Because Ford does not offer an automatic emergency braking system for the F-150, this full-size truck just misses top safety ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). It does earn high marks across the board from the NHTSA. 

Almost certainly, the company will take steps to rectify this omission for 2017. I mean, the F-150 already has an available forward collision warning system, allowing it to qualify for a “Top Safety Pick” designation. The problem is that the F-150’s brake support technology applies full braking force only when the driver actively uses the brake pedal. It is not an automatic braking system, which is required to earn a “Top Safety Pick+” rating.

As far as other driver assistance systems are concerned, I was happy to see the inclusion of a reversing camera, a blind spot warning system, and a rear cross-traffic alert system. Even with its humongous windows and oversized mirrors, the F-150’s blind spots are sizable. Other than a brief fling to see how it worked (fine, by the way), I did not keep the truck’s lane departure warning and lane keeping assist systems engaged.

With Sync Bluetooth connectivity, Ford also includes an emergency 911 Assist feature as standard equipment. It does not require a subscription. All you need is a paired smartphone to be aboard the truck at the time the airbags deploy, and to have the 911 Assist feature turned on. Meeting those two qualifications provides an automatic alert to rescuers following a crash.

Discussed previously, additional driver assist technologies include the F-150’s availableActive Park Assist and Pro Trailer Backup Assist systems. I used neither, but can understand how they are useful and appreciate their availability. Your mileage may differ.

Power and Performance: 9.3 rating
 
People who do not believe that a twin-turbocharged V6 engine can tackle the same workload and deliver the same acceleration as a traditional V8 simply have not test-driven a Ford F-150 with the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6. 

Haters gonna hate, and there were plenty of doubters when Ford announced that some of the most capable versions of its iconic full-size pickup would be motivated by a twin-turbocharged V6 engine. Naysayers, you shall be silenced if ever you exercise your right foot upon an accelerator pedal connected to the F-150’s 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6.

Tromp on the gas, and its 365 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 420 lb.-ft. of torque starting from 2,500 rpm is immediately evident, revealing no traceable turbo lag. A 6-speed automatic transmission is standard, a four-wheel-drive system is optional, and whenever you accelerate, the engine and exhaust notes are a delight.

Is it quick? Oh yes. In fact, independent publications have pegged this engine to move the F-150 from zero to 60 mph in just over six seconds.

Of course, the more you exercise the truck, or take advantage of its towing and hauling capabilities, the lower your fuel economy results will be. Still, despite regularly engaging in the thrill of stabbing the go-pedal, I managed to extract 16.7 mpg during testing, nearly matching the EPA’s official estimate of 17 mpg in combined driving.
Ride and Handling: 9.0 rating

  
Equipped with a powerful engine, huge wheels and tires, and a stiff chassis, the Ford F-150 Limited is great to drive no matter the situation.

By the very definition of their purpose, pickup trucks have higher centers of gravity and are tuned to account for vast differences in payload and weight distribution, depending on the task at hand. I will be honest. Aside from driving this truck with up to five people aboard, I did not use the F-150 as God and Dearborn intended.

As such, and keeping in mind the truck’s giant 22-inch wheels and tires, I found the F-150’s handling impressive. The connected ride, heavy but precise steering, and responsive brakes provide a level of handling capability unusual for this type of vehicle.

Unloaded, the F-150’s ride was occasionally choppy, depending on the road surface. With five adults aboard, things smoothed out a bit. Either way, nobody would characterize the F-150 Limited as a buckboard.

Even when traveling the serpentine canyon roads on one portion of my test loop, the F-150’s driving dynamics supplied uncanny composure and encouraged unrivaled confidence. Obviously, this big truck is not a sports sedan, and you can’t toss it into a corner with wild abandon. With that said, the F-150 Limited manages a series of switchbacks with a minimum of drama.

Driving along the clogged arteries also known as Southern California’s freeway system, as you look down at the relatively miniscule crossovers and minivans ahead and in adjacent lanes, you realize how big, tall and wide the Ford F-150 is. Still, in cramped urban parking situations, this truck is easier to wheel and more nimble than you might expect.

Recommendation

  
Meryl Streep is renowned because she’s an exceptional actress and works hard at her craft. “Game of Thrones” is popular because it tells an undeniably compelling story. And the Ford F-150 is America’s best-selling truck because tows, hauls, and performs like no other in its segment. Better yet, this Ford pick-‘em-up also proves eminently enjoyable to use and drive on a daily basis, especially when it’s decked out in sumptuous F-150 Limited specification.
Total Vehicle Score:177/200 points
Overall Vehicle Rating: 8.9

Categories
Automobiles

The Ford F-150 Was Practically Born To Tow: Ad Break


The current, thirteenth-generation Ford F-150 full-size pickup has more towing-friendly features and capability than any Ford F-150 before it.
Ford is out to prove just that with this latest advertisement, published to YouTube earlier today. In it, we get demonstrations of the latest Ford F-150’s arsenal of advanced towing features, including Dynamic Hitch Assist and Pro Trailer-Backup Assist. The former uses the truck’s rearview camera feed and graphical overlays to help the driver position his or her trailer hitch while backing up to a trailer. This means that the driver can effectively, reliably hitch a trailer to the Ford F-150 even without guidance from a buddy, or an annoyed and possibly malevolent offspring.
Pro Trailer-Backup Assist, winner of a 2016 “Best of Innovation Award” from the Consumer Technology Association, allows a driver to singlehandedly place a trailer in reverse by using a twistable knob to shift the trajectory left or right. The Ford F-150, being the smart bit of machinery that it is, automatically manipulates the steering wheel to get you there without jackknifing.

What do (assumed) real-life drivers think of the 2016 Ford F-150’s stellar towing amenities? Watch the ad to find out.