Category Archives: Ford

Vehicles from the Ford Motor Company

The Lumbering Brute – 2019 Ford F-150 Raptor

A Queer4Cars Video will be coming on the Ford Raptor

Ford Raptor Pickup in velocity BlueHave you ever watched a muscle-bound guy walk into a gym full of other muscular men?  It is done with a swagger and an air of confidence. That is much how the 2019 Ford Raptor rolls down the road, as it shows off its buff and very well-defined body.  This boy has some serious tats too on his defined body.  We took it on the road for a week to see what he could do. Sadly our trip did not include any off-road adventure. Though the thought of cleaning this bulky pickup with its bulging fenders afterward might have been a deterrent.

2019 Ford Raptor Pickup in Velocity BlueIt was those well-defined bulges in the body parts that kept making me think that there were dents in the truck after parking it in a parking lot. But nope, that is part of the overall design of this aluminum-bodied beast. The Raptor Exterior Graphics Package graphics – tats – are a $1,075 option that has ink all over the pickup bed and cab body, even on the taillights. But they were telling you that it has extra safety sensors built-in.

Is this F-150 Different From The Others?

Ford Raptor Pickup with Chevrolet SilveradoIndeed, it is! In all the Raptor is an F-150 on steroids, so it is bigger than a standard pickup truck. Size-wise it is on par with the Super Duty F250 pickups on the road. With Raptor there is just more of everything.

Ford Raptors Fox Shocks     The suspension is beefed-up and lifted with Fox Live Valve shocks and skid plates. The Raptor has Ford’s Elect 4X4 shift on the fly with hill descent and off-road mode, and a terrain management system. While the engine is a Raptor unique 3.5 Ecoboost High Output, twin-turbo. Raptor rolls on knobby 17-inch BF Goodrich KO All Terraine TA Tires on Ford RaptorLT315/70R17 BF Goodrich TA KO Baja Champion Tires. That can be set up, so they stay on the rim even if you pressure down the tires for climbing over rocks and rougher terrain.

Our test vehicle was the SuperCrew® though I hear the shorter SuperCab is what is thought to make this a rig even tougher looking. Both cab versions come with short a 5 ½ foot pickup bed.  No matter what size the cab is, the interior was exceptionally well designed and finished. The red ring on the top center of the leather-covered steering wheel was a nice touch, especially in the blue accent interior with the Recaro blue accent front seats. 

Driving the Raptor

20190825_153001Indeed it is big, you are high up, with a commanding view of all around you. From the moment you make that big step (and it is a big one) up onto the black cast Aluminum Raptor designated running board. Over the Ford Performance doorsill, and slip into the cab’s blue suede-like Recaro seat with the Raptor insignia on the headrest, you know this is not just a run of the mill F-150.

20190819_103606The Baja-bred F-150 Raptor is fine on a typical paved road, though the 17-inch BFG KO tires give a rougher ride than if were on an all seasons or even winter tires.  And tires like this are a part of the overall image of a go-anywhere, do-anything off-road capable truck.

The full-size 4-door Raptor SuperCrew® comes 20190826_084029standard with the extended-range 36-gallon fuel tank; an option on all other models. I finally figured out how to use Ford’s remote start system that comes as part of the $9,365 802A equipment package. (you have to lock it first then hit the start button, even if it is already locked. Know that once inside, you have to turn it off and turn it on again.)  This package has a lot of desirable features that include the B&O™ Premium Sound 20190825_183547System by Bang & Olufsen.  Creating a customized audio experience by incorporating specifically tailored speaker placement, tuning, and calibration for this vehicle. Among its features are an integrated microphone monitoring background noise to ensure outstanding playback, up to 1,000 watts of amplified power, and 10 premium speakers.  You get several other niceties, from LED Bed lighting to voice-activated navigation and a heated steering wheel, to name only a few.

Raptor’s Powertrain

20190825_153203Unique to the Raptor is a twin-turbo, intercooled DOHC 24-valve, 3.5L EcoBoost® with port fuel and direct injection system and Ford’s Electronic 10-speed automatic. This high-output EcoBoost generates more power than the previous 6.2L V8 – 450 horsepower and 510 lb.-ft. of torque, and provides better overall fuel economy, we got just under 20 mpg overall.

20190825_183525F-150 EcoBoost® and the advanced 10-speed automatic transmission delivered perfectly acceptable performance in low and mid ranges of the powerband with enhanced acceleration provided plenty of performance and power when needed.  The selectable modes: Normal, Tow-Haul, Snow-Wet, EcoSelect, and Sport provide plenty of options no matter where you are driving, or what the conditions might be.

Hauling and Towing

20190826_084935Our unit had the $595 tough-bed spray-in Bedliner as well as the included Box Link™ system that offers a flexible, configurable way to secure items in the pickup bed. This tester was equipped with the $375 Tailgate Step with Tailgate Lift Assist an F-150 class-exclusive feature. That made getting up into the bed easier, though still a darn big first step up.

20190825_152921While this is designed as a sport truck, it does have an 8000 lb tow capacity. With BLIS trailer tow monitoring, trailer sway control, integrated trailer brake control, and Pro trailer backup assist, you have a lot to help out if you do end up hauling something.

Overall Opinion

20190826_084116This is definitely a Playboy Truck that will garner plenty of attention and comments.  It is a fun one to drive, and you need to have space for it. It barely fit in my parking space.

The Raptor is showy, and it is quite popular even at a final sticker $74,955. If you want one, they are out there, you will have to negotiate your own discounts with a dealer who has one and wants to sell it.

20190826_084335Would I buy it? As much as I enjoyed my week in it, for my lifestyle, no.  Though if I lived in the mountains or out in the country and had a barn to park it in, maybe. But as just a work pickup, probably not.  You just do not want to get it dirty or damage it.

20190826_084055I thank Ford Motor Company and North American Vehicle Services for providing this truck for my week in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  They provided the truck and a full tank of fuel, but no compensation for this review.

 

William West Hopper, VIP Tour Guide at the 2019 Washington DC Auto Show. Photo by Bonnie M. Moret

Words and images by William West Hopper.

Mr. Hopper is a lifelong auto enthusiast. As a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association – WAPA he currently serves as their President. Mr. Hopper is also a member of The International Automotive Press Association IMPA.

All opinions are his own.

Advertisements

America’s Original Pony Car – Ford Mustang

Ford Mustang Bullitt MP002 Experience on the Queer4Cars YouTube Channel

We got to take a 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt on the road for a week, here is our story:

Front of Ford Mustang Bullitt MP002 at the American Muscle Mustang Show 2019

The energy and momentum are strong for the American Original Pony Car, the Ford Mustang and nowhere more pronounced than at a gathering of Mustang enthusiasts like the American Muscle 2019 Mustang Gathering held at Maple Grove Dragway in Berks County Pennsylvania.

American Muscle Mustang Man 2019This annual event has been running for a dozen years, and while it is produced by an aftermarket product supplier, American Muscle, you would think it would be all about selling stuff. While there is plenty of commerce going on, it is more of a backdrop to the role that the enthusiasts play, and it is all done with the focus on the Make A Wish Foundation. With more than three thousand Mustangs on hand, mostly late-model, but a few of the 1980’s forward. And only a handful of earlier generation models in the display parking fields, you can feel the love that each owner has in their vehicle.

Ford Mustangs at American Muscle Mustang Show 2019

American Muscle is the perfect spot to learn more about the owner culture, and Ford put me in a 2019 Mustang Bullitt to attend the event, which resulted in Specialty Parking Pass, so we were right up front and center of this festival of pony cars. Here the Dark Highland Green V8 powered muscle machine was surrounded by thirty or so highly vetted Mustangs each selected because of their outstanding features, that only true aficionados recognized. We were parked in the middle of the carnival mid-way between the Dyno Runs, and the drag strip, and just down from the vendor booths and on the way to the food lane.

Something that was not surprising is that Mustang owners are very particular who works on their car. Ford Motor Company shared with us that it is very hard to get owners to even bring their Mustang in for the airbag recall as they are concerned about damage to their car.

Front of Ford Mustang Bullitt MP002 at the American Muscle Mustang Show 2019

I found that the owners of these vehicles are friendly and willing to share tips and show off their modifications, some vendor purchased, some like the GT350 next to me, whose bearded owner was so concerned that his air filter would get debris in the creases, he carefully planned and quite professionally fitted pantyhose around it. I kidded him throughout the day about his Pantyhose Performance Upgrade.  He admitted he was to shy to buy the nylons himself, so he sent his girlfriend to Walmart with very specific instructions on brand and color to buy.  After that, I saw other applications of air filter covers that were nowhere near as neat and clean. And it prompted me to look at the filter on MP002; it was a good thing I did not open the hood at the show, it would have been embarrassing as its filter was not debris free.

Justin Dugan from American Muscle with Mustang Owners

Who are the owners of Mustangs?

Well, they are as American as the original pony car itself.  Being summer, this event was not any different than being at the local sandlot baseball diamond or neighborhood park for basketball. Mustang Owners are as American as they come, Canadian too. They traveled from all over for this single model gathering, just to be with each other. While the auto enthusiast community tends toward the male, there was no shortage of women in attendance, and with their cars — all age groups, just about as much of the melting pot that is the USA.

Ford Mustangs of every color at American Muscle Mustang Show 2019

Mustangs of Every color, and trim level.

Special award opportunities with several judged classes, as well as the chance to put private vehicles on the Dyno to see if the work over the winter and those mods had increased horsepower.  The drag strip where both parade laps and hot laps were a part of the scene. Event non-Mustang, Jet Engine dragsters loudly blew down the strip at great speed.

American Muscle Mustang Show 2019 had an amazing amount of bargains

Shopping, Shopping, Shopping

Vendors of every kind that cater to enthusiasts of the Mustang, from wheels, and suspension to exhaust and other specialty parts. Tee-shirts to tires. American Muscle had a huge tent that featured its scratch and dent, or one of a kind items in classic flea market setting. Piled high on tables for people to paw through looking for that special bargain. A buddy of the owner of the GT500 parked next to me came back announcing a great deal on tires and wheels, and they debated if indeed he should spend for a set when he had the stock set in his garage.  I still have my eye on an American Muscle Stick Shift T-Shirt, that I should have bought while there, as the price was better than it is to be bought online and shipped.

 

 

 

Why Ford Mustang?

The Mustang was a major twentieth-century turning point from a post-war automotive world. That sent those who bought one headed into what would become the space age. Back then, the young demographic coming of age was looking for their car, not one with fins or holes in its side, like their parents. They were looking for a sportiness that provided them seating four with enough room to carry something in the trunk.  Ford had eked out an unattractive low-end uninspired compact car for the masses as the decade began, with a slightly more modern chassis and power plant. Simple and cheap to operate this became the base on which those first Mustangs were built on.

As the decade marched on, and the modern war in Viet Nam became its signature, the Mustang became an escape for many who wanted something with power and sport styling. By the end of the decade, Mustang muscles bulged in size and horsepower. With the early 70’s they were large and all-powerful competing with the Camaro, AMX Javelin, and numerous Dodge and Plymouth muscle cars. Peculiar foreign cars were now starting to take the eye to get a strong foothold on US shores. What grew more than anything else was the car culture, with cars, were becoming stars in their own right. And on the big screen, they played a role equal to that of the male star. Men found that being identified with certain cars defined who they were, with that product placement became a Madison Avenue man’s marketing dream.  Racing movies and stars like Paul Newman and others were billboard legends. From a little VW beetle to the roaring Ford Mustang in Bullitt. Woody wagon beach buggies and

Then in the 1970s, the US was hit hard with gas rationing and sky-rocking prices. Drivers saw dollar signs on a gallon of gas when just months before a dollar would increase by several gallons, looked too small econoboxes and Japanese cars ruled the roads. Ford quickly downsized the Mustang, and by the 1980s it had right-sized with the debut of the long-lived Fox-body Mustang. As the 1990s loomed, US automotive companies partnered with foreign ones. Ford and Mazda began the process of a joint build in the same American factory.  The mere idea of this travesty whipped Mustang owners and enthusiasts into a frenzy, sending hate mail to Dearborn.  Ford quickly realized that Mustang was not to be toyed with, and with Mustang owners revolting at the thought of a Mazda shared platform for their beloved car quickly brought forth a new model, the Ford Probe.

2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt MP002

Bullitt MP002

Our 2019 test vehicle was an early prototype dark highland green production number MP002 (Bullitt’s are numbered, and owners are very aware of that.) It only had two options a $2,100 Bullitt Electronics Package, and the $1,695 MagneRide dampening system, bringing the $46,595 price up to $51,485 with the $1095 destination and delivery fee. The other option would have been the RECARO® Leather-trimmed Front Sport Seats a $1595 option. Not a great option for a touring car, but if you spent a lot of time at the track with it, a great choice.

2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt MP002This is not a car that you just get in and drive. You are in the know of what is going on at all times, not just because the 5.0 L TI-VCT V8 engine and 6-Speed Manual transmission with the white cue ball shift knob, gave the car a lot of heft and power.  Which was apparent in low-speed situations, not an easy car to drive in the city as you never could unleash it, and this car wants to run. The shifting was surprisingly easy, even with the very strong clutch. The Bullitt was a blast on the highway, but where it was the most fun is the twisty back roads.

Outside the Bullitt is not blingy at all, if you did not know what it was, you might just think it was another Mustang. No question on the line, but no pony insignia (except on the projection puddle light at night that puts a Mustang on the ground by your door. Only the Bullitt button in the center of the rear, where at one time would have been a gas cap. The other add on was the hood Louvers, which looked good, but did nothing to enhance air into the engine.

No Way To Be  A Quiet PlayBoy

2019 Mustang Bullitt MP002 RearOf course, it’s classic fastback design is recognizably mustang.  Where the attention comes is when you fire it up, with the gurgle and growl of the engine, which brought out every male within range. Supposedly there is a quiet setting in the active valve exhaust, though I never found it. And I heard from my neighbors they or their dogs, knew when it was coming or going.  And the rumble of the five-liter engine is as much a part of the Mustang Lifestyle as anything. Not a loud, obnoxious blast, but a very seductive growl is pure Ford Mustang.

Ride and Drive Experience

2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt MP002 InteriorInside it seats four in comfortable dark highland green leather-trimmed with accent stitching, heated and cooled front bucket seats. A 6-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar control, and a 6-way power front-passenger seat and two tightly in the 50/50 split-bench folding rear seat. The ride was strong, smooth, and balanced with the available MagneRide® Damping System which responds one thousand times per second. MagneRide® is a trademarked technology of BWI Group. Between the seats and the BULLITT Electronics Package that includes: B&O Play™ Premium Audio System by HARMAN  which is a 12Speakers with a trunk-mounted subwoofer system that includes a CD Player, HD Radio™ and includes a five (5)-year prepaid subscription to SiriusXM, it was great for long drives.

I thought this was a sports car…. But I am becoming a fan of  Ambient Lighting Voice-Activated Touchscreen Navigation System with SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link® not to mention the with the BLIS® (Blind Spot Information System) with Cross-Traffic Alert (CTA)

 

You Ain’t Going anywhere Quietly

2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt Center Console Switches

 

The class-exclusive* active valve performance exhaust lets you control the volume of the Mustang exhaust. I tried my best to set it for Quiet Start, needless to say, that was no fun, so setting it for normal, custom, Sport or the Track setting. Speaking of Trac, it even comes with Track Apps Even if you never take it to a racecourse.

 

 

 

Overall

Mustangs in lineup for American Muscle 2019 at Morgantown Holiday Inn HotelThis was one of my favorite press cars that I have had over the past six years getting them. It got more attention than any car except the Lexus LC500h, and that was just women. Everyone wanted to drive this pony.  Mustangs are an American institution, no matter what you get from the basic stripped-down model to the Shelby GT500 (and that is a dream come true) you will be celebrating modern American automobiles.  (as we work on this story, the Father of the Mustang Lee Ioccoca passed away. It was his vision of what consumers wanted in a fun and useable car that made this line of vehicles possible, Interesting that as Ford phases out passenger cars from the US Market, the Mustang is not going away anytime soon.

BULLITT© and all related characters and elements are done so under Copywrite © and trademark ™ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. (s18)

Words and Images by William West Hopper

William West Hopper, VIP Tour Guide at the 2019 Washington DC Auto Show. Photo by Bonnie M. Moret
William West Hopper, VIP Tour Guide at the 2019 Washington DC Auto Show. Photo by Bonnie M. Moret

Mr. Hopper, is a life-long automobile enthusiast, growing up not far from the Maple Drove Dragway in Southeastern Pennsylvania.  This was a trip down memory lane in many ways for him. WWH is currently the President of the Washington Automotive Press Association, a 250 member strong group of automotive professionals.

AM2019 American Muscle Mustang Show Specialty Parking PassThe week-long use of the Mustang Bullitt was provided by Ford Motor Company and NAVS DC to attend the American Muscle Mustang show.  We covered our own costs for fuel, lodging (though Turn5 offered to cover that expense, it has not been reimbursed as of this writing.) Turn 5 did invite us to attend and provided us $11 in food vouchers and the Specialty Parking Pass for the Paddock area.  This report and accompanying video were not produced for payment, but for editorial purposes only.

Look Behind You! The Flashing Lights?

What Is An Officer of the Law Driving Today?

Queer4Cars 2020 Ford Explorer Utility Police Interceptor Model YouTube Video

Cop Cars

2020 Ford Police Interceptor Explorer Utility VehicleJust when you thought you had gotten used to spotting police cruiser headlights in your rearview mirror, Ford is changing the game again! With the introduction of the completely redesigned 2020, Ford Explorer comes the police equivalent: the Explorer Utility Interceptor. Ford is stepping away from selling sedans in the USA and focusing on SUV and trucks. With this comes the SUV for police duty, which many departments have already in their fleets.

What’s New

2020 Frod Police Interceptor UtilityFord has really upped their game when it comes to the new Interceptor. One of the most significant changes, besides the entire vehicle, is the shift from front wheel to rear-wheel biased all-wheel drive. Instead of being pulled around, you now are pushed town in the 2020 Explorer. The 2020 Ford Explorers Utility Interceptor comes standard with all-wheel drive and a whole host of other goodies that the general public does not get in a regular consumer edition Ford Explorer.

The new Interceptor now comes in 3 different engine versions. The first is a regular 3.3 liter naturally aspirated V6 engine. The next step up, and the one Ford really put their heads into is a 3.3-liter non-plug-in hybrid version. The third and final option is their 3.0 liter EcoBoost engine.

2020 Ford Explorer Hybrid BatteryFord has put a lot of focus on the hybrid in a push to make not only Police Interceptors but all of its fleet Green.  The image of being more environmentally friendly is an essential part of today’s market. This new hybrid is run off a lithium-ion battery pack that is the size of a small suitcase and stored in the front half of the vehicle not reducing any interior storage space. This hybrid engine is a game changer and more so for police departments. The hybrid uses the battery pack to run the vehicle for 80% of the time. When the battery charge drops below 30%, the gas engine kicks in and takes about 2 minutes to recharge the battery to full capacity. This significantly reduces the amount of idle time for the gas engine. In turn, this reduced idle time substantially reduces the amount of fuel used and emissions from the vehicle.

Value Driven

Ford Interceptor Utility BenefitsWhat citizen wouldn’t like to see their local and state police departments saving money, thus freeing it up to focus more on training or more safety? Where hybrid vehicle technology will impact will be in municipalities fuel and vehicle maintenance budgets. While hybrids initial purchase cost is indeed higher, that can be made up in just fuel cost savings alone. Not to mention that hybrids can go longer between oil changes as the engines aren’t always running or as is often the case, idling, and between the brake pad and rotor changes due to the regenerative braking technology.

2020 Ford Interceptor Utility BenefitsThe 2020 Explorer Utility comes standard with Bluetooth® hands-free connectivity. Which is a good idea, as we know it is illegal in many states to use a handheld device while operating a motor vehicle. And no one wants Officers’ breaking the law by using their phones while driving.

 

Only On A Cop Car

Ford Explorer Utility Police Interceptor weleded Steel Crash FrameThe Interceptor Utility is fitted with a welded steel under-carriage device giving it a 75mph rear crash test rating.  Plus a stiffer suspension, larger heavy duty brakes, cooling system, and alternator that is needed to run the gamut of electronics police use in their vehicle.

Ford Factory Installed Police Perimeter Alert for Interceptor VehiclesFord has developed and offers on its Interceptor vehicles a factory-installed Police safety perimeter alarm that uses the blind spot monitoring system and a dashboard display to detect any threats moving towards or away from the rear of the vehicle.  Alerting the officer with an audible tone, rolling up the windows, locking the doors and activating the Ford Explorer Utility Police Interceptor Bullit Proof Door Padrearview camera. Ford also has ballistic panels as on option for inserts in the front doors to further protect officers from armed assailants.

 

 

 

Overall

2020 Ford Explorer Utility Police Interceptor VehicleAfter test driving each of the 2020 Ford Explorer Utility powertrains available on a police emergency vehicles operations course, it is abundantly clear these are the smart choice for police departments. Start looking in your rearview mirror for a new police Interceptor starting later this year. And remember to pull over when you see those flashing lights. While they are not after you, they may be on the way to assist someone that is important to you or someone else who is in need.

 

Words by Corporal Matthew Rihl,
Photos by William West Hopper
Officer Matt in the Cockpit of a Connie

Corporal Matthew Rihl is a Field Training Officer and member of the Honor Guard with a local Virginia police department.

Corporal Matthew Rihl has served the public for 15-years with a local county police department in Virginia. In addition, he is also a Field Training Officer and a member of the Honor Guard. Officer Matt is a vital member of the LGBT Fallen Heroes Fund, which its sole purpose is to honor surviving partners and family members of LGBT police, fire, EMS and the military who have been killed in the line of duty during a special ceremony during National Police Memorial Week every year in Washington, DC.

 

What is Ford Up to in SUV’s

Craig PattersonHybrids, RWD and new architecture, all of this is a big part of Ford Motor Company’s SUV plan, and what we heard from Ford’s Craig Patterson, SUV Marketing Manager at a recent breakfast meeting held at Ford’s Washington DC office overlooking Pennsylvania Ave.

While we knew much of this information, we got some more tidbits about what else the Blue Oval has in store for the coming years.  And it is not just the Ranger T-6 platform-based Bronco; Ford has several things in the pipeline for the USA, as well as the rest of the world.

Ford has let us know that they will not be selling sedans here in the USA, focusing on SUVs and pickup trucks. And while that may be true for the US Market, Ford is truly an international operation supplying products globally.   And they will continue to actively build and sell sedans elsewhere in the world.

What’s Coming Now?

All New Ford ExplorerFord is enjoying record sales of their SUV’s over the last few years and is bringing out the All-New Explorer and Escape for the 2020 model year.  We have driven both of these volume leaders and can easily understand their appeal to consumers.

What the consumers are going to appreciate, though they may not realize the new technology built into all of Ford’s products. Hybrids with their smaller and lighter batteries are big news, as they are not going to affect the passenger or cargo space, and with a lighter weight, this is a significant impact any hybrid vehicle.

20190109_204941Explorer, the original Family Adventure Vehicle, is and has been built at the 95-year-old Chicago assembly plant the one that was completely retooled in 31 days this year to build the new Explorer. The construction process used barges on the Chicago River to deliver building materials and store what was going to be reused as the road network through the city to the plant could not support enough truck traffic to manage the construction

Questions about the reasoning behind the All-New Explorer going back to rear wheel drive were answered with some simple facts.  Second generation (2011 to 2019) model Explorer was built on a front wheel drive platform to help with fuel economy. In direct response to the high 2008/2009 fuel prices. This new 2020 my rear wheel drive platform allows for an easy bolt-on of the hybrid system, as well as to be able to use the 10-speed transmission with SelectShift® capability to attain better fuel economy numbers.

6 explorer hybridThe all-new 2020 Escape along with it’s hybrid and plugin hybrid (PHEV) versions, will come to dealers this Fall. Trim levels come with S- the base, SE SEL, and Titanium, if you want a Hybrid powertrain, it is only available in SE Sport and Titanium trim level.

Edge ST a performance-based crossover SUV is being released now. While Edge is not that new, being refreshed in 2019, the performance ST package is what is new to that model.

While EcoSport, the lowest priced and smallest in Ford’s SUV line up, appears to be just a placeholder for a low-cost entry-level SUV.  Not very highly regarded by the automotive press, and a vehicle we plan on driving very soon.

What we heard that impressed us

Every vehicle Ford builds now has a built-in modem to let it communicate. Like your smartphone, AI Speaker like Alexa and Google, Ford vehicles will soon be communicating with you, the infrastructure, and the other cars around it.  And this is one of the reasons that there is now a big push across the board for the next generation of cellular data communication.

What is right around the corner?

Bronco at Classic Car Club NYC

 

Bronco, yes, Bronco, it is coming sooner rather than later here in the USA, and what is being hinted at is that there will be a smaller, sportier, more car-like, having the sportiness of a Mustang and the usability of an SUV version following closely on the Bronco’s heels is in the offing. We at breakfast, named it the Buckaroo, following closely on the Bronco’s heels.

 

Rivian and Founder NYCWe will see if this is the battery electric SUV that has been hinted about, though when we bring it up with Ford team members, they seem to discount it — saying that when it comes to Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV), they are still in the early stages. When asked about the partnership with Rivian, that relationship has not been flushed out yet, while the investment has been made, not much has been done since that announcement.

Another topic they acknowledged, but with little information is about lower-priced vehicles; it seems the below $25K market is being missed by Ford.

No Compromise – Smart vehicles in a smart world – we expect that Ford will be leaders in whatever they do, though not outwardly well calculated. New Tech and new models will come to market when Dearborn decides to do it and not before.

William West Hopper, VIP Tour Guide at the 2019 Washington DC Auto Show. Photo by Bonnie M. Moret
William West Hopper, VIP Tour Guide at the 2019 Washington DC Auto Show. Photo by Bonnie M. Moret

Words and images by William West Hopper.

Mr. Hopper is a long-time automotive enthusiast and current President of the Washington Automotive Press Association. He is based in Washington DC and thrives with the help of good friends and colleagues.

Big Bold, And Omnipresent – the Ford Expedition – It is as Big as it Sells

2018 Ford Expedition Ruby Red Metallic head on shotRecently the opportunity came about to take Ford’s big selling Full-Size SUV on a trip to the Work Truck Show in Indianapolis Indiana. A 1200-mile round trip, which was a perfect chance to get the feel of this large station wagon of an SUV. Built like a linebacker and dressed in a tuxedo, this highway cruiser, and a suburban hauler, while big, has all the comfort, safety and features you want for a $72K price

 

2018 Ford Expedition Dash GaugesOur 2018 model year ride was decked out in Premium Trim, Part of Ford’s east coast press fleet it came to us with 24K miles already on the odometer. If you follow my columns, you know I like to get cars with miles racked up, this gives you a clear view of how they hold up. Press vehicles take a lot of abuse, maybe more so than rental cars, just that the fleet companies are paid to detail them better, than a quick wash and vacuum before it is rolled out to the next customer at the airport.  This Expedition had held up well, which shows that it is well made with quality materials and workmanship.

 

First Impressions

right rear of the 2018 ford expeditionThe Explorer is tall, and with the automatically appearing (and retracting) side steps, you can easily climb aboard this massive beast. Once inside you really feel connected behind the wheel of this truck, to the controls, gauges, and switchgear. Everything is well placed and being the size it is, is in easy reach while driving.  Visibility is excellent, you have a good view of the road, in all directions all around you.  While this is an over-sized vehicle, it feels more maneuverable than you might first think.

Cockpit of the Ford ExpeditionInterior space is well detailed and thought out. The driver’s seat is heated, cooled and offered both a bottom and back massage feature, useful on a long haul trip. Passengers also benefit from attention to their needs, no wonder families choose this vehicle. Front, rear, even third-row seats provide more than just a place to sit. Power outlets, HVAC vents and controls, and areas to hold small items are located throughout the cabin.

Bells and Whistles

The Red forward collision warning lightWhen I first got aboard I noticed a red light on top of the dash over the gauge cluster, wondering what it was, it proved itself when a vehicle stopped short in front of me. That bar glowed brightly and started the brake pedal action, much better than my own reaction time, by the time I got my foot on the brake the vehicle was already hard at work slowing down. That red bar gave me notice and proved to be effective, a couple of times during the trip.  The Pilot 360 safety system that Ford provides in its vehicles is useful and more important than ever in today’ sever increasing traffic.

Ford Expedition USB outlets in rear seatsBeyond the smartphone interface and satellite radio options, the vehicle was equipped with a CD Player, hard as that is to believe, such old tech, but listening to books on CD (or as we used to say on tape) was a great use of this (Name of Sound System) in this vehicle. Also USB connections to devices for streaming and connecting to apps, which in today’s world this has become the norm on almost every car.

 

Driving Dynamics

twenty two inch tires on the Ford ExpeditionNo large vehicle is going to handle like a sports sedan, this rolls like a pickup truck, just with more interior room. At times it can be a bit disconnected due to the electrically assisted steering that helps keep it safely in its lane. The ride is quite comfortable, to the point of luxurious. One of the benefits of having 22-inch tires on pothole-filled rough roads.

The all-wheel-drive provided a feeling of being well connected to the road. Never did this vehicle feel that it was not sure-footed even on wet slushy roads. Steering was typical for this size Ford vehicle be it a pickup or SUV, the safety sentries every once in a while made a small tug or steering correction.

 

Fuel Economy

Ford Expedition 3.5 ecoboost 6-cyl engine
Ford Expedition 3.5 EcoBoost 6-cyl engine

While it was not dismal, it was what you would expect from a vehicle of this size and stature, we eeked out almost 19 mpg on this trip on the 3.6 EcoBoost v-6 engine, which for a large 5600- pound piece of metal was pretty good.

Ford Expedition USB outlets in rear seats
USB outlets are abundant throughout the Expedition

Speaking of metal, weight savings is critical in the Expedition, and thus many parts of this vehicle are made from Aluminium, not steel. While you may not notice the difference, you will hear it when there is a strong rainstorm, and raindrops are hitting the roof, it sounds very different than it would in a vehicle with a steel roof.  And with that will come additional expense to do metal body repair, as finding a shop with technicians trained in working aluminum is not as common as steel craftsman/women.

 

Ford Expedition with 2nd & 3rd-row seats folded down.
Ford Expedition with 2nd & 3rd-row seats folded down.

Cargo and Passenger space are plentiful, spacious and comfortable, all three rows of seating provide space to spread out, and even allow for the gear that is brought along on any trip, be it a big box store run, or a cross country trip with luggage.

 

Ford Expedition third row seating
Third-row seating in the Expedition is ample.

Overall, I have to say I was quite impressed with the Expedition, how it drove, how it rode, and how it handled. If you are towing a trailer, or just need a large family hauler, this is a vehicle to consider. After driving the Expedition, you can understand the reason that Ford has increased the production of this vehicle at its Kentucky plant, and why

 

Ford Expedition 2nd row hvac controls and power

customers are buying it. Ford had made this vehicle modern, tech-savvy and safe. Keeping the model fresh with more than just a restyle, putting into it what buyers today want from a full-size SUV.  Want bigger, Yep, Ford can handle that with an extended length version, the Expedition Max, for even a larger vehicle.

While you will not be able to find a lot of discounts on a vehicle that is in demand, by visiting your local auto show, or doing some competitive research with Costco, your credit union or buying service, no doubt you can get a great deal on a new Explorer, or even consider a pre-owned one, as we can tell you they hold up quite well.

 

20190310_182801
Words and images by William West Hopper
The 2018 Ford Explorer Platinum Trim Edition was provided to us for a week of unlimited driving by Ford Motor Company, without any compensation. This review is my own personal opinion from real-time experience behind the wheel.

 

The 2020 Ford Escape Fourth Generation, Now More Tech-Savvy Than Ever Before

Check out our Exclusive Preview of the 2020 Ford Escape on YouTube

2020 Ford Escape HybridAt the turn of the century, the Ford Motor Company saw the opportunity to build a small SUV that was full of modern tech at an affordable price. That four-door Escape has become Ford’s 2nd biggest selling vehicle. And now in its fourth generation for 2020 it is sleeker and more elegant, loaded with technology for safety and more, while still accommodating four full-sized adults in comfort and carrying their luggage too.

 

While the all-new Ford Escape has a more aerodynamic look, it is also built of stronger and lighter weight high strength materials which makes it more efficient. Where the big story is, the technology that comes standard on all trim levels. And tech that is not just the fact that you can connect your Android or Apple device to the car, it is all about safety, efficiency and more.

 

2020 Ford Escape HeadsUp DisplayEscape for 2020 comes standard with Ford Co-Pilot360™ driver-assist technology; available features include a 12.3-inch all-digital instrument cluster and makes available other driver-assist features such as Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go and Lane-Centering. Available features like Active Park Assist 2.0 and Evasive Steering Assist, are just part of the driver-assist technologies. Active Park Assist 2.0 allows the driver to park in a parallel or perpendicular spot with the touch of a button, without having to work the steering wheel, gear shifter, gas pedal or brake pedal. Evasive Steering Assist detects a slower-moving or stationary vehicle ahead and provides steering support that can assist the driver to avoid a collision.

 

2020 Ford Escape Transmission SelectorTitanium models are available with an all-new heads-up display. This projects information onto the lower part of the windshield, giving drivers easy access to important information without taking their eyes off the road.

 

 

Escape will offer a selectable drive mode system standard across the lineup, Escape makes it easy for Escape owners to create the ride experience they desire – or the one that conditions demand. Modes are tailored for normal, eco, sport and slippery, plus snow and sand conditions.

 

PowerTrains – Now there are Four!  Including Two All-New Hybrids.

2020 Ford Escape Hybrid at Heinz House Greenfield Village MIEscape offers the new 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine, available on Titanium, is projected to produce 250 horsepower and 275 lb.-ft. of torque using 93 octane fuel capable of towing up to 3,500 pounds.

And an all-new 1.5-liter EcoBoost, standard on S, SE, and SEL, is projected to produce 180 horsepower and 177 lb.-ft. of torque using 93 octane fuel. When properly configured, rated to tow 2,000 pounds. To help conserve fuel, the 1.5-liter EcoBoost debuts cylinder deactivation, which senses when one cylinder isn’t needed and shuts it down automatically. The system can activate or deactivate a cylinder in 14 milliseconds to maintain a smooth ride.

2020 Ford Escape with HitchA new Hybrid and PHEV Plugin with CVT. Both come with a towing capacity of 1500 lbs. And due to new smaller liquid cooled battery technology they do not affect passenger or cargo space like in past models.

An all-new 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle hybrid engine and electronic continuously variable transmission. The front-wheel-drive hybrid model is projected to produce a combined system horsepower of 198, and a top speed of 85 mph in electric-only mode. And has an  EPA-estimated range of more than 550 miles;

The plug-in hybrid variant, available on every trim level except S and SE Sport, projects a best-in-class EPA-estimated range of at least 30 miles in electric-only mode. Escape Plug-In Hybrid has a Level 1 / Level 2 AC charging port. Using a 110-volt Level 1 charge, the estimated time to fully charge the battery is 10 to 11 hours. Using a 240-volt Level 2 charge, charge time drops to roughly 3.5 hours.

 

New Styling Inside & Out

2020 Ford Escape Front Headlamps and GrillTo create a sportier look for the all-new Escape, designers turned to some of the most high-profile Ford sports cars. The shield-shaped trapezoidal grille is inspired by the sixth-generation Mustang, while the lower front end borrows from Ford GT.

The 2020 Escape is the most aerodynamic to date, with a sloped roofline, optimized liftgate spoiler and strake, and efficient underbody. Standing lower, wider and longer than the outgoing model. Shedding more than 200 pounds from the current model, due in part to the extensive use of high-strength, lightweight steel.

 

2020 Ford Escape has plenty of room for luggageInside you will find comfort has increased, especially in the rear with sliding and reclining seats, that even tall passengers will find enough room for their legs, improved headroom, shoulder room, and hip room. With the second-row seat in the full-forward position, the rear cargo area in gas engine-powered models extends nearly six inches to increase the cargo area to 37.5 cubic feet.

 

2020 Ford Excape CockpitChanges in the cockpit too, a center console dial controls the transmission. Drivers and passengers can keep compatible mobile devices charged with an available wireless charging pad in the front center console. Also available are type A and type C USB charging ports as well as three 12-volt charging sockets. An 8-inch touch screen – standard on SE models and above – shares information with the available 12.3-inch all-digital instrument cluster, which displays important vehicle information such as speedometer and fuel level. It uses 3D animated graphics to indicate the drive mode. Available SYNC® 3 is compatible with available features such as Apple CarPlay™, Android Auto™, Ford+Alexa and Waze navigation. For music lovers, Escape offers an available 575-watt 10-speaker B&O Sound System by Bang & Olufsen.

 

And Yes, You Can Connect

 

FordPass Connect™ is a standard feature that provides 4G LTE Wi-Fi for up to 10 mobile devices with compatible wireless subscription service. FordPass Connect also gives drivers remote access to their Escape, allowing them to use their smartphone to lock, unlock, locate and start the vehicle, as well as monitor key vehicle diagnostics.

 

Made In America, Available Early Spring.

The all-new Escape, available in S, SE, SE Sport, SEL and Titanium series trim levels, is built at Louisville Assembly Plant in Kentucky. Vehicles are due to reach showrooms this fall. Plug-in hybrid units are due to arrive next spring.

Invited guests to the 2020 Ford Escape Launch
Words and Images by William West Hopper
Ford Motor Company provided a kind invitation to attend this exclusive preview event, flying me to Dearborn Michigan for the afternoon event.

Ford Shelby Cobra GT500 All Muscles and Mustang for 2020

Watch our YouTube Video – 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby Cobra GT500 Walk around with Melvin Betancourt Chief Designer with Ford  https://youtu.be/THPLarS74QQ

&

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby Cobra GT500 with Jim Owens from Ford Motor Company’s Performance Division.

 

 

 

Carroll Shelby is as iconic as the Ford Mustang itself, and his legend lives on with the ford mustang cobra front end2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500. For 2020 the engineers and performance fanatics at Ford Motor Company have put more power, performance, and agility into the factory-built Shelby GT500. Making it the most advanced high-performance Mustang GT500 ever in the history of this very limited production vehicle from Ford Motor Company.

ford mustang desgner betancourt and marketing manager owensWe got a very VIP preview of this supercharged 5.2-liter V8 producing more than 700 horsepower pony car from both Melvin Betancourt, the Cobra’s designer and Jim Owens, Marketing Manager for Ford Performance.  And learned that the Shelby Cobra GT500 is capable of a mid-three-second 0-60mpg and sub-11-second quarter mile scores. While the Ford team could not confirm things like horsepower, they were still improving on that, production numbers or selling price. They could share with us that this Mustang will have some amazing road track times because of improved handling and cornering, very quick stopping times, with the largest Brembo Brakes ever on a Mustang. Zero to 60 numbers that are less than 3 seconds a quarter mile in less than eleven seconds.

Yes, a Mustang Cobra that will be even faster off the line, on the drag strip, a twisty road course, or the interstate than ever before.  All this power is brought to you by the same team at Ford, that has brought us the Ford GT and Mustang GT4 racing programs.

 

Exterior Design

ford mustang cobra 67 and 20While you will know it is a Mustang from the classic body at first glance, when you get up close you will see that it has slight differences, more muscular in the haunches, brawnier custom Brembo Brakes, the largest ever grill and hood vent, special Michelin tires, and a choice of spoilers.  Betancourt told us how his team worked with the lines to increase the downforce and maximize thermal management, engine, exhaust, and brake cooling all the while working with a performance race-tuned active chassis. New colors for 2020 include Red Hot, Twister Orange, and Iconic Silver. The Shelby GT500 has an optional black painted roof and painted stripes are available.

melvin betancourt with ford mustang cobraMelvin Betancourt, Ford design manager, shared with us that the front grille opening and massive hood vent provide more cooling airflow “Every millimeter of Shelby GT500’s fastback design is aimed at improving performance,” “Like 007, he looks good in his tux, but he can kick your butt.”

 

5.2 Liter Supercharged Engine

engine_c3Ford has put the most powerful street-legal V8 engine to date into the GT500 with a hand-built supercharged 5.2-liter aluminum alloy engine. To keep the intake air cooler and deliver a lower center of gravity, the team inverted a 2.65-liter roots-type Eaton supercharger with air-to-liquid intercooler tucked neatly in the V8 engine valley. Weight-saving wire-arc cylinder liners and high-flow aluminum cylinder heads, plus larger forged connecting rods, improved lubrication, and cooling passages. Beneath that, a structural oil pan adds strength, reduces vibration, and features a patented active baffle system to keep oil where it’s needed. To channel power and torque to the transmission Ford uses a unique carbon fiber driveshaft.

 

Transmission – Dual Clutch Automatic

20190110_104626A Mustang without the option of a manual transmission may seem like sacrilege to some, Ford Performance leveraged learnings from the tuning of its Ford GT supercar’s dual-clutch transmission with this TREMEC® 7-speed capable of shifts in under 100 milliseconds – markedly faster than any manual gearbox. Designed for a number of drive modes, including normal, weather, sport, drag and track, and activates features like line-lock and launch control through selectable Track Apps.

 

 

Suspension, Wheels, Brakes, and Tires – all dialed in by Ford Performance

2020 Shelby GT500 Carbon Fiber Wheel Brembo Brake Michelin Tire
2020 Shelby GT500 Carbon Fiber Wheel Brembo Brake Michelin Tire

Shelby GT500 takes advantage of revised suspension geometry, a new electronic power steering unit and lighter-weight coil springs front and rear. Next-generation active MagneRideTM suspension along with the latest in advanced drive mode technologies from Ford Performance. provides the highest-ever lateral acceleration from a Mustang for greater track performance and driver control.

Getting power to the asphalt means that Ford has brought cutting-edge active chassis technology to the forefront with custom Ford Performance-spec Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires and more aggressive Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires feature unique compounds and tread. Brembo® brakes with six-piston calipers and massive custom 16-5-inch (420-millimeter) two-piece rotors – the largest of any domestic sports coupe provide track-ready stopping power. With more than 30 percent additional thermal mass in the front corners.

 

Handling Packages

Shelby GT500 offers an available handling package with adjustable strut top mounts and spoiler with Gurney flap. Racetrack rats will appreciate the available Carbon Fiber Track Package features exposed 20-inch carbon fiber wheels with 0.5-inch-wider rear wheels (11.5-inch), custom Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, adjustable exposed carbon fiber GT4 track wing and splitter wickers with integrated dive plane.

 

Inside More craftsmanship, technology and driver comfort

steering wheel for the 2020 ford mustang cobraShelby GT500’s purpose-built cockpit boasts race-inspired premium materials and unique finishes. Premium touchpoints include an available exposed carbon fiber instrument panel appliqué and new door panel inserts in Dark Slate Miko® suede with accent stitching. Available Recaro racing seats with firm side bolstering and pass-throughs for safety harnesses offer the highest level of performance. For those looking for even greater comfort, power-adjustable seating with Miko suede inserts is offered. A rear seat is deleted to reduce weight for those who are truly looking at competition driving.

The all-new Shelby GT500 picks up a 12-inch full-color LCD instrument cluster, while a high-performance custom-tuned 12-speaker B&O® Play premium audio system is available. All of this is controlled via an 8-inch SYNC® 3 touch screen featuring SiriusXM and FordPass ConnectTM.

the 2020 Shelby GT500 has functional track-hero looks to match its performance. New colors for 2020 include Red Hot, Twister Orange, and Iconic Silver. Painted stripes are available for the all-new Shelby GT500 too.  A functional, menacing design tuned with Ford Performance know-how thanks to a cross-functional team of designers, Ford Performance engineers, and motorsports collaborators,

The Shelby GT500 will be in dealers late in the summer and a GT350 will be arriving Fall of 2019.

 

Words and Images by William West Hopper
Ford Motor Company kindly provided us with travel, meals, and lodging to Detroit to see both the new Shelby GT500 and the new 2020 Ford Explorer, we thank them for this courtesy.