Entries in Ford (55)

Monday
May232011

Reviewed 2010 Ford Raptor 6.2 - A Thirty Gallon Bucket Of Awesomesauce

Nothing succeeds like success, and few things are as enjoyable as excess and that, in a nutshell, is the Ford Raptor.  Built to give people a street replica of a Baja racer, but something far more than just a sticker job with some “special-edition-badging”, the Raptor feels as if with just a little prep, you could go out and run it in the 8100 class.

The Raptor starts out as a short bed, extended cab (crew cab available for 2011) and then goes in for some serious gym work.  There are 12 inches of suspension travel in the front and 13 in the rear, 35” tall BF Goodrich off road tires and some killer FOX Racing shocks on all four corners 

The front grill is unique to the Raptor, along with some additional running lights both on the front and in the back.  Our test unit came with the optional $1,075 graphics package, which is a blocky representation of dirt being thrown up on the truck.  It’s something that we’d skip.  We’ve seen the Raptor in several colors, our black test unit, Blue and in Silver without the graphics package and we prefer the cleaner look.  If we want the look of dirt on the side of the truck, we’ll take it into the dirt and mud and put it there the traditional way, thank you.

The five and a half foot box on the Raptor seems small and perhaps it is, but there is an optional bed extender that we would probably get. Also, Ford offers the integrated tailgate step as an option.  Neither was on our test vehicle but we can say, unless you have a 38” inseam, we’d highly recommend that tailgate step.  With the truck sitting as high as it does, getting up into the bed is not the easiest of tasks.

 

Not only does the truck sit high, but also, it is quite wide.  Our driveway is seven feet wide and the edges of the tires went over the edges and onto the grass on both sides!  Being that wide, it takes a bit of getting used to driving down the road as it takes up almost the entire width of the lane.  If you live in an area where the roads are narrow, it’s something that you’ll have to be mindful of when traffic approaches in the opposite direction.

There is a nice slab of steel for you to step up into in the cabin of the Raptor.  The step serves three purposes, (a) a step duh! (b) a nice skid plate when you go off roading to protect your doors, and (c) a payback mechanism for door dings.  If someone opens their door next to hou without paying attention, rather than your door getting a nick in it, their door will get a nice dent in its edge, coming against that nice bit of plate steel!

 

Once you climb up into the cabin, you have a lot of room. Driver and passengers are separated by a wide center console, which has a very deep storage bin.  There are also four auxiliary switches built in for your future modification needs like auxiliary lights,  winches, etc. Our test unit had the optional orange seat accents that are a take-it-or-leave-it thing.  They offered a nice contrast to the rest of the interior, but it may be a bit too much for others.  The steering wheel has a nice meaty feel to it and when you hold it at the ten and two position, it feels custom molded to your hands.

Being an extended cab model there is a back seat for three.  It’s a fairly useable space, though we wouldn’t want to ride back there for a long time unless the people in the front two seats were on the shorter end of the scale.  With the seats adjusted back for a six-foot plus person, legroom is tight; set for people of normal height, it’s okay.

 

Our test unit was also equipped with the 700-watt Sony sound system with full SYNC and navigation system.  This is not a cheep option at $2,430 but it’s so well done, it’s hard to argue not ordering this.  One thing that will be very useful is that SYNC, with the nav system, can direct you to the nearest gas station via voice command.  It’s a place you’ll become very intimate with, owning and driving the Raptor: the gas station, that is.

The big upgrade that came later in the 2010 model year was the availability of the 6.2-liter engine, which is now the only available engine for 2011.  While the old 5.4-liter engine can trace its roots back to the early 90’s 4.6 V8 that appeared in the Crown Vic, this is an all-new engine for Ford.  411 horsepower and 434 lb/ft of torque are the ratings for the 6.2 and unlike the 5.4, it has power across the entire range.  While we would never complain if more power was available, we can say that we were very happy  with what was on tap for this power plant, save one thing and we’ll get to that in just a second.  Driving in the city, getting on the highway, or just when you feel the need to romp on the gas, the 6.2 has power on demand and makes life oh so enjoyable.

 

When you buy a truck like the Raptor, fuel mileage is probably not high on your list of concerns.  If you can afford a $48,525 pickup truck, you aren’t worried about a trade off of gas in the tank or food on the table for your family.  All that said, when the window sticker says in bold face type, “FUEL ECONOMY RATINGS NOT REQUIRED ON THIS VEHICLE,” you know people at the Whole Foods store aren’t going to be smiling at you when you park in their lot.

To see what we could do for mileage, we went on the highway at night so there was little traffic, set the cruise at 75-mph and drove for 45 miles.  According to the readout on the dash, 14.1mpg is what we got.  There is an upside; in city driving, your mileage will only fall off about 2-3mpg.  Therein lies the rub: the motor has enough power to make the truck feel great yet the problem is that it comes at a pretty big cost in fuel economy although the 5.4 was not any better.

The engine we’d love to see under the hood of the Raptor is the EcoBoost V6.  Not that we’d expect it to get 20mpg, but if it could get something close to 18, that would be huge.  The EcoBoost is about to come on line for other F-150 trucks and Ford is going to run it in this year’s Baja 1000 so maybe, for 2012 or 2013, it will be an option.  It has similar power and torque numbers to the 6.2, but at a higher efficiency.  We’ll have to wait for the official EPA numbers to come out on the EcoBoost F-150 before we can calculate what that would mean for the Raptor.  Look: save it, we know where you are going.  Yes, we’d kill to have a turbo diesel, but you can find the PowerStroke Raptor at notgoingtohappen.com, all right?

The Raptor is equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission and it does a good job.  In our highway mileage test, 75 miles an hour in sixth gear was 2100 rpm.  The transmission shifted smoothly and precisely and there was no slushy vague feeling in it.  It also had a tow/haul mode and an option to shift it manually.  While our test unit did have the trailer-towing package with brake controller, we didn’t have the opportunity to hook it up and pull anything in our few days with the truck.

 

On the roads and on the highways, the Raptor rides firm but it’s not jarring.  This is no Town Car pillow top ride; it is an off road truck after all but it is a comfortable ride.  For as high of a center of gravity as the Raptor has, and as tall as the tires are, it handles fairly well.  It’s nimble enough to handle tight parking garages and just fits under the 6’8” height limit of most parking structures around us.

While we didn’t get to truly run the Raptor off road on trails or fire roads, we did find a few fields to rip it up on, and the s&*t eating grin on our face didn’t go away for hours!  There were hidden ruts and holes in the field and the Raptor went over them like it was nothing.  Given what we believe the shock valving and spring rates to be, to a point, the faster you go, the smoother the ride should be.

There is one dangerous aspect to the Raptor: to your driving record that is. The truck goes 90 on the highway like most cars go 60.  There were several times we looked down on the speedometer and had to do a check up.  The Raptor is smooth and quiet at those speeds.  Most tires geared for off road are also quite noisy at highway speeds, not so with these BFG’s.  They made no more noise than your standard all season radials on the family sedan.

 

People love the Raptor. It doesn’t matter if it’s the young kids in the neighborhood, people in the Costco parking lot, or just driving down the road; people look at you and smile, tell you that it’s a cool truck and give you a thumbs up.  When you buy something like the Raptor, it’s doubtful that you are looking for affirmation from others about your purchase, but it is a nice thing to have.

The Ford Raptor is everything you hoped it would be and more, that’s why we describe it as a 30 gallon bucket of awesomesauce.  It’s a truck that exceeds your expectations, and you are always looking for an excuse to go out and drive it, even if it’s just on surface streets.  We wish we would have had the time to head out to Chrysler’s off road course in Chelsea, MI to really pound it on some trails and mud, but it wasn’t in the cards and couldn’t be arranged.

Would we buy this with our own money, you bet!  It's a truck that’s worth $48,000?  If you consider that a similarly optioned F-150 FX4 is $43,000, then you would have to add wheels, tires and suspension, etc., to bring it up to the Raptor’s level, you are coming out at the same or higher cost, so yes.  Almost $50,000 for a pickup truck is amazing, but Ford, Chevy and Dodge, can all get you into three quarter and one ton trucks from north of $60,000 these days, so I guess we shouldn’t be surprised. 

If you get the chance, go drive a Raptor 6.2, you won’t be able to wipe the smile from your face for weeks and that, more than anything, is why trucks like this exist.

Thursday
Apr212011

Autoline After Hours Tonight with Barb Samardzich, Ford

This week's guest of honor is Ford's Barb Samardzich, the Vice President of Global Product Programs. We'll be asking her if there are new segments Ford needs to get into and what the future holds for the Lincoln brand. John McElroy will also talk about his trip to Taiwan and a brand new car company called Luxgen that is developing some very interesting technologies. We'll also touch on some of the most interesting reveals from the dueling New York and Shanghai auto shows this week. John is joined in studio by the AutoextremistPeter De Lorenzo.
Free Videos by Ustream.TV
Pop-out Chat Window

Got questions for Rapid Fire? Put "AAH Question" in the subject line and e-mail it to viewermail@autolinedetroit.tv
Or, leave us a message by calling 1-620-288-6546 or by clicking below!

(Live show will continue)
Thursday
Mar312011

Autoline After Hours Tonight with Joel Piaskowski, Ford Design

Behold the future of Ford! Well, we're sure our guest won't giveaway ALL the secrets, but if you want to know where Ford design is headed, tune in this week for guest Joel Piaskowski who is Ford's Director of Exterior Design for the Americas. As you may remember, Joel recently came from Hyundai where he was responsible for the fresh design language of the Sonata and other models out on the roads now. We can't wait to find out what he's got in store for the blue oval's product line. We'll also take some time to remember David E. Davis Jr., a former AAH guest and an outspoken automotive legend who died earlier this week. Does this mark the end of the enthusiast magazines as we know them? John McElroy is also joined in studio by the Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo, as well as Mark Phelan of the Detroit Free Press.
Free Videos by Ustream.TV
Pop-out Chat Window

Got questions for Rapid Fire? Put "AAH Question" in the subject line and e-mail it to viewermail@autolinedetroit.tv
Or, leave us a message by calling 1-620-288-6546 or by clicking below!

(Live show will continue)
Thursday
Mar312011

Reviewed: 2011 Ford Edge

Rumblestrip.NET had a chance to spend a week with the refreshed 2011 Ford Edge.  This Crossover is a keystone in Ford's lineup, and we wanted to see if Ford could take this from just another Crossover to something that would stand out against the rest.

Ford has been on a huge roll these past couple years, will this newly sharpened Edge continue the trend?  Find out in our video review.

Thursday
Feb242011

Ford F250 Super Duty Powerstroke Diesel: A 21st Century Clydesdale

According to Wikipedia, the Clydesdale is “a breed that was extensively used for pulling heavy loads in rural, industrial and urban settings.”  If that doesn’t fit the 2011 F250 Super Duty Powerstroke diesel like a custom measured Savile Row suit, then nothing does.

Like the Clydesdale the F250 Super Duty is large and imposing.  It’s a truck that you don’t get into so much as you climb up and mount.  Unless you are driving an 18-wheeler, you will be looking down at all the traffic around you.

Short of hooking up a 53 foot semi trailer, there is little that you can think of that the this truck couldn’t pull with it’s 800 ft/lb of torque at the ready.  The motor has so much power and torque you often think it could tow the Space Shuttle to the launch pad.

What this truck was meant for though, was not runs to the local big box home improvement store, so much as it was for pulling 24-40 foot long trailers full of tools and construction equipment, racecars and horses.  Even then, you get the feeling that the truck would shrug that off as if it was just a light workout.

From the front of the car the F250 Super Duty has a strong presence.  The big two horizontal chrome bars give it a very muscular appearance.  If you see the grill of the F250 coming up quickly in your rear view mirror, you’ll move over right away.

Climbing up into the truck you are greeted by a wide-open, spacious cabin.  It’s a comfortable place to do business from with a commanding view of the road.  The revised instrument panel has a new LCD screen between the speedometer and the tach,  which has six different menus for the driver to choose from.  There are the ubiquitous fuel readings for instant mileage, average mileage, miles to empty, and there is a bar graph in it that tracks the information to give you a different take on it.  There are also menus, if you are going off roading, that show you pitch, roll and yaw angles graphically which is a cool touch.

With the new layout for the I.P. there is also a new layout for the buttons on the steering wheel to control the center LCD as well as the 7” touch screen with SYNC.

 The center stack has a seven-inch touch screen, which does a good job providing information but inside the massive cabin it feels a bit small in scale.  The center stack also includes four auxiliary switches for trailer lights or other off road lights.  There are inputs for USB, 1/8th inch aux and several 12V plugs as well.

As everything in the Super Duty is larger, not only is the center console extra wide, it’s about two feet deep!  There are also four cup holders between the two front seats rather than the usual two.

Outside of a Maybach 62, there are few vehicles that have more back seat leg room than in the Super Duty Crew Cab.  If you are bringing a crew with you to a job site, out to the lake towing a boat, or to the racetrack, throwing three full size adults in the back will draw no complaints.

With a three quarter ton truck this large you’d be surprised if the ride wasn’t a bit rough without any weight in the bed, or a trailer hooked up, but you would be wrong.  The ride is no worse than any standard SUV these days, the only exceptions were on some choppy freeways at times but it wasn’t too objectionable.  You would have no complaints if this was to be your daily driver.

Let’s make no mistake about it: this is a very large truck, in height, width and length.  We’ve talked about how you don’t get into the truck so much as mount it: it’s so tall that even with the tail gate step down and the grab bar up, it’s still a really tall step to get up into the bed.  In width it is right at seven feet wide in the rear track, with the side view mirrors brought in all the way you can add another eighteen inches to that, push out the telescoping side view mirrors to their full extension and it’s 28” wider!

If you live in an older neighborhood as we do where driveways are narrow, street can maybe fit one car down the middle if cars are parked on both sides, and if someone parks up close to your driveway, game over.  There were multiple times we had to execute a seven-point turn to get into the driveway.  The rear view camera was indispensable in situations like this since it’s difficult to judge those distances behind you.

Let’s talk about the all-new PowerStroke engine that’s in the Super Duty.  This is an all-new design by Ford.  The 7.3 PowerStoke that was designed by Navistar is still a well regarded engine, but the 6.0 and 6.4 had multiple problems that are still involved in litigation and ultimately killed the long standing relationship between Navistar and Ford.

This new engine is a world-class effort.  It is quiet; not something that could be said for the Navistar engines.  When you go through a drive through you don’t have to turn off the engine so you can place your order.  On the inside you occasionally get some noise from the injectors, but that is fairly subdued, and there is almost no diesel clatter that comes through into the cabin.  You aren’t going to mistake it for a gasoline engine in sound, but it’s not what you are used to from a big truck.

Power-wise, with the factory ECU re-flash, the engine produces 400 horsepower and 800 ft/lb of torque.  You can tell just how much power this is when you put your foot into it with the traction control fully engaged.  By 1,900 rpm, you can feel the power being pulled pack and if you stay in the throttle you can really feel how much the computer is holding back the truck.  Turn off the traction control and it’s night and day.  When the turbo builds up to full boost, which it does very quickly you can smoke the rear tires at will.

Pulling away from stop lights or merging onto the freeway, you never have a problem getting where you need to go, and with a truck this big, when people see you coming they tend to yield to you since they know they aren’t going to win that fight.

The other part of the engine is the fuel mileage.  When we had the Ford Raptor with the 6.2 V8, we were light on the throttle and just squeezed out 11mpg city and 14 highway; there were often times we were seeing single digit numbers for fuel economy.  With the SuperDuty diesel, which is a larger truck that weighs another 1,500-2,000 pounds more than the Raptor, we never tried to take it easy with the throttle, and still we saw 15.5mpg in the city and 19mpg on the highway!  You see that and you no longer have to wonder why so many people want to see a diesel in the Raptor or any half-ton truck.  Our highway loop is a 90-mile run where we can set the cruise control at 78mph and never touch it, and with that we got 19 mpg on the highway: for us, that is an amazing number for an 8,000 pound truck.

When you see a $60,000 sticker price on a pickup truck it’s a bit shocking to say the least.  But when you look at the level of equipment and technology that comes with that sticker price, it’s a little easier to take.  Compared to the SuperDuty’s peers from GM and Dodge, the price is right in line, and for the people that would buy a crew cab 4x4 diesel truck, you know what you are getting into.

Would we buy this truck?  Not at the moment as we don’t have a racecar, boat, RV or heavy equipment to move.  If we did, this truck would be very high on the list because it does everything you could ask of it, and does it with style and class, and if you are going to drop sixty larger on a truck, you are going to demand perfection, and the F250 SuperDuty comes very close to that.