2019 Ford Ranger – Experience

2019 Ford Ranger – Experience

We all know the saying, ‘Built Ford Tough” and we’ve seen that proven in the Raptor and F-series, but can the new Ranger live up to this? I take the new 2019 Ford Ranger on an epic journey through the back roads of the Whistler valley to find out if little brother has what it takes.

Photo Credit – Mike Markov

Our journey begins in Richmond, BC, with a tour around the different available models. I have to say the styling is very sharp; it is a similar shape to the F150 but proportioned down perfectly to create an all-new vehicle. With three different trim levels, XL, XLT, and Lariat, and surprisingly no stripped-down base model with a hand-cranked window lever and a bench seat here. All very similar models with a few added features make this Ranger good at all price levels.

Driving through city traffic, the Ranger is quick to accelerate and very easy to stop which I learned first-hand having to brake hard as a driver decided to turn left in front of me with no signal, oh yes did I mention I was in Vancouver?  After a short time later, we were through downtown and into Stanley Park. The Ranger is equipped with a 2.3 Litre EcoBoost 4-cylinder turbocharged engine and a 10-speed automatic transmission. The engine produces 270 horsepower and generates 310-pound-feet of torque.

The first stop on the trip is the Sea to Sky Gondola, which if you have never been before it is a must see when traveling highway 99.  Incredible views of Howe Sound, Squamish, and the surrounding Coast mountains. There are plenty of things to do at the top; a restaurant with a large deck to sit out and take in the views, some hiking trails, a suspension bridge, and even rock climbing. Word of advice make sure you’re well hydrated first before attempting the rock climbing, especially on a hot day. You don’t want to be hanging off a rock only to find your head spinning and heat exhaustion taking over, which was a situation I unfortunately found myself in, adding insult to injury by having a toddler pulling on my pant leg asking me to leave the playground. 

Back on the road and heading through Squamish on the way to Whistler, this highway has gone through many upgrades leading up to the 2010 Olympics, and I was amazed how quick it is to reach Whistler. The hotel for the night is the Nita lake lodge which is very different from a typical hotel you would find in the village; this luxury lodge is just 5 min away from the village nestled next to Nita Lake with beautiful views of Whistler Mountain. This resort has world-class dining, and the staff are exceptional. Morning brings on great anticipation, as today is the day we get to take the Ranger out off-roading. 

A short drive away I find the entrance to the Callaghan Valley which leads to the many forest service roads that first cut through this valley. Plenty of new growth forest throughout and some of the trails are covered in brush making it tight for a full-size truck to get through but manageable with this mid-size truck. Traversing the switchbacks, the elevation gain becomes apparent, and the views are incredible. Some steep sections with a lot of loose rock. I switched on the terrain management system and selected the gravel function. The choices are; gravel and snow, mud and ruts, or sand. Each mode alters transmission gearing, throttle response, and steering control to help navigate the terrain. This is very similar to the Ford Raptor and provides excellent traction without wheel hop or loss of control. The road had a few sections that were washed out from the melting snow. The hill decent feature allows the truck to control the braking so you can concentrate on steering and avoiding obstacles as it descends some 28-degree hills. The Ranger I was driving featured a rear differential lock that came in handy when I noticed one wheel hanging in midair.   After a long day of four wheeling it was nice to be back down and back on the pavement. The transition from off-road to the pavement is quite an effort for most vehicles and to have the ability to provide firm but agile suspension off-road, and a smooth, comfortable ride on the road was seamless in the Ford Ranger.

It looks like little brother might even have a few tricks that big brother doesn’t know about. The 2019 Ford Ranger, Ford tough certified.

Key Features

  • Models
    • XL – Starting at $30,596
    • XLT – Starting at $35,139
    • Lariat – Starting at $41,389
  • Fuel Efficiency
    • 11.8L/100km City
    • 9.8L/100km City
  • Engine
    • 2.3L EcoBoost
    • 270hp
    • 310ft/lbs. torque
  • Towing
    • maximum 1650-lb. payload
    • 7,500-lb. tow ratings
  • Optional FX4 Offroad package, with Terrain Management System and Trail Control
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Automotive Reviews Experiences Truck

2019 Nissan Rogue – Automotive Review

2019 Nissan Rogue – Automotive Review

The 2019 Nissan Rogue is a compact crossover, which has had significant updates over the 2018 refresh, and remains for the longtime best seller in Nissan's lineup

Overview

I happened to find myself driving during the bad snow storm we had a while back. The snow was deep, and the clearing crews were none existent. Two tracks on the highway were the only path I had to follow. Passing many vehicles that were spun out and left abandoned on the side of the road, I realized although I was traveling at a safe speed, I had yet to experience any spinning or sliding. The Rogue was continuing to push on despite the uncleaned snow that was pushing up over the grill. It was almost as if the vehicle was telling me, relax, I got this. I came to my exit and found four semi-truck and trailers stopped and parked because they could not make it up to the ramp. I carefully drove around them and up the exit without as much as a slip. This vehicle is indeed a snow machine; I have never felt safer driving late at night in the snow than I did in this Rogue

Options

There are three trim levels, S, SV, and SL Platinum with Pro Pilot assist. The base S comes standard with 17-inch steel wheels, EZ Flex seating system, 6 way manual driver’s seat, 4 way manual front passenger’s seat, cruise control with steering wheel controls, a tilt and telescopic steering wheel, hands-free text messaging assistant, rearview monitor, keyless entry and a four-speaker audio system 127 mm colour display.

The SV model adds 17” aluminum wheels, power panoramic moon roof, heated front seats and a 6-way power adjustable driver’s seat with power lumbar support.

The SL trim level starts with the SV model’s standard equipment and adds 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic temperature control, auto-dimming inside rearview mirror. The SL’s Leather package includes leather upholstery plus heated front seats; a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, heated side mirrors, a six-way power driver seat, a one-touch up/down driver window.

Option packages for the SL include the Premium package, which consists of an intelligent around view monitor, navigation system with 178 mm colour touch screen monitor, eight-speaker Bose audio systems with a six-CD/MP3 changer, Sirius satellite radio ready, steering wheel mounted audio controls and ND Richbass sub-woofer. This package also gives you a Power liftgate and an around view monitor.

Safety

There are dual stage front driver and passenger airbags with seat belt sensors, Roof-mounted curtain side-impact airbags, and driver/passenger seat mounted side-impact supplemental air bags. The vehicle is also equipped with 4-wheel ABS and traction control systems, rollover sensor,Anti-theft with immobilizer key systems. Vehicle speed sensitive electric power steering adjusts automatically to become more comfortable at lower speed and firms up when accelerating.

Power

A 2.5 Litre, 16 valve DOHC engine with 170 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque, matched with an Xtronic continuously variable transmission with sport mode.

Pump Frequency

  • S  9.1 /7.1 L/100 km (city/highway)
  • SV  9.1 /7.1 L/100 km (city/highway)
  • SL  9.6 /7.51 L/100 km (city/highway)

Warranty Support

  • 3 year/ 60,000km complete vehicle warranty
  • 3 year roadside assistance
  • 8 year/ 130,000km power train warranty
  • 5 year unlimited km corrosion perforation warranty.
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Automotive Reviews SUV

2019 Chevrolet Silverado – LT Trail Boss – Review

2019 Chevrolet Silverado – LT Trail Boss – Review

The Trail Boss is a definite eye catcher driving down the highway and an eye opener driving off-road.

GM has added an all-new look to their Silverado line up, a much beefier body with a bold new front bumper,  grille and fluid body lines that flow from the back to the front wrapping around the front end. It looks like it is straight out of the Transformers movie franchise. Led headlights are thin and tucked up high into the upper corners. The bulging hood matches perfectly, and the side mirrors are mounted to the body panel to increase visibility.

Overview

I felt very comfortable in this truck, and I liked the extra height with the larger tires.  The gas mileage wasn’t too bad, and the transition from on the road too off-road was seamless thanks to the Rancho shocks that firmed up nicely when it was required. Large potholes did force the suspension into the bump stops, and for a second I thought I might have broken something. I like the positioning of the side mirrors from the pillar to the body side. Mounting the side mirror to the front post was always an area that created a blind spot, and the move was a significant improvement.

Driving

The 5.3L engine delivers more than enough power to traverse the backcountry and get you to your favorite fishing hole with ease.  The two speed transfer case gives you the ability to rock climb although the length of the truck does have a tendency to get hung up on the cutbacks we find common on the BC logging roads and like most full-size pickups the wheel hop is something we are used to, after all, that is part of four wheeling. The new redesign makes the truck longer and wider than previous generations, but Chevy was still able to make the Silverado almost 400lbs. lighter than the last model.

The Silverado Trail Boss comes with a 2-inch factory suspension lift with Z71 off-road package which includes Rancho shocks,  an autotrac 2-speed case, 8-speed automatic transmission and a 5.3L Eco Tec3 V8 engine producing 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque. The tranny has a tow/haul mode that raises the upshift points to provide more power to accelerate with a trailer and utilizes engine compression to help slow the truck down. E-lock differential with 3.42 gears, Low enough for four wheeling while high enough not to scream down the highway. The tires are 275/65R18C Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac mud terrain tires with 18” high gloss black aluminum wheels.

Styling

The front seats are very similar to the previous year truck with a few changes. 40/20/40 split bench with a rear bench that seats 3. Center stack infotainment system that features an 8” color touchscreen with Apple car play, Bluetooth audio streaming, and Android auto. 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot capable and SiriusXM radio availability. An all-new, available power tailgate that can be raised or lowered with the push of a button, and bed-mounted 120-volt power outlet, with led lighting. Another interesting feature was the rear-seatback storage compartments, helping provide extra space and organization in the cabin.

Safety

Six standard airbags including; dual-stage front driver and passenger, seat-mounted side impact, and a head curtain. An available colour Head-up Display can project information like your vehicle’s speed, navigation and active safety information directly on the road in front of you. While help comes from assisted driving features like, Forward collision alert, front pedestrian braking, lane change alert with side blind zone alert, and lane keep assist. OnStar connected services

Fuel Efficiency

  • 15.3L/100 km city
  • 11.8L/100 km highway

Warranty

  • 3 year/60,000 km limited warranty
  • 5 year/100,000 km powertrain warranty
  • 5 year/100,000 km roadside assistance

** LT Trail Boss: adds off-road equipment to the LT, including a 2-inch suspension lift from the factory and the Z71 Off Road Package, including locking rear differential, skid plates, Rancho shocks, 18-inch wheels and Goodyear Duratrac off-road tires. MSRP from $54,800 CAD

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Automotive Reviews Truck

2019 Jeep Wrangler – Review

2019 Jeep Wrangler – Review

The 2019 Jeep Wrangler has come a long way from the 1942 Willys military Jeep. Although Jeep has never forgotten its roots, it’s a long drive down the bumpy road to balance technological advancements while still retaining the Jeep look. I think Jeep has done just that very well.

Jeep is an iconic symbol that many recognize, an open air 4-wheel drive vehicle that can take its occupants on an adventure in the back country or travel down a highway in comfort.  The iconic folding windshield has been improved and features a new 4 bolt design at the top of the frame to allow it to fold down quickly. The a-pillars stay in place to allow the rearview mirror to remain.

The instrument panel features a soft touch surface and all controls are easily accessible by the driver, and the new push button start is weatherproof.  Featuring a Uconnect multimedia center that works with iPhone to activate Apple CarPlay and allowing the driver to easily access music, make calls and send/receive text all from the touch screen.

The sport model features 17” black steel wheels while the other models feature 17” aluminum rims. The only exception to that is the Unlimited Sahara that has 18” polished aluminum wheels. 8 way manual adjust driver’s seat with 2 way manual lumbar seats are the norm with some models featuring premium cloth material. Standard 8 speaker audio system om most with an optional Alpine premium audio system on the Sport S, Rubicon, Unlimited Sport S and Unlimited Sahara.

With 6 models and 3 engine choices, Jeep has something for everybody.

Safety

Advanced multistage front and supplemental seat mounted side airbags. Electronic stability control with hill start assist, roll mitigation, traction control and trailer sway control are some of the great safety features of this vehicle.  

Fuel Economy

10.5L/100 km  9.4L/100 km City/Highway

Engine

3 engine choices. A 2.0L I-4 DOHC Direct-Injection Turbocharged engine with eTorque technology, 270 horse power and 295 lb ft of torque mated with an 8-speed automatic transmission. 3.6L PentastarTM VVT V6 with Engine Stop/Start technology delivering 285 horsepower and 260 lb ft of torque coupled with a 6-speed manual transmission. 3.6L Pentastar VVT V6 with ESS Technology and 8-speed automatic transmission.

The Drive

On road driving was comfortable and everything easily within reach, I found the seats a bit tight on the sides but that wasn’t a big issue. Throttle response was quick and made passing on the highway a breeze. I decided the head to a logging road in the valley to test out the suspension. Small potholes were easily swallowed up by the shocks and suspension but some of the bigger rocks forced the springs into the bump stops. A quick speed adjustment improved that situation.  I came across a branch road that had not been used for a while and according to the map it leads to a bridge across the river. A quick shift into low range and a bit of rock crawling, the bridge came into view, or what was left of a bridge. Completely overgrown with trees and many winters have eaten away at the cedar logs. I stayed for a while gazing into the creek to see if I could spot a fish. It wasn’t too long when the sun ducked behind the peek and a dark shadow was cased over the valley, so I climbed back in to the Jeep and back down to the main road. Although my trip wasn’t epic it was a good day. That is the thing about Jeeps; you can have an adventure whenever you want. If you don’t get it that’s ok, it’s a Jeep thing!

80 percent of the earth is covered by water, Jeep covers the rest

Warranty

  • 3 year – 60,000km basic
  • 5 year – 100,000km powertrain limited
  • 24 hr- roadside assistance

Price (CAD)

  • Sport $33,695
  • Sport S $37,645
  • Rubicon $46,095
  • Unlimited Sport S $ 41,495
  • Unlimited Sahara $45,495
  • Unlimited Rubicon $48,495
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Automotive Reviews

Lifting Your Truck?

Lifting Your Truck?

Purchasing a new or used truck is exciting. I bet you can already see yourself personalizing it to suit your needs. Believe me, when I tell you, the truck might be the cheap part.

I have seen over the years people spend upwards of $25,000 or more on customization. One of the more popular things to do these days is installing a suspension lift along with larger tires and wheels. Installing a suspension lift requires some hard work, along with some mechanical experience.

If you’re going to tackle this yourself, here are a few things you should know.

Installation:

Many manufacturers offer manuals for installing lift kits onto certain vehicles; however, some setups are quite intricate, requiring some welding or cutting to add some necessary components. In this case, having a mechanic or a few knowledgeable friends around will help make the job go smoother.

Additional Modifications: 

Upgrading to taller tires also means that some components may require part upgrades or some tuning to compensate. For instance, a truck’s engine is tuned at specific gear ratios to propel the vehicle. When adding taller tires, the gear ratios must be changed accordingly, since the engine has to spin significantly more weight with the new tires. You will also be required to purchase a speedometer re-calibration tool, so you have an accurate reading. Again, consult with more experienced individuals for further insight.

Highway Driving:

Larger, wider tires can sometimes result in instability on roads or a noisy, uncomfortable ride, particularly at high speeds. Also, more aggressive off-road tires tend to wear faster on the highway and traction might not be as great as you would expect on wet roads. 

Weight:

Larger tires are more substantial, which can put a lot of strain on your suspension, particularly if it is a stock suspension. Trusted, durable suspension components and lighter aluminum wheels can sometimes help to reduce the stress.

A Few Useful Accessories: Before installing a lift kit, it’s a good idea first to examine if any components will be affected by your vehicle’s new height.

Here are a few useful accessories that may need upgrading:

  • Brakes
    • Stock brakes do not always accommodate larger tires and will wear quickly due to the added strain.
  • Drivetrain and Differential
    • Axles, gears, differential covers, lockers and more ensure that your drivetrain is up to par with your suspension.
  • Replacement Parts
    • Longer Control Arms and Track Bars to compensate for the additional height of your truck.
  • Shocks
    • For those taller lifts, longer shocks will ensure the smoothest performance both on and off the road.
  • Other Parts
    • Steering linkage, slip yoke, driveshaft length, u-joint angle, and brake lines are all worthy of consideration before installing suspension lift kits.

Search the internet. There are many sites which offer complete instructions on various suspension lifts. You can download a copy before you make the purchase, and know exactly what type of work will be involved.

All images are thanks to BDS Suspension, which can be found in Canada through
Action Car and Truck Accessories

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