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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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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