2018 Ford EcoSport


As the decline of the sedan in the American market continues, automakers are scrambling to meet the demand for the fastest growing segment, the small SUV (AKA, CUV). Honda has the HR-V, Toyota has the CH-R, Chevy has the Traxx, and even Buick has the Encore, to name a few. One of the last car makers to offer a smaller SUV is Ford. They plan to fix that for 2018 with the EcoSport.

The first thing you notice about the EcoSport is its Ford-ness. The front is unmistakably Ford, with a version of the grill that’s found on most of Ford’s product line these days. That rear, however, is unlike almost everything currently for sale…it’s not the looks, it’s the rear hatch that is actually a side-hinged door. That door is hinged on the Driver’s side (in the US) and is quite large, the better for garages that have height issues according to Ford. Other than that big door, EcoSport keeps the family resemblance to the Escape, just a bit smaller.


As with any new launch, EcoSport comes with a bevy of tech features that should keep all those millennials out there satiated for at least a four-hour road trip. One of the more interesting upgrades is an available B&O Play (by HARMAN) premium audio system. If you’ve ever heard their speakers then you know that this is a very good thing. There’s also Ford’s ubiquitous SYNC, currently in version 3, SiriusXM, and also Apple Car Play and Android Auto viewable on the standard 4.2-inch touch screen or the available 8-inch touchscreen!

Ford EcoSport

Powering EcoSport is a couple of smallish inline engines; a 1.0-liter EcoBoost® (123 horsepower/125 lb.-ft. of Torque) three-cylinder with Auto Start-Stop is standard with six-speed automatic transmission. Then there’s the available 2.0-liter Ti-VCT (166 horsepower/149 lb.-ft. of torque) four-cylinder with Auto Start-Stop which comes standard with all-wheel drive. The EPA expects EcoSport to get 27 city and 29 highway on the 1.0-liter. As of this writing, mileage figures for the 2.0-liter are not available but shouldn’t be too far off the 1.0-liter.

There are four EcoSport models to choose from in 2018. Here are the starting prices for each trim level: S ($19,995), SE ($22,905), Titanium ($25,740), and SES ($26,740)

 Thanks for reading!

…See you down the road!



The Ranger Has Returned

2019_ranger_1.jpgIt was only a matter of time. When Ford left the mid-size pickup segment a few years ago, they were retiring an old platform in the Ranger and it was time for something different. Only Ford’s crystal ball did not reveal the newfound popularity of the “small” truck segment, led by the Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon twins, along with the Nissan Frontier, Honda Ridgeline, and Toyota Tacoma.

I wrote about how I wanted to see a new Ranger way back in 2011…

2019 Ford RangerSo let’s ring in the New Year with some new sheet metal! The newly announced 2019 Ford Ranger follows current Ford styling DNA with Fusion-like headlights and large blue oval embedded in the grill. (It’s almost Edge-like, so you know it’s a Ford) Add to that a handsome character line and high wheel arches in profile and you have an attractively styled pickup to compete with the rest of the pack and complement the current F-150.

2019 Ford RangerI for one am excited about the return of Ranger since I owned one for about 12 years and put almost 200k miles on it. The new Ranger is quite a bit larger than my 1997 single cab with the same size engine? Yes, you read that right, my 1997 had a 2.3-liter four-cylinder, just like the 2019 Ranger! The major difference is the intercooled turbocharged EcoBoost engine and 10-speed automatic transmission. I had to live with just five forward gears that I had to shift myself! Can you imagine??

2019 Ford RangerExpect three trim levels at launch (XL, XLT, and Lariat) with different appearance packages on SuperCab and SuperCrew models (Chrome, Sport, and FX Off-Road).

2019 Ford RangerThe interior is another place where Ford has excelled. From the pics, it sure looks like it belongs in today’s world of mid-size pickups, including navigation and available Bang & Olufsen sound!

On the safety front, the most impressive new feature has got to be automatic emergency braking. Think about this…AEB was not even a thought back in 1997!

Pricing was not announced as we’ve got almost a whole year to wait on the production model.

Thanks for reading!

…See You Down The Road!

2019 Jeep Cherokee

‘Tis the season, as they say. No, not for gift giving or getting, for a slew of new vehicle introductions from all over the world.  It’s also the season for the auto show, which is where most manufacturers announce said new vehicles. But, contrary to this assumption, we received an email today announcing the 2019 Jeep Cherokee, which will be completely introduced at the 2019 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS)!

It’s kind of fun to teased like this. Maybe the auto makers are learning from the tech industry that any hype is good hype.

According to Jeep, the new Cherokee (it’s a mid-size SUV) “boasts a new, authentic design, along with even more fuel-efficient powertrain options.”

And that’s all folks…save for the below pics.

As you can see in the first one, the front fascia is all new and Jeep has forgone the strange eyelid lights in favor of a more traditional design. It’s a giant leap forward if you are not a fan of the old design!

2019 Jeep Cherokee Front

The rear, as seen in the second pic, has not changed much. The license plate is in a new spot and the rear valence is more tidy.

2019 Jeep Cherokee Rear

The profile has not changed much at all, though.

2019 Jeep Cherokee Profile

Alas, the interior is not much different either…but why mess with a good thing?173091_0050_Ds8et5sinrd3lvaomkev7m4d7n7We can’t wait to see what all the new goodies are for this new Jeep!

Thanks for reading!

…See You Down The Road!

Tesla Model 3

Photo: Tesla

The Tesla Model 3 is now for sale and on the road! (In California and a few other states as of this writing.)

The first iterations were “delivered” to a captive audience at the world headquarters in Mountain View, California, at the end of July 2017.

Not only is the car finally in production but we finally have finalized specs for the Baby T: Starting with size, the Model 3 is 184.8 inches in overall length compared with 196 inches for the Model S, and a 113.2-inch wheelbase compared with 116.5 inches for the Model S.


Photo: Motor Trend


Power in the Baby T is down as well but definitely no slouch. Tesla says the Model 3 will get to 60 miles per hour in 5.1 or 5.6 seconds (depending on battery size). Speaking of which, battery size is now in range, rather than kilowatt hours, of either 220 or 320 miles (standard and long range, respectively).

Speaking of changes…totally free, unlimited Supercharging is out of the question for all Teslas that were purchased after January 1, 2017 (unless you purchased the vehicle using another owner’s referral, or paid a large, one-time fee). What those owners do get is annual “credits” that equate to around 1000 miles of free supercharging. For the new Model 3 owner, though, it seems as though those credits are not in play as, according to the Tesla website, Model 3 Supercharging is “pay per use”.

So the Model 3 definitely looks like a Tesla but it has a different look with almost a smile on its face but it’s definitely not a hatchback, which is a bummer since the trunk opening isn’t as big as the hatch on the Model S.


Photo: Motor Trend


Another notable difference between the Model S and Model 3 is the center touchscreen in the Model 3. It’s the instrument panel/HVAC/radio/everything screen that will take some people a while to get used to.


Photo: CNET


Photo: The Verge


Here’s all the specs currently from the Tesla website:



  • Automatic emergency braking and collision avoidance
  • Eight airbags
  • Electronic stability and traction control


  • 15″ touchscreen with onboard maps & navigation
  • Wi-Fi and LTE internet connectivity
  • Keyless entry and remote climate control with app
  • Voice activated controls
  • 60/40 split folding rear seats

Standard Interior

  • 15” touchscreen display
  • Dual zone climate control system
  • FM/Internet streaming radio
  • Textile seating
  • Center console with open storage and two USB ports

Premium Upgrades

  • Premium heated seating and cabin materials throughout, including open pore wood décor and two rear USBs
  • 12-way, power adjustable front seats, steering column and side mirrors, with custom driver profiles
  • Premium audio system with more power, tweeters, surround speakers and subwoofer
  • Tinted glass roof with ultraviolet and infrared protection
  • Auto dimming, power folding, heated side mirrors
  • LED fog lamps
  • Center console with covered storage and docking for two smartphones


  • 4 year, 50,000 mile limited vehicle warranty
  • 8 year, 100,000 mile battery warranty (Standard)
  • 8 year, 120,000 mile battery warranty (Long Range)

Here is one of the more comprehensive looks at the Model 3

Me? I’m still waiting for the Tesla Minibus!


Thanks for reading!

…See You Down The Road!

2017 RAM Rebel

If you’ve been waiting for the day to get a new Ram 1500 Rebel in Delmonico Red then your wait is over. Unveiled at the Houston Auto Show, the Rebel in Delmonico Red is now a fashion leader with its fancy new paint job to go with all its other features at no extra cost.

Now the seventh color option for the Off Road capable Rebel, Delmonico Red joins other colors such as Bright White, Granite Crystal Metallic, and Mojave Sand.

For those who do not know, the Rebel is a Ram model that shares off road aspirations of other factory models like the Ford F-150 Raptor. It comes only in the short wheelbase crew cab configuration. What makes a Rebel is a factory lift with Bilstein shocks, skid plates, tow hooks, and 33-inch all-terrain tires.

Power for the Rebel comes in three forms: a 4×4 with the venerable 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 along with the TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission with 305 horsepower and 269 lb.-ft. of torque; a 4×2 with the 5.7-liter HEMI® V-8 that features variable valve timing, fuel-saver technology that makes 395 horsepower and 410 lb.-ft. of torque and is mated to the TorqueFlite; or a 4×4 with the legendary 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 that features cylinder shut-off and VVT and produces 395 horsepower and 410 lb.-ft. of torque.

The Ram Rebel starts at a reasonable $45,095, with a destination charge of $1,395. Expect to see these bad boys at a dealer near you in May 2017.

Another announcement at the Houston Auto Show was the availability of a slick tailgate option on Limited trim package equipped Ram Truck models; monochromatic lettering for an alternative appearance. Coupled with the also announced cab-length body-colored running boards and you’ve got one sharp truck.

There’s definitely a lot going on at Ram these days!

Thanks for reading!


…See You Down The Road!

2016 Volkswagen Jetta



Sometimes you just got to take the high road and make the decision to rent a car for that long weekend road trip to keep the miles off your reliable, but aging, cars. We’ve had to do this a few times…I say “had to” but it’s a decision, not a necessity.

The scary part is not knowing exactly what you’re gonna get (insert famous movie line). This is a big reason to always be nice to the people you deal with and the businesses you patronize. For our most recent trip, the counter girl offered a Nissan Versa. Nothing wrong with that except I have a real issue with CVTs (continuously variable transmission). So I kindly begged for something other than the small Nissan and she graciously offered a Volkswagen Jetta.


We drove a previous generation Jetta quite a few years ago and remember loving the way it drove and how comfortable it was.

This generation is even better.

The Jetta I drove was comfortable, with good power and better handling than previous gens, let alone a lot of cars out there in the Jetta’s class. It was rock-solid on the highway and took corners well.


Engine-wise, our car had the new 1.4-liter turbocharged inline four cylinder that replaces the 2.0-liter naturally aspirated I4 from the 2015 model. For a base engine it was peppy and our mileage numbers were phenomenal! Peak horsepower and torque for the 1.4T is 150 and 184 respectively and we got a high of 40 miles per gallon on one leg of our journey and mid to high 30s the rest of the time. The six-speed automatic was spot on and we never felt like it was hunting for gears like some other high gear count transmissions seem to do.

Since it was last redesigned for the 2015 model year, the 2016 Jetta we drove was still fresh and sleek, with angled and angry-looking headlights split by a large VW crest in the grill. Out back is the familiar multifaceted VW brake lights separated, again, by a large VW crest. With character lines running down the sides from front to back bookended by fully integrated front and rear bumpers, Jetta eschews class and elegance in the form of a solid family sedan.


The interior is Euro-comfy with well-bolstered seats, a clean and usable center stack and a busy yet very readable instrument cluster. Those seats, though! Cloth seats with heating! It’s a small thing but more car makers should make this happen!

The center stack features some new awesomeness: a 6.3-inch touchscreen with VW’s Car-Net App-Connect that supports all three available connected car systems: Apple CarPlay®, Google Android Auto™ and MirrorLink® as well as supporting a rear-view camera. That camera got really wet and almost unusable during a heavy rain. Maybe some Rain-X would have helped.


Android Auto was difficult to get going. Everything seemed ready to go but there was just no connection between the phone and the car. After a couple of Google searches, we changed the USB cable it worked very nicely. The integration is awesome and this solution makes so much sense as your phone technology advances much faster than can car technology. The big drawback we found with Android Auto, or Apple Car I assume as well, is that the USB port on our car did not have enough power to charge the phone we were using (Samsung Galaxy S6) while using Android Auto. We kept getting a low charge current error on the phone when connecting. The battery showed charging but the phone was losing charge slowly rather than adding charge. Not a good thing if you like the service but you’ve let your battery run down. The solution we found was to start with a fully charged phone. That seemed to negate the issue for some reason.

One other odd thing was the steering wheel shape. It was mostly like a triangle, with the point running around the wheel so that it faces the driver. It hit my carpal tunnel area, making it a little uncomfortable to hold for longer than a few minutes, let alone an eight-hour drive.


One last thing to praise is the large trunk. There was ample room for the three bags we took on the trip, leaving plenty of space for all the goodies one collects when traveling.

Expect low- to mid-twenties for a decently optioned model. Or, just look for the VW lease sales events and pick one up on the cheap!


Thanks for reading!


…See You Down The Road!



So my last post had a blurb about other car companies who use the tagline “the first ever” and I said that I thought Infiniti used it in a recent ad. Well, as I was watching a ubiquitous car show on Velocity I saw probably the ad I was thinking of….


Which can be watched here.

I guess I have to reiterate…Stop The Madness!!!

All new cars are the first ever!

We get it!!!

Thanks for listening….

…See You Down The Road!