2011 Ford Raptor F-150 SVT

2011 Ford Raptor F-150 SVT

2011 Ford Raptor F-150 SVT

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The love affair continues. I was excited to take delivery of my third Ford Raptor SVT. Actually, I was beside myself with anticipation of the reunion with this former flame. Anyone who reads my reviews knows how much I like mid-size trucks. I realize this has no impact with the manufactures that, was made obvious by the discontinuation of models like the Dodge Dakota. However, there has always been one full- size exception. That would be the Ford Raptor.

The Ford Raptor F-150 SVT was first tested in 2007. Ford entered it in the Baja 1000 that year. The truck ran in the production class and was extremely impressive in its debut. This Raptor will be my third in just over two years. What I found with the new Raptor is a new and improved former flame. With a larger power-plant capable of even more torque, the Raptor is a breeze to drive. The auto-transmission is as smooth as anything in Ford’s line up until you ask it to grunt. And shifting the six speed transmission is made incredible easy with the rocker switch located on the shifter. The new transmission now allows full control in the manual setting allowing you to down-shift 2-1, 3-1, or, even 4-1.

What never ceases to amaze me is how small the Raptor feels on the road. No doubt you have heard me complain in these reviews on the pain in the butt problem of parking FULL size trucks. The Raptor, even with its extra width seems much easier to maneuver. I’m sure it’s because of the tighter turning radius. It really doesn’t matter why. It’s just easier to park period.

I do realize that you can’t review the Raptor on ease of parking without being laughed out of the watering hole so; I would like to point out that where the Raptor shine most is in full motion. Four hundred eleven horsepower allows the Raptor to handle its weight with ease.

Ok, now for the fun stuff. You can jump this truck. All four wheels can leave the ground and the driver stays more stoic than a convention of Evangelicals. No matter the terrain, the Raptor keeps the cockpit smooth and easy. This truck was made to run in the dessert, and with little sand available in East Texas I feel I can never truly let her hair down. The best I could do was Barnwell Mountain Recreation and Off-Road Park. And even there the speed limits prohibited even coming close to using the truck for its intended purpose.

2011 Ford Raptor F-150 SVT

2011 Ford Raptor F-150 SVT

Alright, the 2011 Raptor does have a sticker price tougher than the truck itself; $42,290 will get you in a Raptor Super Cab. The mileage, forget what they post. I’ll tell you I averaged more than 16mpg city under relatively hard driving. I found this to be more than impressive.

So, what can I say, I am still in love with the Raptor. I know I should be more critical, I just can’t be. Someday I will own a Raptor. I promise you that. It may be a used one but, I will own one and when I do I’m throwing my son in the passenger seat and heading straight for New Mexico or, Arizona. I just can’t think of a better summer vacation experience than blasting through the dessert at speeds over eighty miles per hour.

I’m Lonnie Johnson and this is this week’s review sponsored by Stewart’s Donnybrook Automotive. Stop by and see Gary today. I’m very proud to have them sponsor these reviews and hope you will give them a chance to earn your business. At the corner of Donnybrook and Troup Stewart’s Donnybrook Automotive offers what I think is the last full service station on the planet. You won’t find a more enhanced, enjoyable atmosphere anywhere in Tyler.

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2011 Boss Mustang

2011 Boss Mustang

2011 Boss Mustang

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Every year one or two cars stand head and shoulders above all the others. Most of the time, it is the visceral reaction to the car that sets it apart. For 2011 that car for me has to be the new Boss Mustang.

Growing up (I’m forty-five) I got to see the original Boss running around the streets. At my high school there was a dark green Boss that some lucky kid got to drive. I just remember it looked fast just sitting in the parking lot.
Fast forward almost thirty years and the newest version of the Boss has the same effect on me as the original did. Sitting in the parking lot dressed in white with black Boss striping and black wheels this car draws more attention than Dolly Parton at a retirement home. When in motion the Boss just dares people not to stare. The sound of this car is absolutely musical. I even enjoy listening to the noises emanating from the six speed gearbox.

To me the Boss is a much better example of a driver’s car than the GT500. The GT500 feels much heavier which it is, but, only by 200 or so pounds. However, it fells 500lbs lighter behind the wheel. The Boss tips the scales at 3,600lbs. Ford achieved this in old school fashion. The Boss is by most standards, bare bones. I mean you have to giggle a little when you find out there isn’t even a USB port in the car. Oh yea, there is also only space for one CD in the player. I love it! Enough already with all the devices that vie for your attention behind the wheel. This car is not for you, twenty-something web surfer guy. This car is the entertainment system. It reminds you at every light and turn what driving is all about. Driving.

The horsepower is rated at 440. My rear-end will tell you a different story. The horsepower on this car is more underrated than the benefits of a tropical vacation for a Canadian. It feels just as strong as the GT500 while the paper work claims a 120HP disadvantage. Keep in mind the Boss has the iconic 302. Not the 5.4 liter beast in the GT500. I’ve always been in love with the way the 302 sounds even though I’m a Chevy guy. I can remember going to dirk track races as a kid and you could blind fold me and I could still tell you when a 302 came whizzing by. This Boss sings all the way up to 7500 rpm. That’s over 1200 rpm more than the GT500.

Very few of us will get to experience the joy of this however. Ford is keeping the production very limited by modern standards. That’s just one more thing that makes the Boss so desirable. You won’t see one at every stoplight in town. The price tag is $43,000.00 but somehow this even makes sense.

I supposed to be critical so, here goes. Sometimes you have to stop driving to add fuel. There, that’s my only criticism. Sorry, I just couldn’t think of anything else negative. The 2011 Boss Mustang will go down as one of my favorite cars of all time. Even without the USB port.

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2011 Cadillac Escalade ESV

2011 Cadillac Escalade ESV

2011 Cadillac Escalade ESV

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Automotive Double D’s. If you live in Tyler and have not heard of the standoff between people who think they stand for everything right and people they find morally reprehensible then you’ve been missing too much. All I know is this. If Tyler won’t allow a watered down version of Hooters to open in our town, then, all the old fifty something dudes with trophy wives need to divorce them and send them away. Oh, and by the way, cancel The Cattle Barron’s Ball, because, don’t tell anyone but, I promise if you attend next year’s event you’ll see Double D’s waitress outfits from one poker table to the next.
But, Double D’s can be a good thing, if you’re talking about the 2011 Cadillac Escalade ESV. You see when referring to the 2011 ESV, Double D stands for Double Duty. That’s right, whether you want to roam the vast urban sprawl or tow your ski boat while loaded down with humanity and gear the Cadillac Escalade is a very good choice for both.
For me the Escalade ESV is huge. As a matter of fact it’s 21 inches longer than the regular Escalade. Trying to maneuver it into a parking place is difficult and backing out of the same space, forget about it. Even with rear camera assistance it is an effort in concentration to back the big beast up.
However, once you get on the road you forget about how difficult it was to park. Because now all you notice are the air cooled seats, the multiple video screens (because you kids a quiet), and the finely trimmed interior. It’s as quiet and comfortable as any vehicle on the road. The supple stitched leather and fantastic retro wood trim are amazing and scream luxury. Also, the navigation system offers real-time traffic and expanded voice prompting, if you can figure that out. Young people help the old people. In the back of the Cadillac ESV there are not one but two rows of video monitors. You could put the cast of Curb your Enthusiasm in this SUV and never have an argument.
The Escalade has not been rated using the governments more severe crash testing. But, your weight and size cannot be denied in a crash. You do, however, have more airbags than a party of politicians.
As for the power how about 403HP provided by the absolutely flawless 6.2 liter V-8. And concerning your towing, you can pull 8,000 pounds. That’s the big ski boat. Mileage is as good as I would expect, 13/18MPG but, what do you expect from a rolling brick full of living room furniture.
The price for people who possess trophy wives is a very reasonable $80,000. For the rest of us, save, save, save. Just don’t put your money in the stock market. I’m Lonnie Johnson and this is this week’s review sponsored by Stewart’s Donnybrook Automotive. Stop by and see Gary today. I’m very proud to have them sponsor these reviews and hope you will give them a chance to earn your business. At the corner of Donnybrook and Troup Stewart’s Donnybrook Automotive offers what I think is the last full service station on the planet. You won’t find a more enhanced, enjoyable atmosphere anywhere in Tyler.

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