2021 Lexus NX300 Review | 2021 4-Runner 4x4 Review | 2021 Camry SE Review | 2021 Acura TLX Review | 2021 Honda Ridgeline Review | 2022 Bronco Outer Banks | 2021 Sequoia PRO-TRD | 2021 F-150 King Ranch Powerboost | 2021 GR Supra | 2021 Lexus RCF Fugi | 2022 Mustang Mach E | 2022 Ford Maverick Larait | Ford Bronco Badlands Edition
2022 Toyota Highlander XSE
Well, here we go with yet another run of the popular SUV/ Crossover breed of automobiles. The other day I tried to remember when I reviewed more cars and trucks than SUV’s and Crossovers’. I couldn’t do It, partly due to the years of self-chosen watering hole stops, and partly just due to age. This segment has now dominated for nearly two decades.
This brings us to this week’s review of the 2022 Toyota Highlander XSE. Toyota completely redesigned it in 2021 so, not much changed last year to this year. The highlander remains a somewhat sporty, fun to drive SUV, with third row seating for pets only.
I kid Toyota, but that third-row seat is small and compromises the rear storage space. Honestly, if it’s a third seat you need, maybe go ahead and buy a full-size SUV. However, if it’s a sporty, fun to drive, semi quick, grocery getter and weekend vessel you’re after please, give the 2022 Toyota Highlander XSE a look.
Power is provided by the all too popular Toyota version of the 300hp V-6. I think every manufacturer has one in their product line. Toyota has damn near perfected it. Smooth and agile, it purrs and delivers effortless acceleration. No, it’s not fast, but it’s no doorknob either.
The pre- collision software is tamed a bit from the older models and is less intrusive than Honda. As I get more used to this tech, I find myself emersed into what feels like a safety cocoon. There was at least one time, when I was distracted by a falling water bottle that the accident avoidance paid off in spades.
I have been very hard on the Accident-Avoidance software, I felt like it was too controlling, and I like to feel like I’m in control when I drive. The truth however is the more tech we have, the more distracted we become. Having this tech onboard can save you when you don’t know you need to be saved and that’s worth the price of admission.
Above all I found the Highlander very comfortable and effortlessly enjoyable. The 8-inch-Touchscreen was easy to use, however at times there was bad glare on the screen, making it difficult to see. Handsfree-Bluetooth was also straight forward and easy to use, and has Apple play as well as android accessibility. Four USB ports allow little Johnny to charge his many gen Z gizmos at one time, and a three-month Sirius subscription lets you enjoy the Red Hot Chili Peppers new station, Sirius 106.
The exterior styling is all Toyota, with a huge front grill and soft edges compared to others in this segment. Twenty-inch wheels on the corners underline the sporty looks as well. A power lift-gate makes loading with an arm full of supplies easy. Last but not least, there a fourteen freak’n cup holders! The mileage was great on the highway, not as impressive in town. Toyota lists the mpg as 20 city, 27 hwy, but my city driving had me in the 17-mpg range.
With a list price starting at $43,000.00 and well equipped for $47,000.00 it’s competitive in price as well. Look, I know there are many choices in this segment, one that Toyota has ruled over for years. Just make sure you test a 2022 Toyota Highlander before making your decision. I think you’ll like what you see.
Ford Bronco Badlands Edition
When it comes to overlanding or trail riding the four-door Bronco is fine. But if you’re headed out to do some serious off-roading, with sharp inclines, tight trails and marginal ground clearance, you need to pick the two-door Badlands Bronco.
When the trails are tight, think Chris Farley’s Fat Guy in A Little Coat tight, the shorter wheelbase works much better.
Let’s face it, Ford set the Jeep Rubicon directly in their sights in the production of the Bronco, and it shows. Offering the same toaster appearance and wheelbase, Ford certainly got the first shot on target. The Bronco has a tighter turning radius than Matt Stafford at a Super-Bowl parade.
Every time I’m fortunate enough to get a four-wheel-drive two door offering, I take it to Barnwell Mountain to try it out. I always get the same looks from the diehards at the off-road park, asking themselves, why does this idiot bring these brand-new vehicles out here? The reason is simple, I can.
It’s so enjoyable off-roading without much fear of getting stuck. I was on a tight schedule when I was testing the Badlands Bronco, so I took it somewhere closer than Barwell. The facility is called Rabbit Creek, and it’s just west of Kilgore, Texas. It’s more mud bog than rocky terrain, feels like you’re in a swamp, honestly.
Even though mother nature had blessed me with a recent rain, making conditions even more torturous, The Badlands Bronco performed flawlessly.
At the trails I felt one-hundred percent confident, even though I was alone. This is in no small part due to the Badlands extreme suspension, and 33” in BF Goodrich All-Terrains and 4.7 Rear Axle-Locking DIFF. In granny gear it literally craws over terrains easier than Karen’s get on my nerves.
Oh yeah, did I mention it’s a standard. Seriously, a standard 7-speed transmission, in fact. In addition to being millennially theft proof, it is incredibly fun to drive. However, off-roading as a novice I would recommend an automatic, the stick has you feeling much more attached to the task at hand. But here’s the deal, in its “Crawl” granny gear and in four-low, the badlands Bronco becomes automatically effortless. Through mud, inclines, and descents, you feel in complete control.
Although the power-plant, a 2.3 EcoBoost won’t blow you away with acceleration, it overachieves off-road. Thanks to the turbo offering high torque numbers for its size, it really is smooth off-road. It’s quiet enough to let you enjoy nature, allowing you to remember why you actually turned off of the road in the first place.
Factory Rock Rails are another great addition. Let’s face it, when you are off-road, you sometimes miss judge obstacles like the Dallas Cowboy’s miss the play-offs. It’s at this opportune time that things like Rock Rails save you thousands on body repair.
Let’s not forget, if you don’t want to scratch your new Bronco you can remove damn near everybody panel on the Bronco, before you hit the trails. It’s one of many things that impress me about the Bronco, and in my opinion, sets it a tick above a Rubicon. If you are off-road enough, you’re going to scratch your truck up. What a great choice you have to get those, expensive to repair panels off of your vehicle prior to leaving. It’s like off-roading in the buff.
With front and rear lockers firmly engaged I never once felt vulnerable. I traversed giant mud holes at low speeds, hardly even getting the Bronco dirty. Mind you I was dressed for work and on my lunch break. If I would’ve needed to step outside, I would have had to change clothes, it was a mess out there.
That’s what I want to leave you with. You know who never mouths off at the bar? That’s right, it’s the guy that can handle himself. That’s exactly what the Badlands Bronco is. It’s tough enough to handle any comers, so there is no need to overcompensate.
I left Rabbit Creek only needing a drive through car wash to clean the good time off of the Bronco. So, think about it, I took a brand-new Bronco Badlands edition off-roading, had a blast doing it, took it to a car wash and back to the office with no visual evidence of my excursion. To me this meets all my standards for a fun to drive, highly capable off-roader you can clean and take to dinner.
Lastly, Ford has quieted the hard top which makes driving to the off-road park or dinner out of town much more enjoyable.
It’s with great confidence I announce, Jeep Rubicon, your competition is here, it’s not spouting B.S. either. It’s calmly sitting there, sipping on a great bourbon, minding its own business, all the time ready to end any confrontation quickly and return to a calm state in minutes.
2022 Ford Maverick Larait
It’s 2022, the year that just seems to bring us one surprise after another. Bad news, good news and news of the weird. EV’s seem to dominate the car industry, like a certain Miami resident dominates politics. In the middle of all the chaos Ford seems to be finding a footing in reality.
The 2022 Ford Maverick is a great example of minimalism and effectiveness. Full-size trucks have become extremely expensive in the last few years. As they have become more status symbols, lifted to the heavens and bejeweled with neon lights and chrome, they have lost their primary focus, which is to move stuff from one location to another.
Ford has addressed the need for an entry-level truck that young people and young entrepreneurs can afford to purchase with money left over to go towards things like home ownership and the repayment of student loans.
As I drove around Ford’s newest four-wheel success, in East Texas, I encountered more side eye than Joe Rogan received from Neil Young, most was from the “large truck” crowd. They were wondering, I’m sure, what is that thing, why is it so low and small? Couldn’t you afford the whole truck, little fella?
Leaving truck country, I entered Dallas on 635 East. The looks immediately changed. Gone were the “poor little guy” stares, replaced with curiosity at this metro friendly cargo mover. Stopping at a convenience store, the owner asked to get a closer view of this new concept by Ford. He immediately pointed out to me how deep the bed was. Perfect, he said for hauling last minute inventory from Costco or Sam’s. He asked the price and I explained that you can get into an entry level Maverick for $19,995.00, but the one he was viewing was closer to thirty thousand than twenty thousand. He flipped with the knowledge he could acquire a version of such a truck for under $20,000.00
Next to be blown away by the styling and size was a nice older guy (my age, or so) who films the Dallas Stars and Texas Ranger games. A guy who needs to move equipment, park in tight places and, is beyond the look at me stage in his life. He remarked how he liked the styling that was growing on me. When I first saw it, it looked to me like a Nissan Cube mated with a Ranger. As the week progress and I spent more seat time, in the Maverick, I began to get it.
For twenty thousand dollars Ford gives you a fuel efficient 2.0 liter EcoBoost and 8-speed transmission, a set of comfortable front seats, and NO infotainment stack. I didn’t get it either, every car today comes with an infotainment center more complicated than a Yeezy tweet.
Ford decided that drivers now carry their infotainment systems in their hands. From phone calls to directions, to music choices, we can do it all thanks to Mr. Jobs. Ford simply asked you to plug in your own infotainment center. In doing so, they save you thousands of dollars.
No there isn’t a lot of ground clearance or, aftermarket lift kits. The question I ask is, if you need a truck for a service industry job, do you really need a full-size truck? I fully expect FOMOCO to sell tons of these to the fleet companies.
Ask yourself this, is less more? In this case, I argue it is. I averaged about 27MPG on city and hwy. driving. I didn’t haul anything, but if I wanted to, I could put 1500lbs. in the bed. That’s ¾’s of a ton!
Truth be told there will be more jam boxes plugged into the rear 110 outlets than power tools, but that’s the beauty of the 2022 Maverick.
Congratulations to Ford on a truly innovative product. Somewhere Dr. Suess is smiling given the styling. Knowing most of the buyers will never knew he existed.
If you need a dependable and affordable, economical truck you would be remiss not to visit Tyler Ford and check out the availability of the Maverick.
2022 Mustang Mach E
As I write this review about the all-new 2022 Mustang Mach E, I’m sitting in the lobby of Peltier Kia on Troup Hwy, in Tyler, Texas. I’ve been waiting to review the Mach E for too long. I’m one of the few, in East Texas that are embracing electric, and hydrogen as well. Just the idea of rolling around town all day and coming home and plugging my car in for the night, is very attractive to me. Not to mention the fact that through the years I’ve come to appreciate quick cars and the Mach E is quick. The Mach E GT is faster, but some bum in Houston stole the rear wiper off of the GT, so that won’t be happing.
The reason I’m writing the review in a waiting area at a local dealership is because there are far too few charging stations, in this town. Only a hand full of non-Tesla stations. It appears Tesla is far ahead in the race to establish a grid for these amazing cars. When the infrastructure bill begins to allow our country and state to add more and more powerful charging stations, it will become more attractive to own and operate a fully electric car. As it stands right now the MACH E gets about 270 miles on a full charge. Under the current tech it takes about 4-6 hours to fully charge. That’s just too much time. A home charger is a must if you plan on an all-electric purchase, in East Texas.
If you’re willing to take the plunge, you’ll be happier than a used car salesman in 2021. The silence is extremely enjoyable. One of the things I look forward to, is when the fully electric trucks come on line. The Ford Lightning is close. The idea of riding off-road in a truck quiet enough to hear nature is very attractive to me, as well. Not sure how the electrics will handle water crossing but, I suppose I’ll find out soon enough. No surprise here, but one of my favorite things about the Mach E is the whisper quiet, ridiculous acceleration. I’ve grown up with equating fast with loud. The rubble of a cammed V-8, or the roar of a twin turbo four or six cylinder has always appealed to me. Recently however, it seems every car on the road is stupid loud. A talented racer friend of mine famously told me, “All mustangs with aftermarket exhaust sound like ten second cars”, and it’s true. As I write this today silence is much more valuable to me than “look at me noises” and FART CAN EXHAUST.
As far as the car itself, The Mach E will not disappoint. It offers heated seats, a sky roof and button push entry. I’ll drop the specs later, but safe to say the only thing that is missing from the Mach E is a gurgle. Ask yourself, would it be so bad to have one electric in the family. Unless the major manufacturers back off of their promise we will see an end to the ICE production by 2035-40. There’s even a SEMA backed campaign that tries to scare me into thinking the government is coming for my ICE (Internal Combustion Engine). Kind of reminded me of the early days of the NRA. Although I don’t feel Uncle Sam is coming for my distributer driven 1974 Camaro, I still think we should look ahead.
If I were 21-years-old again there is no way I’m going ICE! Just spend some time on YouTube and see for yourself. There are tons of videos of Tesla’s slaying Hellcats. There is something very cool about an electric lining up next to a Hellcat with nitrous, belching and grunting, and smoking, only to be dusted by the electric. At 55, I may be in the minority, not surprising to those who know me. I’m just ready to move on. I mean, I don’t want to go back to three channels and test patterns on my TV at 1a.m. There are definitely odd things about driving an electric. Along with the lack of noise is the fact that when you take your foot off of the gas pedal the car decelerates ever so slightly, applying the brakes for regenerative charging, I’m sure. It takes some getting used to. There are also times that you will wonder if the car is on. If you’re someone who has to have mechanical noise, don’t worry, you can depend on the radio to produce “Propulsion sounds”.
Though very comfortable the Mach E is rather spartan in its amenities. I’m’ sure it is a weight thing, as the Mach E checks in just over FIVE-THOUSAND-POUNDS! That’s the weight for this cross over, or a conventional full-size truck. If you’re nostalgic about “the old Days” even better, you can return to the days of five-thousand -pound passenger cars.
Now let’s get on with the details you came here for. We’ll start with money. How about a $7,500.00 tax credit for purchasing the Mach E? That will take almost twenty percent off of the sticker. Next is the extended service battery, an 89kHw usable rechargeable battery good for 210-300 miles per charge, depending on driving. AWD system, helping the Mach E stick to the ground under hard acceleration and giving you sure footedness in adverse conditions. Let’s not forget the one speed transmission. Engage, Whisper and Unbridled, are your choices of applying your battery power. I used two of them over the week. My choices were Whisper and Unbridled. Making your selections requires you to engage the 15.5-inch, Centre-screen, with touchscreen. The lack of useable knobs took some getting used to, but the engineering allows you to pick it up quickly.
Ford even provides a 120v outlet charger for home use, yes it takes forever to charge on this feature, but at least you know you can do it anywhere. At the end of the day, to quote the great Chevy Chase, “220-221, whatever it takes” Ford is making it hard for you to say no to the future. If you share my vision of the future you can revel in the tech, we are now able to enjoy. If you want to “Make America Great Again”, you can embrace the return of the five-thousand -pound passenger car.
One thing I can say, I’m proud of Ford! Whether it’s the all-new and capable Bronco or the Eco-friendly Mustang Mach E, Ford is producing great new products for us to enjoy. So, don’t be shy, embrace the future! Maybe someday soon I can review a hydrogen powered car and reminisce about the old-school electrics of the early twenties.
For now, the bar is in the state and federal folks’ hands. We absolutely have to provide an infrastructure for these electric and eventually hydrogen cell cars and trucks. Just for your benefit, I will pass along that in the time it took me to scribe a thousand words or so, my Mustang Mach E is fully charged and ready to roar…..ahem, purr.
Visit Tyler Ford for more details.
2021 Lexus RCF Fugi
This week we are moving up Toyota’s pedigree to the 2021 Lexus RCF Fugi. It’s fast, felt similar to the Supra GR as far as performance. It cost an extra fifty-thousand dollars and has two additional cylinders, and a back seat. It’s not a seat that you can sit comfortably in but, a rear seat nonetheless.
I did like the squatted appearance and the carbon fiber hood and spoiler that give the RCF Fugi a somewhat impressive, grown boy racer look.
The RCF is the top of the mountain as far as horsepower goes, offering 472HP and 395 lb.ft of torque. That’s impressive, but it is a bit bloated at four-thousand pounds. I was lucky enough to experience the RCF on winding mountain roads from Tyler to Broken Bow, Oklahoma. I was extremely impressed with the road manners and the curve slicing ability to make driving truly enjoyable.
The front seats are the only reason I could list for not wanting to take the Lexus on a long trip. While the bolsters keep you firmly in place as you navigate winding mountain roads, they also become a little too tight for someone who weighs more than 75lbs.
I’m not sure anyone looks at a car like the Fugi for comfort, so I can understand the need of the ultra-supportive racing style seats. The truth is they are purpose driven. In fact, the entire car seems purpose driven. Driven to give road feel and feedback and designed to give everyone on the road the impression you’re here to compete.
Everything from the Brembo sourced carbon ceramic 15in brakes with six-piston aluminum calipers, to the rear diffuser lets you know the RCF wants to compete.
The disconnect for me is simple. This car is extremely overpriced. Price as tested was $102,845.00. At this price point you begin to get into many great cars. The issue is the RCF performs about like a $38,000.00 Camaro SS. Straight line speed is great, you can reach a quarter-mile in 12-13 seconds, but a hundred grand?
Obviously at this price the amenities are off the charts, the interior offers a stunning red leather wrapped cockpit with red-ish carbon fiber accents. In cabin wi-fi and SirusXM Satellite radio, and Bluetooth let you enjoy any sound you choose through an exceptional 10-speaker sound system that doesn’t disappoint. The F-spec leather wrapped steering wheel feels just right and is also wrapped in red leather.
There is another bit of exclusivity with the RCF Fugi, it’s one of sixty produced. If it were a more collectible car, I could see how the price could be justified, but it’s not. Granted, it’s cool to drive around in a very rare car but, the choices at this price point include a base Porsche 911. There’s some exclusivity there as well.
Another positive about the RCF is how well-mannered it is when you’re not blasting down the road. At times it can be Camry quiet. I think if the front seat were a bit more comfortable and ingress and egress was slightly less contortion laden, that it would open the car to more buyers. It feels like a young person’s car with an adult price point.
Look, if you’re Bitcoin investments are humming along and dollars are of little consequence to you, I can happily recommend the 2021 Lexus RCF Fugi, but if you are looking for something incredibly fun to drive for half the price, please check out the Supra. You still keep the money in the family and have fifty thousand dollars to spend on a chiropractor.
2021 GR Supra
The Christmas season is in full swing. It’s been another incredibly long year with less good news than bad. The automotive world was no exception to the rule of 2021. Loses in productivity lead to shortages of computer chips that help power our modern cars, slowing production, in some cases to a halt. Those shortages led many dealers to think on their feet like never before and drove used car prices through the roof. I have to say I’m proud of the industry both locally and nationally for their response. Reduced floor plans are the new normal changing the entire industry into some bastardized version of CARVANA.
But all is not lost. Toyota has again given us a reason to believe in the season. I’m specifically referencing the 2021 version of the Toyota GR Supra. There are purpose-built cars of all types, work trucks, minivans and sedans are all good examples. Then there are cars built for nothing more than the visceral feel of being just this side of crazy. Cars that just can’t sit idly in the driveway. The GR Supra is such a car.
To begin with, the lines of the Supra are exceptional. With hips a Kardashian would be proud of and power “on loan from God”, the Supra is the most exciting sports car I’ve driven since Ford re-introduced the track savvy CT350. If I can find one flaw with the Supra, it’s the fact that it is almost too quick. I’m fortunate to drive fast cars every now and then, but this car stands apart.
Even with every traction control set to “responsibility” the GR Supra is squirrely, lunging left or right anytime you choose to flick the throttle. If I can quote the great Carroll Shelby,” It’s an ass-kicker”.
The GR Supra is difficult for a 55-year-old to get in an out of, visibility is limited by the amazing design, and comfort is barely adequate. The amazing thing is I couldn’t care less about this stuff because every second I was in possession of this car, I wanted to be on an open road.
The 382 HP and 388 lb.-ft of torque plasters you to the seats. Never has less than 400HP felt this powerful and unpredictable to me. It’s an unbelievable joy to have so much respect for a car’s acceleration ability. I can’t explain it and I cannot confirm or deny that I embarrassed a new Charger 392, but I can tell you if you’re looking for a fast car that is relatively unique compared to anything else on the road today, you would be hard pressed to beat the 2021 GR Supra.
It’s not cheap, as tested it was just under sixty-thousand dollars. That’s a lot to shell out for a car that offers only road hugging ability, good looks, and an astounding use of technology.
The Toyota GR Supra gets its blistering power from an unlikely source, its power-plant is produced by BMW. It’s a 3.0- liter inline-six that gets extra wind from a Twin-Scroll Turbo. The inline six has always produced tons of torque over the years. From the iconic Ford 300 to the infamous early nineties Supra’s that took to after market induction like Texans to high school football.
I could go on and on about the performance, but the styling is just as profound. As I mentioned above the Supra has huge hips that stand out in the side mirrors. The gently slopping bodylines are sublime and the front-end is muted by today’s bass-mouth standards. The paint was also eye catching. It is described by Toyota as MATTE STORM GRAY MET/L820. It’s described by me as one of the most eye pleasing palates I’ve ever seen. Toyota does not recommend running it through automated car washes, but that won’t matter to you. You’ll be happy to spend the time washing the Supra’s fine lines. This is also a VERY small car, so the hand wash won’t take long.
Brembo 4-piston Vent Disc Brakes offer the Supra plenty of whoa to your go, and the ten-spoke 19” wheels frame them beautifully. Inside the cockpit you are held in place by bolstered 14-way adjustable seats that offer you heat when it’s chilly, and grip year-round.
If you can’t tell by this review, I was absolutely blown away with the 2021 GR Supra, a car that demands your attention to drive, and demands others attention with its amazing styling.
If you’re needing to move your family, look elsewhere. If you’re wanting to experience a pure, no-nonsense drivers’ car, the 2021 GR Supra should be on any short list.
F-150 King Ranch 3.5 Liter Powerboost Hybrid
For years I’ve wondered out loud why no one has embraced the Hybrid technology in pick-ups. Think of all the cool options you could put in and, on the truck, think of the additional torque. I can usually tell when Jimmy delivers my Ford products how cool they are by what he looks like after the ride from Dallas to Tyler. Safe to say when he got out of the F-150 Hybrid he was beaming.
First, let’s talk about the difference between grown ups and kids. Kids do what they want to do, grown-ups what they need to do. The all-new F-150 Hybrid is a truck for grown-ups. It doesn’t stand up and scream, look at me, it just quietly gets the job done.
As stated above when the driver stepped out of the truck he was beaming, almost refreshed from the long drive. When he pulled up and I got my first look at the Kodiak brown F-150 with the Java interior with Kingsville leather, I was immediately intrigued. The look is purposeful and warm, almost inviting you to open the drivers side door. I was glad I did. I stepped into the palatial SUPERCREW cabin and took a minute to study the layout. I pushed the start button and the 3.5L Eco-Boost screamed to life. Just kidding, there was no sound, I was in electric mode. The silence was amazing as I pulled out of the drive- way enroute to my job selling conservative radio to the fine folks of East Texas. I managed to drive the three miles to work engaging the fossil burner for only one third of a mile. The rest of the trip was all battery, baby. I fell in love right then and there.
I’ll talk about the 500-plus lbft of torque later. Right now, I just want to focus on the silent lucidity of moving around town, at a relaxed pace, in electric mode. Look if you floor it, and you can, this thing will flat get it. But what grown-up floors their pick-up at lights? The review truck was a pre-production model so, no mileage was listed. Reviewing cars for years I’ve always looked less at stated mileage and more at how much fuel I consumed over the week. I returned the F-150 with over a half a tank of gas after driving it ALL over Tyler for a week. I purposely drove it easy because I wanted to see how much I could rely on the battery versus the fuel fed power-plant. My answer was, most of the time, in city driving, at lights, during easy starts, moving at 35mph. There were plenty of opportunities to enjoy the quiet. I mean really, can’t we all use a little less noise in our lives?
I know many of you reading this don’t care about Hybrids and think trucks don’t need to add to that category of vehicles, but listen up. The all-new F-150 Hybrid has something, actually many things for you guys and girls who work the truck or use it as a tow vehicle.
Let’s start with the ability to tow damn near thirteen thousand pounds. This is an F-150, not an F-250. That’s copious amounts of towing ability. Making towing seem easy is the total torque numbers displaced when both the internal- combustion motor and electric motor team up. There is literally nothing on the good side of reason, you can’t tow, even “Bubba reason”. Miss you Irwin!
Putting this power to the ground is an incredibly smooth 10-speed Hybrid Electric transmission, that seems to find the perfect gear every time. This truck is the smoothest truck or, car for that matter that I’ve reviewed in a very long time.
I’m no electrician and it wasn’t listed on the paperwork, but you can lower the tailgate and literally plug in your arch welder. With plugs offering 110 and 220 volt plug ins. Seriously??? That’s cool. Think of the times it would be great to plug in your electronics, in the middle of nowhere, and never worry about running out of juice.
The tech on the F-150 Hybrid is almost too vast to list in totality here, but feel free to visit ford.com to see for yourself. I’ll just mention a few like the dreaded lane departure and accident-avoidance technology that is tuned in a way not to completely overtake the drivers input, but to enhance it. 360-degree cameras that allow you to easily park what has become an increasingly larger and larger truck. Something called “Post collision braking”, I’ll have to look that one up!
The F-150 wore King Ranch trim, which means leather-soaked luxury and a fantastic sound system. As well as heated and cooled seats in front and rear.
In conclusion, if you need a new truck, you need to give the 2021-22 Ford F-150 Powerboost Full Hybrid serious consideration. Ford has hit a game winning walk off home run with the truck.
Now it’s time for you to step up to the plate and swing the bat, and in this case, bat stands for battery. Here’s to a quiet and more peaceful year ahead, thanks to Ford Motor Company.
2021 Sequoia PRO-TRD
Have you ever had a friend that was balding but refused to embrace it and tried weird electric hats, spray paint, or just continued the same hair habits even when they did look good anymore? That’s my opinion of the 2021 Toyota Sequoia, it just keeps with the same tried and true habits. But under most bad haircuts sits a well-shaped head.
The 2021 Toyota Sequoia is in desperate need of a make-over. Wearing all the same fashion as it always has, it seems to be stuck in an era of truck-based SUV’s that lumber about. However, under the dated exterior design is an extremely capable off-roader. Capable of comfy trail riding or as much rock crawling as a production-based truck can handle. The one area that really impresses me about the whole Toyota line-up is the color palette. The test truck was in the same Lunar Rock color as the Tacoma TRD from earlier in the run. Lunar Rock appears to be flat gray, for the curious.
If you’re in the market for a huge SUV it wouldn’t be a bad idea to consider the Toyota Sequoia. The beast seats seven passengers very comfortably, is ready for most excursions and has good road manners. Power is the same tried and true 5.7-liter V-8. While offering enough torque to result in decent off-road capability, it falls a bit short when it tries to get in a hurry. I personally feel this power deficiency has much more to do with the three tons of weight it has to move about. The Sequoia feels almost clumsy around town. It just felt like a 90’s car to me. Maybe the suspension was tuned for off-roading, I don’t know, but whatever the case, it was somewhat disappointing.
I have to admit, although the styling is a bit bland, I think the nostalgia is kind of cool. The Sequoia screams, look past me, nothing to see here, in today’s look at me world, this somehow resonates with me. Instead of screaming for attention you can simply go about your day knowing that if things turn bad, you’re in one of the more capable vehicles on the road.
Pricing starts in the mid-sixties and seems well placed, in that regard. With some of the larger SUV’s cost thousands more. Let’s face it, if you’re in the market for a 2021 full sized SUV, you need to be ready to spend a pretty penny to get it.
I suspect that we will see a completely updated Sequoia in the near future, probably featuring turbos and smaller displacement. I would encourage Toyota to consider making it a bit nimbler. I know it’s a lot to ask to have a seven-passenger truck that is fun to drive, but I know Toyota can do it.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Little has changed within the last few years. Gas mileage is not great. Copious amounts of room for passengers and toys.
WHAT YOU WANT TO KNOW:
You’ll never go wrong with any Toyota 4×4. Sometimes subtly is sophisticating. Best color choice is the Lunar Rock
2022 Bronco Outer Banks 2.7 Liter Eco-boost
Finally, the day arrived to receive the all-new Bronco. I’ve recently embraced the off-roading world and currently drive a Jeep for my daily driver. It’s not a Wrangler, it’s a Grand Cherokee. From my short seat time in the Bronco nothing became clearer to me than Ford’s efforts to put out its version of the Jeep Wrangler. Think the classic TV series The Six Million Dollar Man. In the opening it describes the main character as stronger and faster, better than before.
In some ways I think FOMOCO did just that. I think there are a few rattles to shake out and in truth I am reviewing a pre-production model. Given that, I was impressed. I knew the 2022 Bronco would be capable off-road, no surprise there. What I really wanted to find out was how it acted as a daily driver.
Around town it actually has decent manners. With a size that is neither too large to park or too small to be comfortable the Bronco offers the perfect balance.
One of the best features to me is the ability to remove basically the entire body, doors, and front and rear quarter panels can be removed. Yes, it takes a few minutes, but how cool is it that you can ride trails in a brand-new Bronco without worries of scratching your paint? The other thing about the body that impressed me was the rigidity. The Bronco has two bars, one on each side running from the rear of the truck to the A-Pillar. This gives the Bronco much needed frame rigidity, in the absence of a true top.
About that top, the wind noise at highway speeds is deafening. The roof is split into four parts with two parts placed directly above the driver and front passenger. The wind travels through the connection points and honestly, makes it very hard to have a conversation, at highway speeds. I would opt for either the convertible top or hard top. The driver who delivered the Bronco said the hard top is very quiet. Let’s give Ford credit for bringing off the launch of the Bronco in the middle of a world-wide pandemic.
The power-plant is my favorite in the eco-boost line-up of motors. It’s the 2.7-liter Eco-boost and in my opinion, it feels stronger than the 3.5-liter. I saw a video last year of three F-150’s, outfitted with different engine options pulling trailers, the 2.7 out preformed the others. It was also the choice in the Fusion Sport AWD that is one of my favorites. Push the accelerator lightly and you won’t hear a thing. Stomp on the go pedal and the Bronco jumps to life and growls like an animal, in the woods.
The test vehicle was blessed with the OUTER BANKS package that offers 18” wheels, a 4.27 rear axle with locking differential, a hard top molded in color, and storage bags to keep your top from being ruined while it’s off the Bronco. Comically, it also offers sound deadening in the headliner. Roof rails with cross members make carrying a load easy and tie-downs at the front of the hood offer extended confidence that cargo won’t blow away.
The interior is two-toned leather in chocolate and tan. Heated seats are included and may I suggest cooling for the seats, in future models. The infotainment center has a 12-inch touch screen which is easy to use and dominates the dash. There is more than enough room in the rear seats to accommodate any size human or canine.
The mileage was not listed, as the Bronco was a pre-production model, but I averaged around 17MPG in town and on a trip to Lufkin to see Tyler Legacy win their football game.
WHAT YOU WANT TO KNOW:
Great off-road performance, good looks, great power and an amazing turning radius. Ready for larger tires and wheels without needing a lift. Retro appearance and comfortable ride.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
First year model released during the world-wide pandemic. Priced around $53,000.00 USD. Hard top has more road noise than a car with know roof. Order the 2.7 Eco-boost.
2021 Honda Ridgeline HPD
I know, truck guys are going to laugh at me, and I get it. If your definition of a truck is a six-inch lift and 35’s, or four tires on the rear axle, just ignore this review. Move on, nothing to see here. However, if you are not in that group, pay attention and read on. The 2021 Honda Ridgeline has more than enough capability to satisfy any urban truck owners needs. Honestly, even if you want to fly down back country roads and traverse cow pastures, the Ridgeline could be a great choice for you.
I haven’t found many that think the styling is aggressive enough but, Honda has certainly given the latest version a bit more brawn. If you consider the Ford Raptor a Miami Hurricane football player from the nineties, the 2021 Honda Ridgeline would be more of your five-foot-ten, 175lb defensive back for The Colorado School of Mines. Sure, the smaller player can’t break as many bones, but effectiveness, even in football is not always about size. Sometimes the space between the ears can be a very effective sports muscle. The 2021 proves this theory is sound for urban trucks as well.
Let’s start with the most impressive feature. It’s clearly the storage capability. The Ridgeline is the first truck I’ve seen utilize the area beneath the bed. Directly in front of the tailgate is a significantly sized, water proof storage compartment, perfect for anything you need to lock or keep dry. Even when completely full you can use 100% of the truck bed for whatever load you carry, up to 1,200lbs.The tie down points are well placed and strong enough to anchor any load. Loading the Ridgeline is super easy thanks to a multi-function tailgate that not only drops, but swings.
With a towing capacity of 5,000lbs. I would venture to say that the target consumer of the Ridgeline won’t be using it to haul hay, but it could pull a one-horse trailer, or side by side, or a couple of jet skis, or smallish boat. Let’s be honest, if you are looking at the Ridgeline you probably don’t intend to tackle the Rubicon or start a Hot Shot delivery service.
Spending a week behind the wheel, I found the 2021 Ridgeline enjoyable to drive, surprisingly quick…..seriously, and super comfortable. Honda waste no space. It seems every possible nook and cranny has storage potential. I think I counted 8-10 drink holders. The console is spacious and can be used as a writing surface, in a pinch.
I mentioned that the 2021 Ridgeline is quick. This was a HUGE surprise to me. In the new world of drive-by-wire there is usually a bit of a lag when you punch the accelerator. In sport mode, the Ridgeline comes to life. I know, I know, it’s a 280HP V6, but put the Ridgeline in SPORT MODE and hit the gas and the truck positively jumps off the blocks. I don’t know how many configurations are changed in the fuel-air mixture and timing, but it makes all of the difference. Assisting in the performance is a nine-speed transmission and standard AWD. The Ridgeline is unbelievably well mannered around town. It’s quiet and comfortable with a good ride height and tight steering.
The single biggest update is the infotainment stack with better graphics and an actual VOLUME KNOB!
Listen, I get it, you can’t take the Ridgeline to a redneck mud park and not get ridiculed by the methamphetamine addled great unwashed. Here’s the deal though, when was the last time you attended such an event? If you’ve ever tried to load or unload a modern F-250 or lifted truck you know that it’s cumbersome at best. Don’t even get me started on Parking. The Ridgeline is very easy to load and unload 20 bags of mulch or a half a cord of wood. In addition, how often do these lifted trucks ever see less pavement than the Ridgeline. It’s a pick-up for a grown-up.
Pricing starts at $36,000 and can be optioned up to $42,000. Honda has always been associated with great long-term reliability and I’m sure that if you purchased a new Ridgeline, it would serve you well for years.
Overall, I was very pleasantly surprised by the overall performance of the Ridgeline. You see, you won’t ever find me at a mud park. At 55 I am probably the point of the spear of potential Ridgeline owners. It’s a great driving, comfortable truck with adequate towing and hauling capability, it’s quick and best of all… IT’S GOT A VOLUME KNOB.
Dependable, comfortable, quiet and sturdy.
WHAT YOU WANT TO KNOW:
Mileage is good, priced correctly and it has a volume knob.
WHAT YOU WANT TO KNOW:
Mileage is good, priced correctly and it has a volume knob.