SUV Review: Ford Expedition

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Sep 222021
 
Expedition Premium
Expedition Max King Ranch

As sport utility vehicles (SUVs) grow, so do their price tags so that even the base model of a full-size SUV can produce a bit of sticker shock.  With a starting price above $50,000, the Ford Expedition is no exception.

Redesigned in 2018 (it’ll be refreshed for 2022), the Expedition continues to serve buyers with the need for transporting multiple passengers, lots of cargo, and towing. Latino Traffic Report recently tested the two highest end models of this fancy workaholic, the Expedition Platinum and extended length Max.

The Expedition

Regardless of trim level, all Expeditions benefitted from a new exterior design that gave them a more refined look in 2018. Three years later, the fourth generation Expedition still showcases a 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine and ten-speed automatic transmission that produce up to 375 horsepower and 470 ft.–lbs. of torque with best-in-class maximum towing capability of 9,300 pounds.

It has an EPA estimated fuel economy of 17 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 23 on the highway. The aluminum-alloy body, redesigned high-strength steel frame, and stop-start technology help stretch fuel further. The extended version adds 11.9 inches in length but loses a couple mpgs with a city/highway EPA estimated fuel economy of 16/21 mpg.

Flexible seating and storage solutions include second-row tip-and-slide seating, standard on all models, that provide easy access to the third row.

Improved utility on the all-new Expedition comes with the class-exclusive Pro Trailer Backup Assist camera that helps drivers maneuver with confidence when backing up to a trailer.

Standard safety features include a perimeter alarm, the SOS post-crash alert, traction control, and a blind spot monitor with cross-traffic alert, lane keeping assist, pre-collision warning, and automatic high beams as part of Ford’s Co-Pilot 360 technology suite.

Platinum 4X2

Fully loaded with technology and otherwise optional features, the Platinum trim level also improves on aesthetics with satin chrome scuff plates, ivory leather seats, and body color door handles.

As a 4×2 configuration, the test model was meant to stay on the road and as such, provided a comfy, quiet ride ensconced in a plush interior. Ford sets the bar regarding seating comfort, in LTR’s experience.

Not only were the front seats heated but so were the second row. The front seats, however, were also cooled or ventilated. The rear seats deployed easily with the push of a button as did the hands free liftgate. Both test models offered seating for seven with captain’s chairs in the second row rather than a bench.

Maneuvering such a large vehicle requires extra technology like a 360-degree camera when in reverse with sensors to make sure to avoid people and objects. For the smaller statured, power running boards make getting in and out of the vehicle much smoother and adjustable pedals improved driver confidence and safety.

A panoramic sunroof on the test model and a hotspot with wireless phone charging included on both, added luxury and convenience.

The Premium averaged 20.4 mpg on the weeklong test drive.

Built at Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, Kentucky, pricing on the 2021 Expedition starts at $52,290 with destination fees. The as-tested price came to $75,925 with 22-inch wheels and second-row buckets seats adding $595.

King Ranch 4×4

Not only is the Expedition Max longer than other Expeditions, the test model came in one of the most successful and plush trims that Ford offers, the King Ranch. Named for the famed ranch in Kingsville, Texas, purchasing this trim rewards the buyer with Del Rio leather seating and accents that bear the King Ranch logo.

The test model swapped a panoramic roof for the roof rack found on the Premium and added a ten-way driver and passenger memory seat.

While max towing on the King Ranch can reach 9,000 lbs., a little less than its shorter sibling, its added length expanded cargo room for a maximum of 121.5 cubic feet.

The test modal also lost a bit of fuel efficiency due to its size, it averaging 17.9 mpg.

The main feature on the King Ranch that sets apart, however, really boils down to its interior. There’s more plastic included than in the past but the leather seating, with saddlebags on the seat backs for added storage, achieves quite a high standard in the segment.

The as-tested price for the King Ranch came to $81,680 with an added $1,570 for its 22-inch wheels and heavy-duty trailer tow package.

Sí: Both test models offered what buyers would expect in a large SUV, particularly at this price point, lots of luxury, comfort, and convenience.

No: The infotainment system didn’t offer enough presets and the start-stop fuel saving system was abrupt.

Ford Foundation Invests in Latino Art and Artists in “Reclaiming the Border” Project

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Apr 082021
 

Shared Spaces by Ana Maria Alvarez produced by Border Arts Corridor. Photo Credit: Ammi Robles.

Latino Traffic Report has learned that the Ford Foundation will partner with Borealis Philanthropy, the Center for Cultural Power, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, and the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures to launch Reclaiming the Border Narrative.

Nansi Guevara, 2020 Border Narrative Change, NFA Grantee

Reclaiming the Border Narrative is an effort to penetrate and shape the national attention on migration and the United States-Mexico border by supporting authentic storytelling by affected communities on the cultures and socio-political dynamics that comprise the region. Funding will enable immigrant rights advocates, artists, writers and organizations to work over the next three years to organize and preserve stories reflecting the dignity and truth of border communities, connecting and empowering them to center their own narrative on their terms and in their voices.

“Damaging narratives about border communities have for too long dominated the national attitude towards immigrants. We are proud to support these communities to reclaim their truth, speak their stories, and craft new anthems for America that ring with the dignity, demands, and dreams of border communities,” said Maria Torres-Springer, vice president of U.S. Programs for the Ford Foundation.

Prevailing narratives across administrations have demonized border communities and stoked fear of immigrants, fueling xenophobic policies including a multi-billion dollar border wall and family separation. Through it all, the authentic life stories, voices, and narratives of impacted border communities have been flattened, and the complexities of their cultures, contributions, and experiences have been erased.

From The Center for Cultural Power.

The Ford Foundation will provide more than $4.5 million in grants to the partners, who will regrant to:

  • Immigrants’ rights organizations working in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas;
  • Artists, filmmakers, writers, and journalists who live or work along the border and who lift up the region’s stories and issues; and
  • Provide training and technical assistance to those grantees to improve and expand their capacity to use documentation, storytelling, and other forms of creative expression to advance their organizing and advocacy agendas beyond the life of their grants.

Ford will provide additional support to the Southwest Folklife Alliance to document the learning from this initiative. The collective efforts will be compiled into an accessible digital archive to collect, house, and preserve the stories from the border and include contributions of other communities, advocates, and creatives after the project ends.

From Borealis Philanthropy: Free our Future San Diego action organized by Mijente

“The truth that runs through all of our work is that directly affected communities are the essential creative force in the larger arc of social change,” said Amoretta Morris, president of Borealis Philanthropy. “In the aftermath of the last four years of extreme anti-immigrant actions and narratives, we must listen to and center the stories, experiences, and wisdom of border communities who are determining their own futures. Borealis is thrilled to support the advocates helping to uplift the voices we need to hear right now.”

“It’s clear that culture and stories shape national policies about immigration,” said Favianna Rodriguez, cultural strategist and president for the Center for Cultural Power. “For too long, our country’s dominant story has been one of criminalization and dehumanization, which has led to children and families being held in cages. The Center for Cultural Power is honored to build the cultural capacity of artists and pro-migrant organizations to create, amplify and normalize a different kind of culture that’s welcoming to immigrants and can move us away from a punishment economy.”

NIENMORE Texas, 2020 Border Narrative Change, NFA Grantee

Maria Torres-Springer, vice president of U.S. Programs for the Ford Foundation, said, “Damaging narratives about border communities have for too long dominated the national attitude towards immigrants. We are proud to support these communities to reclaim their truth, speak their stories, and craft new anthems for America that ring with the dignity, demands, and dreams of border communities.”

“It is a rarity to be among partners whose shared commitment to cultural competence can act as a powerful catalyst for systemic change, beginning with our efforts to amplify the rich and dynamic border stories too often overlooked,” said Alberto B. Mendoza, executive director for the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. “With this investment, NAHJ and our journalists are part of a veritable opportunity for storytelling that preserves significance and fosters authenticity.”

“The National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures has long stood in solidarity with Latinx artists and organizations along the southern border,” said María López De León, president and CEO of the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures. “We work to uplift the most marginalized voices within our communities because we know that art and culture is our most powerful conduit for transformative change. Using their artistic and cultural practice strategically to advance justice, artists and culture-makers along the southern border will create works that reflect the dignity, resilience, and beauty inherent in border communities and our histories. It is an honor to stand with the Ford Foundation and other partners supporting arts and culture-makers throughout the border region in cultivating collaboration across creative disciplines and borders.”

“Many widely held assumptions and beliefs about the border region and immigration that circulate in U.S. culture and media paint a negative, flat picture of these complex issues,” said Maribel Alvarez, folklorist and ethnographer for the Southwest Folklife Alliance. “To bring about lasting changes in public perceptions and policies, we need to augment the scale and capacity of those close to the ground to get their stories heard and taken seriously. This project is the welcome and urgent first step towards a more democratic and equitable public narrative about some of our country’s hardest working, yet most vulnerable, communities.”

For grant opportunities go to partner sites.

Muscle Car Review: Mustang Bullitt

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Jun 302020
 

Which came first, the Mustang Bullitt or the 1968 movie with the same name? Apparently, it was the latter. Two Mustang GT fastback models were used in the movie and then Ford adopted the name to release a Bullitt of its own in 2001.

In 2018, Ford re-introduced the iconic fastback for the 2019 model year and Latino Traffic Report recently got to test it. In a nutshell, fans of the Bullitt’s reputation for power, performance, and a loud engine rumble will not be disappointed but more timid drivers will be compelled to push the throttle too.

The fun begins with the Bullitt’s upgraded 5.0-liter V8 engine that delivers at least 475 horsepower and 420 lb.–ft. of torque, pushing it to a top speed of 163 miles per hour (mph), an eight mph increase over the latest Mustang GT. As an added treat, all Bullitts come with a six-speed manual transmission featuring a cue ball shift knob like the original—an automatic transmission is not an option.

Retuned exhaust tips give the car a signature roar, as well as a new Open Air Induction System and Shelby GT350 intake manifold. The adjustable exhaust mode cranks it up further for those who really want to make noise.

Not that it matters, especially for Bullitt enthusiasts, but the fuel economy for this muscle car was better than expected. The EPA estimated miles per gallon (mpg) wasn’t even included on the Monroney (window sticker) but it did average 23.7 mpg on the test drive.

Only two color choices exist for the Bullitt, Dark Highland Green and Shadow Black, the test model came in the latter. It was accented by chrome around the grille and front windows, 19-inch five spoke heritage aluminum wheels, red painted Brembo brakes, and a unique black front grille.

There’s also plenty of Bullitt badging throughout, like on the illuminated door sill scuff plates, in the instrument cluster, and on the driver air bag cover.

Pony reflected on the ground from the side mirror as driver approaches the Bullitt.

The Bullitt comes with all the standard equipment included on the GT Premium trim level, like selectable drive modes with toggle switches, dual-zone climate control, heated and cooled leather front seats (the fan for cooling, however, was loud), the Sync3 voice recognition communications and entertainment system with an eight-inch touchscreen with Pinch-to-Zoom capability, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

As a top-of-the-line trim level the Bullitt adds a 12-inch all-digital LCD instrument cluster with a unique Bullitt welcome screen that starts in green with an image of the car rather than the pony, green accent stitching and a heated leather steering wheel.

The test model also included Recaro black leather seats and the Bullitt Electronics Package ($2,100) that added a blind spot monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, a Bang & Olufsen sound system, a CD Player, HD radio, and navigation.

Pricing for the 2020 Mustang starts at $26,670. The as-tested pricing for the Bullitt came to $51,290.

Original 1968 Mustang from movie Bullitt.

Sí: The Bullitt lives up to its reputation for power, speed, and thrilling ride.

No: The lack of access to a blind spot monitor across the lineup was disappointing and the seats were difficult to program.

The Third Annual LTR Truck Guide

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Mar 042020
 
Chevy Silverado

For the last two years, Latino Traffic Report (LTR) has produced a truck guide, recognizing the appeal pickups hold, not just in the state of Texas, the number-one truck market, but also among Latinos. For 2020, we present our third installment. This guide includes models test-driven for at least a week by LTR and offers an overview, not a ranking, of what they offer or lack. For additional truck info or to compare and contrast, check out last year’s guide as well as the original.

Nissan Frontier

Coasting on a redesign that’s fifteen years old, the Nissan Frontier continues to offer utility and off-road capability, plus the lowest starting price in its segment.

Rumors of a redesign for the Frontier had been circulating for years but nothing definitive was announced, until this year at the Chicago Auto Show. According to Tiago Castro, director, Commercial Vehicle Business Unit, Nissan North America, Inc., there will be an all-new Frontier in 2021 and while 2020 will be the final year of this generation, it will include the 2021’s powertrain, an all-new 3.8-liter V6 engine matched to a nine-speed transmission.

Last year the Frontier was the most-affordable pickup in its class, with a starting price of $18,990, excluding destination fees, but the test model, Frontier SV Crew Cab SWB 4×4, sat well above the base.

The list of optional features included on the test model began with the powertrain, namely the 4.0-liter V6 with 261 horsepower and 281 lb.­–ft. of torque. It will be replaced later this year by the previously mentioned V6. It was matched to a five-speed automatic transmission and included a two-speed transfer case with 4Hi and 4Lo options for off-road capability.

Functionality sells trucks and the test model offered a maximum towing capacity of 6,380 lbs. as well as 60/40 split rear seats that flipped up, as well as down, to reveal added storage.

On the drive, however, the Frontier was capable but clearly outdated, especially on the inside. The Value Truck Package ($1,890) added upgrades like a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a rear sonar for parking, a factory-applied spray on bed liner, and sliding bed extender, among several features, bringing the as-tested price to $33,560. But it lacked basic new technology like a blind spot monitor or navigation.

The 2020 Frontier will go on sale this spring.

Ford Ranger

Like the Frontier, the Ranger remained unchanged for many years before it disappeared in 2011. But in 2019, Ford also decided to re-enter the midsize truck segment by bringing back its venerated “little” truck. The new version, however, joins its enlarged competition, measuring 210.8 inches in length.

Toyota Tacoma

On the outside, it appeared to borrow design cues from the Toyota Tacoma. Can you tell which is which? While it borrowed some design cues from the Tacoma, it didn’t adopt one of its best, a dampened tailgate.

When LTR last tested the Ranger, before the redesign, it too suffered from being dated as well as guzzling gas. The new model, however, included the 2.3-liter EcoBoost inline four-cylinder with 270 horsepower and 310 lb.–ft. of torque matched to a ten-speed automatic transmission, giving it an improved EPA estimated fuel economy of 20 mpg in the city, 24 mpg on the highway. The as-tested fuel economy came to an average of 22 mpg.

The Ranger has a maximum towing of 7,500 on all trims but payload varies and the test model had the lowest figure of 1,560 lbs.

Priced above the Frontier, the test model also included popular technology that its competitor did not, like a blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert, a 4G Wi-Fi hotspot, a digital TFT in the instrument cluster with an average fuel economy calculator among other features, and an eight-inch touch screen in the center stack to display navigation or audio information, or both with a split screen option.

Like the Frontier the test model included heated front seats, a leather wrapped steering wheel, satellite radio, a spray-in bed liner, and dual-zone climate control but the Ranger added leather seating.

Pricing for the 2020 Ranger starts at $25,605. The as-tested price, including the FX4 Off-Road Package ($1,295) came to $44,960.

Chevrolet Silverado

For 2019 Chevrolet completely redesigned, the Silverado and entered the market with a range of eight models and six engine/transmission choices. The test model was the two-wheel drive double cab RST trim, powered by the turbocharged 2.7-liter inline four-cylinder (I4).

The real competition for trucks happens under the hood and Chevy’s range of engines, from the four-cylinder to a diesel, gives it a definite advantage.

Matched to an eight-speed automatic transmission, the I4 should produce 310 horsepower and 348 lb.­–ft. of torque. Maximum tow rating for the Silverado is 13,400 lbs. with the V8 but maximum towing for the test model came to 7,000 lbs.

Body-color trim, full LED lighting (foglamps, headlamps and taillamps) and up to 22-inch wheels distinguish the RST trim from the others. The test model, however, included 18-inch bright silver painted aluminum wheels.

With redesigns, the focus begins with the exterior and in the case of the new Silverado, at first glance, its features can be polarizing compared to the clean lines of its predecessor, but it does improve on closer inspection. The new pickup is also 1.6 inches longer and has a bed that’s seven inches wider giving it a best-in-class cargo volume starting with the short box’s 63 cubic feet. Maximum payload on the test model came to 2,190 lbs.

The test model also included Active Fuel management to give it an EPA estimated city/highway fuel economy of 20/23 mpg respectively. During the test drive, it achieved an average range of 23.2 in the city and up to 32.4 mpg on the highway.

The test model did include signature GM technology like Stabilitrak, OnStar, Teen Driver, a rear seat reminder to encourage drivers to check the back seat before locking the vehicle, and a dampened tailgate that releases with the push of a button.

Pricing for the 2020 Silverado starts at $29,795. The as-tested pricing included multiple packages from Convenience with Bucket Seats ($1,655) to Safety ($890), which brought the price up to $47,795.

Ford F-250

The Ford’s F-Series has held the top-selling vehicle title for 42 years. The F-150 has made-up the bulk of these sales but it’s bulkier super duty siblings, the F-250, F-350, and F-450 provide the utility that work truck buyers demand. LTR recently drove the F-250 SRW 4×4 Crew Cab Limited.

Best in class achievements help super duties stand out in this highly competitive segment. For 2020, the F-250 will offer a choice of three engines including an all-new 7.3-liter V8 with best-in-class 430 horsepower and best-in-class 475 lbs.–ft. of torque. The third-generation 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel V8 powered the test model. For 2020 it has been upgraded to deliver best-in-class 475 horsepower and best-in-class 1,050 ft.–lbs. of torque. A 6.2-liter V8 is the F-250’s standard gas engine. While the 6.7-liter diesel on the test model was matched to a six-speed automatic transmission, an all-new ten-speed heavy-duty TorqShift automatic transmission is standard with the 7.3-liter V8 and 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel V8 for 2020.

Technology on a work truck is essential and as a Limited trim level, the test model added FordPass Connect, embedded 4G LTE modem with Wi-Fi access for up to ten devices and charge up with wireless charging and USB-C ports as well as the Ultimate Trailer Tow Camera. The test model also included a tailgate step, ambient lighting, voice activated navigation, and adaptive cruise control. Capacity specs for the F-250 test model maxed out at 19,100 1bs. towing and 3,470 lbs. payload.

While fuel efficiency ratings are not required for super duties, the text model achieved an average fuel economy of 15.5–16.6 mpg during the drive.

Pricing for the 2020 F250 starts at $35,300. The as-tested price came to $84,500, including extra charges for a gooseneck hitch kit, 3.55 electronic locking axle, a fifth-wheel hitch prep package and a bed spray-in bed liner.

Sporty by Nature

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Sep 012019
 

Daily Drives that Perform

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback

Sports cars attract a singular buyer because that level of performance comes at a high price, but what about the rest of us? Happily, nearly every automotive brand offers at least one sporty option in their lineup that won’t break the bank. For those who’d like a little more performance in their daily drives, Latino Traffic Report (LTR) recently tested the following options.

Toyota Corolla Hatchback

Originally called a liftback, the Corolla Hatchback is back as an official member of the lineup for 2019. LTR recently tested the 2019 Corolla XSE (above), one of two available trims and the sportiest with standard 18-inch wheels, LED fog lights, and a chrome front grille surround. The test model also came in a special Blue Flame exterior paint.

A 2.0-liter Dynamic-Force direct-injection inline four-cylinder engine with 168 horsepower and 151 lb.­­–ft. of torque powers all Corolla Hatchbacks. While a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) is available, the test model came with the six-speed manual transmission combined with a multi-link suspension with a stabilizer bar, and updated shock absorbers and springs that added sportiness and lots of fun to the drive.

The EPA estimated city/highway fuel economy was 28/37 miles per gallon (mpg). The test model averaged 31.5 mpg.

Sitting in the hatchback, it felt finished and a bit upscale, that’s because the XSE grade added fancy standard features, including dual-zone climate control, two-tone combination leather seating, and heated front seats. Unique stitching on its instrument panel and doors, the multifunction steering wheel and a seven-inch TFT Multi-Information Display (MID) that showed vehicle information like turn-by-turn navigation and a new feature, Road Sign Assist, set it even further apart.

Toyota’s infotainment system, the Entune 3.0 Audio Plus, is standard on the XSE and features Sirius/XM satellite radio and a high-resolution eight-inch multimedia touchscreen. Apple Car Play is standard on all Corolla Hatchbacks.

Standard semi-autonomous features included Lane Departure Alert, Lane Tracing Assist, a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, and adaptive cruise control. My favorite safety feature, the Blind Spot Monitor, was also standard on the XSE.

Pricing for the 2019 Corolla Hatchback starts at $20,910. The as-tested price came to $23,910.

Mazda Miata MX-5

MX-5 Miata Thirtieth Anniversary edition.

Since its introduction 30 years ago, the Mazda Miata combined a striking design, nimble performance, and a drop top with a surprisingly affordable price. LTR recently tested the 2019 Miata MX-5 Grand Touring soft top and happily, not much has changed to lessen its appeal. Indeed, when the thirtieth anniversary edition was unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show this year, the 500 anniversary models set aside for sales in the United States sold out in four hours.

The modern Miata is sleeker but its agility will still make its owners smile. A sport-tuned suspension and Bilstein shock absorbers enhanced handling further on the test model.

Formerly the top-of-the-line trim out of three until the anniversary edition was introduced this year, the Grand Touring trim comes equipped with posh features like, heated leather seats, automatic air conditioning, and Mazda navigation with traffic sign recognition. The blind spot monitor becomes a standard feature on the Club trim, one below the Grand Touring, so it was included as well.

All Miatas are powered by 2.0-liter four-cylinder Skyactiv engine with 181 horsepower and 151 of lb.–ft. of torque. While an automatic transmission is available, thankfully the test model came with a six-speed manual transmission that elevated the driving experience. Fuel economy is also an added plus with an EPA estimated city/highway rating of 26 mpg and 34 mpg respectively. It earned an average of 34.1 mpg on the test drive.

The canvas top remains manually operated but it can literally be done while siting in the car with one hand. A retractable hardtop version is also available.

Pricing for the 2019 Miata MX-5 starts at $26,625. The as tested price came to $33,050.

Subaru Crosstrek

In the car world “sporty” almost always describes a performance or sports car. But for this list, we broadened the definition of sporty to include off-road performers as well. With its symmetrical all-wheel drive (AWD), the Subaru Crosstrek can handle the outdoors for owners who want to take it there, but it also has sporty qualities that set it apart in its segment.

The tested model was the Crostrek 2.0i Limited with EyeSight Driver Assist Technology (right)—a suite of autonomous safety features, from pre-collision braking to adaptive cruise control. For 2019, it’s now available on all 2019 Crosstrek trim levels.

All Crosstreks are powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder Subaru Boxer engine that delivers 152-hp and 145 lb.–ft. of torque. Transmissions do vary, however, starting with a six-speed manual. The tested model, however, included a CVT with a seven-speed manual mode function and steering wheel paddle shifters for those who want the performance of a manual transmission but without the clutch. Not only did the CVT offer the better fuel economy, with an average of 29 mpg, it added muscle as well with an X-MODE and Hill Descent Control for better traction off-road. The test model also included 18-inch alloy wheels in black with a machine finish.

Some call it a wagon, others a compact SUV but either way, the Crosstrek offers the convenience of both with a rear seat that folds to expose 55.3 cubic feet of cargo room.

As the top-of-the-line trim, the test model also included convenience features like an eight-inch touchscreen with voice-activated controls, Keyless Access with Push-Button Start, Blind Spot Detection with Lane Change Assist, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

Pricing for the 2019 Subaru Crosstrek starts at $22,870. The as-tested price came to $28,170.

Lexus IS 300

For its entry-level offering, Lexus introduced the 2001 IS compact sport sedan in 2000, allowing more buyers to step up to the brand with the added plus of performance.

The test model on this drive was the IS 300, the most affordable IS, powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine with 241 horsepower and 258 lb.–ft. of torque.  In 2018, the entire lineup received a five horsepower increase.

It was matched to an eight-speed Sport Direct Shift automatic transmission with paddle shifters on the steering wheel and Eco, Normal, Snow, and Sport drive modes to customize the ride and handling further. The city/highway EPA estimated fuel economy for the test model was 22/32 mpg. It averaged 24 mpg on the test drive, mostly in Eco mode.

Available with all-wheel-drive (AWD), the test model stuck to its sporty intentions with rear-wheel-drive, improved for 2019 for better performance. Ramping up performance further, the test model included the F-Sport package ($3,195) with a unique bumper and spindle grill, 18-inch split five-spoke wheels, a sport suspension, and aluminum pedals.

As a Lexus, luxury features like NuLuxe trimmed seating, ten-way power front sport seats, a dual-zone automatic climate control system with touch-sensitive controls, a power moonroof, SmartAccess with push button start and adaptive cruise control come standard.  The available blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert, was also included on the test model for no charge. While a seven-inch touch screen is standard, the test model included the available 10.3-inch display for entertainment and climate control interplay, heated and cooled leather seats, and a leather steering wheel.

Pricing for the 2019 IS 300 starts at $39,585. The as-tested price came to $46,395.

Ford Edge ST

Combining functionality with versatility, the midsize SUV market shows no sign of slowing in popularity, so it behooves automakers to forward products that stand out. Ford added the first performance SUV to its lineup for 2019, the Edge ST. LTR recently tested the sportier Edge equipped with standard AWD.

At first glance, the Edge ST signals its performance nature with design cues like a wide mesh grille for optimal cooling, deep side skirts and dual-exhaust outlets. The test model also included the available 21-inch wheels with darkened rims that come with the Performance Brake Package ($2,695). Interior design cues included badging on the steering wheel, seat backs, and scuff plates.

Tuned by the Ford Performance team, the Edge ST gains a sport suspension, Sport Mode, a new quick-shifting eight-speed transmission, and a powerful V6 engine with 335 horsepower and 380 lb.­–ft. of torque.

Where there’s power, there’s less fuel economy, however, even with the standard Auto Start-Stop technology to help save gas at idle that managed to fade the air conditioning at times. The EPA estimated city/highway fuel economy for the Edge ST is 19/26 mpg. It averaged 22.4 mpg on the test drive.

The Edge ST also maintains the standard for convenience expected of SUVs in this class by offering seating for five and a 60/40-split folding rear seat. It deploys easily with the push of a button to expose 73.4 cu. ft. of cargo space. For a modern touch, the Edge ST includes a Wi-Fi hotspot for Internet access via FordPass Connect, standard on all 2019 Edges.

Pricing for the 2019 Edge ST starts at $31,090. The as-tested price came to $52,325.

Ford Recalls Certain F-150 Pickups

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Jun 242019
 

Latino Traffic Report has learned that Ford Motor Company (Ford) is recalling certain 2013 F-150 vehicles equipped with 5.0L or 6.2L gasoline engines, that previously had the powertrain control module (PCM) software reprogrammed under recall 19V-075. The software used to reprogram the PCM did not have the necessary updates to prevent the transmission from unexpectedly downshifting into first gear, regardless of vehicle speed. Unexpectedly downshifting into first gear may result in a loss of vehicle control, increasing the risk of a crash.

Ford will notify owners, and dealers will reprogram the powertrain control module, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin June 24, 2019. Owners may contact Ford customer service at 1-866-436-7332. Ford’s number for this recall is 19S19. Vehicles that have not had 19S07 performed are not affected by this action and will receive updated software under the existing 19S07 program.

This action affects approximately 123,000 vehicles in North America, including approximately 107,850 in the United States and federalized territories and approximately 15,200 in Canada. Ford is not aware of any reports of accident or injury related to this issue.

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.

Ford Awards $100,000 to Houston High School Seniors

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May 282019
 

Latino Traffic Report has learned that Ford Motor Company Fund and Houston area Ford dealers recently awarded $100,000 in Ford Driving Dreams scholarships to 50 senior high school students who participated in the “What Drives Your Dreams?” essay contest. This is the fourth year that Ford has helped Houston students pursue their academic dreams of going to college.

Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company, celebrated the scholarship recipients at an evening event at the Space Center Houston. Students and parents heard from former NASA rocket scientist, actor, producer, TV host and motivational speaker Shayla Rivera, who inspired students to pursue their academic dreams and aspire for excellence in all they do. Community leaders and Houston Ford dealers joined the celebration.

Motivational speaker Shayla Rivera.

“At Ford Fund, we are proud to provide resources and scholarships to these talented students, and we are committed to continue to invest in the education of students of all ages,” said Joe Ávila, manager, community development, U.S. & Latin America, Ford Motor Company Fund. “Education is the cornerstone of strengthening communities and achieving a better quality of life for the next generation.”

Ford Driving Dreams was designed by Ford Motor Company Fund to help youth graduate on time and pursue higher education. The initiative has impacted more than 200,000 students across the United States, Puerto Rico, and Latin America since it was launched in 2012. It has delivered more than $10 million in educational resources. The scholarships are administered by the LULAC National Education Service Center, Inc. (LNESC). In addition to Ford Driving Dreams, Ford Fund educational programs in the U.S. include Ford Blue Oval Scholars, Ford Next Generation Learning, Ford College Community Challenge, and the Ford STEAM Lab. For more information, visit FordDrivingDreams.com. Find us at @FordDrivingDreams in Facebook and Instagram and follow the stories with #forddrivingdreams.

TAWA Picks Truck Rodeo Winners

 Noticias  Comments Off on TAWA Picks Truck Rodeo Winners
Nov 152017
 

2018 Truck of Texas: Ford F-150. Photo by Kevin McCauley.

Latino Traffic Report (LTR) would like to recognize the winners of the 2018 Texas Truck Rodeo, hosted by the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) and presented by the Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI). Taking the top three awards, Truck of Texas, Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) of Texas, and Crossover Utility Vehicle (CUV) of Texas were the Ford F-150, the Volvo XC60, and Alfa Romeo Stelvio, respectively.

2018 SUV of Texas: Volvo XC60.

The thirtieth annual Texas Truck Rodeo took place at the Longhorn Ranch in Dripping Springs, TX.

2018 CUV of Texas: Alfa Romeo Stelvio.

Each year, automotive journalists spend two days driving on off- and on-road courses, testing  vehicles (trucks, SUVs, CUVs, and commercial vehicles) to select winners in 21 categories as well as three overall winners. Sixty-four vehicles, with a combined value of nearly $4 million were test driven this year by 75 journalists.

“The competition was incredibly fierce at this year’s Texas Truck Rodeo,” said TAWA President Nic Phillips. “Journalists put in more than 300 hours of driving time, evaluating the vehicles presented. The results in several categories are separated by the narrowest of margins … confirming just how competitive the trucks and utility vehicles are today,” Phillips said.

 

Full-size Pick-up of Texas: Nissan Titan. Photo by Kevin McCauley.

Engineers from the competing manufacturers were on hand to answer questions from journalists about the vehicles and to aid in the evaluation process. Vehicles are measured on their interior, exterior, value, performance, and personal appeal

Traditionally, new features or new models tend to attract the most votes. Restyled for 2018, one memorable moment in the F-150 Limited included getting a massage from the all-new seat massage function. This is the ninth win for Ford at the rodeo and a repeat from last year when the Ford F-250 won the title.

Mid-size CUV of Texas-Mazda CX-5. Photo by Kevin McCauley.

“With the new 2018 F-150, we’re honored to earn back-to-back Truck of Texas awards for F-Series, a recognition that speaks to the truck team’s dedication to our hard-working customers,” said Raj Nair, executive vice president and president of North America. “That’s especially true here in Texas – truck capital of the world.”


The SUV of Texas win represents a three-peat for Volvo. It was also the last SUV to be named Truck of Texas in 2003, prompting creation of the SUV and CUV of Texas awards. The 2018 XC60 T6 and the super luxe T8 Hybrid, with premium features like an Orefors crystal shift knob, were entered to compete in the Mid-Size Luxury SUV of Texas category, which it won as well. Additional awards for the XC60 included Best Connectivity for its Sensus infotainment system and Best Powertrain. Alfa Romeo’s first CUV also won the Luxury CUV of Texas category.

Overall, Nissan was the most overall awarded brand with five category wins and Mazda swept the three non-luxury CUVs, categories. Other highlights from the event included a near vertical climb up a hill with the Ram Power Wagon, assisted by a winch and the Land Rover Discovery, assisted by cruise control.

The following is a list of all the winners.

The 2018 award categories and winning vehicles were:

  • Truck of Texas: 2018 Ford F150
  • SUV of Texas: 2018 Volvo XC60
  • CUV of Texas: 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Ti Sport
  • Heavy duty pickup truck: 2018 Ram 2500 Limited Tungsten
  • Best commercial vehicle: 2018 Nissan Titan King Cab SV
  • Luxury pickup truck: 2018 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn Southfork
  • Off-road pickup: 2017 Ford F150 Raptor
  • Full-size pickup: 2018 Nissan Titan Midnight Edition
  • Midsize pickup: 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro
  • Best technology: Nissan Pro Pilot
  • Best connectivity: Volvo XC60
  • Best powertrain: Volvo XC60
  • Off-road utility vehicle: 2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon Recon
  • Sub-Compact SUV: 2017 Jeep Renegade Desert Hawk
  • Compact SUV: 2018 Nissan Rogue Platinum
  • Mid-size Luxury SUV: 2018 Volvo XC60
  • Compact Luxury SUV: 2018 Infiniti QX30 Premium AWD
  • Full-size SUV: 2018 Dodge Durango SRT
  • Mid-size SUV: 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk
  • Compact SUV: 2018 Nissan Rogue Platinum
  • Full-size CUV: 2018 Mazda CX9 Grand Touring AWD
  • Mid-size CUV: 2017 Mazda CX5 Grand Touring GT
  • Compact CUV: 2018 Mazda CX3 Grand Touring FWD
  • Luxury CUV: 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Ti Sport

Ford Recalls Certain F-150, E-350, Escape, and Lincoln MKC models

 Recalls  Comments Off on Ford Recalls Certain F-150, E-350, Escape, and Lincoln MKC models
Aug 172017
 

E-350

Latino Traffic Report has learned that Ford Motor Company (Ford) is recalling certain 2014 Ford F-150 and E-350, 2014-2015 Ford Escape, and 2015 Lincoln MKC vehicles. Improperly manufactured bolts may have been used to install certain seats, seatbacks, seatbelt buckles, or seatbelt anchors on these vehicles.

The improperly manufactured bolts may fracture. If a seat, seatback, or seatbelt anchor attaching bolt fractures, the affected component may not be properly secured, increasing the risk of injury in the event of a crash.

Lincoln MKC

Ford will notify owners, and dealers will replace the affected bolts, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin August 28, 2017. Owners may contact Ford customer service at 1-866-436-7332. Ford’s number for this recall is 17S17.

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.

Ford Awards Driving Dreams Grants

 Noticias  Comments Off on Ford Awards Driving Dreams Grants
Jul 242017
 

 

Ford Driving Dreams

Latino Traffic Report has learned that Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company, recently named the recipients of the Ford Driving Dreams (FDD) Grants at the 88th Annual LULAC National Convention in San Antonio, Texas. A total of $400,000 in scholarships and grants will be awarded to ten Councils and LULAC National Educational Service Centers, Inc. (LNESC) to support programs that encourage students to graduate from high school, and provide resources to help them pursue a higher education.

Ford Fund will award eight LULAC Councils $20,000 each in FDD Grants to implement educational programs over two school years in collaboration with a local education entity. Grant recipients from 2015–LULAC Council #2862 in Sacramento, California. and LULAC Council #313 in Chicago, Illinois–were selected to each receive a $10,000 renewal grant for an additional school year to continue their successful programs to promote on-time high school graduation.

“Ford Fund is very proud of its collaboration with LULAC. Together we provide invaluable resources to help the councils build a stronger and brighter future for thousands of students in their own communities,” said Joe Avila, manager, Ford Motor Company Fund. “Education has long been a priority for Ford and we remain committed to helping our young people advance in school and reach their academic dreams.”

The new 2017 grant recipients are:

  • Council #2890 Hollister, California
  • Council #5294 Pilsen, Illinois
  • Council #13004 Holland, Michigan
  • Council #20009 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Council #214 Houston, Texas
  • Council #44017 South Jordan, Utah
  • Council #4614 Richmond, Virginia
  • Council #11126 Washington, DC
  • Council #2862 Sacramento, California (renewal grant)
  • Council #313 Chicago, Illinois (renewal grant)

Angelica Eggers is a beneficiary of the Ford Driving Dreams Grants program through the San Antonio LULAC Council #4619. Eggers participated in the Ford Driving Dreams program during her freshman and sophomore years at South San Antonio High School. This fall, she plans to attend Texas A&M University in San Antonio and major in criminology. “My hard work is paying off and because of the Ford Driving Dreams Grants program and LULAC, I am excited about going to college to earn my degree and reach my goals,” said Eggers.

“Helping young people succeed is a constant effort we have made possible in association with Ford Motor Company Fund so students can graduate high school on time and pursue a college education. Today, we celebrate and recognize the work of the Councils who are making sure that their communities are being empowered through academic excellence,” said Brent Wilkes, chief executive officer of LULAC.

Earlier this year, Ford Fund impacted the lives of San Antonio students with a donation of 10,000 new books to elementary schools, a reading party for second and third-graders at Miguel Carrillo, Jr. Elementary School, and $50,000 in scholarships awarded to 25 high school students preparing for college this fall.

Joe Avila, manager, Ford Motor Company Fund.

Ford Driving Dreams Grants has invested more than $1.3 million since its launch in 2010. More than 1,500 students and 60 Councils have been able to leverage their success to impact the lives of high school students across the country. Each FDD grant recipient will develop a sustainable program that reflect the local education landscape and relies on partnerships with local education institutions. For more information on the Ford Driving Dreams Grants, visit www.forddrivingdreams.com.

Ford Motor Company Fund has invested close to $5 million in scholarships and other education initiatives across the country, Panama, and Puerto Rico. In addition to Ford Driving Dreams, other Ford Fund educational programs include Ford Blue Oval Scholars, Ford Next Generation Learning, Ford College Community Challenge, and the Ford STEAM Lab. For more information, visit www.forddrivingdreams.com