The Boss: Ford’s Super Duty F-250 for 2017


The Boss: Ford’s Super Duty F-250 is tough, and a comfortable ride.

By Carguy Keith Turner

As a longtime Ford truck owner and amateur mechanic, my son Lawren took a close look at the 2017 Ford F-250 Super Duty and found many things that impressed him. Like the chrome grill work that looks heavy, but is actually made of lightweight, high-strength aluminum.

The lighter body combines with a 6.7-Liter V8 Turbo Diesel gave the truck plenty of throw-back-into-your seat power.

Lawren also liked the kid-friendly Tough Bed® spray-in bedliner and handy tailgate stair case that folds away when not in use.

The huge cab is quite comfortable with lots of leather-appointed storage space, including a hidden toolbox that we discovered under the back seats.

The bird’s-eye view, front and back-up cameras make it easy to maneuver and park the F-250 in and out of tight spaces.

Perfect for contractors, the F-250 is what Lawren calls the “the bosses’ truck” because it’s so clean and luxurious. You won’t get your hands dirty driving this rig.

Towing capacity is 11,400 pounds and the two camera towing system makes it easy to hook up to your boat or trailer and hit the road.

Lawren said that after driving that 2017 F-250 he can clearly see that Ford’s engineers listened to feedback from current truck owners to improve their Ford truck experience.

Mission accomplished!

 

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October 25, 2017 at 11:09 pm Leave a comment

The Family Car Best of 2017

2018HondaOdysseyWyattRubberneck

Parent-worthy picks for the best family cars of 2017

By Keith Turner

The automotive industry today features a smorgasbord of model designs, offering an impressive array of choices to help keep up with a family’s action-packed transportation needs.

With all these choices in make, shape, price and color, how is a parent to sort out the perfect ride for their growing clan? Here’s a look at The Family Car’s top picks for 2017.

Trucks

Ford F-150 – The best-selling vehicle in the nation, the 2017 F-150 features lighter, aluminum construction and a new V-6 turbo engine. The F-150 satisfies several parenting priorities. It is safe, capable and economical.
(MSRP: $27,110 / MPG: 19 city/26 highway).

Nissan Titan Pro – This aptly named truck features four-wheel-drive, high viewpoint, and near-cavernous passenger seat — this truck is a beast. Safety features include a bird’s-eye view of the surrounding area, lane changing alerts and back-up sensors to help avoid fender benders. There’s even a pop-out step in the back corner to ease access to the truck bed.  (MSRP: $43,290 / MPG: 15 city/20 highway).

SUVs

Honda Pilot – A third-row capable of seating grown-ups comfortably is what makes the Honda Pilot the perfect SUV for families. Underfloor “cubby” storage areas help keep toys and valuables hidden from prying eyes. High-end extras include a panoramic moonroof, heated steering wheel and heated second-row seats. (MSRP: $30,745 / MPG: 20 city/27 highway).

Jeep Cherokee – Just the dynamic headlight design of the new Jeep Cherokee is enough to favor this rugged and feature-packed SUV. Featuring legendary Jeep 4X4 capability, the Cherokee handles roads like a pro and is loaded with family-friendly safety and comfort features. (MSRP: $23,695 / MPG: 21 city/30 highway).

Crossovers

Mazda CX-5 – With a new, sporty and stylish design, the Mazda CX-5 is more than just a pretty face. The mid-size crossover is loaded with parent-pleasing features, like a heated steering wheel, as well as heated front and second row seats, power liftgate, radar cruise control and active windshield driving display. (MSRP: $22,890 / MPG: 52 city/49 highway/50 combined).

 17_Ford EDGE_.JPG

Ford Edge (above) – Ford clearly is on the cutting “Edge” of safety and self-driving technology with this crossover, which features high-tech systems for adaptive steering, cruise control for traffic jams and active parking assist for parallel and perpendicular parking. Plus, you’ve got to love a model with color names such as Canyon Ridge, Blue Jeans and, seen above, Burgundy Velvet. (MSRP: $28,950 / MPG: 21 city/29 highway).

Minivans

Chrysler Pacifica hybrid – This fantastic family hauler could easily top the hybrid list because it can run on electric-only power for up to 33 miles per charge – easily enough to cover a parent’s carpool patrols. The Pacifica is packed with family-friendly features, such as a three-piece panoramic sunroof and a powerful vacuum to keep cookie crumbs at bay. (MSRP: $28,995 / MPG: 32 combined/ 84 mpg-e).

Honda Odyssey – The 2018 edition of this popular maxi/minivan is loaded with family friendly features that cater directly to a parent’s primary needs. The second-row seats slide together or apart to allow easy access back-seaters, or for separating the rowdy ones. There’s a special camera that keeps an eye on the kiddo, and an in-car public address system lets the driver to talk to all passengers. (MSRP: $35,675 / MPG: 16 city/25 highway/19 combined).

Hybrid

Kia Niro – There are many hybrids on the market to choose from, but this year’s launch of the Kia Niro Hybrid stands out for one reason: the big 50! The Niro crosses that magic threshold of averaging more than 50 miles per gallon combined in daily driving.  It also has plenty of power to back up that great mileage. (MSRP: $22,890 / MPG: 52 city/49 highway/50 combined).

Chrysler Pacifica hybrid (see above, Minivans)

Sedan

Chrysler 300S – Chrysler’s flagship is the lone sedan among the vast desert of slowly evaporating models on the market for families. They all great cars, but today’s active families tend to need more than four-doors and a trunk. The 300S is stylish and safe, and offers a 360-degree view that keeps mistakes to a minimum. The V-8 HEMI has power and a fuel-saver mode. (MSRP: $35,675 / MPG: 16 city/25 highway/19 combined).

Keith Turner is a professional auto reviewer for families. He can be reached at carguy@hotmail.com; his websites: thefamilycar.com and greenfamilycar.com, or on YouTube at The Family Car channel.

October 25, 2017 at 10:41 pm Leave a comment

On the Road to Autonomy at the 2016 LA Auto Show

 

By Dean Adams Curtis

In the field of psychology, there is a branch called “developmental psychology. This branch of psychological thought is interested in how our brains develop understandings about, and reasoning behind, what is right and what is good. One stem within this branch is focused on moral psychology, which is particularly interested in how we develop on our road to autonomy, to our fully self-guided, autonomous, thoughtful adult selves.

In the field of automobile technology, thoughtful beings are rapidly steering we thoughtful adults (many of us vocally not-on-board-yet with full-auto autos) on the road to autonomy within fully self-guided cars.

So, let’s dig into the terms autonomy and autonomous a moment. As autonomous auto CONSUMERS, you are in control of what happens next. Analysts have been reporting for several years that autonomous vehicle tech is accelerating so rapidly that the main limitation to them now is driver acceptance.

From the beginning, “auto”mobiles have never been autonomous. Nor have they been “auto”matic. They have, however, offered humans more autonomy of movement. Autos provided freedom to move about towns and then to cruise the inevitable suburban landscape that automobiles facilitated. Autos also provided the freedom for autonomous individuals to get out of town, often to preserve their autonomy.

Discussions and displays at the 2016 LA Auto Show, revealed to TheFamilyCar and GreenFamilyCar correspondents that the autonomous vehicle age has already dawned.

Stare into the light of this new age for a moment. Imagine yourself driven to wherever you would like to go by your autonomous vehicle in the style and comfort to which we have become accustomed, more safely, speedily, and sustainably. Imagine that’s how all the other folks around you are travelling also. Terrified by the concept? Excited by it?

As we all try to wrap our real-road conditioned, car driver brains around whether autonomous vehicles are good, or right, for us, and for our roads, two important technology clusters, autonomous vehicle and electric vehicle technologies, will continue developing in parallel. And smart charging of autonomous EVs will most likely happen while both while they’re underway, as well as between uses.

Currently makers of vehicles with autonomous systems advise keeping both hands on the steering wheel. But, if the autonomous vehicle age is going to be truly desirable for consumers, it will need to offer more than vehicles that’re going to be wrestling control, or beeping annoyingly. For example, in the Chrysler Pacifica minivan that we test drove to and from the LA Auto Show, the lane-assist feature kept moving the steering wheel, providing an odd sensation that could diminish a driver’s sense of their own autonomy-over, control-over, the vehicle. Of course, just a little effort on the driver’s part turned the wheel in whatever direction the driver decided to go. And in the new Honda CRV, the lane assist doesn’t budge the wheel, but appears as a blinking and beeping circular warning light at the center of the dashboard cluster.

Revealing that we’re already into an autonomous electrical vehicle age, those auto-buyers fortunate enough to afford new high-end luxury vehicles are already benefiting from enhanced safety and convenience provided by automatic lane-keeping and collision avoidance, early-stages of the future’s autonomous auto guidance. Tesla drivers today are sometimes folding their arms on the freeway as they watch their vehicle do its own steering. But they can’t yet do so on surface streets. And well-established technology, such as collision avoidance radar and LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), are operating with all-around camera systems, combined with graphic-information-systems (GIS) programs, have all been integrated and are being observed in-action, in tests from San Francisco to Pittsburgh, PA being conducted by various entities such as Google and Uber.

Also revealing is the Obama administration’s recent requirement on automakers to implement additional cyber-security on vehicles connected to the internet. Good thing. If we’re going to take our hands off the wheel, we want to do so secure that someone who wishes us ill, or who is just plain malicious, doesn’t throw our steering wheel to or fro.

It’s a brave new world that has such features in it as autonomous electric vehicles. If, using our autonomous thoughtful minds, we chose to rely on self-driving EVs in the future, we will save astronomically on the energy expended to take us from point A to point B in style and comfort, in safety and at a desirable speed, sustainably and autonomously. And if you or I should suffer from a medical emergency in one of them, perhaps they’ll be able to drive us to the nearest hospital emergency room door.

November 23, 2016 at 6:53 pm Leave a comment

7-Seat 2018 VW V6 ATLAS SUV Revealed

On the pier in Santa Monica, California, the end of historic U.S. Route 66, the route between Chicago, Illinois and Los Angeles, the route between the Great Lake Michigan and the vast Pacific Ocean, executives from Volkswagen North America recently revealed their 2018 ATLAS SUV.

The 2018 VW ATLAS is assembled in Tennessee.

Not a bug, not a bus, not an EV, it is a sport utility vehicle that looks like many others currently on the market. And obviously, that was VW North America’s design aesthetic for the ATLAS. They want to accrue a share of the U.S. SUV sales. Therefore, you would be forgiven for confusing it with a Toyota Highlander, or for an SUV from another automaker.

For a groundbreaking and apparently retro-VW-inspired design, we will all need to wait for the VW BUDD-e, the company’s electric vehicle concept, the availability of which Volkswagen is not specific about, committing only that it will be on offer to EV buyers sometime before 2020.

VW’s BUDD-e Concept Car, due by 20:20

vwBUDD-eOnWood

As I, The Family Car’s wayward co-editor Wayback, go way back to when a VW bus was revered as a great way to go across any country on Earth, it felt like it was a missed opportunity for Volkswagen not to reference the wayback look their iconic bus.

But, I confess that I may have VW bus envy. I crossed the U.S. by VW bug several times, but never by VW bus. Though I could sleep in the bug, rare was the night that I did so without thinking how nice it would have been to sleep totally flat, if I had only bought a VW bus instead of a bug. Yet did I ever abandon the VW bug? No, never for a VW bus.

But I digress. All alternative design musings set aside, to be fair to the 2018 VW ATLAS, if you fold down all the five back seats, you can lay flat. And the V6 engine burns as clean as VW can make it burn, fresh as it is on what it hopes is its road to recovery of consumer trust after the company’s diesel emission test rigging scandal.

October 31, 2016 at 11:04 pm Leave a comment

New Kia Cadenza a virtuoso passage

Watch our Kia Cadenza review in HD on TheFamilyCar YouTube channel.

Linear white fences, white columns and trees were not the only straight lines to be seen as TheFamilyCar co-editor/co-owner, Carguy Keith Turner, rolled through hills of Virginia horse country recently in the 2017 Kia Cadenza.

The vehicle is all-new, and arrives to market with higher levels of luxury, technology and convenience than its predecessor. It comes wrapped in a beautiful, bold design inspired by the simplicity of the straight line.

The second-generation Cadenza boasts a stronger body structure and powertrain enhancements along with a more engaging driving experience than before.

Designed at Kia’s California design center, the Cadenza’s high-end image exudes a modern confidence by use of a single contour that spans the length of the car, creating its sleek profile. This visually links matching Z-shaped lighting signatures in the headlights and LED tail lights, affording the all-new Cadenza a more distinctive road presence.

The Cadenza is available with two different grills. Lower trim models will come with the “Diamond Butterfly” front grill that features the same three-dimensional pattern as several siblings within the Kia lineup. Higher trim models will come with the “Intaglio” grill, featuring vertically oriented, faceted blades.

The Cadenza’s newly-designed “piano key” taillights add to the vehicle’s striking appearance, with chrome garnishes in all the right places.

Brimming with technology, the cockpit is designed to provide a more harmonious human-machine interface.

Heads-Up Display shows key driver information such as speed and turn-by-turn navigation directions on the windshield directly in the driver’s line of sight.

A Surround-View Monitor gives the driver a bird’s-eye view of the area around the vehicle, and the Smart Trunk opens the trunk lid if the key fob is detected from behind.

The Cadenza also features Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, while a 12-speaker 630-watt Harman/Kardon audio system features Clari-Fi music restoration technology.

Pricing has not been announced, but is expected to start at under $32,000 for the Premium model and under $44,000 for the SXL version.

August 31, 2016 at 7:29 pm Leave a comment

Into the Future at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show

By Dean Adams Curtis

The future of personal transport is definitely going to be propelled by electric, hydrogen-generated electric, and hybrid plug-in electric power. That future has already dawned and is on display at auto shows, as well as on the streets of forward-looking cities, states, and nations.

In our video report from the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit we focus only on electric, hydrogen and hybrid vehicles to give you a glimpse of the near future manifested by automakers today along the Motor City’s riverfront.

Our cast of vehicles, in order of their appearance, are the:

Audi Quattro h-tron – hydrogen concept
Chevy Malibu – hybrid
Chevy Volt – plug-in hybrid
Chevy Bolt EV – electric
BMW 330e – plug-in hybrid
BMW 740e – plug-in hybrid
BMW i3 – electric
BMW i8 – plug-in hybrid
Mercedes Benz C350e – plug-in hybrid
Volkswagen e-Golf – electric
Volkswagen Jetta – hybrid
Porsche Panamera S – plug-in hybrid
Porsche Cayenne S – plug-in hybrid
Fiat 500X (not an EV, hybrid, or hydrogen, but check out the 500e)
Kia Telluride – concept (power train not yet announced)
Lexus LF-FC – hydrogen concept (four in-wheel electric motors)
Audi A3 e-tron – plug-in hybrid
Toyota Mirai – hydrogen
Toyota Camry XLE – hybrid
Toyota RAV4 hybrid – hybrid
Toyota Prius – hybrid
Scion C-HR concept (power train not yet announced)
Toyota FCV Plus – hydrogen fuel cell vehicle concept
Toyota FV2 – single passenger future vehicle concept

Not shown in our video, but revealed at the Detroit auto show, is the Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid (below) that will be on sale in March or April. It comes with 7 or 8 seats, automatic breaking, collision alert and lane departure assist.

2017-Chrysler-Pacifica-plug-in-hybrid

And an interesting new electric vehicle not at Detroit, having been unveiled the week before at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, is the Volkswagen BUDD-e.

VW indicated that the BUDD-e  (below) will be available in 2018.

vwBUDD-eOnWood

January 31, 2016 at 10:48 pm Leave a comment

Hay bales take a ride with the 2016 Toyota Tundra CrewMax

Article and video by Keith Turner, video featuring Lawren Turner.

When the job called for hauling a trailer full of hay to a Sierra Mountain ranch, the super-sized, four-door, 2016 Toyota Tundra CrewMax handled the job with ease.

The Tundra’s 5.7-liter V8 engine with Trailer Brake Control tackled the ups and downs of the mountain roads like a pro, leaving plenty of power available for additional push when necessary.

With the standard Tow Package, 5.7-liter V8 Tundra offers a maximum tow capacity of 10,500 pounds (4×2 Regular Cab). So equipped, Tundra uses a one-piece towing receiver integrated into the frame prior to bed installation.

The Tundra’s Tow Package also comes with a tow/haul shift mode that adjusts throttle sensitivity and transmission shift control. This helps in favoring and holding lower gears when accelerating or decelerating.
TheFamilyCar.com and GreenFamilyCar.com

January 7, 2016 at 6:38 pm Leave a comment

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