Archive for December, 2009

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Ford F-Series Tops November Vehicle Sales

December 23, 2009

Richmond Hill, Ontario – The Ford F-Series topped Canadian light truck sales in November, according to industry analyst Dennis DesRosiers.

In the top ten best-selling light trucks in November 2009, the Ford F-Series, and the Ford Escape, finished #1 and #3 respectively.  These vehicles also finished #1 and #3 respectively in year-to-date sales to the end of November.

A total of 50,787 cars and 51,335 trucks were sold in Canada in November. Year-to-date to the end of November, a total of 696,554 cars and 652,841 trucks have been sold.

Contact me today to arrange a test drive:

dale@hallmarkford.ca

 

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What’s New: 2010 Ford Edge

December 22, 2009

(from Canadian Driver)

New for 2010:

– New entry-level SE trim
– Standard premium sound system on Sport
– New available option packages
– Exterior colours: Tuxedo Black Metallic, Ingot Silver Metallic and Red Candy Tinted Metallic added; Black, Brilliant Silver, Red Fire and Dark Ink Blue discontinued
– Interior colours: Blue Suede Interior Appearance Package discontinued; Camel Cloth no longer available on SEL

 For 2010, the Ford Edge receives a new entry trim level, the SE, giving the model a new lower starting price. The Sport trim also receives a standard premium sound system. New option packages include the Limited Interior Appearance Package, which adds unique Sienna leather seats, dark brushed aluminum centre stack panel, and premium floor mats with Edge logo; a Leather Comfort Package, optional on the SEL, which adds heated leather seats, and fold-flat front passenger seat with six-way power adjustment; and a Canadian Comfort Package, optional on the SEL, which adds VistaRoof panoramic sunroof and the Leather Comfort Package.

The Edge, which is also the basis for the Lincoln MKX, uses a 3.5-litre V6 with six-speed automatic transmission. The SE is front-wheel drive; the SEL and Limited come in front- or all-wheel drive; and the Sport is all-wheel drive only. The system monitors and predicts traction, and can deliver torque to all four wheels before they begin to slip. It can also transfer torque front-to-rear or side-to-side.

Features on the SE include 17-inch painted alloy wheels, air conditioning, black power Blind Spot mirrors, black door handles, spoiler and rocker mouldings, cloth seats with four-way manual driver adjustment, 60/40 fold-flat rear seat, CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary input, Sirius satellite radio, keyless entry, tire pressure monitoring system, cargo management system, cruise control, floor mats, trip computer, overhead console, auto up/down driver’s window, tilt and telescopic steering column, privacy glass, variable intermittent wipers, and two-speed rear washer/wiper.

The SEL adds 18-inch painted alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, body-colour mirrors, handles and mouldings, fog lamps, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, compass, automatic headlamps, auto-dimming rearview mirror, SecuriCode keyless entry, heated seats with six-way power driver’s adjustment, EasyFold rear seat, and six-CD changer.

The Limited adds 18-inch chrome-clad aluminum wheels, body-colour keypad, heated mirrors with puddle lamps, reverse sensing system, leather-trimmed seats, driver’s side memory, six-way power adjustable fold-flat front passenger seat, SYNC, premium sound system, ambient lighting, garage door opener, brushed-aluminum trim and power liftgate.

The Sport builds on the SEL and adds 22-inch alloy wheels, unique front and rear fascias, body-colour door cladding and side rocker skirts, dark metallic headlamp and taillamp treatments, large-diameter exhaust tips, leather-trimmed seats with Alcantara suede inserts, leather-wrapped steering wheel with contrast stitching, premium sound system, SYNC, and dark brushed aluminum accents.

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Ten Must-Have Features for 2010

December 21, 2009

(from James Bergeron, Canadian Driver)

It is the end of a decade and there are no shortages of top ten lists out there covering things from technology to music to, of course, the top ten cars. My roots are in technology and technology evolves quickly. It is no coincidence that vehicles also evolve quickly: having seen features come and go over the past decade, the last few years have been fairly consistent in defining what I would call must-have features for 2010.

By 2015, cars will have evolved in all aspects: safety, technology and new features. Technology is moving at an ever-increasing pace and if you are buying today with the intention of selling in five years you may be up against some stiff competition. In order to get the most bang for the buck now and keep your car current enough for a sale in the future here are ten things you should insist on having in your new vehicle.

Cruise Control

Perhaps not everyone likes cruise control, or believes they need, it but this feature has been around for decades now and for it to not be included on a car in 2010 is tragic. Anyone who has driven Highway 401 between Montreal and Toronto knows that unless you are a sucker for punishment, cruise control is a must.

Tilt and telescopic steering and seat height adjustability

Tilt steering is available on nearly every vehicle available on the market today, but there are a few sporty exceptions. Telescopic steering is typically only available on vehicles in the compact class and above, as it is with height adjustable driver’s seats. No two persons are built the same and having the ability to telescope the steering or adjust seat height can make a good vehicle feel like a great vehicle, especially on a long journey.

Bluetooth hands-free connectivity

Maybe you don’t talk on your cell phone while driving (if not, you’re probably be in the minority) but many people do. With recent laws passed in Quebec, Nova Scotia and Ontario banning drivers from using their phones, having Bluetooth built into your car is becoming a very desirable feature. Five years from now, not having Bluetooth may be as daft as not having a radio.

AM/FM/CD with MP3/USB capability

Can you remember back when FM radio was an option on cars? That wasn’t more than a few decades ago, and it wasn’t more than a few years ago that CD players were an option as well. Now nearly all vehicles come standard with a CD player, but more important than a CD player is MP3 capability. In five years the compact disc may be obsolete with the advent of iPods and inexpensive storage using USB thumb drives. At the very least insist that your new 2010 vehicle come with an auxiliary input; kudos if you get a direct USB interface that works with iPods and other USB media players.

Power windows, locks and mirrors and keyless entry

My father said it best when my parents were shopping for a car and my mother commented on the power mirror switch being a little difficult to reach. “Hard to reach?” my father said. “You used to have to get out of the car to adjust the thing!” Not anymore: thankfully, you can adjust your mirrors from the comfort of the driver’s seat and that is progress. It is rare I test a vehicle without keyless entry but I have tested a few over the last couple of years and it is always a shocker. Can you just imagine five years from now as the 18-yearold is looking at your used car, totally perplexed on how the doors open. (”Where’s the button, sir?”) And when is the last time you cranked a window down? Need I say more?

Heated mirrors

Hey, this is Canada, right? Unless you live in one of the milder areas of Canada, heated mirrors means no scraping, which means not knocking the mirrors out of place when they are covered in ice. This is one feature you won’t realize how much you love until you lose it.

Traction control and / or stability control

By 2015, I can almost guarantee that Transport Canada will have mandated all new vehicles sold in Canada to be equipped with some form of stability control. Whether you think you are better than a computer or not, there is no disputing that it saves lives. It is available on most cars sold today and most manufacturers are becoming very reasonable about how they package it.

Side and head-curtain airbags

This is quickly becoming the norm on vehicles: two front passenger airbags, two side/seat mounted airbags and two head curtain airbags. The more the better – airbag technology is tried tested and true, so there is no reason to go without.

Air conditioning

Yes, after 10 to 12 years A/C always seems to stop working, but this is becoming more rare as the main reason for failure was lack of use in our cold climate. Air conditioning is now often programmed to come on with the defroster, which keeps the system working in the winter. Don’t only think of this as a means to keep cool during our short summers, but also as excellent defrosters in the winter – a must from where I sit.

Anti-lock brakes (ABS)

Again, whether you think you are capable of outbraking a computer is not the question. ABS keeps drivers safe by helping to maintain control of their vehicle under braking. Yes, ABS equipped vehicles stop more slowly on ice and snow, but they stop you in a controlled manner without the drama of sliding out of control or having the rear pass the front of the vehicle. You would be hard pressed to find a vehicle sold today without it and for good reason.

Please feel free to contact me to find out about the Ford lineup of vehicles that have these key features.

dale@hallmarkford.ca

 

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Car & Driver picks 2010 Fusion as BEST Family Hybrid

December 17, 2009

(from Car & Driver.com)

In a 4-car shootout, the 2010 Ford Fusion topped the rankings over competitors Toyota Camry Hybrid, Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid, and Nissan Altima Hybrid.

Ford has pulled off a game changer with this 2010 model, creating a high-mpg family hauler that’s fun to drive. That achievement has two components: First, the machinery is unexpectedly refined — call it Toyota slickness expressed with car-guy soul. Second, the electronic instrument cluster involves the driver, invites you into the hybrid game, and gives you the feedback needed to keep increasing your personal-best mpg number.

Or you can say the heck with it and opt for a minimum-distraction display that shows little beyond the speedo.

No matter which you ultimately choose, you’re welcomed to the game with green grass and blue sky, a dashboard notion so corny we would groan if it weren’t so vividly executed. Hybrid enthusiasts will select the expert screen. All eyes sweep to the power grouping that shows the level of battery charge beside two columns of discharge meters, one for power consumed to propel the vehicle, the other a sum of all accessory loads (lights, fans, air conditioning, stereo, etc.).

How far can you go without the engine? That’s the game. Easy on the accessory loads, of course, but whenever you’re moving, the propulsion meter gives you an EV bracket. Keep your propulsion power within the EV bracket by modulating the “gas” and you’ll drive on the battery, up to 47 mph under ideal circumstances. Call it a video game to go.

Under normal driving, the engine starts and stops far more often than in the other hybrids. It comes and goes stealthily. Your wife won’t notice, and you probably won’t, either, unless you’re really into the hybrid game.

Nothing about the leather-lined test car, optioned up from its $27,995 base price to $32,555, seemed economy minded except for the mileage readings. On that score, the Fusion topped the others, turning in a 34-mpg score card for the overall 300-mile test run. It also finished highest in two of the three specialized tests, with a 34.3-mpg mark on the rural loop and 36.9 mpg on the city loop. Official EPA fuel-economy numbers are 41 mpg city, 36 mpg highway, roughly 720 city miles between fill-ups. For a four-door with civilized room for five, that’s a standing-O achievement.

Though the Fusion gets out-hustled by the Altima and the Camry — at 3805 pounds, the Ford is the heaviest of the four — we think 8.5 seconds to 60 mph is just fine considering the fuel economy. All of these players were too tightly grouped in braking and roadholding to draw significant distinctions, but for the record, the Fusion did tie with the Altima at 0.80 g for top marks on the skidpad. The suspension feels nicely taut, well planted. The tires communicate more than the Camry’s and speak in tones more refined than the Altima’s.

As in the Altima and the Camry, the power delivery of the Fusion’s CVT is hard to hold steady in cruising conditions. The test logs include many comments about “surging.” Engaging the cruise control deals with it every time.

Ford really hit all the marks with this hybrid Fusion, combining excellent fuel economy with slick manners and an engrossing personality. Fun and fuel economy have finally gotten married in a mid-size sedan.

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What’s New: 2010 Ford Ranger

December 16, 2009

(from Canadian Driver)

New for 2010:

–          Standard Roll Stability Control and side airbags

–          Regular Cab 4×2 with seven-foot box, and SuperCab

–          4×4 XL discontinued

–          SuperCab 4×2 XL now available with 2.3-litre four-cylinder engine

–          Optional leather seats and limited-slip axles discontinued

–          FX4 trim line deleted; new FX4 package available for Sport 4×4 models

For 2010, the Ford Ranger adds new safety features, with roll stability control and side airbags standard on all models. The lineup slims down with the discontinuation of the seven-foot box configuration, and the SuperCab 4×4 no longer comes in entry-level trim. In two-wheel drive, the SuperCab now also comes with a four-cylinder engine.

Leather upholstery is no longer available, and the FX4 is discontinued as a separate trim line. It is now available as a package on Sport 4×4 models, adding cruise control, tilt steering wheel, 16-inch alloy wheels, step bars, privacy glass, power equipment group, sliding rear window, and cloth bucket seats.

The Ford Ranger comes with a 2.3-litre four-cylinder or 4.0-litre V6, with five-speed manual or optional five-speed automatic transmission. Configurations are Regular or SuperCab, with six-foot box. The SuperCab includes rear jump seats that can be deleted if desired.

 

Features on the XL include:

–          15-inch steel wheels

–          black front and rear step bumpers, black grille, black manual mirrors

–          intermittent wipers

–          CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary input, Sirius satellite radio

–          black vinyl floor covering, dome light, cloth 60/40 split seats, block heater, smoker’s package, tire pressure monitoring system

–          Class III trailer tow hitch receiver, bed rail and tailgate protectors.

 

The Sport adds:

–          body-colour front and rear bumpers, body-colour door handles

–          fog lamps

–          black grille with body-colour surround, body-colour manual mirrors, and body-colour wheel lip mouldings.

The 4×2 version uses 15-inch alloy wheels, while the 4×4 also adds 16-inch alloy wheels, tow hooks, payload package, heavy-duty gas shocks, air conditioning, and skid plates.

 

The XLT adds:

–          chrome grille surround, manual chrome mirrors, black door handles

–          carpeted floor with mats

–          tilt steering wheel

–          cruise control

–          passenger vanity mirror

–          chrome side step bars

–          chrome exhaust tip

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Ford RAPTOR Designed for High-Speed Off-Road Driving

December 15, 2009

(from Justin Pritchard, Telegraph Journal)

If you’re nuts about trucks, the Ford SVT Raptor is probably on your radar already.

Ford’s just brought their long-resting Special Vehicles Team out of suspended animation, and their first assignment in years was a pickup truck — not a sports car.  The resulting machine is a tweaked-up, F-150-based performance truck that puts upgraded hardware and a specially-engineered suspension at its owner’s disposal. This machine isn’t just a bunch of bolt-ons, it’s a whole different animal.

The Raptor’s goal is delivery of high-speed, high-excitement driving on virtually any terrain. This is communicated to those nearby via massive flared fenders, a more imposing stance and some optional decaling that resembles claw-marks.

Perimeter LED lights create a unique lighting profile at night, and the Raptor-specific front end showcases the horizontally-expanded body. The unique face clears the fast-lane better than any in recent memory, and the overall package looks like a steroid-fed cross between a Tonka Truck and a BMX bike.

The visual ‘shock-and-awe’ treatment carries on inside, too. The tester featured orange accenting, multi-textured black and orange seats, and aluminum-coloured dash trim. There’s a special steering wheel with a red centering notch to help aim the truck out of high-speed slides, and a special ‘RAPTOR’ welcome display appears on the navigation screen whenever it’s turned on.

Said screen also houses controls for the advanced Ford Sync infotainment system. This does numerous jobs, including reading your incoming text messages aloud and even ripping your favorite CD full of mud-flinging music to the built-in hard drive.

Plenty of space and storage are available throughout, but rear seating quarters lack the requisite ‘holy-heck’ handle passengers will ask for. Up front, a pre-wired auxiliary switch panel houses controls for potential aftermarket accessories, as well as the buttons that activate Raptor’s Hill Descent Control and Off Road Mode. The latter alters shifting, ABS and stability control algorithms for optimized shenanigans on loose or slippery surfaces.

Raptor’s heart is a 320 horsepower, 5.4-litre V8 teamed up with a six-speed automatic transmission. The engine lacks the bite to match the bark from its upgraded dual exhaust, and acceleration is far from breathtaking. Raptor isn’t a hot-rod by any means– though that’s not really the point. Shoppers after more sauce should note that an optional 6.2 liter V8 is en route to the Raptor’s engine bay next year.

Power connects with the wheels via a dial-selectable 4×4 system with low range. That’s backed by a unique 4:10 final drive ratio and a driver-selectable, all-speed rear differential lock.

With plenty of ground clearance, tow hooks and beefy tires, traction and confidence are non-issues. Raptor is solid, rugged and predictable-to-drive in most any off-road situation– including dunes, mud, sand and even jumps if you’re so inclined. It would likely be a riot in heavy snow, too.

This is more a desert race-truck than a swamp-crossing mud-slinger, so the big story is the suspension. Hit the dirt, and Raptor’s special internally-valved Fox Racing shock absorbers do a beautiful job of keeping body movements controlled.

The rear shocks soak up relatively large amounts of discomfort from beneath, and the high-travel setup lets the body lift quickly and lower back down in a smooth, gentle and controlled manner. This was especially appreciated over bumps and moguls, even at speed. Metal skid plates are fitted too, in case of impact to the Raptor’s underside.

Incidentally, your correspondent didn’t jump any sand dunes as seen in those YouTube videos– even if the suspension was almost constantly asking for it.

Of course, most owners won’t be regularly running their Raptors in Baja races, so the smooth highway manners are appreciable, too. Cruising at 110 km/h, there’s scarcely any more noise or fuss than an average family sedan. The ride can get stiff and jiggly on rougher surfaces, though it’s mainly stable, planted and smooth sailing.

Complaints were mainly excusable given the Raptor’s goals and intentions. Fuel consumption can exceed 20L/100km when drivers frequently send snorting shockwaves from the tailpipes — though my average settled somewhere around 16.5 L/100km.

Given the Raptor’s size and width, it’s not the easiest machine to maneuver in parking lots, either. Opting for the backup camera is a good idea, or you may accidentally wind up decapitating a Smart Fortwo with the rear bumper.

Ultimately, Raptor looks poised nicely to be a smash-hit with truck enthusiasts from all backgrounds. Simply put, nobody else currently offers anything like it. Of course, if Raptor proves successful, that will likely change.

Your own off-road go-kart starts at $48,299.   

Contact me today to find out how you can get your hands on the 2010 Raptor!

dale@hallmarkford.ca

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Ford Flex is the “Collectible Car of the Future”

December 11, 2009

(from Canadian Driver)

Detroit, Michigan – The Ford Flex has been named the most likely vehicle of 2009 to be desired by future collectors by the Friends of the National Automotive History Collection (NAHC) in Detroit.

Members of the organization, which supports the automotive collection at the Detroit Public Library, vote annually to predict the “Collectible Vehicle of the Future” from the year’s new American-built cars and trucks. The Flex was selected from eight all-new vehicles launched in 2009.

“This selection is unique among all the ‘Vehicle of the Year’ awards, because it is selected by car buffs who know what future collectors will value,” said Charles Hyde, chairman of the NAHC Board of Trustees. “We asked our members to predict which of this year’s new vehicles will turn heads in the Woodward Cruise of 2034.”