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William Maley

2018 Ford F-150 Adds A Diesel and A New Look: Comments

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For 40 years, the Ford F-Series has not only been the best-selling pickup in the U.S., but also the best-selling vehicle. In 2016, Ford moved 820,000 F-Series models. Ford wants to keep this going and tomorrow will introduce a heavily refreshed version of the F-150.

The big news is the introduction of a 3.0L PowerStroke turbodiesel V6, something we have been reporting on for the past year. The V6 is a result of a joint-venture between Ford and PSA Peugeot Citroën, along with being used in some of Land Rover's models. Ford is being tight-lipped on the power figures, but we should note the engine produces 254 horsepower and 440 pound-feet in Range Rover Td6. A 10-speed automatic transmission will come standard.

That isn't the only change for the F-150's powertrain lineup. The base engine will be a new 3.3L V6 that is expected to produce the same 282 horsepower and 253 pound-feet of torque as the outgoing 3.5L V6. This will come paired with a six-speed automatic. Next, the 5.0L V8 and 2.7 EcoBoost V6 feature a number of improvements that will improve horsepower and torque (though Ford isn't saying how much). The 3.5L EcoBoost V6 which was updated last year will continue on without any changes. The V8 and EcoBoost V6s will also get a 10-speed automatic.

Outside, Ford's designers bring some of the ideas from F-Series Super Duty for the F-150. That includes new grilles for the various trims, larger headlights, six new wheel designs, and a sculpted tailgated. Ford hasn't changed much in the interior aside from new color choices for the seats. In terms of tech, there will the option of 4G LTE Wi-Fi, Bang & Olufsen audio system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability; adaptive cruise control with stop-start technology, and a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection.

The 2018 F-150 lineup arrives at Ford dealers this fall. If you want the diesel, you'll need to wait until 2018.

Source: Ford 
Press Release is on Page 2


FORD RAISES THE BAR AGAIN: NEW F-150 PICKUP IS EVEN TOUGHER, SMARTER, MORE CAPABLE

  • Even tougher: Featuring bolder Built Ford Tough style and segment-first high-strength, military-grade, aluminum alloy body
  • Even smarter: Available class-exclusive Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection can automatically apply F-150 brakes to help prevent a collision with another vehicle or pedestrian, plus available WiFi hotspot can help you stay connected
  • Even more capable: F-150 features the best towing ever – thanks to more powerful, efficient engine offerings that include standard Auto Start-Stop across the range, all-new 3.0-liter Power Stroke® turbo diesel and expanded availability of segment-first 10-speed automatic transmission
  • New F-150 is being previewed today during the 4 p.m. EST FOX NFL Wildcard Pregame Show – Ford is the Official Truck of the NFL – and revealed on Monday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit

DEARBORN, Mich., Jan. 8, 2017 – Ford, America’s truck leader, introduces the new 2018 Ford F-150 – now even tougher, even smarter and even more capable than ever.

Three years after first introducing the high-strength, military-grade, aluminum-alloy-bodied Ford F-150, the new F-150 arrives with bold new front and rear styling, advanced technologies – including available Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection – and improved engines. The new engines include an all-new 3.0-liter Power Stroke® V6 turbo diesel and enhanced V6 and V8 gas engines.

“Truck customers are constantly looking to improve their productivity, for work and for play,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford President, The Americas. “Since 1977, we’ve been America’s favorite truck, and we’ve never taken that leadership for granted. This new F-150 is our latest example of Ford’s commitment to going further for our customers through continuous innovation.”

The 2018 F-150 is part of the Ford F-Series truck lineup, America’s best-selling truck for 40 consecutive years and America’s best-selling vehicle for 35 years.

Ford is previewing the new truck today during the FOX NFL Wildcard Pregame Show, which airs starting at 4 p.m. today. Ford is the Official Truck of the NFL. The truck will be revealed on Monday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Even tougher
The new F-150 delivers on its Built Ford Tough promise through a segment-exclusive combination of advanced materials that are durable and inhibit corrosion.

A high-strength steel fully boxed ladder frame and high-strength, military-grade, aluminum alloy body save weight and add capability, helping F-150 tow heavier trailers than ever and deliver best-in-class payload ratings.

The 2018 F-150 lineup is new with even tougher looks. From XL to top-of-the-line Limited, all Ford F-150 models receive new grilles, headlamps and bumpers that create a visually wider and more planted stance and maximum differentiation between the series. On the Sport Package-equipped Lariat F-150, the signature twin bars are painted body color for a custom athletic appearance.

Further enhancing its “milled from a block of high-strength, military-grade, aluminum alloy” look, the F-150 features six all-new wheel designs, ranging from 17 inches to 22 inches in diameter.

A new sculpted tailgate with deeper accent form and stamped “F-150” are flanked by new tail lamp designs. For further style differentiation, a tailgate applique adds a horizontal element to King Ranch, Platinum and Limited versions.

F-150 also brings two new seating trim colors – Dark Marsala for F-150 Platinum, while top-of-the-line F-150 Limited offers a Navy Pier environment. New trim offerings including carbon fiber appearance appliques on F-150 XLT Sport and Lariat Sport models, while the famed F-150 King Ranch features new Kingsville Appointed seats.

Even smarter
Ford F-150 advances the light-duty pickup truck segment again with segment-first and class-exclusive technologies that improve productivity, efficiency and driver confidence, while keeping occupants connected to the world around them.

  • New enhanced segment-first available adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality allows drivers to set a cruising speed. They then use radar and camera technology to monitor traffic ahead to maintain a set distance between vehicles – even following a vehicle down to a complete stop.
  • New, segment-first available Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection helps the driver avoid or mitigate collisions with vehicles and pedestrians.
  • With a new available embedded 4G LTE modem for a Wi-Fi hot spot, customers can connect up to 10 mobile devices at one time, virtually anywhere.
  • New B&O PLAY available audio system takes advantage of high-end speakers, sound and tuning to deliver a richer, more engaging listening experience.

These technologies join existing segment-exclusive driver assist and convenience features that include:

  • Available SYNC® and SYNC 3 with FordPass enables compatibility of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – plus mobility services to help customers move more efficiently
  • Available 360-degree camera technology helps improve driver confidence when parking and can help reduce stress when connecting a trailer – allowing customers to see more so they can focus on specific tasks such as lining up a hitch
  • Available lane-keeping system is designed to help reduce unintentional drifting of the vehicle outside the intended lane
  • Available Blind Spot Information System with trailer tow technology is optimized for F-150 to include the length of a trailer up to 33 feet; BLIS® uses radar sensors in the taillamps to monitor areas that may not be visible to the driver

Even more capable
Ford builds on its performance leadership by offering the most advanced F-150 engine lineup ever, plus the best towing capability of any F-150 ever.

The new F-150 introduces an all-new, standard 3.3-liter V6 engine, with direct-injection for increased efficiency. The 3.3-liter V6 is expected to offer the same 282 horsepower and 253 lb.-ft. of torque as the previous model’s standard 3.5-liter V6.

An all-new second-generation 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine features advanced dual port and direct injection technology, reduced internal friction and improved robustness – all for improved levels of output, efficiency, quality and durability. Like the 3.5-liter EcoBoost, the 2.7-liter EcoBoost will be paired to the segment-exclusive 10-speed automatic transmission for 2018.

The 5.0-liter V8 also sees improvements in 2018, as the naturally aspirated engine features significant upgrades for increased power and torque. It’s also paired with the 10-speed automatic transmission for the first time.

The 2018 F-150 also adds an available all-new 3.0-liter Power Stroke diesel engine, designed, engineered and tested in-house and paired with the 10-speed automatic transmission. It’s the first-ever diesel engine offered for F-150.

In addition to the segment-first 10-speed automatic, the Ford F-150 is now the first full-size pickup truck to add automatic start/stop as standard equipment across all models and engines.

The new 2018 F-150 goes on sale this fall. It will be built at Dearborn Truck Plant in Dearborn, Michigan, and Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo, Missouri.


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Quite the refresh...

Interior, exterior, powertrains. Ford is pressing the market pretty hard. Looks to be some nice changes.

Impressive

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Wow quite the refresh. I like it.  I'm not 100% on the front end changes yet. I'm kind of indifferent on the front end. I'm not sure if it looks better or equally good to me yet. 

Surprised with all of the powertrain changes though. 3.3L V6? Interesting. Hopefully it doesn't need more revs for those same output numbers though. 

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I'm curious to see a line graph between the 3.3 and 3.5 

The new 3.3L will feature direct injection. That enables use of a higher compression ratio which leads to a broader power band than is available with conventional fuel injection. 

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Not keen on the Chrome nose but the body color one is nice. 

Now sure why they still keep an antenna.  A Car Wash the other day took the antenna and base and left a gaping hole in the fender in a story on TV last week. They claimed $6K for repairs which seemed a little high for just a fender. 

This truck will do fine as the F150 is like Mc Donalds and even if it is not the best hamburger but it is far from the worse and  people will still go there out of loyalty and price. 

 

 

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44 minutes ago, hyperv6 said:

Not keen on the Chrome nose but the body color one is nice. 

Now sure why they still keep an antenna.  A Car Wash the other day took the antenna and base and left a gaping hole in the fender in a story on TV last week. They claimed $6K for repairs which seemed a little high for just a fender. 

This truck will do fine as the F150 is like Mc Donalds and even if it is not the best hamburger but it is far from the worse and  people will still go there out of loyalty and price. 

 

 

I'm not sure McDonald's is a good comparison for your analogy. However,. I am sure McDonald's has about the worst burgers in fast food.  

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It is a good update with good engine improvements, the diesel and 10 speed should really boost fuel economy.  But why does the Diesel come out in Summer 2018 when the engine already is in production?  Shouldn't that diesel be on sale, like now?

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45 minutes ago, smk4565 said:

It is a good update with good engine improvements, the diesel and 10 speed should really boost fuel economy.  But why does the Diesel come out in Summer 2018 when the engine already is in production?  Shouldn't that diesel be on sale, like now?

The engine might still have to go through EPA testing and stuff like that to finalize numbers and whatnot. 

1 hour ago, Scout said:

I'm not sure McDonald's is a good comparison for your analogy. However,. I am sure McDonald's has about the worst burgers in fast food.  

Yeah terrible analogy because McDonald's absolutely makes the worst burgers and the F150 isn't the worst truck. 

1 hour ago, hyperv6 said:

Not keen on the Chrome nose but the body color one is nice. 

Now sure why they still keep an antenna.  A Car Wash the other day took the antenna and base and left a gaping hole in the fender in a story on TV last week. They claimed $6K for repairs which seemed a little high for just a fender. 

This truck will do fine as the F150 is like Mc Donalds and even if it is not the best hamburger but it is far from the worse and  people will still go there out of loyalty and price. 

 

 

I don't like the chrome either.. I'm just not a fan of a ton of chrome. 

My girlfriend had her wiper blades/arm/motor fckd from a car wash as well. Manufacturers should eliminate wiper blades because of crappy car washes.

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The issue with Chrome today is it gets beat to hell with chips. Even most paint fairs better and you can touch it up. I change out the chrome on my GMC for winter not to take the blows.

Also a little chrome is ok but this is just way too much.

FYI scout there is much worse out there.

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The F150 seems to be another example of a truck getting an MCE that looks worse than it's predecessor..like the Ram's recent grille change, or the last update to the Silverado...the predecessors looked better, IMO.   'worse' in the sense of busier, more cluttered front end trims...

 

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar

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Grille is attached with a giant staple gun.  LOLwhat.  Looks like two big-ass staples.

The mesh grille definitely looks better.

Still with the tiny engines, oy vey.  Diesel sounds interesting.

Edited by ocnblu

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upgraded 5.0 with the 10 speed in a regular cab FX4?  I can get on board with that :D

Off-topic question though.  Can that lower front spoiler or whatever be removed and does it serve an purpose beside being there for a minuscule improvement in fuel economy?

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I gotta give em props for offering a diesel. Chevy needs to offer the same. Makes no sense why its not offered at this point especially since Ram has been doing it for a while now.. Speaking of Chevy.. was I the only one that at first thought the pictures were mixed up and we were looking at a Chevy nose?

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14 hours ago, hyperv6 said:

The issue with Chrome today is it gets beat to hell with chips. Even most paint fairs better and you can touch it up. I change out the chrome on my GMC for winter not to take the blows.

Also a little chrome is ok but this is just way too much.

FYI scout there is much worse out there.

Name 5 places that make a worse burger than McDonalds...

McDonald's burgers are horse shet.. I don't understand why anybody who isn't broke eats them..

:hijacked:

25 minutes ago, Cmicasa the Great said:

I gotta give em props for offering a diesel. Chevy needs to offer the same. Makes no sense why its not offered at this point especially since Ram has been doing it for a while now.. Speaking of Chevy.. was I the only one that at first thought the pictures were mixed up and we were looking at a Chevy nose?

I think it would be cool if one of the D3 offered a diesel like what's in the Titan XD in their half tons. GM still has an opportunity to take that. I think it would be badass to have a mid-range diesel in a half ton. Not as powerful as the 2500's, but not a weakling(slow, not weak) gas sipper either like the Ram and likely the F150's. 300hp/500-550tq would rock!

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Burger King

Hamburger Station

White Castle

Rallys

Carls Jr or Hardees depending on where you live.

Steak and Shake

Jack in the Box

I could list more as they are all about the same and lousy.

If I have to eat at a chain it is Wendys where I get Chicken or Arbys.

If I want a Burger I have two places I like. One is Way Back that is a small chain here in the east and Midwest.

The best is here in Ohio call Swensons. It is the ultimate burger. Toasted buttered buns. The meat is home grown here and it has a mix of brown sugar in the meat. They are sweet.

Even health nut Lebron James goes directly there as soon as the season is over and gets his fill.

My only point is that Mc D is consistent and not the worst but yet far from the best. People trust to get the same thing no matter where they are in the world.

My point is the Ford like Mc D is not the best or worst but trusted and people will buy it because of that and often the high incentives or cheap fleet pricing.

 

 

Edited by hyperv6

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Interesting, not bad, not a fan of all the Chrome. The interior is my big beef. We are in a fluid world and that interior looks cheap to me as a snap together clunky interior rather than a smooth flowing dash. The dash also looks cheap to me in comparison to others.

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I think the matte silver or body colored grills look the best. The large opening one is "okay" but it allows people to almost have an aftermarket grille from the factory.

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2 hours ago, hyperv6 said:

Burger King

Hamburger Station

White Castle

Rallys

Carls Jr or Hardees depending on where you live.

Steak and Shake

Jack in the Box

I believe it was said list 5 worst than McDonald's,. Not better. McDonald's is the only place I have found that can remove all beef flavor from beef. I guess like the looks of a vehicle, taste is also subjective, if not questionable. :P

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3 hours ago, ccap41 said:

I think it would be cool if one of the D3 offered a diesel like what's in the Titan XD in their half tons.

A diesel and a half ton needs to be tuned for efficiency in my opinion. If they go the route of the Titan then they will have a truck that doesn't belong anywhere. The Titan is only slightly better than the gas half tons in every category except that it costs more. It's also much worse than all the heavy duty products yet can cost as much. It has no place. It really has no idea what it wants to be and what it is trying to do. If the D3 want diesels and half tons I believe they should be small and efficient. Otherwise there really is no target market for them. Except perhaps in The Titan's case, people can say I have a diesel Cummings in my truck. Which seems to be its biggest selling point. If you really need a vehicle for towing heavy loads on a regular basis you probably should have brought a three-quarter ton anyway.

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17 minutes ago, Scout said:

I believe it was said list 5 worst than McDonald's,. Not better. McDonald's is the only place I have found that can remove all beef flavor from beef. I guess like the looks of a vehicle, taste is also subjective, if not questionable. :P

They all suck. There is no right or wrong here as any choice can be easily confirmed.

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5 minutes ago, hyperv6 said:

They all suck. There is no right or wrong here as any choice can be easily confirmed.

Yea. I was just poking at ya. IMO though, McDonald's is about bottom of the barrel. I know and understand others feel different. 

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2 hours ago, hyperv6 said:

Burger King

Hamburger Station

White Castle

Rallys

Carls Jr or Hardees depending on where you live.

Steak and Shake

Jack in the Box

I could list more as they are all about the same and lousy.

You have the worst taste in burgers possibly ever.. I'm not a fan of a chain burger, period.. but McDonalds is worse than all of those.. maybe save for White Castle as I've never eaten there and will likely never.

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23 minutes ago, Scout said:

A diesel and a half ton needs to be tuned for efficiency in my opinion. If they go the route of the Titan then they will have a truck that doesn't belong anywhere. The Titan is only slightly better than the gas half tons in every category except that it costs more. It's also much worse than all the heavy duty products yet can cost as much. It has no place. It really has no idea what it wants to be and what it is trying to do. If the D3 want diesels and half tons I believe they should be small and efficient. Otherwise there really is no target market for them. Except perhaps in The Titan's case, people can say I have a diesel Cummings in my truck. Which seems to be its biggest selling point. If you really need a vehicle for towing heavy loads on a regular basis you probably should have brought a three-quarter ton anyway.

The Titan XD was a failure... I had high hope for it but it flopped real hard, imo. It only tows a couple hundred pounds more than two of the half tons(Ford and GM, I believe?) Too heavy, not capable enough, not efficient either.. The thing weighs something like 7500lbs! Put that same engine/trans in a 5800lb truck and it's so much better at about everything. It would still get better fuel mileage than the 6.2 and 3.5tt as it's a smaller diesel. I mean my buddy's 2010 Ram 2500 with the Cummins gets 17mpg when he isn't towing. Add modern tech to the engine, trans, and a truck that weighs at the very least 1000lbs less and it would get phenomenal fuel mileage for the output.

I do agree that it would be priced in a very bad spot.. It would enter a tweener location with an expensive diesel price premium for a half ton.

Your last line is very accurate.. If you're going to tow that much regularly.. you should probably have the 3/4 ton anyway.

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      Both of these models are close in fuel economy. EPA says the CX-9 AWD should return 20 City/26 Highway/23 Combined, while the Atlas 2.0T will get 22/26/24. During the week, the CX-9 returned 22.5 mpg in mostly city driving and the Atlas got 27.3 mpg with a 60/40 mix of highway and city driving. The eight-speed transmission in the Atlas makes a huge difference.
      Ride & Handling
      The CX-9 is clearly the driver’s choice. On a winding road, the crossover feels quite nimble thanks to a well-tuned suspension. There is a slight amount of body roll due to the tall ride height, but nothing that will sway your confidence. Steering has some heft when turning and feels quite responsive. Despite the firm suspension, the CX-9’s ride is supple enough to iron out most bumps. Only large imperfections and bumps would make their way inside. Barely any wind and road noise made it inside the cabin.
      The Atlas isn’t far behind in handling. Volkswagen’s suspension turning helps keep body roll in check and makes the crossover feel smaller than it actually is. The only weak point is the steering which feels somewhat light when turning. Ride quality is slightly better than the CX-9 as Atlas feels like riding on a magic carpet when driving on bumpy roads. Some of this can be attributed to smaller wheels. There is slightly more wind noise coming inside the cabin.
      Value
      It would be unfair to directly compare these two crossovers due to the large gap in price. Instead, I will be comparing them with the other’s similar trim.
      The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas SE with Technology begins at $35,690 for the 2.0T FWD. With destination, my test car came to $36,615, The Technology adds a lot of desirable features such as three-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring with rear-cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, and lane departure alert. The Mazda CX-9 Touring is slightly less expensive at $35,995 with destination and matches the Atlas on standard features, including all of the safety kit. But we’re giving the Atlas the slight edge as you do get more space for not that much more money.
      Over at the CX-9, the Grand Touring AWD begins at $42,270. With a couple of options including the Soul Red paint, the as-tested price came to $43,905. The comparable Atlas V6 SEL with 4Motion is only $30 more expensive when you factor in destination. Both come closely matched in terms of equipment with the only differences being the Grand Touring has navigation, while the SEL comes with a panoramic sunroof. This one is a draw as it will come down whether space or luxury is more important to you.
      Verdict
      Coming in second is the Mazda CX-9. It may have the sharpest exterior in the class, a premium interior that could embarrass some luxury cars, and pleasing driving characteristics. But ultimately, the CX-9 falls down on the key thing buyers want; space. It trails most everyone in passenger and cargo space. That is ultimately the price you pay for all of the positives listed. 
      For a first attempt, Volkswagen knocked it out of the park with the Atlas. It is a bit sluggish when leaving a stop and doesn’t have as luxurious of an interior as the CX-9. But Volkswagen gave the Atlas one of the largest interiors of the class, a chassis that balances a smooth ride with excellent body control, impressive fuel economy, and a price that won’t break the bank.
      Both of these crossovers are impressive and worthy of being at the top of the consideration list. But at the end of the day, the Atlas does the three-row crossover better than the CX-9.
      Disclaimer: Mazda and Volkswagen Provided the Vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2018
      Make: Mazda
      Model: CX-9
      Trim: Grand Touring AWD
      Engine: Turbocharged 2.5L Skyactiv-G Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 227 @ 5,000 (Regular), 250 @ 5,000 (Premium)
      Torque @ RPM: 310 @ 2,000 rpm
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 20/26/23
      Curb Weight: 4,361 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Hiroshima, Japan
      Base Price: $42,470
      As Tested Price: $43,905 (Includes $940.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Soul Red Metallic - $595.00
      Cargo Mat - $100.00
      Year: 2018
      Make: Volkswagen
      Model: Atlas
      Trim: 2.0T SE w/Technology
      Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L DOHC 16-Valve TSI Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 235 @ 4,500
      Torque @ RPM: 258 @ 1,600
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/26/24
      Curb Weight: 4,222 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Chattanooga, TN
      Base Price: $35,690
      As Tested Price: $36,615 (Includes $925.00 Destination Charge)
      Options: N/A

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      The three-row full-size crossover has taken the place of large SUVs as the vehicle of choice for growing families. Crossovers offer the tall ride height and large space, but not at the cost of fuel economy and ride quality. Recently, I spent a week in the 2018 Mazda CX-9 and Volkswagen Atlas. These two models could not be any different; one is focused on providing driving enjoyment, while the other is concerned about providing enough space for cargo and passengers. Trying to determine which one was the best would prove to be a difficult task.
      Exterior
      There is no contest between these two when it comes to design as the CX-9 blows the Atlas out of the water. The overall look balances aggressive and elegance traits. For the front, Mazda has angled the clip to give off a sporting profile while a large grille and a set of slim headlights accentuate this. Move around to the side and you’ll notice the CX-9 has quite a long front end and the rear roof pillars are angled slightly forward. These design cues help make the CX-9 look slightly smaller than it actually is.
      Someone once described a Volkswagen vehicle as “looking like a bit of a square, but a posh square.” That’s how I would sum up the Atlas’ design; it is basically a box on wheels. There are some nice touches such as the LED headlights that come standard on all models and chunky fenders. The 18-inch alloy wheels that come with the SE w/Technology look somewhat small on the Atlas, but that is likely due to the large size of the vehicle.
      Interior
      The Atlas’ interior very much follows the ideals of the exterior, which are uncomplicated and utilitarian. While it does fall flat when compared to the CX-9’s luxury design, Volkswagen nails the ergonomics. Most of the controls are within easy reach of driver and passenger. One touch that I really like is the climate control slightly angled upward. Not only does this make it easier to reach, but you can quickly glance down to see the current settings. There is only a small amount of soft-touch material used throughout the Atlas’ interior, the rest being made up of hard plastics. While that is slightly disappointing as other crossovers are adding more soft-touch materials, Volkswagen knows that kids are quite rough to vehicles.
      If there is one benefit to Volkswagen’s plain styling on the outside, it is the massive interior. I haven’t been in such a spacious three-row crossover since the last GM Lambda I drove. Beginning with the third-row, I found that my 5’9” frame actually fit with only my knees just touching the rear of the second-row. Moving the second row slightly forward allows for a little more legroom. Getting in and out of the third-row is very easy as the second-row tilts and moves forward, providing a wide space. This particular tester came with a second-row bench seat. A set of captain chairs are available as an option on SE and above. Sitting back here felt like I was in a limousine with abundant head and legroom. The seats slide and recline which allows passengers to find that right position. The only downside to both rear rows is there isn’t enough padding for long trips. For the front seat, the driver gets a ten-way power seat while the passenger makes do with only a power recline and manual adjustments. No complaints about comfort as the Atlas’ front seats had the right amount of padding and firmness for any trip length.
      The cargo area is quite huge. With all seats up, the Atlas offers 20.6 cubic feet of space. This increases to 55.5 cubic feet when the third-row is folded and 96.8 cubic feet with both rows folded. Only the new Chevrolet Traverse beats the Atlas with measurements of 23, 58.1, and 98.2 cubic feet.
      As a way to differentiate itself from other automakers, Mazda is trying to become more premium. This is clearly evident in the CX-9’s interior. The dash is beautiful with contouring used throughout, and a mixture of brushed aluminum and soft-touch plastics with a grain texture. If I were to cover up the Mazda badge on the steering wheel and ask you to identify the brand, you might think it was from a German automaker. Ergonomics aren’t quite as good as the Atlas as you have to reach for certain controls like those for the climate system.
      The CX-9’s front seats don’t feel quite as spacious when compared to the Atlas with a narrow cockpit and the rakish exterior are to blame. Still, most drivers should be able to find a position that works. The seats themselves have a sporting edge with increased side bolstering and firm cushions. I found the seats to be quite comfortable and didn’t have issues of not having enough support. Moving to the second row, Mazda only offers a bench seat configuration. This is disappointing considering all of the CX-9’s competitors offer captain chairs as an option. There is more than enough legroom for most passengers, but those six-feet and above will find headroom to be a bit tight. Getting into the third-row is slightly tough. Like the Atlas, the CX-9’s second row slides and tilts to allow access. But space is noticeably smaller and does require some gymnastics to pass through. Once seated, I found it to be quite cramped with little head and legroom. This is best reserved for small kids.
      Cargo area is another weak point to the CX-9. With both back seats up, there is only 14.4 cubic feet. This puts it behind most of the competition aside from the GMC Acadia which has 12.8. It doesn’t get any better when the seats are folded. With the third-row down, the CX-9 has 38.2 cubic feet. Fold down the second-row and it expands to 71.2 cubic feet. To use the GMC Acadia again, it offers 41.7 cubic feet when the third-row is folded and rises to 79 with both rows. Keep in mind, the Acadia is about six inches shorter than the CX-9.
      Infotainment
      All CX-9’s come equipped with the Mazda Connect infotainment system. The base Sport comes with a 7-inch touchscreen, while the Touring and above use a larger 8-inch screen. A rotary knob and set of redundant buttons on the center console control the system. Using Mazda Connect is a bit of a mixed bag. The interface is beginning to look a bit dated with the use of dark colors and a dull screen. Trying to use the touchscreen is an exercise in frustration as it is not easy to tell which parts are touch-enabled and not. On the upside, moving around Mazda Connect is a breeze when using the knob and buttons. Currently, Mazda doesn’t offer Apple CarPlay or Android Auto compatibility. Thankfully, this is being remedied with the 2019 model as Touring models and above will come with both.
      For the Atlas, Volkswagen offers three different systems. A 6.5-inch touchscreen is standard on the S. Moving up to either the SE, SE w/Technology, or SEL nets you an 8-inch screen. The top line SEL Premium adds navigation to the 8-inch system. All of the systems feature Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The current Volkswagen system is one of the easiest to use thanks in part to intuitive menu structure and quick responses. Moving through menus or presets is easy as the system reacts to the swiping gesture like you would do on your smartphone. There are a couple of downsides to the Volkswagen system. One is there is no haptic feedback when pressing the shortcut buttons on either side of the screen. Also, the glass surface becomes littered with fingerprints very quickly. 
      I did have an issue with the system when trying to use Apple CarPlay. At times, applications such as Spotify would freeze up. I could exit out to the CarPlay interface, but was unable to get the apps unfrozen until I shut the vehicle off. After resetting my iPhone, this problem went away. This leaves me wondering how much of this problem was with my phone and not the infotainment system.
      Powertrain
      Both of these crossovers are equipped with turbocharged four-cylinder engines. The CX-9 has a 2.5L producing either 227 or 250 (on premium fuel) horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. The Atlas has a 2.0L producing 235 horsepower and 258 pound-feet. An optional 3.6L V6 with 276 horsepower is available for the Atlas. For the Mazda, power is routed to a six-speed automatic and the choice of front or all-wheel drive. The Volkswagen makes do with an eight-speed automatic and front-wheel drive only. If you want AWD, you need the V6.
      Thanks to its higher torque figure, the CX-9 leaves the Atlas in the dust. There is barely any lag coming from the turbo-four. Instead, it delivers a linear throttle response and a steady stream of power.  NVH levels are noticeably quieter than the Atlas’ turbo-four. The six-speed automatic delivers seamless shifts and is quick to downshift when you need extra power such as merging.
      The turbo-four in the Atlas seems slightly overwhelmed at first. When leaving a stop, I found that there was a fair amount of turbo-lag. This is only exacerbated if the stop-start system is turned on. Once the turbo was spooling, the four-cylinder did a surprising job of moving the 4,222 pound Atlas with no issue. Stab the throttle and the engine comes into life, delivering a smooth and constant stream of power. The eight-speed automatic provided quick and smooth shifts, although it was sometimes hesitant to downshift when more power was called for.
      Fuel Economy
      Both of these models are close in fuel economy. EPA says the CX-9 AWD should return 20 City/26 Highway/23 Combined, while the Atlas 2.0T will get 22/26/24. During the week, the CX-9 returned 22.5 mpg in mostly city driving and the Atlas got 27.3 mpg with a 60/40 mix of highway and city driving. The eight-speed transmission in the Atlas makes a huge difference.
      Ride & Handling
      The CX-9 is clearly the driver’s choice. On a winding road, the crossover feels quite nimble thanks to a well-tuned suspension. There is a slight amount of body roll due to the tall ride height, but nothing that will sway your confidence. Steering has some heft when turning and feels quite responsive. Despite the firm suspension, the CX-9’s ride is supple enough to iron out most bumps. Only large imperfections and bumps would make their way inside. Barely any wind and road noise made it inside the cabin.
      The Atlas isn’t far behind in handling. Volkswagen’s suspension turning helps keep body roll in check and makes the crossover feel smaller than it actually is. The only weak point is the steering which feels somewhat light when turning. Ride quality is slightly better than the CX-9 as Atlas feels like riding on a magic carpet when driving on bumpy roads. Some of this can be attributed to smaller wheels. There is slightly more wind noise coming inside the cabin.
      Value
      It would be unfair to directly compare these two crossovers due to the large gap in price. Instead, I will be comparing them with the other’s similar trim.
      The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas SE with Technology begins at $35,690 for the 2.0T FWD. With destination, my test car came to $36,615, The Technology adds a lot of desirable features such as three-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring with rear-cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, and lane departure alert. The Mazda CX-9 Touring is slightly less expensive at $35,995 with destination and matches the Atlas on standard features, including all of the safety kit. But we’re giving the Atlas the slight edge as you do get more space for not that much more money.
      Over at the CX-9, the Grand Touring AWD begins at $42,270. With a couple of options including the Soul Red paint, the as-tested price came to $43,905. The comparable Atlas V6 SEL with 4Motion is only $30 more expensive when you factor in destination. Both come closely matched in terms of equipment with the only differences being the Grand Touring has navigation, while the SEL comes with a panoramic sunroof. This one is a draw as it will come down whether space or luxury is more important to you.
      Verdict
      Coming in second is the Mazda CX-9. It may have the sharpest exterior in the class, a premium interior that could embarrass some luxury cars, and pleasing driving characteristics. But ultimately, the CX-9 falls down on the key thing buyers want; space. It trails most everyone in passenger and cargo space. That is ultimately the price you pay for all of the positives listed. 
      For a first attempt, Volkswagen knocked it out of the park with the Atlas. It is a bit sluggish when leaving a stop and doesn’t have as luxurious of an interior as the CX-9. But Volkswagen gave the Atlas one of the largest interiors of the class, a chassis that balances a smooth ride with excellent body control, impressive fuel economy, and a price that won’t break the bank.
      Both of these crossovers are impressive and worthy of being at the top of the consideration list. But at the end of the day, the Atlas does the three-row crossover better than the CX-9.
      Disclaimer: Mazda and Volkswagen Provided the Vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2018
      Make: Mazda
      Model: CX-9
      Trim: Grand Touring AWD
      Engine: Turbocharged 2.5L Skyactiv-G Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 227 @ 5,000 (Regular), 250 @ 5,000 (Premium)
      Torque @ RPM: 310 @ 2,000 rpm
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 20/26/23
      Curb Weight: 4,361 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Hiroshima, Japan
      Base Price: $42,470
      As Tested Price: $43,905 (Includes $940.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Soul Red Metallic - $595.00
      Cargo Mat - $100.00
      Year: 2018
      Make: Volkswagen
      Model: Atlas
      Trim: 2.0T SE w/Technology
      Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L DOHC 16-Valve TSI Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 235 @ 4,500
      Torque @ RPM: 258 @ 1,600
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/26/24
      Curb Weight: 4,222 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Chattanooga, TN
      Base Price: $35,690
      As Tested Price: $36,615 (Includes $925.00 Destination Charge)
      Options: N/A
    • By William Maley
      Ford has launched the configurator for the 2019 Ranger today and we got our first look at pricing. It will begin at $25,395 for the XL extended-cab model with 2WD - price includes $1,095 destination charge. Pricing for the rest of the lineup is as followed,
      $27,615 - XL SuperCrew 2WD $29,035 - XLT SuperCab 2WD $29,555 - XL SuperCab 4WD $31,210 - XLT SuperCrew 2WD $31,775 - XL SuperCrew 4WD $33,035 - XLT SuperCab 4WD $33,305 - Lariat SuperCab 2WD $35,210 - XLT SuperCrew 4WD $35,480 - Lariat SuperCrew 2WD $37,305 - Lariat SuperCab 4WD $39,480 - Lariat SuperCrew 4WD There are a number of options on offer such as appearance packages, spray-in bed liner, and 8-inch touchscreen with Sync3. Go crazy on the options, and you can have a Ranger that will cost you over $45,000. All Rangers come with a 2.3L EcoBoost four-cylinder paired up with a ten-speed automatic.
      Compared to other models in the class, the Ranger has the highest base price. The Nissan Frontier is the cheapest at $19,965, followed by the Chevrolet Colorado ($21,590), GMC Canyon ($22,095), and Toyota Tacoma ($24,740).
      It still will be awhile before you can drive a Ranger off the dealer's lot as it will launch early next year.
      Source: Ford

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      Ford has launched the configurator for the 2019 Ranger today and we got our first look at pricing. It will begin at $25,395 for the XL extended-cab model with 2WD - price includes $1,095 destination charge. Pricing for the rest of the lineup is as followed,
      $27,615 - XL SuperCrew 2WD $29,035 - XLT SuperCab 2WD $29,555 - XL SuperCab 4WD $31,210 - XLT SuperCrew 2WD $31,775 - XL SuperCrew 4WD $33,035 - XLT SuperCab 4WD $33,305 - Lariat SuperCab 2WD $35,210 - XLT SuperCrew 4WD $35,480 - Lariat SuperCrew 2WD $37,305 - Lariat SuperCab 4WD $39,480 - Lariat SuperCrew 4WD There are a number of options on offer such as appearance packages, spray-in bed liner, and 8-inch touchscreen with Sync3. Go crazy on the options, and you can have a Ranger that will cost you over $45,000. All Rangers come with a 2.3L EcoBoost four-cylinder paired up with a ten-speed automatic.
      Compared to other models in the class, the Ranger has the highest base price. The Nissan Frontier is the cheapest at $19,965, followed by the Chevrolet Colorado ($21,590), GMC Canyon ($22,095), and Toyota Tacoma ($24,740).
      It still will be awhile before you can drive a Ranger off the dealer's lot as it will launch early next year.
      Source: Ford
    • By William Maley
      The One Ford plan brought in by former CEO Alan Mulally helped the automaker weather through some very tough times. A key part of this plan was cutting back on the number of architectures used around the world - from 30 to nine. But Ford is planning to go further with reducing them.
      Last week, Ford's head of product development and purchasing, Hau Thai-Tang revealed the company will be reducing the number of platforms to just five.
      "This is not saying One Ford was wrong. This is building on the strategy of One Ford and evolving from it," said Thai-Tang at the 2018 J.P. Morgan Auto Conference in New York.
      The move to five platforms will help save costs: According to Thai-Tang, 70 percent of a vehicle's value can be managed through modular platforms. It will also improve the efficiency of Ford's suppliers.
      The five platforms are as followed:
      RWD/AWD Body-on-Frame FWD/AWD Unibody RWD/AWD Unibody Commercial Van Unibody Electric Vehicle Unibody Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

      View full article
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