Archive for February, 2015
Ford’s new aluminum bodied Ford F-150 takes another award on the podium as Kelly Blue Book gave it the 2015 Best Buy Award. I’ve had the pleasure of driving the new F-150 on and off the track at several for Ride and Drive Events and I have to say that it is truly an icon of innovation, technology, safety, handling, utility, and just all-around fun. In summary if you haven’t driven a 2015 F-150 you are missing out. And apparently Kelly Blue Book agrees.
KBB’s full article can be found on their website but to summarize their brilliant article and award, they simply stated the F-150 is “Innovation with Real-World Benefits” and they couldn’t be more right. Everything about this truck down to the gauge cluster menus is ingenious and user-friendly. And the best part? The F-150 is the most customizable truck on the market. From 5 trim levels, three Cab styles, Bed-Liners, interior options, Tonneau Covers, running boards, and the whole gamut of options offered, there is a truck for everyone and a tool for every job.
The interior is by far where the F-150 wins over the driver if the exterior styling didn’t already. Inside the F-150 everything just works. Pure and simple. From the climate controls to the steering wheel’s hands-free bluetooth controls, the truck is more ergonomic than most recent sedan models. Roomy, comfortable, and open are the three things that enter my mind when describing it. The gauge cluster even looks cool.
My favorite part about the F-150 is just driving it. The ride and drive of this truck feels more like a well grounded SUV than a Pickup. Most of that is in part to the 700 pound-weight savings that Ford intuitively took straight off the top of the truck. Aluminum has never felt so good behind the wheel and the new light weight body is more resilient than regular steel meaning more rigidity and better handling.
That lift gate in the picture above? It’s powered. With the click of the key FOB you can literally drop the tailgate. It’s small things like this that make the new F-150 so usable. Clunky NAV systems, Infotainment Centers, and cheap interior materials litter so many competitor’s trucks and yet Ford has pulled out all the stops when it comes to making your life easier when your in utility-mode with the F-150. There’s even a camera view to help you align your trailer hitch and trailer connector. I’m not kidding. You can literally back up your hitch with pin point accuracy by yourself now.
To wrap it up, the new 2015 Ford F-150 is continuing to grow into itself and show the world what it’s capable of. If you are in the market for a new truck there’s no better option according to… well, just about everyone. Even if you weren’t planning on a new truck for a while, maybe it’s time for an upgrade! Don’t just take my word for it. Take the most reputable and trusted vehicle resource in America at its word.
For those that have experienced the Mazda Brand in the last 5 years, this comes as no surprise, but for those who haven’t, it’s time to get behind the wheel. Mazda has been consistently topping lists like this for the last few years and that may not seem like a huge accomplishment until you consider this: more than half of their current models have been introduced or redesigned within the past 3 years. They seem to be immune to the typical “growing pains” that almost every other auto maker experiences when they introduce a new model or redesign an existing one. What does that mean to the everyday consumer? It means Mazda is doing their homework. They know their customers are looking for lots of style at an attainable price point. And it’s arguable that no other automaker has achieved this better than Mazda.
ConsumerReports ranks vehicles in many different categories based on varying criteria but its “Annual Brand Report Cards” are the most comprehensive scoring system, compiling many different tests into one, overarching ranking system. The magazine calculates each brand’s overall score with a composite of its vehicles’ road-test scores and reliability scores for each model in its annual survey of subscribers. Take a look at the full list of rankings, you’ll notice Mazda took second place, topped only by Lexus:
In addition to this latest accolade, Mazda has a laundry list of other notable achievements:
• Named “2014 Lowest 5-year Cost to Own Brand” for the second year in a row by Kelley Blue Book
• 2014 Mazda6 and Mazda3 both named one of KBB’s “10 Best Sedans under $25,000”
• 2014 Mazda CX-5 named one of KBB’s “10 Best SUVs Under $25,000”
• Mazda6 named “Highest Ranked Vehicle Appeal Among Midsize Cars” by J.D. Power.
“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better – the credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood … who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
So proclaims Cadillac in their new ‘Dare Greatly’ spot, a significant departure from the narcissistic bravado displayed in the ‘Poolside’ ELR commercial they released just a short year ago. This understated, almost ethereal visual accompaniment to a portion of Theodore Roosevelt’s 1910 “Citizenship in a Republic” speech seems to indicate a complete shift in mindset. Gone are the claims of superiority, the displays of arrogance, and the assertions of self-importance. Instead, Cadillac seems to be acknowledging past failures indicating a change in core values.
Rather than portraying themselves as a purveyor of goods for the exorbitantly wealthy, Cadillac are seeking to forge a strong emotional connection with viewers (all viewers) - à la Chrysler’s Eminem-powered ‘Imported From Detroit’ campaign. Whether or not ‘Dare Greatly’ resonates with viewers on that level remains to be seen, but the raw emotion and authenticity of this spot is undeniable.
In any case, we’re excited to see the rest of the campaign roll out this weekend at the Oscars – check out the 90-second spot that has already been released below.
Morrie’s Auto Group had a great time out on the frozen Lake Minnetonka this past Saturday for the 31st annual Wayzata Chilly Open! Holding down Hole #4 with our Banana Bronco, we had a great time meeting everyone that stopped by for our lasso contest! The chili samples were pretty great too!
Ford has finally taken the wraps off the 2016 Focus RS and we are in for a treat! As we hoped and was rumored the RS will be hitting American shores for the first time to coincide with the worldwide release.
Ford will be packing a lot of performance into this Focus including a 4-cylinder 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine derived from the Mustang making 320 or so horsepower which will rev to 6800rpm. The engine will be mated to a six speed manual transmission true to the RS history. This is also the first time Ford will be using a torque vectoring all-wheel drive system which will be able to shift up to 70% of the torque to the rear axle and in turn can transfer up to 100% of that torque to the right or left side to improving traction while cornering.
The RS exterior will have an more aggressive aero package that will not only look great will add to the car performance on and off the track. Adding to the looks of the car, its suspension has been overhauled with stiffer springs and sway bars. Slowing down will be an important part of this car and they haven’t forgot about them and it will have 4-piston caliper brakes under the larger wheels and tires.
The interior will also be performance-oriented with comfort in mind. The Recaro seats will be embroidered with RS logos and feature large bolsters to keep the driver planted and in control. Ford will also include a race inspired flat bottom steering wheel attached to the electric powered steering rack which will be sharper than the similarly impressive one in the Focus ST. Technology in the RS will include multiple screens with Ford’s own SYNC connectivity and 10 speaker stereo.
The car will go in the production later this year and will most likely priced similar to its main competition the Subaru WRX STi.
They decided to live stream the announcement worldwide. They spent time covering the heritage of Ford performance by showing some of the most iconic cars to ever hit the roads in Europe with the RS moniker. Be sure to watch the video of the announcement below to see all the excitement including a special appearance from Ken Block who is involved in the project as a consultant.