Tag: EcoBoost

2018 Ford F150 First Drive

2018 Ford F150 First Drive

With its predecessor already an award-winning vehicle, what does Ford do for an encore? The 2018 Ford F150 holds tough with a new, bolder grille, bringing it closer in line with its bigger Super Duty brethren. But is that enough to keep this aluminum wonder relevant into the new model year?

With the aluminum bodied F150 already well received, Ford revisits engine configurations and choices, adds more design cues, more safety features, more payload, more, uh, more. Are pickup trucks still sexy? Let’s find out.

What’s New?

Ford flew us to their backyard, in Ann Arbor Michigan, where they displayed a beautifully ancient Model TT truck and a 1950s-era Ford F1 pickup, following the axiom that you need to see where you’ve come from in order to see where you are going.  Even though the brand has been successful with over 26 million F-Series pickups sold to date, the company still tries to push the envelope. Not content with the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” ethos, Ford designers and engineers, following their successful redesign in 2015, decided to tweak a few outside appearance items and then go whole hog on the powertrain. That, and the fact they are constantly aware of what is happening with their around-town rivals, the RamTruck Ram 1500, Chevrolet Silverado / GMC Sierra twins, and the Texas-bred Toyota Tundra.

New on the 2018 Ford F150 are revised C-Clamp headlamps with available LED lighting that help to add some swagger to the twin bar grille. As a result, there’s no mistaking what another driver sees in their rearview mirror. Returning: Ford’s trademark “drop down” side glass is back for an easier sideview of the road. New design cues on XL, XLT and Lariat series trucks mimic that of Ford Super Duty models, while the premium King Ranch, Platinum and Limited series up the ante even more.

Ford F150
Ford F150

New for 2018 is the base 3.3-liter V6 engine, which is smaller, but puts out eight more horsepower and an additional 12 lb-ft of torque than the base 3.5-liter V6 it replaces. In current trim, it’s good for 290 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque.

That engine is joined by a revised second-generation 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 engine. It includes port and direct-injection, and now features 325 horsepower and an additional 25 lb-ft of torque, up to 400 lb-ft.

Finally, a revised Five-Point-Oh (5.0-liter) V8 is offered, which like the 2.7-liter V6, now includes port and direct-injection, along with friction-reducing enhancements that boost it up an additional 10 ponies to 395-horsepower and 13 more lb-ft of torque to 400 lb-ft.

Ford F150
Ford F150

Ford, in an effort to keep the entry price low, mates the 3.3-liter exclusively to a six-speed automatic transmission, while the 2.7- and 5.0-liter receive a 10-speed automatic gearbox. These and other enhancements help the F150 achieve a maximum gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 18,400-pounds, with a 1,000-pound increase in towing capacity to 13,200 lbs. As far as rocks in the box, you can haul up to 3,270-pounds of cargo in the 5.5-, 6.5-, or 8-foot boxes. Cab configurations start with a regular cab setup, a SuperCab and a SuperCrew cabin for the full E-ticket ride.

Safety First.

The Blue Oval reportedly included a new 12-corner front crush horn to throw off energy in a frontal impact. Ford has determined that it helps to increase occupant safety in such a shunt.

Adaptive cruise control is also in the mix with stop and go measures for truck applications, including towing. According to Ford, the system operates by using radar to bring the F150 down to a complete stop, depending on following distance.

An available Pro Trailer Backup Assist guides drivers in backing up with trailers to boat ramps or driveways. Also on board: an optional Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) which works with trailers up to 33-feet long, causing the system to add in the extra towing length when considering the blind spot. Combine that with the available 360-degree camera system for a total view around your ride.

Behind the Wheel.

Always a competent runner, we found the new 2018 Ford F150 only improving on its legendary abilities. Sufficiently quiet on Michigan back roads, we found normal conversations possible, even from the back seat. When we were in a mood for tuneage, the Bang & Olufsen audio system provided clear and crisp dBs of sound, despite what was emanating from under the hood.

Ford F150
Ford F150

Power from the 5.0-liter V8 was flawless even at high speeds, which saw the new 10 speed automatic transmission trying to get to its top cog in an effort to achieve fuel sipping nirvana. Lower speed jaunts around town found it skipping a gear or two for added efficiency. No matter, as it is probably very easy to get lost within 10 gear sets.

On an impromptu off-road course, the F150 admirably displayed added functionality from such features as the 360-degree Around Vehicle camera system and vehicle sensors. When cresting up a hill, all it took was a flick of the switch to turn on the front-view camera, to see what lie below before descending on the other side.

Plowing through the water hazard was just plain fun and a good indicator of how the F150 will perform under trying conditions. Slip it into 4-low and the powertrain supplied all the grunt needed to pull us up and away from a simulated shallow river crossing.

Add that to the thoughtfully designed tailgate step and other around-truck features, and it’s easy to see why the 2018 Ford F150 will likely continue its dominance in the half-ton pickup truck segment.

2018 Ford F150

Story and Photos by Mark Elias. Additional pics by Sam Varnhagen/Ford.

F150 Specs:

Base prices:

XL: $28,675; XLT, $34,265; Lariat, $41,980; King Ranch, $52,895; Platinum, $55,450; Limited, $61,815.


3.3-liter Naturally Aspirated V6

2.7-liter EcoBoost Turbocharged V6

3.5-liter EcoBoost Turbocharged V6

5.0-liter Naturally Aspirated V8



Six-speed Automatic with manual shift mode

10-speed Automatic with manual shift mode



Wheelbase: 122.4-163.7 inches

Length: 209.3-250.5 inches

Width: 79.9 inches

Height: 75-77.5 inches

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”42″ gal_title=”2018 Ford F150″]












2017 Lincoln Continental AWD Reserve

2017 Lincoln Continental AWD Reserve

Ford’s Lincoln division as of late has undergone a Phoenix-like rise from the ashes. First attempts with the MKS, and MKT felt like the brand had two broken wings. Follow up efforts with the MKZ and MKC resulted in more widespread acceptance, but the brand still lacked a flagship. That was until the appearance of the 2017 Lincoln Continental.

A few Lincoln Continental concept cars had appeared through the years, and some were actually handsome. In 2015, Lincoln introduced a Continental concept that made the rounds at all the auto shows to great acclaim. The future looked bright. Eventually the concept was green-lighted, which caused Town Car fans and limo operators alike to rejoice. Production of the new Lincoln Continental began in 2016 as a 2017 model.

It is a gorgeous car. But sadly it looked as though something was lost in translation from concept to production car.

Not a large barge.

Borrowing design cues of land yachts like Bentley and Rolls-Royce, among others, the 2017 Continental does not appear very big. Still, the EPA tags it a full-size luxury sedan. So large, it does match the wheelbase of the late and lamented 1980-era Continentals. Yes, the ones with the velour interiors. The only thing missing are suicide rear doors. Oh don’t get us wrong, there’s a few other things missing as well, but we’ll get to that later.

Built utilizing the Ford CD4 platform, which it shares with the Fusion and MKZ, the base Continental is powered by a buyer’s choice of 3.7-liter Cyclone V6, a 2.7 liter EcoBoost twin turbo V6, or in the case of our top-line AWD Reserve model, the 3.0-liter EcoBoost twin turbo V6 that makes 400 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. That engine is mated to a six-speed Selectshift automatic transmission with gear selection buttons located to the left of the Lincoln Sync3 audio system. We are chuffed by the 3.0-liter EcoBoost, but wonder where the missing eight-speed automatic transmission is. Six-speed just seems so 2002 these days.

Our Continental received its motivation from a transverse-mounted and compressed V6 engine sending power to all four wheels. The rear wheels feature a torque vectoring function that speeds up the outside wheel in a turn, which shortens the car’s turning radius, for tighter cornering. Continuously controlled dampers allowed for on the fly suspension adjustments, which varied ride quality over the roads of South Florida. The ride was not too far off from Town Cars of old.

The Lincoln Continental competes directly against such segment stars as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the BMW 7-series and the Lexus LS. We’d say it has a bit of catching up to do, but with a few tweaks, it will be off to a good start.

The Continental was gorgeous to look at, except for the rubberized leather stretched across the dashboard. Shortcomings like that manage to kill a brand’s return to glory and in this case, Lincoln can’t afford a misstep. In Reserve trim it has virtually the entire Lincoln parts catalog in place, for the full E-ticket experience. Our tester featured the 30-way Perfect Position seating system in front with articulated seatbacks and massage functions for the upper and lower parts of the human body. There’s nothing quite like getting your back and butt massaged while doing 80 mph.

Controls throughout are a bit understated, clearly from the less-is-more school of interior design. Although they have been around for a few years, the PRNDS buttons are a still not doing it for us. Add to that the excessive use of bright chrome inside, that to our eyes appears a bit over done. Perhaps it would be wise for them to use the brushed aluminum as seen around the Revel audio system, instead.

As Matthew McConaughey so aptly demonstrated in those commercials where he goes swimming in a tuxedo, the back seat is really where you want to sit in this car. With the Lincoln Continental preparing to make waves in China, it is truly the car that we would love to be chauffeured in. With the fold-down center console, and reclining rear seat, it’s a place that allows occupants the ability to decide everything from which Sirius XM channel to listen to and at what temperature.

2017 Lincoln Continental AWD Reserve
2017 Lincoln Continental AWD Reserve

Amazing and adjustable massaging seats aside, there are other cool bits including slick electric pushbuttons on the door that make for a simple push to exit. Conversely, if you don’t use enough force to close the doors, the Lincoln will cinch them shut for you. That’s it. The outside placement of the door handles are high along the Conti’s beltline, as well as attention grabbing. Still, we miss having the suicide doors that would have made us feel like part of the cast of Entourage.

Gorgeous open-pore wood veneer accents are simply beautiful to look at and touch. If you came to this hotrod Lincoln in hopes of seeing the same glossy plasticized faux wood trim pieces that you grew up with in Mom’s old Country Squire, you are sadly in the wrong place.

2017 Lincoln Continental AWD Reserve
2017 Lincoln Continental AWD Reserve


This Lincoln does snap your neck with power on demand from the twin turbo EcoBoost V6. It is a great performer that actually belongs in many of the other cars in the Ford and Lincoln portfolio. Despite its head snapping abilities, it still managed to deliver a 24.3 mpg average on a trip to Marathon in the Florida Keys, without even breaking a sweat. Now if we could only convince Ford to put this engine in the Fusion and Mustang…

Overall the Lincoln presents with a nice grunt coming from the engine compartment. Ride quality is admittedly floaty-boaty, but after all, isn’t that the reason you’d buy such a rig in the first place? Mind you, this is not a corner carving track car. Instead, consider it a boulevardier that will cruise you across country leaving you refreshed and fatigue-free at the same time.

This is full-blown luxury from Lincoln.



Story and Photos by Mark Elias

 2017 Lincoln Continental AWD Reserve

Base MSRP: $56,075   As Tested: $75,770

3.0-liter Twin Turbo EcoBoost engine, $3,265; Luxury Package, $5,000; PerfectPosition Seating, $1,500; Rear Seat Package, $4,300; Continental Technology Package, $3,105; 20-inch Polished wheels, $750; Continental Climate Control, $850; Destination Fee, $925.

Key Specs

Cylinders:                                    6

Displacement:                            3.0-liter Twin Turbocharged V6

Power:                                          400 hp @ 5,750 rpm

Torque:                                        400 lb-ft @ 2,750 rpm

Fuel System:                               Gasoline Direct Injection

Drive Type                                   AWD

Unladen Weight:                        4,547-pounds

Length:                                         201.4-inches

Width:                                           82.3-inches w/mirrors

Height:                                          58.5-inches

Wheelbase:                                   117.9-inches

Cargo Volume:                             16.7-cubic feet

Fuel Economy                              16 city/24 highway/19 combined

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”28″ gal_title=”2017 Lincoln Continental AWD Reserve”]