Thursday, September 30, 2021
2021 FORD RANGER
Thursday, September 16, 2021
2021 FORD MUSTANG MACH-E
FORD FINDS REMEDY FOR RANGE ANXIETY WITH ITS FIRST ALL-ELECTRIC VEHICLE
Putting aside the fact that it looks about as much like a Mustang as the late Ford C-Max Hybrid, the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E stands tall on its own as the company’s first all-electric vehicle.
It really doesn’t need whatever tenuous boost in prestige it might get from association with the company’s iconic Pony Car. The Mach-E, which strikes me as the name Ford could easily have labeled it, isn’t a coupe or convertible, doesn’t have the sweet tunes of even the 4-cylinder Mustang emerging from the exhaust pipes (of course, it doesn’t even have exhaust pipes to begin with), and it has two more doors than the Mustang.
It does share some styling cues, most notably the “pony” image up front and on the rear deck lid, and the swept roofline hints at the fastback profile while not intruding on rear headroom.
The 2021 Mustang Mach-E comes in six trim levels starting with the base Select and continuing with the Premium, California Route 1, First Edition, GT, and GT Performance Edition. This review is based on the First Edition trim, which already is sold out, by the way.
One way in which the Mach-E earns its Mustang stripes is when it comes to performance. Select and Premium trims are rated at 266 horsepower with peak torque of 317 pound-feet with RWD and 428 lb.-ft. with AWD. The Extended Range setup on the Premium boosts those numbers to 290 RWD and 346 AWD. The First Edition model (AWD only) checks in at 346 hp, and California Route 1 (RWD only) at 290 hp.
GT and GT Performance models up those numbers to 480 horsepower and torque of 600 and 634 lb.-ft., respectively.
Zero-to-60 mph times, Ford says, range from 4.8 seconds to 6.1 for Select, Premium, First Edition,, and California Route 1 models and very quick 3.8 and 3.5 seconds for GT and GT Performance, respectively.
That should clear out any misconception that an all-electric vehicle can’t pack a punch.
The Mustang Mach-E also is a very functional vehicle. It is essentially a hatchback offering 29.7 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row and 59.7 cubic feet with those seats folded. There’s also a smaller area in the front where the engine would usually be with 4.7 cubic feet of space.
Passengers don’t get cheated either. Legroom in back is 38.1 inches. Front riders get 43.5 inches.
The cabin is impressive with high quality materials giving it a premium feel. Seats have synthetic leather surfaces, and heated front seats are available.
Distinguishing features for the cabin include a panoramic fixed-glass roof and a huge touchscreen to operate features on Ford’s Sync4-A infotainment. You also use the screen for such functions as selecting the driving mode.
The instrument panel provides at a quick glance the driver with his driving range (both in miles and percentage of battery available), an image of any potential obstacles surrounding the vehicle, and the car’s speed in big, digital numbers.
When it comes to drive modes, Ford eschews traditional terms such as Comfort, Eco, and Sport with settings marked Whisper, Engage, and Unbridled. With such a smooth throttle response, I really didn’t notice a huge difference in any of the settings and ended up spending most of my time in Whisper (i.e., comfort). The single-speed transmission provides seamless, quick acceleration in any setting. Engage and Unbridled add some artificial sound effects.
There also is the one-pedal operation as often come with electric vehicles. Press the accelerator and you, well, accelerate. Ease off and and the car will brake, not coast, so it takes some getting used to avoid undesired full stops.
Other standard features include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, push-button start, navigation system, adaptive cruise control, frontal collision mitigation, blind-spot warning with rear-cross traffic alert, and lane-center system.
The 2021 Mustang Mach-E starts at $42,895 (before destination and delivery charges), which translates to the mid-$30,000 range if you qualify for the $7,500 federal tax credit.
What I liked about the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E: This is the first all-electric/plugin hybrid exclusive car I have come across with an interior worthy of the price tag. It goes far enough on a full charge to alleviate the usual range anxiety for all-electric vehicles. It is quick no matter what driving mode you select. Cargo space is good.
What I didn’t like about the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E: Charging times are slow. You definitely need a high voltage, in-home charging outlet because using a traditional household outlet takes forever. Fast-charging outlets at malls, businesses, or other locations are options, of course. Operation of the Sync4-A infotainment system takes some getting used to. Some functions (cancel navigation for one) are not where you might logically expect them to be.
Friday, September 10, 2021
2021 AMG GLE 63 S COUPE
lF YOU THINK A COUPE HAS ONLY TWO DOORS, MERCEDES MIGHT LIKE A WORD WITH YOU
When it comes to distinguishing a car as a sedan or a coupe, most people simply count the doors. Four doors, it’s a sedan. Two it’s a coupe.
More often that not, the movies back then used those generic terms rather than specific brand names when it came to broadcasting BOLO (Be On the Look Out) bulletins for police to run down suspects.
But beginning in the 1960s it became the custom to identify a passenger car with two doors as a “coupe” and with four as a “sedan.”
At least it was easy until the early 2000s when Mercedes-Benz muddied the waters by marking its new CLS Class as a “four-door” coupe.
And thus even though such authoritative automotive sources as Edmunds.com declared "the four-door coupe category doesn't really exist,” that has not stopped Mercedes.
While it goes with two doors for its E Class and C Class coupes, the German automaker still refers to the CLS and CLA Class models as “coupes” despite their four doors. But it doesn’t stop there.
In addition to the extra doors, the 2021 AMG GLE 63 S also has other features that distinguish it from your typical coupe, its size for one thing. It is 195.3 inches long with a wheel base of 115.6 inches and height of 67.6 inches. The 2021 AMG GLE 63 S has a curb weight of 5,633 pounds and rides on 22-inch wheels.
Storage capacity is 27.5 cubic feet behind the second-row seats and 63.2 with them folded. That’s pretty much SUV-like, which is appropriate since the “GLE” nomenclature follows the company’s protocol for its SUV fleet since “GL” replaced the “M-Class” designation.
As it moves into its second generation, the 2021 AMG GLE 63 S Coupe features a laundry list of AMG upgrades like a Speedshift 9-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, AMG Performance all-wheel drive, and AMG Active Ride Control.
Navigation is standard, and the 12.3-inch touchscreen display provides a nice, clear map for the driver to get a clean picture at a glance.
ECO, Comfort, Sport, and Sport+ driving modes offer you choices to adjust to your driving mood at the time.
Among other standard features are Apple Carplay and Android Auto, heated and ventilated front seats, dual-zone climate control, and safety features like blind-spot warning, lane-keeping assist, and a clear surround-view camera system.
What I didn’t like about the 2021 Mercedes AMG GLE 63 S Coupe: The Germans apparently are sold on the touchscreen/touchpad operation for the infotainment system, but it is very distracting to operate. Brushing the touchpad on the console can accidentally change a setting such as a radio station. You lose headroom in the back because of the slanted roofline.
Would I buy the 23021 Mercedes AMG GLE 63 S Coupe? It’s a really great performer and has a high class interior, but I just don’t like the way it looks. To me, styling-wise, it works much better as an SUV. If you are OK with the appearance, however have at it!