Thursday, September 28, 2023



Among sentences you are not likely to find in many car reviews:

Ford is using technology derived from World War II German U-boats to expand the off-roading prowess of its Bronco SUV.

The “Everglades” edition of the Ford Bronco unveiled in 2022 features a snorkel system that allows it to ford streams or traverse swampy terrain you might encounter on an off-roading adventure.

Unlike the snorkel masts that reached skyward from the decks of World War II-vintage submarines to scoop air that allowed the diesel engines to run while the sub was submerged, the snorkel on the Ford Bronco Everglades edition is merged into the passenger-side A pillar and is not as obvious. You could say it is kind of hidden in plain sight.

The snorkel and other tweaks like special vents for the front and rear axles, transfer case, and transmission don’t make the Bronco Everglades a truly amphibious vehicle, but they do give the Bronco the ability to handle water hazards up to 36.4 inches deep, or one-to-three inches deeper than its main competitors.

In case you overestimate your seaworthiness, Ford has included as standard a winch and front and rear tow hooks to get you unstuck. (It goes without saying it helps that if you are venturing into more challenging treks to do so in a group!)

The Ford Bronco Everglades comes with a 2.3-liter EcoBoost turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that produces 300 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque when fed premium grade fuel. It is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission and features a two-speed transfer case with modes selected via convenient buttons on the face of the upraised console storage bin.

Fuel economy is rated at 18 miles-per-gallon city, 17 highway, and 18 combined

As with its main competitor, the Jeep Wrangler, side and roof panels may be removed from the Ford Bronco Everglades for a more open air experience on the trail, though that’s not recommended for highway use. Rock rails and steel skid places protect the underbody.

The Ford Bronco Everglades also accepts other modifications to fenders and the like if the owner feels it is getting a “dated” look, which gives the vehicle a longer shelf life.

When it comes to convenience and comfort features, the Ford Bronco Everglades is a civilized beast. Infotainment systems feature Ford’s Sync 4 package, include navigation, and work off a 12-inch touchscreen, though simple functions operate off convenient knobs. A 4G WiFi hotspot, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto also are included.

The Ford Bronco Everglades rides on 17-inch wheels. Vinyl seats are standard, though the gear knob snd steering wheel are leather-wrapped. Push-button start is standard as well.

A final word about the snorkel system. The air intake normally faces forward but can be flipped around if you driving in excessively dusty conditions.

MSRP for the 2024 Bronco Everglades starts at $55,520 before even destination and delivery and any other extras are added on. The spec sheet for my test vehicle, a debut 2022 model that essentially has gone unchanged over the last two years, did not include pricing information

What I liked about the Ford Bronco Everglades:
The screen for the navigation map is a nice size and is very clear. Infotainment functions overall are user-friendly with knobs to operate the radio and temperature controls. Other than considerable noise at highway speed, the ride is comfortable enough.

What I didn’t like about the Ford Bronco Everglades: With the extra ground clearance making the cabin sit so high, getting in and out can be a chore, especially for vertically challenged passengers. Wind and road noise at highway speeds drowns out the radio and turns casual conversations into near shouting matches.

Would I buy the Ford Bronco Everglades? Though engineered for rugged (and wet) off-road excursions, the Bronco Everglades serves well for a daily driver, though if one of your regular riders is height-challenged you may want to reconsider. I have liked my off-roading experiences, rare as they are, but am personally not in the market for such a specialized vehicle. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

2023 FORD F-150 RAPTOR R


As if the 450 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque in the standard Ford F-150 Raptor isn’t enough, Ford has blessed us with an “R” version that takes those figures up to a breathtaking 700 horsepower and 640 pound-feet for those hungering for sports car-like performance.

The 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R zips from zero-to-60 miles per hour in a rapid 3.6 seconds with the capability of crushing anything that might have the misfortune of getting in its way.

When I was growing up I never figured a pickup truck might be my vehicle of choice for a drag race but here we are.

The 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R’s supercharged 5.2-liter V8 engine is adopted from the Mustang Shelby GT500 and is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. A 2-speed transfer case for off-roading adventures is activated via a convenient panel of buttons on the lower dash.

The 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R rides on standard 37-inch wheels shod with all-terrain tires and, like the Raptor itself, is available only with a five-passenger SuperCrew cabin.

It comes with a wide range of creature comforts such as heated second-row seats, FordPass Connect with 4G wifi telematics, Sync4 infotainment system with a 12-inch touchscreen, leather-wrapped steering wheel, keyless entry and push-button start, Raptor branded floor mats, power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a distinct Raptor centerstack, a terrain management system, and and adaptive cruise control for highway.

Trail control, a system that allows you to select a specific speed for off-road ventures, also is standard. With this vehicle, you are at home off the road as well as the race track or drag strip.

Safety features include Ford’s Advancetrac system for stability control, blind-spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert, and pre-collision assist with emergency braking and pedestrian detection.

My test 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R also came with a package of features that included leather seat surfaces, power-adjustable pedals, power-sliding rear window with privacy glass, dual-zone climate control, heated and cooled front seats, LED box lighting, and more.

Pricing was not included on the spec sheet since this particular vehicle is not for sale, but the 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R is going to cost you a lot more than the standard Raptor. 

Starting MSRP for the 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R is $109,145, or around $30,000 more more than the EcoBoost-powered F-150 Raptors. Even the most expensive electric F-150 Lightning, the Platinum trim, is about $17,000 less.    

Speaking of less, it should be pointed out that despite the overall power boost in the 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R, towing capacity starts at 8,200, well below the 14,000-15,000 available on some standard V8 F-150s. Maximum payload is listed at 1,400 pounds, also well short of F-150s equipped with a slightly larger beds than the Raptor’s 5.5-foot b

What I liked about the 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R:
With its deep bass exhaust tones and rapid throttle response, it’s like driving a 1960s’ Muscle Car on steroids. The ride is surprisingly smooth and comfortable even with all-terrain tires and a firm suspension designed for off-road use. Infotainment features in the Sync 4 system are user-friendly and include knobs for adjusting the radio and temperature control. The full-size running boards ease the way to get in and out of both rows of seating in the spacious Super Cab cabin. A surround-view camera view takes some of the angst of maneuvering in tight quarters. The auto hold system, activated via the Features menu on the touchscreen, prevents creeping at intersections.

What I didn’t like about the 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R: Negotiating narrow streets and jam-packed mall parking lots call for attentive handling. It’s a thirsty beast as the computer showed my mileage hovering at just over 11-mpg. Fortunately, a 36-gallon fuel tank extends the range.

Would I buy the 2023 Ford F-150Raptor R? Not for me personally but for someone with a big budget for more challenging off-road excursions it has to be at the top of the wish list.

Monday, September 4, 2023




The 2023 Miami International Auto Show opened Labor Day weekend in Miami Beach without the participation of German manufacturers Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, and Porsche and several other popular makes, most notably Honda, Acura, and Volvo.

But still several noteworthy, vehicles representing 17 brands are shown in 13 displays not including a group of exotics and a collection of old-time favorites. Attendees also have the opportunity to get a taste of all-electric vehicles with rides at two different special tracks. 

The South Florida-based Southern Automotive Media Association (SAMA) singled out a trio of compelling award winners with its selection of the 2024 Nissan Nismo as “Star of the Show,” the Dark Horse version of the 2024 Ford Mustang as “Performance Car of the Show,” and the 2024 GMC Hummer EV SUV as the “Electric Vehicle of the Show.”



The judges also cited three others — Hyundai Ioniq 6, Kia EV9, and Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road — for Honorable Mention honors.

The performance version of the Nissan Z sports car that won SAMA’s “Star of the Show” honors at the 2021 Miami show, the Nissan Z Nismo was making its auto show debut in Miami and will on sale this fall. 

Spokesman Dimitri Arnaoutis called it the “halo vehicle” of the Z lineup that is track ready “right of the box” with model-specific details to the bodywork and performance upgrades like better downforce for “greater stability at high speeds and track performance.”

Media members also got a preview of the upgraded 2024 Jeep Wrangler that was making its first appearance in Miami after its debut at last spring’s New York Auto Show.

“Miami this has always been a Top 10 market us” said Scott Tallon, director Jeep Product North America.


There are a number of capability enhancements among the entire range of Jeep vehicles, he said, including enhancing technology, safety features, and even refinement.

“Some of those touches you don’t necessarily associate with Wrangler,” Tallon said, “but to modernize it and bring it to that next level we have touched nearly ever aspect of this vehicle. But, as I said, capability is  at its core so let’s start there.”

Key is a new full-float rear axle that Tallon said opens the way for “easier modifications for our customers, more capability, and more  towing. Our customers have been telling us for years that when they hit the trails they want to be able to take more gear with them. Now they have these little popup trailers, dirt bikes, whatever.

“Previously the Wrangler could only handle 3500 pounds. Now towing has been increased to 5,000 pounds.”

There also has been an 8,000-pound factory-installed winch at the front, which is “something they have been asking for for a long, long time,” Tallon said.

Hyundai also has revealed refreshed Elantra and Sonata sedans on the Miami floor as well as the Miami Auto Show’s “show car” the Hyundai Ioniq 6 EV.

The Miami International Auto Show continues through Sunday, Sept. 10, at the Miami Beach Convention Center. For more information visit