Just as Ford is preparing to reveal the next-gen Ranger due in 2023, I’m running through the mud in this Cyber Orange Ranger Tremor and loving every minute of it. Following the off-road oriented Super Duty Tremor comes this Tremor package for the Ranger. It gives owners a truck with even more capability, taking it several notches beyond the FX4 Package. Powered by a 2.3-liter 4-cylinder turbo producing 270 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque, the Tremor Off-Road Package is priced at $4,290 and is available on XLT and Lariat grades exclusively in the SuperCrew 4X4 configuration. A lifted suspension provides nearly another inch of ground clearance which combined with the new 32” Grabber tires improves the Ranger’s off-road metrics. FOX shocks with external reservoirs at the rear and hydraulic rebound stops keep things comfortable even over severe terrain. A steel front bash plate, skid plates, 2 new recovery hooks in the rear, a locking rear differential and a Terrain Management System round out the package. Even the traction control system has been recalibrated for improved acceleration while driving on loose surfaces. Now the price of this one is $48,755 – certainly not cheap – but it’s a fully loaded top of the line Tremor. A more plebeian XLT Tremor starts at $42,745. It can tow 7,500 pounds with the optional trailer tow package. This is one rugged truck with a soft side that satisfies on a number of fronts so if you’re in search of an off-road rig that still fits in your garage and is ready to go right out of the box, the Ranger Tremor would be my first choice. FOR TESTDRIVENOW CAR CRITIC STEVE HAMMES’ COMPLETE VIDEO REVIEW & TEST DRIVE OF THE 2021 FORD RANGER TREMOR, GO TO: https://testdrivenow.com/ford-ranger-tremor-test-drive/
The Q5 provides the sporty performance and fun-to-drive experience you expect from an Audi while also providing exceptional ride comfort. Audi’s vehicle lineup is vast with a dizzying array of choices that even I find difficult keeping up with. So have you ever considered why it is that the Q5 has separated itself from the pack to become the brand’s best-seller? Well, if you drive one it’s pretty easy to understand.
Audi recognizes it has a very good thing going on with the Q5 so now in addition to the standard and high-performance SQ5 models the brand with four rings has introduced Sportback and plug-in hybrid variants. But the Q I’m spending time with is the Q5 45 TFSI quattro. Translation? It’s the basic all-wheel drive Q5 with the 2.0-liter turbo which comes in 3 flavors: Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige with prices ranging from near $45,000 to about $58,000. And this here is the Goldilocks model: the Premium Plus in upcharge Manhattan Gray metallic paint, with optional 20” wheels, Navigation package and Bang & Olufsen sound system for an as-tested MSRP of $53,040. It’s imported from Mexico but the drive most certainly speaks German.
Certain vehicles instantly make the perfect handshake and this is one of them. Getting in and out, finding your comfort zone, not having to think about where certain features are and having enough room to accomplish everyday tasks is what the Q5 is all about. Not too big, not too small, feature-laden but not over the top, it’s an SUV aimed to please. Adaptive Cruise Control with Traffic Jam Assist is now standard on this Premium Plus trim and helps to destress the driver when sitting behind the wheel is reduced to monkey business. The Top view camera system is also now a standard feature on this trim and includes an off-screen activation switch. And the touchscreen navigation unit is user friendly with satellite mapping, intuitive controls and wireless CarPlay and Android Auto. It’s also the head unit for the impressive 19 speaker surround sound system – a $950 option. Tri-zone climate control means no temperature wars, the panoramic sunroof adds elevated comfort to the slide and recline rear seats, and heated front seats with a heated steering wheel make winter a little more bearable. And there’s no need to mount your EZ-Pass on the windshield – with Audi’s Integrated Toll Module the transponder is built into the Q5’s rearview mirror. Other favorite features of mine include auto high beams, virtual cockpit plus with various, easy to change views and folding 2nd row seats that can be dropped with remote levers and then click reassuringly into place to create a nearly flat, expanded cargo area which can be accessed by a kick of the foot. And if you were wondering, the Q5 can tow 4,400 pounds – not bad.
This is the only Jaguar that sells in an appreciable number. Not this super high-performing SVR trim, mind you, which sits here at over $97,000 but the F-PACE in general which resides in the popular mid-size SUV segment and starts at a relatively attainable $51,145 including destination. And just like every gas-powered vehicle in Jaguar’s current lineup, it’s only here for 4 more years as the full electrification of the brand begins in 2025. So if you’ve got lots of money, may I suggest you tuck one of these away while it’s still available because nothing beats a Jag with a supercharged V8. The stance, the color, the wheels, the sound – this is Jaguar at its modern best exceeding expectations as to what a crazy fast SUV can be. Even if a sport-ute that can cut down 60mph in in a mere 3.8 seconds isn’t really your thing, I promise just one drive of the F-PACE SVR can go a long way to changing your mind. The drive is 550 horsepower of supercharged awesomeness with bellowing pipes and neck-snapping acceleration and despite the 4,500 pounds it has to manage the handling and steering feel is impeccable for an SUV. This is truly a great drive; the kind you crave to do again and again. And the balance here between ride comfort and its dynamic characteristics is spot on. So there really isn’t anything would change here about the driving experience. Jaguar’s Special Vehicle Operations has gotten this exactly right and it’s cheaper and faster than the comparable Range Rover Sport. So get it before it’s gone.
The best part of driving any EV is the immediate acceleration and the Mach-E has plenty of that though Ford reserves the really spirited stuff for the GT trim. The other aspect of this car that makes it unique is the degree to which 1 pedal driving is applied. That’s where you can brake the car by just lifting off the accelerator. And unlike my Kona which has steering wheel paddles to vary the amount of 1 pedal, here on the Mach-E it’s either on or off and it’s the most aggressive form of 1 pedal I’ve ever tested. Some people love it, others hate it and I’m somewhere in between…either way it takes some practice to do it right. And lastly, these tires are none too interested in sports car handling so in that regard the Mach-E feels a little heavy and sloppy for a car wearing the Mustang badge.
The First Edition came very well equipped with all of the goodies and draws plenty of attention in this Grabber Blue Metallic paint. It’s the very definition of a crossover; sporting a car-like appearance with SUV hatchback versatility. It seats 5 with cargo dimensions similar to that of a Ford Escape though unlike that small SUV the Mach-E doesn’t tow. But where the Escape would have its engine placed the Mach-E offers more carrying space via a divided luggage compartment that’s drainable meaning you could even pack it with ice for tailgating. The other big talking point is this enormous 15.5”, Tesla-like tablet housing the next generation of Ford’s SYNC infotainment system. Beyond its notable size, it’s meant to work like your smartphone, programmed to learn your behaviors and making suggestions based upon your routine. It’s also updatable over-the-air.
Raise your hand if you want a Jaguar sedan? Not many of you? Ok, so the XF is probably not your first choice when shopping the British brand but there’s something sneaky good going on with this top-of-the line R-Dynamic model that I think you should now. Yep; SUVs and EVs are the name of the game for the leaper these days BUT the slow-selling XF – we’re talking less than 100 per month – has been updated for 2021 with simplified choices: now just one engine with 2 tunes in the 4-door body-style. High-performance variants, wagons and diesels have left the building. But I’m going to give you some reasons why this updated XF – particularly this R-Dynamic model – shouldn’t completely be ignored. First off, with a starting MSRP of $45,145 including destination this is one the least expensive ways to get into a Jaguar. Secondly, just like their best-selling F-PACE, the XF has been given the once over this year with a thoroughly updated cabin almost identical to that found in the SUV. And lastly, despite that a 4—cylinder turbo is the only engine left on the menu, this XF P300 with the optional Dynamic Handling Package achieves sleeper status with its sinewy backroad moves. As it sits, this car is priced at $62,695. That gets you the 296 horsepower, 295 pound-feet of torque 2.0-liter turbo, all-wheel drive, 20” wheels, British Racing Green paint and just about every option Jaguar offers. But it’s the $1,350 Dynamic Handling Package you’ve got to have in order to get that friskiness you want. For about 8 grand less than a comparable Mercedes E-Class with more exclusivity, the XF is worth a look and hey, you can’t get 20” wheels or green paint on the Benz.