2021 FORD RANGER TREMOR TEST DRIVE

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/

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2022 NISSAN FRONTIER TEST DRIVE

2022 NISSAN FRONTIER TEST DRIVE
The last time Nissan redesigned the Frontier YouTube was just getting ready to launch and the first iPhone was still 2 years away. That’s the type of product cadence that would make even Toyota jealous. I’ve always been a fan of this truck so I’m very curious to see what Nissan has been cooking up over the past 2 decades. So no surprise, here in the new Frontier; the cabin’s design and tech level have been significantly enhanced and the new powertrain – which in an peculiar move was actually introduced on the old Frontier for the 2020 model year – adds a 9-speed auto in addition to a more efficient, smaller displacement V6 that makes more horsepower. Stick shifts and 4-cylinders are gone but just about everything else concerning the Frontier’s resume looks very familiar. There’s still the King Cab model with the small rear doors and a 6’ bed or the full 4-door Crew Cab with the 5’ bed or optional 6’ bed on midlevel SV trims. And this PRO-4X remains the top dog Frontier but this time around you can get it without the 4 – in other words it’s now also available in 2-wheel drive. The wheelbase is the same, towing capacity of 6,270 pounds is about the same and max payload of 1,230 pounds has increased by 4 bags of Quikrete. It is 5” longer, 2” wider and 1” shorter in height, the bed is deeper, there are now 2 front two hooks, and 18” wheels have been shelved in favor of 16” and 17” sizes exclusively. In Baja Storm with red accents it looks great – like a baby Titan. The PRO-4X is the most aggressively styled model and is the most capable in terms of off-road adventures with all-terrain tires, Bilstein shocks, a locking rear differential for times when you get stuck and 3 steel skid plates to protect the family jewels. And then on the comfort and convenience front the 2 available PRO packages add in such niceties as a bass-rich, Fender premium audio system, a moonroof, heated leather seats, a heated steering wheel, an around view monitor, wireless charger, remote start, a spray-on bedliner, 4 tie-down cleats, and LED bed lighting. On the tech front, another optional package sprinkles in high beam assist, blind spot warning, intelligent cruise control, traffic sign recognition, and other assistance features leading to an as-tested price of $44,710. For a fun comparison, that’s $15,000 more than the last Frontier SV I tested about a decade ago. https://testdrivenow.com/2022-nissan-frontier/

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,

2022 HYUNDAI SANTA CRUZ TEST DRIVE

A truck/SUV crossover with decidedly car-like cabin, similar in length to Hyundai’s Palisade 3-row SUV and it’s a curiosity worth exploring. 
I’ve always been supportive of car companies who dare to do something different. And when I think back to some of the most memorable cars I’ve tested names like Baja and Avalanche come to mind. Which leads me to this new pickup truck/SUV called the Santa Cruz. I fell in love with it when I first saw it in concept form years ago but unlike most automakers who keep their experiments in the design lab Hyundai has the guts to actually bring this one to market. And it’s a curiosity worth exploring.
The Santa Cruz drives like a car. It’s nimble, peppy, quiet, comfortable – an anti-truck, if you will. The turbo is really strong; it rides very comfortably and drives with an unexpected purpose. And with 8.6” of ground clearance, solid Michelin light truck tires and a switch to lock in the traction of all 4 wheels, the Santa Cruz has the advantage of a full-time all-wheel drive system and not part time like some other small trucks. I’m just surprised Hyundai didn’t include an off-road mode in addition to the snow setting.

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,

2021 HONDA RIDGELINE TEST DRIVE

What the Ridgeline does better than any other truck is provide a car-like experience. It’s as quiet and as smooth in here as a Honda Pilot. It’s also wider with more space than other trucks in this segment and the bed is bigger with added cleverness. And despite its modest ground clearance the all-wheel drive system is top-notch and can take you farther than you’d think. The seats are comfy and the V6 is slightly more fuel efficient than a Tacoma’s. But the rest of it leaves me either wanting more stuff or a much lower sticker price. With a starting MSRP of $37,655 including destination Honda is using the Sport to goad shoppers into a higher trim level. A Ridgeline you’d actually want is, at the very least the RTL trim and most likely the RTL-E. So some quick shopping advice; take that $2,800 Honda charges for this uninspired HPD Package and put it towards a trim upgrade…going from the Sport to the RTL costs $2,980 so it’s practically a wash…and then you’d at least have something worth owning.

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2021 RAM 1500 TRX TEST DRIVE

A 702-horsepower 1500 designed to eat the outdoors for lunch. This is the new Ram TRX. When your truck comes standard with Launch Control, 35” tires, nearly 12” of ground clearance and a feature called Jump Detection you just know insanity will ensue. And that’s exactly what Ram delivers in this extreme version of an off-road truck. Ram has given this truck all the proper tools you’d ever need and they’re integrated with a modern touch that makes the TRX even cooler. From the many drive modes detailed beautifully up here to the TRX and Performance Pages on the big screen, this is the most comprehensive package of gauges, hero measurements, and driver assist features you’ll find anywhere. It’s all so brilliantly complete and exhaustive that it just adds to the feeling that there’s nothing this truck can’t do.
If I could have ANY truck I’ve ever tested over the past 23 years – and I’ve driven all of them – this would be it, hands-down. What RAM has done with the standard issue 1500 is already very impressive but this? This is nuts. The TRX is massive, looks completely apocalyptic, chews up the earth and spits it out without breaking a sweat, runs with an insanely powerful engine whose supercharger sounds just as insane, and yet possesses the most advanced, luxury and tech laden cabin in the truck segment. This is supremely modern and beyond spacious; the very epitome of having your cake and eating it too. Yes, the gas mileage is atrocious and at over $87,000 it’s basically relegated to rich guy fodder but this is the AMG S-Class of trucks, holding nothing back.

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
MENU