Situation Report 1: 2016 Ford Escape

I’ve now been driving my new 2016 Ford Escape for a little over 2-months now. Over that period of time, I’ve completed 10,658 kilometers or 6,623 miles.

As previously mentioned, my 2013 Ford Escape was equipped with the top of the line 2.0 Ecoboost engine, however, this time around I opted for 1.6 Ecoboost engine in order to save on fuel costs. With the 2.0 Ecoboost my fuel efficiency numbers were 11.5 L / 100 km or around 20.5 mpg. So far, with the 1.6 Ecoboost I’ve been doing 9.7 L / 100 km or around 26.1 mpg. A few things to note, every kilometer was done on winter tires (Toyo Observe GSi5), so naturally due to the more aggressive tread pattern, and therefore increased friction with the road, the car will consume more fuel. Also, when traffic permits, I usually travel on the highway at around 115 km/h or around 71 mph and I’ve noticed an unbelievable difference between the fuel consumption at that speed and when traveling anywhere between 90 km/h and 100 km/h. On cruise control at 90 km/h or around 55 mph the car will hold steady at about 6.0 L / 100 km or around 39.2 mpg. The larger 2.0 Ecoboost showed very little difference in fuel consumption at these different speeds. This is something to keep in mind depending on how fast you like to drive.

Now on to the power, there is no way around it, the car is slow. From 0 to 50 km/h it’s actually not bad, however, 70 to 100 km/h is painfully slow. That being said, I was spoiled with the 2.0 Ecoboost. So it’s all a matter of perspective, if you’re used to driving a normal small SUV or sedan that comes with a normally aspirated (non-turbo) engine which would usually range from 1.5 to 2.5 liters, you will be fine with the 1.6 Ecoboost. As for me, I’ve yet to determine if the the drop in fuel consumption, which so far isn’t all that much is worth the drop in power.

Finally, I’ve noticed that when I’m doing frequent accelerations, like when I’m doing a lot of city driving for example, I’ll often notice a burnt smell, very similar to what a burnt clutch would smell like. I’ll keep an eye on this and ask around next time I take the car in for an oil change.

Thankfully, there is nothing else to report on. In a future post, I’ll be writing about the Escape’s most notable update on the 2016 model, the Sync 3 system.

 

 

Shopping for Tires?

In an earlier post I mentioned how the tires of the Ford Escape could be quite expensive because on their size. I used the numbers 235 / 55 / 17 to describe them. But what do these numbers really mean?

They are all rather simple once you break them down and the next time you go shopping for tires you will know what the clerk behind the counter is talking about. Here goes!

Let’s start with the first number, 235. This number describes the width of the tire. It is calculated in millimeters, so this means the Ford Escape’s tires are 235 millimeters wide. The wider the tire, the more rubber on the pavement and hence the more grip you will have. This is why supercars have wider tires, along with other features, it allows them to corner much faster without losing control.

But wide tires aren’t necessarily all good. For instance, a wider tire will not perform as well in the snow, as it has to push through more snow and will spin out more easily. Also, the wider the tire, the more expensive they will be.

The second number is definitely the most misunderstood. You might know that it designates the height of the tire’s sidewall, but what you may not know is that it’s actually a percentage, a percentage of the tires width. Again, if we take the numbers above as an example, the Ford Escape’s sidewall is 55% of it’s width of 235. So the side wall should measure 129.25 millimeters.

Tires with a smaller sidewall are commonly known as low-profile tires, they are usually found on supercars, they provide various handling benefits, but because there is less rubber between the road and wheel or rim, they make a much harsher ride. Opting for a higher sidewall will give you a more comfortable ride. Spend an hour driving a Ferrari and you can expect to have a numb backside!

Finally, the third number is the diameter of the rim. This number is measured in inches. Expect to pay more for the tires and the rims as this number gets bigger.

Hopefully this brief explanation will help you next time you in need for a new set.

2016 Honda Civic Recall

The new 10th-generation 2016 Honda Civic may be a head turner compared to previous models, however it looks like it’s already getting bad press.

Honda has issued a stop-sale and safety-recall notice for 2016 Civics equipped with its base engine, the 2.0 four-cylinder, due to a manufacturing inconsistency that could cause engine damage or failure.

The recall is due to potentially missing or misplaced piston pin snap rings that may cause the engine to stall or fail all together. I’m no mechanic, but I did a little research, and it doesn’t seem like something you would want to go without for a very long time. Hopefully current owners get their recall letters in the mail as soon as possible.

This is a big misstep for a manufacturer known for its engine reliability. It may be true what they say about not buying the first model of a new generation. What do you think?

Sources: Car and Driver, Autoblog

Picture: Honda

Montreal International Auto Show

 

I decided to go to the Auto Show this year. It had been a few years since my last visit and I wanted to see what was new. Even though most manufacturers are present at the Montreal Auto Show, it isn’t a very important event within the international car community. Very rarely do we get new reveals and manufacturers don’t necessarily display their full lineups. You need to travel to Detroit or Geneva for the big shows.

Like most enthusiasts, I love gawking at the supercars: machines that are about pushing the boundaries of what people think is possible. We were particularly blessed in that department this year with cars such as: the Ferrari LaFerrari, a million-dollar hybrid hyper car that can hit 100 km/h in 2.5 seconds; the Pagani Huayra, a car with an interior design that belongs in a museum; the Ferrari 488 GTB, Ferrari’s newest mid-engine beauty; the Lamborghini Aventador SV (the SV stands for superveloce, enough said), and finally the Porsche GT3 RS, a lightweight track-bred version of the regular 911. Sorry, I got a little carried away there… back to reality.

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Lamborghini Aventador SV

There are really only two reasons to go to a car show. The first reason is if you’re like me and just being around cars gets your blood pumping and your face smiling. You get to sit in different new cars, play with their buttons, and check out all their features.

The second is of course for someone who is actually in the market for a new car and is looking to narrow down the field. There is really is no better place to analyze and dissect the specifications and features of different cars, go back and forth, sit in every seat, see which one is the most comfortable and, hopefully, by the time you leave, have it down to two or three models to then go test drive.

So, if you find yourself in the first or second group, go for it! If you aren’t, then, unfortunately, I feel this event has turned into a cash grab for everyone involved and just isn’t worth it.

Here are a few interesting things that stood out:

  • It is impossible to look proper while getting in or out of a BMW i8. Pants not optional for women.
  • Fact: the Nissan Juke has less trunk space than a Ford Fiesta, almost five cubic feet less.
  • On a more personal note, I can’t stand the people who walk around with a camera in hand taking quick snaps of almost every car without really appreciating what’s in front of them.

Appreciate the art people!

 

 

2016 Ford Escape 1.6 Ecoboost

I just picked up my new car from the dealership.

My journey begins. My objective is to provide an on-going long-term analysis of this vehicle that can help potential shoppers make an informed decision. I plan on owning this car for at least 2 years, over which time I should do about 120,000 km.

For starters, as you can see from the title, I’ve opted for the 1.6 Ecoboost this time around. The main reason for this choice is fuel economy. Be sure to read my initial review on this engine once I’ve completed a few thousand kilometers.

Other than the engine, the only notable difference in the 2016 model is the new infotainment system, now known as Sync 3. I think that the previous infotainment system, MyFord Touch, wasn’t too bad, however many reviews thought otherwise.

The new Sync 3 system has received great reviews, so I can’t wait to start playing around with it and see what it can do. Expect a detailed analysis in the weeks to come.

That’s all for today, I must go play with my new toy.

2013 Ford Escape 2.0 Ecoboost

I wanted to write a little about this car because I’m sure I’ll often compare it in future posts to my eventual 2016 Ford Escape.

When I first took possession, it had about 110,000 kilometers already, it was in great shape, a single owner, regular maintenance was done at the dealership and it was mostly highway mileage on record. I had my doubts about the reliability of American vehicles, my dad had always told me that American cars were not to be trusted, but the car’s history and the positive reviews on this car made me pull the trigger.

Here are a few things that you need to know about this car if you’re thinking of buying one:

First and foremost, this car is fast, well at least compared to what I had previously driven. With a 0 to 100 time of about 8 seconds, it’s no slouch, and it’s true about what you read, it actually feels much faster than that. Unfortunately, it has quite a bit of turbo lag and torque steer upon heavy acceleration.

Second, unfortunately, some parts of the car were definitely made with a dollar-saving mindset. The steering wheel plastic has begun to peel off. The plastic panel inside the trunk is screwed on with plastic screws that aren’t long enough so it has fallen off on more than one occasion. Same thing for the protective panel underneath the engine, it is currently hanging on by a thread grazing speed humps as I drive along.

Third, prepare to shell out at least $1000 for a new set of tires, even with the smallest option, as the car runs 235 / 55 / 17.

Fourth, the fuel efficiency numbers are not as advertised, over its life I averaged 11.5 L / 100km which is about 20.5 mpg doing mostly highway mileage. The Ford Canada website advertises 10.9 L / 100 km in the city and 7.6 L / 100 km on the highway. Switch those over to mpg and you get 26 city and 37 highway. Not even close.

Finally and rather surprisingly,  in terms of reliability, it was perfect, with a little over 180,000 kilometers now, I did not have a single repair to do, other than the regular maintenance.

 

Where am I coming from?

For my first post,  a little about my vehicle history. Since I was a kid my father was a big fan of Japanese cars and an even bigger Honda fan. So I started driving cars like a 1989 Honda Accord, a 200o Honda Odyssey, a 2003 Honda Civic and a 2006 Honda CRV. Not the most exciting cars but nevertheless, the pinnacle of long-term reliability and low cost of ownership.

Not straying too far away from what I knew, my first car was a 2001 Acura EL, a car made only for Canadians, basically a fancy Honda Civic, when I sold it a few years later the odometer read 385,000 kilometers.

My second car was my pride and joy, a 2007 Subaru Legacy 2.5i. Some might say I’m a Subaru fanatic. The all-wheel drive system on these cars is wonderful, nothing felt better than leaving a car for dead on a snowy road when that light turned green.

My third and current car is a 2013 Ford Escape 2.0 Ecoboost, a crossover that is surprisingly fast, but a little more on that car in my next post. And now, in a couple of weeks, I expect to be taking delivery of my fourth car, a 2016 Ford Escape 1.6 Ecoboost.

Stay tuned!