Mustang sales are hotter now than they’ve been in years, with last year’s numbers more than doubling deliveries of its arch nemesis Chevy Camaro. It comes down to fabulous design, phenomenal performance…

2017 Ford Mustang GT Convertible Road Test

You'd think for a car available non-stop since 1965 there'd be more than six generations to the legendary Mustang's credit, but Ford ran the first generation (the many iterations of which any genuine car enthusiast equally loves and lusts after) for eight years and made even better use of the 1979–1993 third-gen Fox bodied model. I don't think you'd get much argument from all but drag racing fans that the current rear independent suspension-enhanced sixth-gen model, available since 2015, is the best Mustang ever.

It takes little coaxing for me to accept a week in any of its trims, the first of this type being a 2015 Mustang GT Premium Convertible, which was followed by the new 2.3-litre turbo four-cylinder 2016 Ecoboost Fastback and a 2016 GT Convertible, the latter much like our most recent tester other than its eye-searing Triple Yellow paintjob.

Actually, this 2017 GT Convertible Premium is coated in the same Ruby Red exterior paintwork and its seats covered Read Full Story
Want the sportiest F-150 this side of a Raptor? It’s got to be this Lariat SuperCrew 4x4 Special Edition. The special part includes black and body-colour trim with a black decal package, plus a black…

2017 Ford F-150 Lariat SuperCrew 4×4 Special Edition Road Test

F-150 buyers love their special editions, and I must admit the new 2017 Lariat Special Edition upgrade added to my SuperCrew 3.5 Ecoboost 4x4 tester is something I could definitely fall for as well.

This thing looks fabulous! I can't tell you how many rubbernecking stares I got while driving around town, and my neighbourhood is one of the rarer places to find pickup trucks, at least when it comes to those that live here. There are plenty of plain white work trucks with side signage scattered across the myriad building sites throughout my ever-burgeoning inner-city-like suburb, while the streets are literally littered with the bourgeois supercars of the nouveau ultra riche, from Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, McLaren, and the like. Strangely, cars like that are commonplace, but a truck like this totally stands out.

Lariat sits third amongst seven trims on the F-150 hierarchy, the others being XL, XLT, King Ranch, Platinum, Raptor, and Limited. We really should consider Read Full Story
Can driving a compact really be more fun than a pricey premium car? Oh yeah! You’ve just got to find the right compact. Ford’s 252-hp Focus ST has been around awhile, but it’s still one of the best…

2017 Ford Focus ST Road Test

You don't need to spend a lot of money to own a serious performance car. Volkswagen GTI and Honda Civic Si fans have known this for years, while more recently the same can be said of blue oval aficionados.

I'm not talking the cult of Mustang, but rather those who bow to the initials "ST". The original Focus ST dates back to the model's first-generation when it became Ford's VW GTI killer in 2005, but like so many fabulous cars offered in other markets it was never brought across the Atlantic to play in our sandbox. Sure we had the 2002–2004 SVT Focus with a significant 170 horsepower, but that was still 52 ponies shy of the KKK-Warner turbocharged Euro version, whereas the ST variant of the Focus ZX4 built from 2005–2007 hardly deserves mention due to just 151 horsepower.

We'd have to wait six years after ex-Boeing CEO Alan Mulally took the reigns in Dearborn for his "One Ford" strategy to be more fully implemented before the 2013 Focus ST made its U.S. and Read Full Story
Two things matter most with electric cars: range and price. If it can drive far enough on a single charge to be practical and doesn’t cost too much more than a conventionally powered equivalent then…

2017 Ford Focus Electric

2017 Ford Focus Electric
The 2017 Focus Electric might not look any different from its predecessor, but it can now be driven almost 40 km farther on a single charge. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
Two things matter most with electric cars: range and price. If it can drive far enough on a single charge to be practical and doesn’t cost too much more than a conventionally powered equivalent then some semblance of sales success will follow. Being that the latter situation hasn’t fully materialized I probably should’ve mentioned a third criteria to electric vehicle success, government support. Everywhere that EVs are relatively plentiful you’ll also find well-funded taxpayer programs, first to reduce the cost of initial purchase through rebate programs, and secondly to supply the necessary public charging stations to facilitate life with a plug-in vehicle. Until recently, the highest EV rebate payout in Canada was Quebec at $8,000 compared to $5,000 in BC and zero anywhere else, other than Ontario that now gives buyers of some electric cars, including Ford’s Focus Electric, up to $14,000 back through various programs. We can discuss how fair it is that many hardworking Canadians who can’t afford a new car are stuck paying for those who have more, but that’s a philosophical and/or political question for another time. Rather, it’s probably better to talk about how you can get your hands on some of that “free” money by purchasing one of these electrics, because it might be a lot more within your reach than you may have previously thought.
2017 Ford Focus Electric
The Focus Electric gets sporty hatchback styling, its rear design particularly attractive despite getting on in years. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
Let’s start by doing some elementary math. The 2017 Focus Electric starts at $31,998 plus freight, fees and taxes, but Ford is currently (August 26, 2017) offering $3,595 of no-haggle discounts so you can have it for $30,153 including freight before taxes, or maybe less if you ask nicely or play as if your trade-in is worth more than you know it actually is. This means you can be driving a Focus Electric for a bit over $16,000 and taxes after rebates if you live in Ontario, $22,000 and taxes if you live in Quebec, or $25,000 and taxes if you live in BC. Factor in that you’ll be paying a fraction of what you’d otherwise ante up for fuel, or potentially nothing at all if you coordinate your daily outings so as to plug-in at the many aforementioned charging stations that have yet to start charging users money in most jurisdictions, and you should easily be able to add up exactly how much you’ll be saving by chopping 100 percent off your auto fuel budget.
2017 Ford Focus Electric
The big black cover makes it look like an engine, but this Focus is 100 percent electric. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
Electric car maintenance is much lower too, especially under the hood where there’s so much less to go wrong, and while it’s difficult to put a price on using HOV lanes with only a driver in the car, to some people “time is money,” as Mr. Franklin once said. But does the Ford Fusion Electric meet the other key EV objective? Does is supply enough range after a full charge to satisfy practical applications. After a week spent in the original 2013 Focus Electric back in the fall of 2012, I certainly didn’t think it was worth my tester’s rather steep $42,749 as-tested price, especially with 122 kilometers of best-scenario range in ideal conditions, a maximum of 89 being all that ever showed up on my tester’s gauge cluster. I never dared try to find its real-world limit, because it was too difficult to guess and I didn’t want to get stranded on a bridge somewhere.
2017 Ford Focus Electric
In case you’re wondering whether the Focus Electric makes up for its low price by cutting features and quality, take a look around. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
That was then, this is now. Where the old 2013 Focus Electric was better left in the hands of adventurous souls not affected by range anxiety, today’s 2017 Focus Electric qualms any such worries thanks to 161 km of EPA-estimated range. That’s still 11 km short of the Nissan Leaf, the world’s best-selling electric, and eons less capable than the new Chevy Bolt that can manage up to 383 km per charge (believe me, I couldn’t drain the Bolt’s batteries no matter how hard I flogged it), but the Bolt begins at $43,195 before freight and fees, while the Leaf’s price range starts at $33,998 and rises to a lofty $40,848 when fully trimmed out, which makes the Focus Electric appear pretty thrifty even when paying an extra $550 for its fanciest paint job and another $1,000 for leather upholstery. But still, is the new Focus Electric liveable? Not from an interior ergonomics and passenger/cargo practicality perspective, but with respect to real-world range? I’ll delve into both issues when I publish my full review, but for now will focus on standard features that are one of this car’s strong suits.
2017 Ford Focus Electric
Not one, but two 4.2-inch high-resolution colour multi-info displays are standard. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
First off, Ford keeps things simple with one trim level and a couple of available options, just noted a moment ago. This means every single 2017 Focus Electric gets a completely unique one-piece grille with chromed with piano black accents that you’ll either love for looking like an Aston Martin or loathe for the same reason, plus standard auto on/off headlights with signature LEDs, dedicated DRLs, LED taillights, power-adjustable heated side mirrors with integrated turn signals, approach lighting and special blindspot mirrors, chrome beltline mouldings, a rear rooftop spoiler, 17-inch Sparkle Silver-painted alloys, an SAE J1772 CCS charge port with a new illuminated LED state of charge indicator, and that’s only on the outside.
2017 Ford Focus Electric
Standard navigation joins a backup camera with dynamic guidelines as part of the Focus Electric’s superb 8.0-inch Sync 3 infotainment system. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
Remote start will get prepare the Focus Electric before you get there via MyFord Mobile with remote cabin preconditioning, while proximity access with pushbutton ignition gets you inside and ready to go. Additional standard features include illuminated entry, ambient lighting, an electromechanical parking brake, a tilt and telescopic leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, Ford’s SmartGauge with EcoGuide instrument cluster, two driver configurable 4.2-inch colour LCD multi-information displays within the same primary gauge cluster, a message centre with a trip computer, variable intermittent wipers, cruise control, dual-zone auto climate control, Sync 3 infotainment with an 8.0-inch capacitive touchscreen with tap and swipe capability, enhanced voice recognition, navigation, a rearview camera, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, Bluetooth, nine-speaker Sony audio, satellite radio, full-floor centre console with storage, cupholders and two chargeable USB ports, a leather-wrapped shift knob, illuminated vanity mirrors, heatable front seats, rear heat vents, a rear centre armrest with storage, one-touch up/down powered windows front and back, a removable rear package tray, and 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks.
2017 Ford Focus Electric
Leather upholstery is one of two options, the other being my tester’s $450 Ruby Red paint. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
On the safety front, the 2017 Focus Electric includes hill start assist, tire pressure monitoring, traction and stability control, ABS-enhanced four-wheel disc brakes, and all the usual airbags including one for the driver’s knees, but so far no advanced driver-assistance systems like forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, blindspot alert, lane departure warning, self steering capability, self parking, dynamic cruise control, auto high beams, etcetera. I doubt those looking for a relatively inexpensive EV will care all that much about such advanced safety systems, which of course would push the Focus Electric’s price much higher if standard or available. This car is more about getting environmentally conscious consumers on the road to a brighter, cleaner future.
2017 Ford Focus Electric
Room for rear passengers? I’ll tell you all about that in my upcoming review. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
To that end the power unit has been upgraded for 2017, its lithium-ion battery now more “energy dense” than the outgoing model, says Ford. Now it can manage 33.5 kWh instead of 23.0 kWh, which makes it more capable than the Leaf’s 30-kWh battery and Kia Soul’s 27-kWh power unit. Altogether, the new Focus Electric makes 143 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque from a 107 kW electric motor, while using a single-speed direct-drive transmission to power the front wheels. Also important, the new Focus Electric will recharge faster due to a new standard 50kW-capable DC fast charge port, the result being full depletion to 80 percent in less than half an hour. This will eventually make it easier to charge when traveling long distances, although you’ll be hard pressed to find a publicly available DC fast charging port now. Alternatively, you’ll need five and a half hours to charge from zero to full via a 240-volt charge station, or 30 hours from a regular household outlet.
2017 Ford Focus Electric
Cargo galore? I’ll show you how Ford makes the most of small spaces later. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
Additional 2017 improvements include a new braking coach that trains you to decelerate more effectively so as to recover more energy from the car’s regenerative braking system, plus new White Gold exterior paint. The Focus Electric is underpinned by MacPherson struts and a stabilizer bar up front, and a Control Blade independent rear suspension with a stabilizer bar, while steering comes from an electric power-assisted steering, while torque vectoring control aids handling. Come back soon to find out how all of this works, and especially how far I’m able to drive on a single charge…
I bet you can think of a dozen or more things you could do with this full-size Transit 350 Diesel cargo van if it was in your possession for a week. Whenever a commercial van maker provides us with one…

2017 Ford Transit 350 Diesel Van

2017 Ford Transit 350 Diesel Van
Ready to deliver near anything you can think of, the 2017 Ford Transit 350 Diesel Van is an impressive beast of burden. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
I bet you can think of a dozen or more things you could do with this full-size Transit 350 Diesel cargo van if it was in your possession for a week. Whenever a commercial van maker provides us with one of their wares for a weeklong test we go through our own mental lists, which sometimes turn into long, detailed to-do menus. The van in question makes the just noted term “full-size” seem understated, as it’s a bit too big for our garage. It’s sitting on the long patch of gravel in front of our office, although it’s sheer mass has us a bit worried it’ll cave the side of an adjacent ditch in and we’ll walk out to find it lying on its side. We’ll let you know how that goes. As it is, we’ll keep this “In Our Garage” segment (or rather “Out On The Street” segment) short, as we’ve literally got loads of errands to complete and just six days left to accomplish them.
2017 Ford Transit 350 Diesel Van
This is the Medium roof, Long Van, the Extended body only available with the High roof. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
Our Transit 350 Diesel should have no problem accommodating our every wish, mind you. My tester’s massive passenger side-slider and tall 50/50-hinged rear doors provide access to a cavern of cargo capacity, while its rubberized floor and finished sidewalls mean our various loads won’t scratch any inner paintwork or vice versa. Without further hesitation, Ford makes two Transit models and three trims for 2017, the base unit simply dubbed Van due to its cargo hauling focus, whereas the Passenger Wagon XL and XLT trims are ideal for hotel/airport shuttles, sightseeing tour companies, or any other duty that requires comfortable seating for eight to 12 people. Within these categories there are three different roof heights and another three lengths to consider, the former named Low, Medium and High, and the latter dubbed Regular, Long and Extended. Yes, Ford’s commercial sector doesn’t get fancy with nomenclatures (like we do), but that’s not to say our Long-length, Medium-roofed 2017 Transit 350 Diesel Van wasn’t nicely equipped.
2017 Ford Transit 350 Diesel Van
The windows in back are optional, but helpful when parking. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
Incidentally, the passenger side-sliding door comes standard with Medium and High roof models, replacing the base Low roof Transit Van’s 60/40-hinged side doors, whereas the 50/50-hinged rear doors swing open to 180 degrees in base Low roof guise or open all the way to 237 degrees with the Medium and High roof upgrades. Before delving into all of the Transit’s details, take note that Ford gives its commercial buyers 64 choices when it comes to configuring the 2017 Transit, which is up from 58 last year. Considering 2017 is only the model’s third year of availability, that’s a lot of variety that will no doubt keep increasing as its popularity grows. Ford claims the van’s many fleet buyers were influential in the upgrades made since it arrived on the scene, one of which is a new lower-profile centre console that reportedly makes stepping directly from the driver’s seat into the rear cargo area easier.
2017 Ford Transit 350 Diesel Van
The Transit’s cabin is a no-nonsense, straightforward, down-to-business office. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
Heatable front seats are now on the options menu too, whether upholstered in leatherette or fabric, while choosing the plusher material allows for available 10-way powered seats as well. What’s more, the stereo is now made up of four speakers instead of just two, with tweeter and woofer included. On a purely practical point, the Dearborn-based automaker relocated the 2017 Transit’s electrical connections for more convenient access, this change thanks to feedback from upfitters who customize commercial vehicles for fleet buyers. Powertrain choices, which were carried over from last year, are included in Ford’s list of 64 possible Transit configurations, with the van’s three available engines including a base 275 horsepower 3.7-litre V6 good for 260 lb-ft of torque, a 3.5-litre turbocharged and direct-injected EcoBoost V6 capable of 310 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque, and lastly the as-tested 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbo-diesel capable of 185 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. All of that output gets fed to the rear wheels via a proven six-speed automatic transmission, with no four-wheel drive option available (look to the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter or Nissan NV for 4×4 capability).
2017 Ford Transit 350 Diesel Van
Are these seats as comfortable as they look? Read our upcoming review to find out. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
Being that most Transit buyers will never set foot in one (the majority being fleet buyers for large companies), don’t expect to find a lot of fancy features. Nevertheless, base models won’t cause you to roll your own windows, as the standard features list includes powered front side glass, as well as powered locks with remote access, power-adjustable side mirrors, tilt and telescopic steering, variable intermittent wipers, air conditioning, a backup camera with Trailer Hitch Assist, an AM/FM stereo with an aux input, vinyl flooring, a fabric front cab headliner, two-way manual front seat adjustment, 16-inch steel wheels, an engine block heater, and more.
2017 Ford Transit 350 Diesel Van
Now that’s big! (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
I won’t bother going into passenger model features, because that’s not the van we’re dealing with this week, but suffice to say they’re a bit more plentiful in XL trim and much more so in XLT. Come to think of it, I’ve already said too much for a garage review, so catch up with me soon for the full road test review at which point I’ll talk about general comfort, ride quality, handling, low-speed manoeuvrability, performance, fuel-economy, overall ease of use, capability during loading, and anything else I can come up with. Now we’ve got some stuff to haul. Keep your eyes peeled to these pages for more…