Apr 202012
 

If you have been paying attention, you will notice that this is the first COTW that isn’t a carryover from my old site. For the past several weeks I have been allowing the older cars to run in review while I worked on other areas and got the new, official site up and running. Now, though, we can get back down to business. For my triumphant return to COTW I wanted to pick something that would be interesting to a large number of people; something that is both powerful and economical; something that in some way represents the future. Why, then, did I pick a truck? Read on.

This weeks (brand new!) car of the week:

2012 Ford F-150 EcoBoost

Why?

My Uncle recently bought one of these and several aspects piqued my curiosity. First, he is a boat owner and uses his truck to tow his baby to and from the arena. His past several trucks have been Dodge Rams, but Dodge’s recent aversion to leasing drove him to the Ford brand. Despite the fact that this F-150 is a V6, the torque numbers and tow ratings are pretty impressive. According to Ford, the EcoBoost engine makes 420 lb-ft. of torque at a startling 2500 rpm. Not bad for only 3.5 liters.

In spite of its power, though, the truck is capable of fuel mileage as high as the low 20s on the highway and unlike the big V8 trucks, that mileage doesn’t drop off a cliff when you attach a load to the back. Ford’s boost management keeps the fuel consumption linear and manageable.

Finally, I just think it’s cool that there is a twin-turbo V6 in a truck. That may be sacrilege to some, but turbos have always provided a remarkably efficient way to make more power. It was only a matter of time before they became a true displacement alternative in the highly competitive gas-powered truck market.

About the Car

Ford debuted the EcoBoost concept in 2007, but it did not see production until the 2010 model year. That year it was used in the Ford Flex, several Lincoln models and, most notably, the Ford Taurus SHO. Ford used this last platform to tout its ability to make a high-performance sport sedan without using a large-displacement engine and without sacrificing fuel consumption. Models available with EcoBoost engines continue to increase each model year.

EcoBoost engines use a direct injection system that deposites fuel directly in to the combustion chamber. This enables very close control of the amount of fuel and the timing of injection. In combination with the additional air provided by the turbo system, this results in an extremely efficient mixture.

Although the V6 engine is the centerpiece of the program, Ford also builds several other EcoBoost engines, including a 1.3 liter 3-cylinder, a 1.6 liter 4-cylinder and a 2.0 liter 4-cylinder, available in various applications around the world. As manufacturers are forced to use turbochargers in order to make horsepower while meeting stringent fuel consumption guidelines, EcoBoost will take a more prominent role in Ford’s entire model line. Should be interesting to watch.

Other Resources

Ford F-150 home page
Wikipedia: Ford EcoBoost (to be taken with a grain of salt, of course)
Wikipedia: Ford F-series (to be taken with a grain of salt, of course)
Automobile Magazine F150 EcoBoost review

Some photos in this article were freely sourced from Google. If you take issue with usage of any image, please contact me and I will remove it.

Mar 092012
 

I am trying something new here at Gearheads Anonymous. When I started my blog last year, I wrote a number of “tips for drivers” and “tips for owners” with limited success. I got almost no feedback and eventually I ran out of ideas. This time around, I am going for something that has a source pool that never dries up and will always be interesting to me: I am starting a “car of the week” feature.

The idea will be that, come the end of my week, I will assess the previous seven days and decide what car most piqued my interest in that time period. For each car I will briefly discuss why I chose it, give a brief discussion on what makes it interesting and unique and list some resources (online communities, etc.). The cars will be new and old, and the reason for choosing will vary weekly. I hope the variety keeps both you and me interested.

So, enough banality. On with the show. The inaugural Car of the Week is….

The 1993 Mazda RX-7 Continue reading »

Mar 052012
 

Note, the following review was originally written May 5, 2011.

I didn’t actually set out to drive a Subaru today.

No, I started out with the intention of driving the new Buick Regal Turbo with the 6-speed manual transmission. Since I am one who likes fast sedans, I wanted to see if the Regal is as slick and sporty as they claim. Moreover, I wanted to see if the shifter is as bad as Car & Driver made it out to be. Since GM is a huge waste of time, though, it became clear pretty quickly that I wasn’t going to be able to do that. I won’t get in to that story here, though, since you clicked to read about another car entirely.

After leaving the third Buick dealer of the morning, I was at a loss. My plan was ruined, but I still wanted to drive something. So I meandered up the highway to see what other dealerships I could stumble across.  A small Subaru dealer was the first one that piqued my interest. I chatted up the sales lady for a few moments and told her of my interest in a quick sedan with a manual transmission. We walked around the lot for a while, looking for a Legacy, but as fate would have it none were to be found.

What we did find was an Impreza 2.5i Premium equipped with a 5-speed manual. It wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, but as I read the equipment list, I realized that this was quite a bit of car for the money. I said as much to the sales lady and, having heard those magic words, it didn’t take her long to toss me the keys. Continue reading »

Mar 052012
 

Note: This review was originally published on August 14, 2010.

I’ve always been a bit of a sucker for a sporty wagon. A lot of people turn their noses up at the stodgy reputation of the family station wagon, and there are certainly plenty of cars deserving of that rebuke. But I love a car that can haul a lot of stuff just as well as it hauls ass. Volvo’s 850 Turbo Sportswagon and the BMW 5-series wagon were, to my mind anyway, the pinnacle of the genre, which, sadly, peaked in the ‘90s. They were fast, handled exceptionally, and could take your Siberian husky to the vet without a second thought.

The rise in popularity of the SUV, though, signaled a death knell for the family station wagon. Sure, some examples persisted (Volvo and BMW both continued to offer exceptional wagons), but popularity waned considerably and most of the major manufacturers scratched them from their lineups in favor of the lumbering, fuel-sucking four-wheel drive behemoths the American public had become obsessed with.

Fast forward the better part of a decade, however, and we find that most Americans have realized that bingeing on SUVs wasn’t really such a good idea. The reasons for this (running through several prehistoric era’s-worth of fossilized remains in less than ten years, for instance) have been aired ad nauseum in the automotive press, so there’s no need to rehash them here. The result, though, has been a surprising renaissance for the station wagon. Albeit one with a twist. Continue reading »