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Car Reviews

Ford's Fusion of Design and Technology May be a Winner

By Jim Bray

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Let there be no confusion: Ford is hoping for a profusion of its new Fusion on roads around North America, and judging by the Fusions that are starting to appear on the roads in my neck of the woods they may not be wishing in vain.

Ford Escape Vs. Toyota Highlander Hybrids

By Jim Bray

Sunday, November 13, 2005

It’s the battle of the hybrid SUV’s!

In the green corner, the Ford Escape, a nice if somewhat bland vehicle that’s pretty good for hauling, if pretty boring to drive. In the other green corner, the Toyota Highlander, a Camry-based SUV that feels more like a car than a truck, and which is not quite as boring to drive.

So which is the winner?

I tried to do an apples-to-apples comparison of the two vehicles, but didn’t have the opportunity to spend as much quality time in the Toyota as in the Ford — due to a tight schedule for the Highlander and the fact that I was also driving a Porsche Carrera S that week (and, after all, which would you choose to give the most seat time to if you had the chance?).

But I’ll do my best.

The Escape is pleasant enough to drive, and during my week with it I managed about 28 miles per gallon, which isn’t spectacular but which is probably pretty good for an SUV. I hadn’t driven an Escape before, though I’ve had a couple of whacks at its sister the Mazda Tribute, but inside it appears that the Escape hybrid is more Escape than hybrid. As is the Highlander.

Ford Ponies Up the Fun in Retro Mustang

By Jim Bray

Thursday, September 29, 2005

It was just like having a midlife crisis, then being able to get back to reality again without having ruined my life in the meantime.

"It" was a week with Ford’s new Mustang GT, the latest and possibly greatest version (not including the various Shelbys, Machs and the like, perhaps) of the car that changed the business back in the 1960’s.

I took my Drivers’ Ed (kind of like Mister Ed, but featuring horsepower instead of a horse) in a 1969 Mustang convertible back longer ago than I’d care to admit, though as a hint I’ll admit that the car was new at the time. Three students and one instructor poured ourselves into the pony during the dead of winter and learned our stuff, including such cold weather exercises as parking lot donuts, though I’m not sure that was really part of the curriculum.

Ford F250: Guts, Glory and Guzzling

By Jim Bray

Saturday, April 2, 2005

When you think tough, and you think wheels, you think truck. Trucks are vehicles for when you have things to do, stuff to haul, lousy terrain to cover. A full size truck is big, brawny and loaded for bear. And they’re extremely popular, for the above reasons and others.

Alas, I’m more of a SNAG (sensitive new age guy, though I’m sure my wife disagrees about the sensitive and new age parts) with a healthier dose of couch potatoness than optimal. So a lot of the benefits of a serious truck are lost on me, at least until it’s time to get firewood. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to drive one if the opportunity comes along, though; the broader cross section of vehicles I experience the better my perspective about things automotive and, hopefully, the more relevant these ramblings are.

So I climbed up the illuminated running boards, reached the pinnacle that is the driver’s seat, and embarked on a week of cutting a swath through traffic almost like a Hummer H2, except with more subtlety and better hauling capacity.

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