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Exactly right for dealing with city traffic. logo 4/30/2016 Tom Bright

Okay, so the Microsoft hands-free is laughably, pathetically clueless. Hope Ford got a freebie, since a Microsoft badge is glued to the dash. iPhone 7+ DOES connect.Cabin noise on California's crumbling roads has reached 109 dB on my meter, about as loud as standing behind a jet taking off. I buy earplugs by the case, but then I have for 40 years.Lots of positives, thanks to the designers. The standard door lock-unlock sequence protects me in crummy neighborhoods (unlocks the cargo doors while leaving the driver door locked, and vice versa). Interior lights go on for in-and-out, but if I leave the doors open in the garage for extended loading time, the lights go out after a few minutes. Very thoughtful. Power points are always on, so lately I unplug the dash cam if the truck won’t be used for several days.1,600-pound payload includes me and gas — my big pickup is only rated for 1,100 lbs. Don’t know how they did it. Not jittering on tippy-toes when empty, not wallowy when loaded to the limit. Many SUVs have a load limit of only 900 pounds -- so you're overloaded if you simply take three friends with you and top up the gas.Spec Continentals kept picking up nails: eight in 15,000 miles. ran two sets of Federal, an exact Taiwan copy of the Continental. Great tires, half the price. Michelin finally makes a Defender in this spec, so installed a set a couple of months ago. More expensive, still about as noisy.Don’t replace the wheels with style statements, as cheapie aftermarkets may not be rated for the payload. 22-24 mpg combined, 25 on occasion. Still so at 108, 713Did okay in endurance racing back in the 70s, so I really appreciate the seats and view out front. This is the final English Ford design, I think, and shows off its performance heritage. The Limeys built the high-level 3rd brake light into one of the cargo doors, so it's a few inches from precise center -- naturally, the Twerp Patrol made them blank it out and pierce the roof for a separate unit. Thanks, guys. Don't drive much or own cars, do you?Progressive-rate steering centers well and allows flicking 90º to full lock. Low center of gravity, low cargo floor. Antilock brakes stop on a dime, straight and true. Traction control light comes on when I overdo it on off camber onramps, so I know it’s watching and helping. All controls within easy reach. A clear jump-in/jump-out path through the door to the driver’s seat make it the perfect setup for extended shifts of multiple stops.A few failures: Two batteries (maybe the dash cam drained them, since the outlets are not switched), front brake caliper (warranty), a tiny plastic tab in the interior light assembly broke ($78), high-level LED 3rd brake light assembly failed ($120), coolant reservoir cracked (warranty), one of the push-button keys failed (warranty), the visor is unraveling along one edge, a few small and, later, large cracks in the wheel covers -- replaced two at $53 each, then gave up and got half a dozen Mainland Chinese phonies on eBay for $120. They dig into the wheels, but they stay on. Wheels are down to bare metal -- paint and primer have vanished, although always garaged out of the 120º Sacramento sun. Local car wash chain snapped off 4 rear wiper arms, so I’ve yanked them and relying on Rain-X. Since they park vertically and most robot car washes use horizontal brushes, hit-and-miss company attempts to tape them down or tube them with big baggies fails much of the time. Styling department designed a snazzy cover over the rear wiper hinge that looks beefy, but under the cover it's the width of a pencil, and breaks a lot. On my 3rd windshield -- welcome to Pothole World.Following some nice storms, a pine branch swung over an Armco and I hit it at 70. New power driver side mirror: $450 installed, not bad at all.Is the engine gutless? Not really. Just set Cruise before the highway rises and let it rev it right out to 6,000. Transmission and engine smooth and reliable: My copier tech’s Focus with this motor only needed a water pump at 235,000. Another tech replaced his Focus with a Transit Connect a year after I did. When hardware gurus like them, I take their advice.Discovering that trade-in is astoundingly low -- at 108,713 miles, my spotless, maintained, pothole-avoided van is worth FOUR thousand bucks. Only 14% remains after less than five years. Mercedes claims a better resale value, but their new $33,000 Metris is Spanish, so who knows how far it'll fall from its current $21,000 trade-in with high miles? To be fair, many tradesman vans get driven by guys who don't own them.Would buy another, but the new Spanish-build version does not offer a high roof. The new motor is stronger, though -- drove one as a rental. Get the most doodads, even leather if you can find one. Dealer lead time for custom builds has been as high as 6 months, so you may have to take whatever is on the lot, like I did.

Average Rating : 4


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