Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Ford’s Top Selling Cars of 2022

 Like many industries throughout the United States, the auto industry navigated various complications over 2022, many of which resulted in supply-chain issues that hampered dealer inventories. A depleted inventory yielded above-average prices across the industry, leading to a decline in sales compared to 2021. Despite these challenges, several auto manufacturers, including Ford, produced high-selling vehicles.

Ford placed three vehicles among the top 25 best-selling cars, trucks, and sports utility vehicles (SUV) of 2022, including the No. 1 selling vehicle in the US, the Ford F-Series. Sales for the F-Series were particularly impressive, considering the model was among many that impacted the global semiconductor chip shortage. Ford stands at the forefront of an American public that has continued to place its trust in pickup trucks and SUVs, with only two passenger cars ranking among the 10 best sellers.

The Ford F-Series, also known as the Ford F-150, moved approximately 653,957 units in 2022, equating to nearly 141,000 more trucks sold compared to the Chevy Silverado, the nation’s second-highest-selling vehicle. Unfortunately, Ford was forced to endure the same supply chain and inventory issues as other manufacturers; the F-Series also led all vehicle sales in 2021 but managed to sell more than 726,000 units that year, representing an 8 percent decline in 2022. Approximately 787,422 F-Series trucks were sold in 2020.

The F-Series has spent over four decades as the nation’s top-selling vehicle and nearly five decades as America’s most popular pickup truck. While the F-Series has given Ford a strong toehold in America’s auto landscape, the manufacturer remains locked in competition with peers. Late in 2021, Ford secured a three-month streak as the nation’s overall best-selling automaker, the manufacturer’s first streak of this length since 1974.

Understanding the competitive and evolving American automotive market, Ford has sought to augment and optimize options for its top-selling product. In 2021 Ford introduced a hybrid option for the F-Series, along with a Super Duty model. In 2022, meanwhile, Ford introduced the Lightning, an electric version of the F-150. Sales for the Lightning approached 16,000 entering 2022.

Of course, the F-150 was not the only Ford model making waves in 2022. The Ford Explorer finished 2022 as the No. 14 best-selling car in the United States, holding its position from 2021, with nearly 208,000 units sold. While the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Toyota Highlander have more than challenged Ford in the mid-size SUV marketplace, the Explorer’s 6 percent sales decline from 2021 was smaller than many manufacturers experienced during the year.

Finally, the Ford Escape ranked as the No. 24 most popular car in the US for 2022. The Escape sold 137,370 units in 2022 and has faced stiff competition from the Bronco Sport. However, despite global supply chain issues, Escape experienced a sales decline of just 6 percent, compared to a 19 percent drop between 2020 and 2021.

Toyota and Chevy were the only manufacturers with multiple vehicles among the nation’s 10 best-selling cars. Beyond the Ford F-Series, the Chevy Silverado was the only vehicle to surpass the 500,000 units sold threshold.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Tips When Choosing a Sport Utility Vehicle

 Generally, a sport utility vehicle (SUV) is defined by a tall roof, high ride height, and elevated seating position. For many buyers, the SUV exterior design is important. However, exterior styling is a subjective quality that depends on your individual preferences, emotions, and need for functionality. For example, if you decide to buy a Ford Bronco Sport, it can do hard work. On the other hand, some SUVs come with more rugged capabilities with chunky tires, reinforced lower panels, and elevated ride height.

Others SUVs are city slickers with dazzling LED accent lights, elegant lines, and shiny chrome trim. In terms of features, remember that form usually follows function. Therefore, consider factors like how high you might need to step in and out of the SUV. Also, consider how high (lift-over height) you will have to lift your cargo when loading it.

Where do you intend to do most of your driving? Off-road driving, for instance, will require the strength of four-wheel drive (4WD) vehicles. A 4WD offers more stability control and better traction, useful features when taking the vehicle off-road or towing something like a boat or trailer camper. A 4WD model might also serve you better if you live in a place that snows heavily, as they are often equipped with traction-enhancing differential locks and low-range crawl gears.

For more common driving, an all-wheel drive (AWD) boosts traction. Whether maneuvering a wet road or reducing acceleration wheel spin, an AWD is good because it usually engages automatically. However, rear-wheel or front-wheel drive will suffice if you want cargo or passenger capabilities in an SUV.

Nearly all SUVs can carry at least five passengers. Some full-sized and midsized models come with a third-row seat that boosts the carrying capacity to six, seven, or even eight people. Although SUVs are generally known as large vehicles, getting slightly smaller models, including crossover options, is still possible. A five-seater family might be suitable for a family of four, but if you have a larger family or travel with many friends, a seven or eight-seater might be your best option.

Regarding cargo space, the cubic footage available in an SUV might not be a definitive guide, although it gives a broad idea. Pay attention to how easy loading cargo might be. For example, could the rear bumper be too high to make loading difficult? Many three-row fold seats can fold. But how do they fold into the SUV's floor to create additional cargo space? Do they lie flat?

Finally, don't overlook safety and driver assistance features. For example, many drivers prefer SUVs because of their elevated height, enabling a better road view. That, however, may not always be the best thing. The styling and design of most SUVs often mean it's hard to get a good view of the rear or sides, particularly when parking or changing lanes.

For that, look for an SUV with a blind-spot monitor as an option or standard. This is an audio or visual alert when another vehicle is in your blind spot. Also, look for an SUV with rear and front parking sensors. Other common advanced driving aids include lane departure control, adaptive cruise control, and automatic emergency braking.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

The Ford Bronco Generations

 The Ford Bronco, a venerable American sport utility vehicle (SUV), is famous for its classic design, versatility, durability, and most importantly, its off-road capabilities. The original Bronco, launched in 1966, was a compact SUV that came in three designs - a sport utility pickup, a roadster, and a wagon, a two-door SUV with a removable top, which is echoed in the new 2021 Bronco.

In 1978, Ford introduced the second-generation Bronco, rugged and boxy in style and utilitarian, to compete with the Chevrolet K5 Blazer and the Dodge Ramcharger. It came with a 5.8L or 6.6L V8 engine, a 4-speed manual transmission and an independent front suspension system that made it more off-road capable. This Bronco came with four-wheel drive and four-door model options.

The third-generation Bronco (1980-1986) featured a completely redesigned frame and body to make it lighter, smaller, and more fuel-efficient. Its engine variants included a 4.9L V-6, a 5.8L V-8, and a smaller 4.9L V-8, with all versions displaying impressive on- and off-road performance. This generation Bronco was also the first to feature independent front suspension instead of the “moonbeam” front end.

The fourth-generation Bronco (1987-1991) had minor upgrades, with the most notable being an updated cabin and a visual change to the bumper to match that of the eighth- generation Ford F-150. This Bronco kept the same engines as the third generation, but added a 5-speed manual transmission and a new 4-speed automatic. The various trim levels of the Bronco were the XL, XLS, Eddie Bauer, and a Special Edition celebrating its 25th anniversary.

Generation five (1992-1996) had minimal body and style upgrades and the same engines as the previous generation, but this Bronco sported enhanced safety and utility features, including a three-point seat belt system, driver’s-side airbags, and air conditioning. After this generation, production stopped for more than two decades.

The new 2021 Bronco was launched with new looks, style, comfort, and better functionality. These features made it stand out considerably from its earlier designs. This generation came in six unique trim levels - Base, Badlands, Black Diamond, Wildtrak, Outer Banks, and Big Bend. It also came in a two and four-door configuration with a roof designed to be easily detachable, the with the four-door also being convertible.

In terms of performance, the 2021 Ford Bronco included a robust powertrain lineup of 3.5L V6, 2.7L V6, and 2.3L V6 EcoBoost engines that came with either a 10-speed automatic or 7-speed manual transmission. Its sophisticated terrain management system, designed to boost its on- and off-road capabilities, let drivers choose between seven distinct driving modes, allowing them to adjust the SUV’s performance on any terrain. The 2021 Ford Bronco’s off-road technology, such as the independent front suspension (IFS), active four-wheel drive, and terrain management system, meant the vehicle was much more capable in mud or sand.

The 2021 Ford Bronco also offered a Sasquatch package, an additional set of features designed to enhance off-roading performance. This was available in all trim levels, excluding the Raptor. The package included 35-inch mud tires, upgraded suspension, electronic locking front and rear differentials, heavy-duty Dana front and rear axles, and a 4.7:1 rock crawl ratio. The package also featured a distinctive grille and hood, a bigger hood scoop, skid plates, and rock rails. However, it only came with a 10-speed automatic transmission, the 7-speed manual not being offered.

The recently launched 2023 Ford Bronco model runs on a new body-on-frame chassis that is stiffer and lighter than its predecessor. While many other things, like the engine, transmission, dimensions, and utility, remain the same or feature minor changes compared to the previous version, the 2023 Bronco adds performance upgrades to make it more capable off-road. For instance, the Ford Bronco Raptor, the common 2023 variant, sports improved durability, a “goes-over-any-terrain” (GOAT) feature that offers three drive modes, and an upgraded two-speed transfer case with a crawl ratio of 94:75:1 with the manual transmission. It also has a high-performance off-road stability suspension (HOSS) feature for a more comfortable and stable ride in off-road conditions.

Thursday, January 5, 2023

The Ford Bronco Sasquatch Package


Since the return of the Ford Bronco SUV (sports utility vehicle) in the four-wheel-drive arena, Ford enthusiasts have been making the most of its off-road capabilities and enjoying its many features. To boost the vehicle's capabilities, the company introduced the Sasquatch package, the most advanced off-road package ever offered on the Ford Bronco.

The Sasquatch package, available for all models in the Bronco lineup excluding the Raptor, is designed to offer next-level performance and capabilities. It includes 17-inch wheels sporting 35-inch all-terrain tires, a 4.7:1 final drive ratio, electronic locking front and rear differentials, heavy-duty Bilstein shocks, and high-performance off-road stability suspension (HOSS). The Sasquatch package also includes high-clearance fender flares to provide extra clearance for larger wheels and tires and rock rails to protect the body against damage.

When it comes to the interior, the Bronco's Sasquatch package offers both comfort and simplicity, with easy to operate and access controls. The 8-inch or 12-inch navigation touchscreen that the Sasquatch package features invites users to a world of information and entertainment, while additional accessories allow them to wirelessly charge their smartphone and integrate with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay.

The Sasquatch package's exterior pays homage to the iconic 1966-1977 Bronco, with the vertical taillight design and the round headlights enclosed in the single-piece rectangular grille as significant elements. The Bronco also comes with a two-door removable top option with a modular hardtop and a four-door option with a top that is removable and convertible.

With the sasquatch package, there are notable changes in the height of the Ford Bronco, with the base variant being 73”, the Wiltrak 75.2”, the Badlands 73.9”, and the Big Bend 72.9”. Also, the Bronco's departure, approach, and break-over angles without the Sasquatch Package are 29.8, 35.5, and 21.1 degrees for a two-door and 29.7, 35.5, and 20 degrees for a four-door vehicle, respectively. However, with the package, those angles become 37.2, 43.2, and 29 degrees for the two-door model and 37.0, 43.2, and 26.3 degrees for the four-door version.

Price-wise, upgrading to the Ford Bronco Sasquatch package is approximately $5000, but this may depend on the model purchased and the driving experience one wants. For instance, adding a $6,590 Sasquatch package on a $30,800 base variant of the Bronco may give one the ultimate driving experience on any terrain. However, because adding the Sasquatch package to a Bronco variant may sometimes be more expensive than acquiring a better variant, one should consider the features and benefits of purchasing a better variant versus upgrading the less expensive one.

How does the Ford Bronco's Sasquatch package compare with the Jeep Wrangler Willys edition? While both come with 17-inch wheels, the Wrangler sports 32-inch mud tires compared to the 35-inch of the Bronco. The Wrangler also has a limited-slip differential, rock rails, and shocks from the more capable Rubicon trim, and heftier brake calipers and rotors. When it comes to performance, the Bronco performs better on and off the road, while the Wrangler has better fuel economy and acceleration.

However, one main limitation of the Ford Bronco Sasquatch package is that it only comes with the 10-speed automatic transmission. Without the 7-speed manual option, drivers miss the crawler low gear, particularly designed for a better low-speed off-roading experience. When a user aired this concern on Twitter, Mike Levine, Ford's spokesman, confirmed that only the 10-speed automatic transmission was available in the package, and noted that the company was open to feedback.

Ford’s Top Selling Cars of 2022

 Like many industries throughout the United States, the auto industry navigated various complications over 2022, many of which resulted in s...