It’s always fun to get a few friends together and hit the trails with whatever off-roader you have access to. We loaded up and headed out to Hidden Falls Adventure Park near Marble Falls, Texas to get dirty and see what our mostly stock vehicles could do. Our group consisted of two 2nd generation Ford Raptors, my 100% stock 2018 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, a mildly modded Jeep Gladiator Sport, a very heavily built Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited, and a little Subaru Forester that somehow kept up with a lot of what the rest of us did in our bigger off-roaders. This is some of the most fun I’ve had behind the wheel in a very long time, and I gained a new respect for what all these vehicles can do pretty much right out of the box.
The automotive enthusiast community has been on fire lately with anti-SUV drivel. There have been countless articles on various automotive big-name blogs asking the community at large to do their part to stop the rise of the SUV simply because they aren’t exciting, and they aren’t enthusiast-oriented.
While this is true in many cases, there are some true performance SUVs on the market. One such vehicle is the supercharged 5.0-liter V8 powered Jaguar F-Pace SVR, which produces a staggering 550 horsepower and 502lb-ft of torque. Having spent a week behind the wheel of one over Christmas, I can tell you there isn’t a lick of boring anywhere in the F-Pace SVR driving experience.
I’ve been driving the @MercedesBenzUSA GLB 250 this week and they absolutely nailed this one. Perfect size for most, great engine, great driving experience, fantastic infotainment, tons of amenities and very comfortable. They are going to sell a lot of these. Well done, MB. pic.twitter.com/d4jJCLjUBu
Sometimes, it’s OK to start a story in the middle. Just ask Ford.
The 2019 Ranger is not new, but it’s new to us. The underlying engineering was handled by Ford of Australia, and the truck was first introduced back in 2011. Ford has been selling it all over the world ever since. Well, almost all over the world. The U.S. and Canada were left out of the party. Until now, that is.
There are upsides to this. While the Ranger may be “old” by passenger car standards, its age means Ford has had time to refine and improve it. Thus, the version we finally got for the 2019 model year should be the best Ranger Ford has built.
It’s hard to imagine a time when the compact crossover field wasn’t flush with options. And yet it was just a couple of short decades ago that the Toyota RAV4 and its cousin from Sayama, the Honda CR-V, were fresh nameplates on the scene. A scene that, it must be said, these two players largely established. Sure, you could argue there were other compact five doors with off-roading pretensions available before them. The Jeep Cherokee comes to mind. The AMC Eagle if you really want to get creative.