New Model News

Sorry Starbucks, Ford wants the F-150 to be your new third place

The redesigned Ford F-150 features a host of amenities.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Remember the last time you went to the bathroom without a kid yelling for you? Days are spent balancing homeschooling, your normal workload, making meals, and cleaning as much as you possibly can. Add in summer camps, the usual roster of activities, grocery shopping, and there's barely enough time for some alone time.

The new, 14th-generation 2021 Ford F-150 is designed to accommodate not just a construction worker's lifestyle, but also the daily routine of a family. The truck is full of fresh ideas for making the F-150 your new third place, and there's even a place where you can hook up an espresso machine.

As part of the F-150s redesign, Ford listened to current and previous F-Series generation owners. They said that they're spending more time in their vehicles completing tasks other than driving. Sitting to talk on the phone, working on their laptop, killing time between practice sessions, grabbing a meal on the go. These are all part of the daily routine of many truck owners.

How can the F-150 help them enhance their lives? Become a part of it rather than just a passive piece of the puzzle? The design team set to work and came up with some thoughtful solutions.

Here's a few of the best innovations.

Relax in style with Max Recline Seats.

2021 Ford F-150

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford boasts that these class-exclusive seats fold nearly 180-degrees flat. That's enough that you can get comfortable enough for a snooze, stay hidden out of the eyesight of kids trying to figure out if you're in the truck hiding from them on a conference call, or transporting something like a ladder inside the cabin.

There's basically a mud room under the back seat.

2021 Ford F-150

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Available lockable, fold-flat, dividable storage container extends the width of the interior under the rear seats. Ford says that it's great for long items like hunting gear, fishing rods, or blueprints. Parents will like that you can throw wet towels, muddy shoes, groceries, or dog toys in there with plenty of room to spare.

It's espresso machine-enabled.

2021 Ford F-150

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

No need to worry about making campfire coffee ever again. The available Pro Power Onboard generator in its most powerful form (there's three levels) gives owners access to enough power to supply juice to 28 refrigerators, charge a bed full of electric dirt bikes, or power your espresso machine for the morning and your blender for the afternoon. If your kids need their bounce house blown up or you want to bring a fan to your tailgate, you'll be able to do so.

There's a complementary work station.

2021 Ford F-150

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

For when you do need to work, the truck's center console turns into a work station that provides a flat surface for your laptop. There's room on either side too so your phone, files, or notepad can be close at hand.

Listen to your own music, wirelessly.

2021 Ford F-150

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Coffee shop music can permeate the cabin thanks to the trucks' SYNC 4 infotainment system. If the sounds of a classical version of a Phish song aren't to your liking, you can listen to your favorite SiriusXM station, click over to a Pandora station, sync your smartphone's music catalog, hear what's being broadcast on your favorite iHeartRadio station, or access your Amazon Music library. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connect wirelessly for even more convenience.

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New off-roader

Ford Bronco Production Officially Begins

The Ford Bronco is finally ready for primetime.

Ford

The time is finally here. After years of speculation and several months of pandemic-related delays, the Ford Bronco is starting to roll off the assembly line. The SUV marks the first new Bronco model in Ford's lineup in 15 years, not counting the Bronco Sport, and is one of the most hyped and sought-after vehicles to hit the market in quite some time. Ford's announcement that production has begun will be accompanied by a special YouTube presentation that Ford says will include interviews with the Bronco team and with reservation holders at the automaker's new Modification Center.


2021 Ford Bronco Ford added 2,700 jobs to support Bronco production.Ford


Bronco production has driven Ford to invest $750 million into its Michigan Assembly Plant, and the automaker says it has added 2,700 jobs to support the rollout. Ford's push to begin production can't come soon enough. Over 125,000 Bronco orders have been placed, and multiple delays have pushed the vehicle's arrival back, meaning there is considerable demand for the off-road legend.

Ford is ready to capitalize on the craze and will offer several ways to customize the new vehicle. At its 1.7 million square-foot Modification Center, The Blue Oval will factory-install several optional modifications that include equipment such as a front bumper safari bar, graphics packages, roof racks, and more. That's on top of more than 200 factory-backed accessories that can be installed at the dealer, either at or after the time of purchase.


2021 Ford Bronco Delays and production difficulties have pushed the Bronco back.Ford


If you are hoping to get behind the wheel of a new Bronco, it could be a while. Even buyers that have been in line for a while now might not see their new vehicle until late 2021 or 2022, and the vehicle's official rollout will almost certainly re-spike demand. Even so, many feel it's worth the wait, and Ford's vehicle configuration tool is live, so go check it out for yourself.

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The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder arrives on dealer lots this summer.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder doesn't have to be capable of rock crawling or deep water fording. What it has to do is service the needs of families in their daily life and give them the opportunity to competently go off-roading on rocky trails should they desire. The new, fifth-generation models does just that and adds in enough nifty features to make it among the most compelling choices for three-row SUV buyers.

The 2022 Pathfinder is thoroughly modern though not the boxy off-roader it once was. The SUV's styling harkens back to that time with a tilted, darkened C-pillar and a return to a more muscular body style. That styling makes straightforward visibility good but for shorter drivers seeing what is immediately in front of the grille is a challenge that necessitates using surround view camera technology (available only in upper trim levels) when navigating challenging terrain.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder The Pathfinder can easily handle the roads less traveled.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Under the hood is a 3.5-liter V6 that offers up 291 horsepower and torque - plenty to do the job without complaint. The SUV's nine-speed automatic transmission replaces the continuously variable transmission (CVT) from the previous generation and delivers smooth shifts. Though low-end torque isn't as robust as I like it to be, once up over 35 mph, the Pathfinder's powertrain delivers smooth, powerful sailing.

The redesigned architecture and components underpinning the Pathfinder make it stable on the road and don't allow it to wallow on winding roads. Even off-road, the suspension provides the right blend of stability while the drive dynamics allowing the driver to feel engaged with their surroundings whether on freshly paved roads, city streets, or muddy trails.

Nissan has given the Pathfinder a 6,000-pound towing capacity and even when maxed out the engine's functionality is strong as ever. The transmission can get held up in a gear mid-range when performing this function, however, with 5,000-6,000 rpms registering on the tachometer but a quick release of the gas pedal recalibrates the offering bringing it down to a more traditional 2,000 rpm range.

The eight-seater Pathfinder clearly has the Toyota Highlander in its sights, with good reason. It's the top-selling three-row SUV in the country. Nissan boasts that three adults can fit across the rear bench seat of the Pathfinder and, as long as they're average size or smaller, the marketing talking point holds up. There is gobs more room back there than there is in the Highlander.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder Nissan has given the Pathfinder ample cargo space.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Getting in and out of the third row is easy thanks to one-touch buttons on the outboard side of the second-row chairs that move the SUV's captain's seats forward creating enough room to get through to the back. Smartly, Nissan's engineers have put duplicates of these buttons on the back side of the same seats allowing third-row passengers to simply press the button to move the seat up.

The third row can also be accessed via a split between the captain's chairs as well, a space traditionally occupied by a center stowage bin/cup holders/arm rest. Owners can quickly remove the center console by opening a panel on the front and pulling the release mechanism. The one-handed operation takes seconds and the console can be easily stored in the under-floor trunk space behind the third row seat for ease.

Speaking of cargo space... The Pathfinder is one of the most spacious midsize SUVs on the market today for both passengers and cargo. There is a substantial amount of room behind the third-row seat and the under-floor storage area is nearly twice the size of the one in the Highlander. Plus, it has a feature that allows the area cover to be automatically propped up when pushed up by a user. This is especially help when carrying groceries or plants home and keeps them from being crushed.

The first- and second-row seats are suitably comfortable, even for extended periods of time and standard trig-zone climate control makes finding the right in-cabin mix easy. Bottle holders in the pockets of the front doors are exceptionally large, fitting even bulky water bottles.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder The Pathfinder's front row seats are comfortable.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

In front of the driver is a standard tachometer, speedometer, and 7.0-inch driver information display. Buyers can upgrade to a fully digital 12.3-inch instrument cluster and head-up display but they're not reason enough to upgrade to the top-tier Pathfinder Platinum on their own.

Nissan packs the new Pathfinder with a host of desirable features that make living with the Pathfinder easier including one-touch auto up/down windows, a wireless phone charger, grocery hooks in the rear cargo area, USB ports in all three rows, second-row sunshades, rear door keyless entry, wireless Apple CarPlay, and a motion-activated lift gate.

The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder is priced to start at $33,410 for the two-wheel drive S base model and $35,310 for the four-wheel drive S base model. The model tops out around $50,000 with destination and delivery included, which seems fair when comparing the Pathfinder to other vehicles in the market.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder The Pathfinder can tow up to 6,000 pounds.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

If you're thinking of purchasing a Ford Explorer, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Hyundai Palisade, Kia Telluride, Honda Pilot, or Highlander, do yourself a favor and schedule a test drive of the new Pathfinder when it arrives at a dealer lot near you. You may just be surprised how seamlessly it fits into your daily life compared to the competition.

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