In terms of summer vacationing, this summer most Canadians can agree on one thing: travelling to the US may not be in the travel plans. The Canadian dollar is at an unfortunate low, and as most analysts are identifying Canadians as hesitant of heading south of the border, we look elsewhere to more economically friendly destinations. As such, short of travelling to another country, many Ontarians are heading for the rural parts of the province, which has been a staple choice for cottage owners and Airbnb renters for quite some time.
Road trips are a quick and essential way to get a breather from the city. It keeps your cash saved while not skipping a beat once Monday hits (most of the time, at least). When searching for the right vehicle to take into the countryside, you’ll want to watch for three features: terrain options, safety precautions, and temperature control.
With a pre-summer (and pre-foliage) getaway lined up, in April I had the opportunity to bring the new Ford F-150 Limited to a lovely property in Creemore: the Lavender Hall Estate. The pick-up truck is the popular choice for those who spend most of their time on dirt roads, while less for those who own a parking spot in a condo. However for road trips, the Ford F-150 Limited has several features that help make the long drives simplified.
The F-150 Limited includes a 3.5L V6 EcoBoost for excellent fuel efficiency in a large gas tank. Long drives mean less fill ups, although it’s a challenge to compare gas costs when compared to smaller vehicles. Still, the truck does provide an amicable amount of space for storage in the rear cabin and additional room for your toys, like bikes and boards in the bed. The twin panel moonroof also means stargazing in spaciousness – something far more enjoyable when not engulfed in city smog.
The built-in tech includes numerous terrain options to keep you stable on sandy roads, which get trickier when heading up or downhill, or when the rain comes down. Heading to the Lavender Hall Estate took us through dirt roads off Google Maps, including unfriendly directions through elevated paths and streets-that-were-definitely-not-streets. Terrain management assisted in keeping the tail from swinging around like a pendulum when booming down gravel streets. Lastly, fears of parallel parking were put on hold with park assist features – something I probably could never have done with a truck downtown.
The temperature options are sizable if you’re plan on an overnight or most of your time on the highway. Dual zone automatic temperature control and heated/cooled front seats can be controlled both in the console and on the 8” LCD productivity screen, which includes my previously reviewed SYNC 3 voice-activated system. As the summer get melty, and the worst of the bugs hover eagerly outside your windows, it’s smart to keep the A/C on as long as possible.
Safety is another important factor when spending a few hours on the road. The F-150 Limited includes numerous features to keep you safe, such as a collision warning system with brake support that simulates brake lights in your heads up display. It also pre-charges your brakes and increases your brake assist sensitivity for full responsiveness, in the event a moose terrifyingly appears ahead of you. To assist your passengers, an inflatable second row outboard safety belt is installed to reduce risk of injury to the head and neck. Also, the console includes a 360 degree camera with a split view display, utilizing four separate cameras for complete visibility – helpful for daytime driving but also useful to watch for animals when parked in the dark.
The trip-friendly features helped make the two hour journey to Creemore simple, and allowed me to take in the beauty of Ontario enroute (despite April being a cold and leaf-less month). Arriving at the Lavender Hall Estates required some verbal directions from the owner of the property Randall Munger, we were greeted to a beautiful, 200 acre estate that featured a peaceful pond with a floating dock and plenty of space to be free. Popular for weddings and couple getaways, the estate had four quaint rooms – one with a jacuzzi and another with a two level loft – and our host was happy to assist with any sort of needs we had. As timing may have it, complete relaxation and well, leaves, were still a few weeks ahead, which only means I need to return for a proper summer outing and better photography session. The next morning, after a well-curated breakfast, we headed up to Wasaga Beach for an afternoon of lake views and muddiness, before heading back to the city.
As we enter road trip season, driving a vehicle that maintains safety and comfort is an important module to consider. While the Ford F-150 Limited may be a bit overkill for those living in the downtown core, it’s a very handy truck for virtually anything you need to do – whether it be simulating a mobile home, or tugging along your precious summer distractions.