In terms of summer vacationing, this summer most Canadians can agree on one thing: travelling to the US may not be in the budget.
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.
In April I had the opportunity to bring the 2016 Ford F-150 Limited for a relaxing stay in Creemore at the Lavender Hall Estate, for a pre-summer (and pre-foliage) getaway. The pick-up truck has traditionally been the choice for many Canadians who spend most of their time on dirt roads, while less for those who own a parking spot in a condo. For this road trip, I took plenty of off-road notes on how the Ford F-150 Limited handles the excursion.
The F-150 Limited includes a 3.5L V6 EcoBoost for improved fuel efficiency from its previous iterations, with a sizeable gas tank for added mileage. 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 room on the bed for your toys, like bikes and boards. Part of the fun in heading north is stargazing, which the twin panel moonroof provides with added spaciousness - something far more enjoyable when not engulfed in city smog.
The built-in tech includes numerous terrain options for stability 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 improper navigation on 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.
The temperature options provide comfort on the highway and when planning an overnight stop. 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 the new SYNC 3 voice-activated system, which I previously reviewed. As the summer gets melty, and the worst of the bugs hover eagerly outside your windows, it's smart to keep the A/C on and windows rolled up most of the time.
Safety is another important factor when spending a few hours on the road. The F-150 Limited includes 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 as I drove in the daytime, but also useful to watch for animals when parked in the dark.
The trip-friendly features were a bonus during the two hour journey to Creemore, and allowed me to take in the beauty of Ontario en route. Arriving at the Lavender Hall Estates, which required some verbal directions from the owner of the property Randall Munger, we were greeted to a beautiful 200 acre estate that featured a private 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.
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 sessions. The next morning, 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, safety and comfort are important factors when hitting the road for extended periods of time. While the Ford F-150 Limited may be a bit overkill for the daily commute downtown, its diverse amenities appear to set the base for a safe and relaxing adventure, no matter the cargo or people you may be driving.
This post originally appeared on RAMONE.ca.
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