DRUMHELLER, Alberta, 30 May 2013 - The first week of May was chocked full of history, mud, dust and driving - or as we like to call it, fun – as media from across Canada descended on Drumheller, Alberta (AB), to experience the new 2013 Ford F-150. Building on almost five decades of truck leadership, Ford marks the 2013 model year with its most refined Ford F-150 yet.
“The Ford F-Series has been Canada’s favourite truck for 47 consecutive years and best-selling vehicle for three,” said Darren Halabisky, truck product marketing manager, Ford of Canada. “There’s a reason F-Series has been at the front of the pack for so long, and Ford F-150 is an effective combination of style, strength and comfort.”
The program gave automotive and lifestyle media (both English and French speaking) the chance to hop behind the wheel to truly experience the feel of the truck, test payload and towing, appraise off-road capabilities, participate in a fuel-economy challenge and talk with Ford truck experts.
In a nutshell - history, terrain and breathtakingly beautiful landscape. Named after an early settler, Samuel Drumheller, the town was incorporated as a village in 1913 and became a city in 1930. Located in the heart of the Badlands, Drumheller Valley has an interesting history which spans back some 70 million years to a time when the land was flat, the climate tropic and dinosaurs roamed freely. In the 1880s, J.B. Tyrrell, in his search for coal deposits along the river, discovered a skull of a dinosaur. That dinosaur is today known as the Albertasaurus. This marked the beginning of a collection of dinosaur remains that are sought after by museums from all over the world. Could there possibly be a better place to test drive the toughest trucks on the market, including the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor?
Kickin’ it off Alberta style
The group gathered in Wayne (AB), population 27 (yes, you read that correctly), at the historic Last Chance Saloon in the Rosedeer Hotel. Wayne is in the record books as having the most bridges in a 6km span – 11 to be exact – and the hotel was opened in 1913. The Last Chance Saloon is home to a fascinating collection of historical items: instruments, general antiques, photos and knickknacks. It’s a time capsule of sorts where items are being added every day. Serenaded by a local band over dinner, it was a perfect setting to welcome the group to rural Alberta.
A little off-roading at Dinosaur Downs
The appropriately named Dinosaur Downs includes a dirt race track and an off-road track, the ideal spot to test the capabilities of the Ford F-150. Following an engaging presentation of vehicle fun facts, the muddy course – worthy of a truck as tough as the Ford Raptor – was calling. Filled with hairpin corners, tight curves, steep hills and sharp declines, the Ford Raptor handled it all without breaking a sweat.
*Did you know that the available Hill Decent Control on the Ford F-150 uses technologies such as Ford’s AdvanceTrac® with RSC® (Roll Stability Control™) so the driver can control the speed of hill descent without applying the brakes, even in reverse? The speed is set for the truck to descend a hill by pushing a button, allowing the driver to concentrate on driving rather than modulating the brakes on a steep decline.
*Did you also know that the class-exclusive Off-Road Front Camera System found on the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor gives drivers a new view on what’s happening in front of their truck? The system is designed for low-speed operation in challenging off-road environments. The display from the camera will appear on the MyFord Touch screen on the center stack with dynamic and static overlays to help drivers determine where their wheels will go. The camera is mounted in the front grille and even includes a dedicated washer function.
Next up on the program was fun with payload. A Ford F-150 with 2,000 pounds of payload (in the form of wooden fence posts) strapped to the bed is an impressive site. Even more impressive is when the truck hauls the load up a brutal hill without flinching.
*Did you know that Ford F-150 with the 5.0L V8 engine owns best-in-class 3,120 lbs. payload vs. all competitors?
For the towing portion of the day, the mighty Ford F-150 with EcoBoost was connected to a trailer holding a Bobcat with a total weight of approximately 10,800 pounds. Showing off the capabilities of the trailer tow technology, the truck didn’t disappoint.
*Did you know that the Ford F-150 with the 3.5L EcoBoost engine claims best-in-class 11,300 lbs. maximum trailer tow vs. all competitors?
Finally it was time for the fuel economy challenge which had the group following exact instructions that took them through city driving, uphill segments and along rural routes, asking that they drive as fuel efficiently as possible.
“They really put the trucks through their paces, to see what the F-150 can do,” said Jackie DiMarco, F-150 chief engineer, Ford Motor Company. “Fuel economy is one of the main attractions for buyers. Our EcoBoost engine has been a huge story for Ford.”
*Did you know that the Ford F-150 already offers the segment’s best combination of fuel economy and work capability with the 3.5L EcoBoost engine? Plus, Ford has been making great strides to make vehicles lighter to boost fuel economy. The company is already a leader in aluminum use in full size pickups, from the hood in today’s Ford F-150 to the lower control arms in the front suspension of the ultimate off-road truck, the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor.
Over and above learning about the vehicle, one of the most rewarding aspects of a media program is being able to offer additional unique and engaging experiences. On that note, Drumheller is home to the world-famous Royal Tyrell Museum, Canada’s only museum dedicated to the science of paleontology. In addition to housing one of the world’s largest displays of dinosaurs, it also offers a wide variety of fun and educational programs that bring the prehistoric past to life. The group was given the chance to enjoy the museum, as well as a behind the scenes tour. They were able to get up close with fossils in the process of being uncovered, and met a paleontologist who explained that it can take years to fully uncover a single dinosaur bone.
“Programs like this one allow our attendees to really test the vehicle and allow us to showcase the many best-in-class features of the F-150,” said Christine Hollander, manager, Communications , Ford of Canada. “The positive feedback has been overwhelming. There’s nothing that makes us smile more after an event like this, than when we hear guests say they totally understand why Canadians love this truck.”