Overall Rating: [yasr_overall_rating] The city of Bandera is located in Bandera County in the Hill country of Central Texas. They call themselves the “Cowboy Capital” of the World and if you are a road or outdoors enthusiast you will enjoy the ride in a 2015 Ford F-150 through many of the scenic routes in Central Texas. Some of the best scenic routes are familiar to motorcycle riders and are an equally enjoyable experience in the Ford F-150. Located just 50 miles northwest of San Antonio, you are sure to get away from city and traffic and find cowboy culture at it’s best with dude ranches, dance halls, and Central Texas history. Before we get to the best routes, I wanted to take a look at how the 2015 Ford F-150’s newest V6 engine performed on this road trip.
Texas roadtrips with the 2015 Ford F-150
In this earlier Texas roadtrip series I talked about a redesigned body made of lightweight, high grade steel and military grade aluminum contributing to a lighter total body weight. This time as we criss cross through Bandera, TX, I got the chance to drive some F-150 trucks with the new but smaller V6 2.7 L EcoBoost engine. This is a new generation engine with 325 horsepower, 375 lb – ft of torque and helping to push the max payload of 2,250 lbs and 850 lb of max towing capacity. What makes this engine special is that it’s compact graphite iron block uses the same materials from the 6.7L Power Stroke diesel but designed to be more efficient and powerful. When accelerating on and off the exit ramps, accelerating through mud puddles, carrying a trailer or just stopped at a stoplight, you will definitely see the difference this engine makes. The 2015 Ford F-5- is not just a leaner show horse, but also a work horse.
Here are the features of this engine that I noticed right away (courtesy of Ford Motor Company)
- Auto start-stop technology – The engine shuts off when the vehicle is at a stop – except when towing or in a four wheel drive. One the brake is released the engine restarts quickly. I thought this was very efficient and there was no lag when I accelerated again. I surmised that this meant less emissions for our city dwellers who spend lots of time commuting in rush hour traffic.
- The 2.7-liter EcoBoost also features all-new engine logic that adjusts operating parameters on the fly to provide the best efficiency and performance for the environment and workload. I noticed this during the 4×4 off road adventures that you can definitely feel the truck adjust to not just the roadway, but to the driver at points when you must accelerate, brake or turn quickly.
- Reduced crankshaft friction – Fracture split main-bearing caps, which create a superior fit between the cap and engine block to help improve efficiency. I noticed right away how quick the engine could adjust during the roadtrip.
- Improved fuel economy via variable displacement oil pump reducing engine friction
- Lowered emissions due to improved torque through intake and exhaust variable cam timing
- Easy engine service with cartridge style oil filter located at the top of the engine – great for me since I like easy service.
What does this mean on a Texas road trip? Improved fuel economy, reduced emissions, more efficient power and better handling on the road.
Bandera’s best scenic routes
When traveling in the 2015 Ford F-150, I would recommend cruising some of the routes below. Bandera is a 35 mile ride on Highway 16 south from Kerrville. What I love about the ride on Highway 16 is not just the scenery but the rolling hills. What a fantastic way to check out the smooth handling of the 2015 Ford F-150 and the truck did not miss a beat. This highway changes from a 4 lane to a 2 lane when you get over the hills. with sharp and blind turns there is always a surprise around the bend as you get to the town of Medina. Since you are driving on hills as you head south, the grade of some of the turns changes and so even if switching gears is really unnecessary in this F-150 if you are on a motorcycle you should recognize shifting gears to either second or first. Consider stopping in Medina, TX and getting breakfast at Keese’s BBQ across from the Median Post Office. After Medina, the road follows along the banks of the Medina River.
Once you get to Bandera you will see the signs and the town. If you need places to stay consider the many dude ranches that also include activities such as horseback riding, hay rides and more. If you are pulling a camper or an RV consider one of the RV parks. When road tripping as a family I noticed that Bandera has a lot of activities for kids. Think of summer camps, horseback riding camps and special activities for all. For a listing of all activities, visit BanderaCowboyCapital.com. Another route that you may want to consider is to drive through Highway 173. It’s faster than Highway 16 with less turns. You can take Highway 173 to FM2828 for a very scenic route that may also include bison sightings.
Read more about the Military grade aluminum and high grade, low weight steel body of the 2015 Ford F-150 in my earlier travel post about Hill Country. You can learn more about the all new 2015 Ford F-150 by visiting the Ford media page. In tomorrow’s next series I will talk about Towing and Tailgating for your campsite in the 2015 Ford F-150 in Boerne, TX and the Guadalupe River.
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If you had the opportunity to drive the all new 2015 Ford F-150 to Hill Country, what kinds of activities would you be most interested in for a family roadtrip?