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Staff Picks

2017 Fusion Titanium AWD

We had the absolute pleasure of taking a beautiful 2017 Ford Fusion Titanium camping one lovely Alberta August weekend. We went to Crimson Lake which is right by Rocky Mountain House. We only have one vehicle with car seats, it's my daily driver, and it doesn't have a lot of room for camping supplies so we were pretty lucky to have the Fusion! 

I've driven a few other Ford cars and had to put our big Britax car seats in them. Most are pretty easy, the back tether on this Titanium was tricky. I can usually tighten through the hatch but there wasn't a hatch to go through on this so tightening from behind the headrest, while not impossible, was a really good arm workout for me!

Check out the cargo room! We were able to fit our cooler, box of dry food, tent, massive dining tent, 2 air mattresses, the kid's inflatables & the beach bag. Our pillows, kids sleeping bags and the one suitcase with all our clothes fit in the back seat with the kiddos. It was PERFECT! 

The kids loved the moonroof, while hubs and I enjoyed the cooling seats very much! While we were driving we encountered a wide load and had to move over, much to the Lane Keeping System's chagrin. It had the Active Park Assist & Blind Spot Detection (which did come in handy once or twice) but the neatest thing for us was the Adaptive Cruise Control. At first, we had no idea why we were slowing down so perfectly while on cruise when coming up to an RV ahead. And then once we were past, the Ford went right back to the speed we had set it to go previously. For long drives, I could see this being such a great option. 

We got to our spot unloaded our gear and hit the beach! 

When we were heading home I realized how fortunate it was that it had the leather option. Cleaning the sand and general kid mess from it was made much easier. We had a great time and love this car. All the options, the smooth ride, the sleek look - it's a keeper. Good job Ford! 

Got Stump Gets the Job Done!

Hubs and I have been wanting to get rid of a big bunch of trees in our back yard for a while now. A few of them were dead and there was this brush that we were pretty sure housed a few vermins. Plus, we have two kids and really want to have a flat space to build them an outside playground. Maybe some swings and a play house, which is a challenge when the majority of your back yard is a massive hill. This is great for slip'n'slides and toboganning but not conducive to construction. 

So I got on the computer and sent out some requests for quotes. One in particular, Got Stump?'s was done very quickly, hundreds of dollars less than others and the quote sheet they left made me laugh. One mention of Elvis and peanut butter sandwiches stands out in my memory. Another piece that got me on the quote sheet was the note that this job would help them plant 4 trees through the City of Edmonton Root For Tree's program. I booked them that same day. Now I knew from talking to the office that jobs were scheduled based on neighborhood so I wasn't too sure when they would come out but within a week I looked outside and they had arrived!

They came, they saw, they REMOVED! 

Then about a week after another crew came while we were gone to get rid of the actual stumps and the roots. All we have to do is a little raking, some more top soil, grass and we will have a whole new flat area for PLAY! 

The guys were great, everything was taken away, and the job was done even better than we could have imagined. It's a miraculous make over! Highly recommend this awesome, LOCAL Edmonton company. Visit them for a quote at gotstump.ca and take back your yard! 

2016 Ford Focus

In my week with the Ford Focus I felt like a kid again. I'm so used to driving big SUVs, mini vans, trucks and large sedans it was such a treat to drive something so compact. 

My favourite thing about the Focus, and all the Ford fleet I've driven lately, is the Sync 3 technology available with the Titanium package. I work from my vehicle often and Sync 3 allows me to connect so easily, unlike my current Bluetooth options, and drive safely with voice and steering wheel controls. Being able to flip from music to phone to navigation so seamlessly let me keep my eyes on the road, hands on the wheel and stay engaged with driving in heavy traffic. LOVE Sync 3!!! 

The seating was very comfortable, however the back seats do not offer a lot of leg room for adult passengers. I love the sporty and sleek design of both the body and the interior; much more posh than you'd expect from an economy car. Although the acceleration was a little lack luster it handles well and is very smooth on the highway. I found the steering radius surprisingly short for a smaller car but parking in tight spots was still manageable. The gas mileage was incredible after one week of constant driving and I was blown away to only fill up when I was done. 

For small families or those without kids this is an amazing and affordable option. For a family like ours with five kids, this vehicle wouldn't make sense us right now, but as we become empty nesters in the next few years it would be a perfect everyday car and totally comfortable for road trips. 

I am a huge fan of the Ford fleet of vehicles and if smaller, economic and sporty are on your wish list, I highly recommend the Focus.

Ford C-Max Hybrid SE

This past week, the kids and I has the pleasure of driving around this amazing Ford Hybrid - the C-Max Hybrid SE. I have two kids, 6 & 4 so the first thing I had to do was swap the car seats in, which, I'll admit, I was dreading but 20 minutes later they were out of my regular car and in this beauty. Of course the kids wanted to hop in and take it for a spin around the block - you can see my son waving out the window. They were super excited, especially when I explained how the Hybrid works.

As soon as you get in & turn the key you can tell it's different. It doesn't sound like anything, if it wasn't for the pop up on the dash saying the car is on, I would have had no idea. Then you start driving. I don't know about you but I love a challenge and this car gives you one right off the bat. Coasting and braking slowly fills the battery, which then translates into fuel savings. You can see I was getting 5.6L/100 KM and I got that battery full.

At the end of your trips, right after you turn the car off you get a trip summary. I didn't do as well this time and kicked myself....made me work harder next time!

We got a few groceries and there's a lot of room - I really liked the cover part in the back too.

Then I decided we needed to get out of the city and see how she did on the highway. The cruise was incredibly easy to use and the car just wanted to go. I honestly wasn't expecting to have so much power in a hybrid, I didn't know much about them prior to this but this thing can (and wants) to go fast. You know, at the max speed limit of course. We ended up going on a real adventure, out past Stony Plain and following some signs to this really pretty lake. Kids got out and found some neat rocks, we enjoyed watching some birds across the way on an island, & breathed in some lovely fresh air.

This is a great little car and the fuel economy impressed me so much, in a week of back and forth with kids school pick up, groceries, gym every second day and our long trip out of the city, I only used half a tank. It's cute too, easy to park but lots of room inside - my car seats are not small :) It's a fun little vehicle!

~Chris Reeve, Associate Publisher, mom of 2.

2016 Ford Explorer

This vehicle is amazing. Not only is it aesthetically gorgeous but driving in Edmonton in the winter, I've never felt more in control. It has intelligent four-wheel-drive, driver assist everything, and amazing traction control. I've driven many four-wheel-drives and thought my current vehicle handled the best on ice and snow but the Ford Explorer is far superior.

Watch us using the park assist here - it's a fun vid! 

Now for the really good stuff; the options! Not only does it have heated front seats and steering wheel, but the rear bucket seats are also heated... and both front seats have massage options for the lower back and bum! I can't stress enough what an amazing feature this is. I do not want to leave the comfort of this vehicle!

I don't know how many directions the front seats adjust but I am in control of all of it. The power tilt and telescope steering column makes it completely adjustable for the driver and you can also change how far away your petals are, so for those of us with short legs you don't have to sit so close to the steering wheel.

We have a large family and I've had several vehicles that are over five passenger. Each had its benefits but nothing compares to the Explorer. The second row bucket seats are my favourite in a large vehicle. It's so much easier for passengers to get in and out and kids are a little bit separated with and aisle between them. I like that.


The third row has flat folding seats so you can increase your cargo space significantly if you don't have as many passengers. The coolest part about this feature is that it's push button, power third row seats! So much easier.

The push button start and sync technology makes everything very easy to manage from the cockpit. I just changed my ambient lighting to turquoise... Because I can! The sound system is by Sony and is fantastic. With four teenagers were definitely testing its capacity too.

Last significant feature I'm loving are the double moonroof with touch control from the front seats and hands-free lift gate operation.

There is only one thing I don't like about this vehicle so far is the rear seats in front of the cargo space have vertical headrests that when up, obstruct your rear view out the back window. If you had people sitting the the headrests must be up but their heads would be obstructing anyway. My solution is driving without the extra passengers I'm just leaving the head rests down. I can live with this.

There is so much more to be discovered that I haven't even mentioned yet. To find out for yourself, you should book a test drive!

My week with the Ford Fusion Titanium

With a lot of travel and rental cars, I've had the pleasure of driving numerous vehicles over the last several years. Recently, I got to demo the 2015 Ford Fusion Titanium which I imagined would be just a standard sedan, so I honestly wasn't overly excited. When I picked it up though, I was delighted to find so much more than a regular old sedan. It has a sporty and clean exterior, with two-tone black and red leather interior (love the red leather!). This car showcased a much flashier vehicle than I was anticipating and I was suddenly interested in finding out what other surprises I was in for.

Space & Comfort:
I normally drive a large SUV and am used to a lot of space. The Fusion was much roomier than I expected and my over 6ft husband and giant teenage sons all fit, in both the front and back seats comfortably with head room to spare. The bucket front seats with power controls were extremely comfortable, something I have not found in most sedans. It sits a little low to the ground so the one trip I took with my elderly mother made it a bit difficult for her to get in and out... So she didn't want me to drive her around the rest of that week (score!). Oh and the trunk is huge! I could fit 3, maybe 4 of my teenagers in there! Not that I would... but a mom can dream.

Tech & Gadgets:
The tech features are fantastic! There are so many options to control from the dash and steering wheel; I know I didn't master all of them in the week. I am all about driving safety and setting a good example for my teens with hands-free only. The Fusion allowed me to do that better than another other vehicle I've driven. My husband struggled a little with figuring out all the features and found it a bit confusing, but I was well on my way and loving it. Adaptive cruise control, lane and parking assist, Bluetooth and voice sync, steering wheel controls for almost everything and super awesome power/heated seats. This car is loaded with everything I could imagine.

Performance:
The 2.0L EcoBoost engine had LOTS of pick up and the low frame plus comfy seats let me feel like I was driving a sports car. I had to pay a little more attention and actually used the cruise control, even at lower speeds, to keep myself from excitedly speeding. Parking was a breeze with a great turning radius and made for smooth handling of tight curves. Gas mileage was incredible and I only filled up to return it, spending less than half of what I normally do in my regular vehicle.

After driving it for a week I will tell you it looks so much more stylish, sporty and appealing than the plain old "sedan" I was expecting; but the ride comfort, handling, fuel economy and numerous options are why the Ford Fusion blew me away. I couldn't have imagined going back to a car after years in SUVs, but I would buy this car! 

Mediflow Waterbase Pillow

The therapeutic Mediflow Waterbase pillow has been ranked the top bed pillow for improving the quality of your sleep.  This state of the art pillow was proven to provide the best neck support pillow to reduce neck pain.  It’s an excellent pillow for both parents and children, and will provide a better night’s sleep. Available at retail drugstores all over Canada. $49.99

Philips Sonicare

Philips Sonicare is taking tooth brushing to its most sophisticated level yet with the introduction of the Philips Sonicare DiamondClean. With an advanced new handle and high density, diamond-shaped bristles, DiamondClean has been shown to remove up to 100 per cent more plaque than a manual toothbrush in hard-to-reach areas and whitens teeth in just one week. $229.99

PURE Glass Bottle

For most people, glass bottles are the preferred choice of a drink container for better taste, cleanliness and fewer health risks. But the challenge with glass has always been its durability and the risk of shattering – that is until now. PURE Glass Bottle is a new portable re-usable glass drinking bottle that allows people to enjoy that pure taste of their favorite beverage in glass without worrying about spills or injury resulting from broken glass. Two styles are available: the 17.5 oz Traveler; and the 25 oz Explorer. Both styles come with a selection of convenient tops and handles.  $19.95

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