Start the Car. Let’s Go for a Ride Test driv­ing new tech and a new re­la­tion­ship

ZOOMER Magazine - - CONTENTS - By Karen Ash­bee

I’VEBEEN out to Longview, Alta., be­fore to Eau Claire Dis­tillery, award-win­ning pro­ducer of ar­ti­sanal spir­its, and for din­ner at the Longview Steak­house, where you can get some of the best beef in Al­berta, but never to OH Ranch where the cat­tle are ac­tu­ally raised. In the foothills of the Rock­ies, the ranch is about an hour and a quar­ter drive from Cal­gary. Sur­rounded by more than 8,000 acres and as many as 300 head of cat­tle, I felt like I’d stepped into a scene from Clint East­wood’s 1992 western, Un­for­given.

I was here cour­tesy of GMC Canada to check out two kinds of horse­power: a truck and a quar­ter horse. Con­fes­sions first though. De­spite be­ing a ded­i­cated rider and dres­sage judge, I al­most never go for a trail ride. And I have never driven a truck. All my driv­ing is in­ner city in a com­pact SUV and I ride my dres­sage horse in an arena so I was def- initely up for the ad­ven­ture.

First, the test drive in the 2018 GMC Canyon De­nali. The small­est of GMC’s lineup of trucks, the Canyon’s per­for­mance was by no means com­pro­mised by its size. With a 2.8 L Du­ra­max diesel en­gine, the Canyon de­liv­ered abun­dant torque and horse­power with a six-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion that could tow up to 7,700 pounds, diesel model only. That meant a sin­gle-horse trailer would work. The truck also came equipped with a va­ri­ety of safety fea­tures in­clud­ing for­ward col­li­sion alert and lane de­par­ture warn­ing. Love the fact that the truck lets you know when you drift. A quick blast through a trail where con­di­tions var­ied from hard-packed dirt to gravel al­lowed the elec­tronic four-wheel drive Au­to­trac sys­tem to kick in. Although a ro­tary dial al­lowed

We get be­hind the wheel to ex­plore this great big coun­try of ours and, at the same time, test-drive tech­nol­ogy, per­for­mance and even a re­la­tion­ship. Start the car. Let’s go for a ride

me to switch man­u­ally from two- to four-wheel drive depend­ing on my whim, the sys­tem is pro­grammed to ad­just the set­tings au­to­mat­i­cally.

I was im­pressed with the abil­ity of the GMC Canyon De­nali to con­quer chal­leng­ing ter­rain. But it wasn’t just the fact that I could go cross-coun­try safely that mat­tered. The Canyon’s in­te­rior was ex­tremely com­fort­able. Heated and cooled front seats, a heated steer­ing wheel, leather in­te­rior, Ap­ple CarPlay, rear-vi­sion cam­era and re­mote start­ing sys­tem had me sold. It’s also easy to drive.

It would equally be at home run­ning er­rands or go­ing “to town.” Af­ter a quick in­spec­tion of the cat­tle, it was time to put the car in park, sad­dle up and ride the range on horse­back. While scram­bling up the moun­tain tak­ing in the breath­tak­ing view from the back of a quar­ter horse, I could sud­denly feel my­self re­lax and just en­joy the mo­ment.

Al­ber­tans have an ex­pres­sion – “big sky” – that refers to the end­less wash of blue that is the Prairies’ hori­zon. I was cer­tainly see­ing it to­day, from the driver’s seat and in the sad­dle. Af­ter a day rid­ing the range and pi­lot­ing the Canyon through rivers and gravel trails and over rail­way tracks, I only had one re­gret – that I had to hand back the keys.

At home on the ranch: the GMC Canyon De­nali

The au­thor and her ride at OH Ranch

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.