Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Three-Cylinder Ford Fiesta Coming To U.S.

2012 Ford Fiesta customization pack

If you thought the 40 mpg highway fuel economy rating of the 2011 Ford Fiesta SFE model was impressive, just wait until the reveal of the three-cylinder version, which is reportedly destined to land in the U.S.

The car will come powered by a turbocharged 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine that should deliver horsepower and torque equal to or even better than the four-cylinder 1.6-liter unit currently found in the Fiesta, which means at least 120 horsepower on tap.

The latest information was revealed by Ford powertrain executive Greg Johnson, who spoke recently with Automotive News.

He said Ford’s EcoBoost technology was enabling the automaker to build engines that developed around 120 horsepower per liter. The three-cylinder example will enter production next spring and should appear shortly after in European versions of the Fiesta.

There’s no word on when it will appear in U.S. versions of the car but it shouldn’t be too long after. Ford also plans to install the engine in its Ka and Figo hatchbacks sold overseas but neither model is likely to be sold in the U.S. Both are smaller than the Fiesta, which means pricing would have to start lower--a segment Ford may not be ready to encroach.

In case you haven't been paying attention over the last year, EcoBoost is the name given to Ford’s engines that feature technologies designed to improve performance while simultaneously reducing fuel consumption.

The core of the EcoBoost technologies is turbocharging and direct fuel injection though in the case of Ford’s new three-cylinder engine there’s also variable-valve timing, an offset crankshaft and a host of other technologies. For full details on the tiny powerplant, click here.

Note, Ford isn’t the only automaker investigating the gains of downsizing engines in the effort to boost fuel economy. Rival automakers and independent suppliers alike are designing and building their own compact engines as well.

Source: Internet

Monday, July 4, 2011

U-Haul Won't Rent Trailers to Explorer Drivers

There's a good chance that some of you honestly don't remember the Ford / Firestone debacle that went down in the mid/late 90s. Like the Audi / 60 Minutes firestorm for people of my generation, the Ford / Firestone thing is simply a bit of automotive history.

Unfortunately for anyone who owns an Explorer, this bit of history is not soon forgotten. At least, not if you plan to visit a U-Haul office anytime soon. Despite Ford no longer fitting Firestone tires to the Explorer nor the new one being even remotely similar to the contraption it was then, U-Haul blames the name and has a strict no trailer rental policy to this day as Consumer Reports found out when trying to rent a small trailer for yard mulch.

And as anyone who's been to a U-Haul knows, these aren't employees, they're policy robots like at the post office or DMV -- if the computer says no, there's nothing you can do.

Source: Internet

Spy Photos: 2013 Ford Shelby GT500...EcoBoost? KR?

Let's take stock of what we have from these spy photos of a Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 prototype: Full cage, canards (GT500s do lift at speed), lower ride height, additional / revamped intercooler, larger rear brakes (current GT500 has 11.8-inch rotors), Nurburgring badge.

And now let's go for a quick walk down a more speculative road: The intercooler looks and is placed a lot like an Air:air intercooler (black car, closeup on the next page) would be, though one person thinks that the void area between the fins is too small for that. An Air:air intercooler would make sense if we were looking at a turbocharged V8 (branded EcoBoost despite absolutely no eco benefit) which would make sense as that's the direction Ford is going and affixing EcoBoost badges to a halo car works in a Reaganesque trickle-down theory of coolness.

And as high as the percentage is that the cage and racing seats present in both cars are for testing safety purposes, the Boss 302 has been incredibly popular for Ford despite it being slower than the GT500. (At least in our test it was.) There has to be some demand for a track-focused, ready-to-race Shelby with 500+ horsepower and a cage. The last KR was a disappointment, could this be the car we wanted it to be?

Did we miss anything here? What else could we be looking at? Oh, and where's that new Mach 1 we were expecting from Ford?

Source: Insideline

Spy Photos: 2013 Ford Flex Facelift

When the Ford Flex first went on sale in 2009, it was a refreshing, pleasantly boxy alternative to the current crop of similarly shaped minivans. Unfortunately, like so many things that are refreshing and different, the Flex quickly faded into the background after an initial spike. Too bad, too, because it's good.

Well, Ford's doing something about that for 2013 when the Ford Flex is expected to undergo its first major upgrade. We can see from these spy shots that the 2013 Ford Flex is going to get in line and pick up the Explorer-like mesh-and-bars face treatment along with projector-beam foglights and wrap-around headlights, again, like the Explorer.

Interior and engine upgrades are still unclear.

Source: Edmonds/Insideline

The New Taurus ~ Part Rocket, Part Science

First Look at the 2013 Ford Taurus and Taurus SHO
April 23rd, 2011

It’s difficult to pick the most noteworthy feature of the 2013 Ford Taurus, but let’s start with how the flagship sedan manages to make a bit of automotive history: It is the first car in the Ford North America lineup to offer the new 2.0-liter EcoBoost™ engine. Beyond that, the new Taurus also touts improved fuel economy, more smart technology, a fresh look and additional safety features. And did we mention the Taurus SHO is the sportiest model yet to wear the performance badge? But more on that one in a minute.

The 2.0-liter EcoBoost combines a turbocharger with gasoline direct injection, and is expected to deliver best-in-class highway fuel economy of at least 31 mpg, as well as an estimated 237 horsepower and 250 lb.-ft. of torque. Meanwhile, the standard 3.5-liter V6 is projected to deliver unsurpassed fuel efficiency among V6 segment competitors while still delivering increased performance, with an anticipated 290 horsepower. Both engines are mated to unique six-speed automatic transmissions that offer optimized gear selection for off-the-line power delivery in lower gears, while benefiting fuel economy with higher gears that keep the engine turning efficiently at lower revolutions while cruising.

On the technology front, class-leading offerings include SYNC® with MyFord Touch™, which replaces many traditional buttons, knobs and gauges with clear, colorful LCD screens and steering wheel-mounted five-way toggles. The Taurus is available with a wide variety of audio and navigation connectivity alternatives as well as comfort and convenience options. For example, you might dig the new heated steering wheel, a nice companion to heated and cooled leather-trimmed seats.

For driving performance, the new Taurus utilizes torque vectoring control, which uses a slight – virtually imperceptible to the driver – amount of braking force on the outside front wheel when accelerating through a corner. This minimal brake force provides an effect similar to a limited-slip differential, and the vehicle feels smaller and more maneuverable. The Taurus also adds curve control, a unique Ford braking innovation aimed at slowing the vehicle if it senses that a driver inadvertently enters a curve too quickly. The electric power-assisted steering improves response and feel as well as helps to conserve fuel.

Improving safety of the new Taurus brought enhanced airbag restraints with optimized tethering and venting to specifically tailor deployment force to occupant size, position and seat belt status.

Now, from the see-your-voice-matters department comes the new Taurus SHO. Ford absolutely listened to SHO buyers and enthusiasts to strengthen the design and driving quality of the 2013 model. Fun fact: Roughly half of 2010 SHO customers had not previously considered nor shopped Ford, and frequently it’s high-end sedans – think 3- and 5-Series BMWs and Acura TLs – that are trade-ins.

Giving the SHO a unique look is a performance-inspired grille in black mesh, flanked by series-specific high-intensity discharge headlamps. Behind the front wheel openings, a fender-mounted scallop contains a subtle SHO badge. Unique 19-inch premium painted wheels wearing standard P255/45VR-19 all-season tires fill out the openings; buyers can opt for 20-inch machined and painted wheels. SHO-specific sideview mirrors – also in contrasting black – are heated, have memory functionality and contain downward-facing puddle lamps; the driver’s side features auto-dimming. In the rear, Taurus SHO has a decklid-mounted spoiler.

Performance attributes include the award-winning and fuel-efficient 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, delivering 365 horsepower and 350 lb.-ft. of torque, mated to a six-speed high-capacity 6F55 SelectShift Automatic™ transmission, for up to 25 EPA-rated mpg on the highway.

Steering wheel–mounted paddle shifters enable the Taurus SHO to match revs for smooth, quick, manually selected downshifts. For the new model, these have been reconfigured for more intuitive operation, with one paddl for upshifts and the other for making smooth, matched-rev downshifts. As with the Taurus, the SHO models also feature torque vectoring control. And the new Performance Package includes Electr Stability Control track mode with true off, performance brakes and track-tuned calipers and a sport-tuned suspension.

When it came to the 2013 Taurus and Taurus SHO, Ford approached the cars’ upgrades with “obsessive attention to detail,” explained Mark Fields, the Ford President of The Americas. “The new Taurus builds on the transformation we achieved in the 2010 model. Delivering so many upgrades so soon further underscores Ford’s leadership and commitment to delivering high-quality, fuel-efficient cars for our customers.”

Click Here to check out the new 2013 Taurus SHO.

Click Here to check out the 2013 Taurus.

Source: Ford

Ford reveals its all-new, purpose-built Police Interceptor Utility Vehicle

Ford Motor Company, the police vehicle market leader for 15 years, has done it again. The company unveiled the all-new Police Interceptor Utility vehicle in Chicago.

To develop the all-new Police Interceptor Utility, Ford engineers worked hand-in-hand with Ford's Police Advisory Board of law enforcement professionals, which provided input on key vehicle attributes such as safety, performance, durability, driver comfort and functionality.

“Their feedback mattered to us,” said Scott Tobin, Ford vehicle line director for cars and crossovers. “Safety and durability were at the top of their list. So safety and durability were at the top of ours.”

Since law enforcement officials have specific needs, Ford's engineers designed several features to address the special requirements of the job. Including:

Ballistic Door Panels: These are certified by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) to stop all Type III and all lesser NIJ rounds.

75 MPH Crash Test Rated: Ford Police Interceptors are purpose-built to pass 75-mph rear-end crash testing. (Ford is the only manufacturer to publish results.)

Personal Safety System: Designed to protect, the Personal Safety System™ is a holistic, networked safety approach. The always-on-alert Safety Canopy® System includes a rollover sensor, along with roll-fold, side-curtain airbags. Meanwhile, the Interceptors are structurally tough. A reinforced, heavy-duty unibody architecture creates multiple crush zones.

Interior Comfort: The driver seat is six-way power adjustable with lumbar support. Plus, both front seats feature sculpted foam at the bottom of the seat back to accommodate an officer's utility belt. And inserted into the seatback, are anti-stab plates, designed to protect front-seat occupants.

The Police Interceptor utility crossover complements the Taurus-based sedan in Ford's police lineup. The utility vehicle will come in front- and all-wheel-drive models, and will be powered by a naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6 making at least 280 hp working with a six-speed automatic transmission.

The utility vehicle and sedan are part of Ford's dual approach to replacing the aging Crown Victoria, which remains the most popular car for police around the country. Ford is breaking away from that car's tried-and-true mold of V8 power channeled to the rear wheels, though the company is quick to say the all-wheel setup will be just as effective for officers.

"This is a very diverse industry with multifaceted requirements," said Jim Holland, chief engineer of the police utility vehicle. The utility vehicle is also said to get 20 percent better fuel economy than the current Crown Vic.

Both vehicles were tested by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and the Michigan State Police.

Ford's new Police Interceptor utility will be manufactured at Ford's Chicago (Ill.) Assembly Plant and will be offered without interruption when production of the Crown Victoria Police Interceptor ends in late 2011.

Source: Ford