Ford’s design direction over the last few years has proved to be very well received for the general public. My first re-introduction to modern day Fords came by way of a Fusion rental car in 2013. I was personally blown away at Fords’ new designs, very well packaged cars from inside out. Now with the new Ford Explorer, I can say I am feeling the same way again.
Ford has packed their 3.5L twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 into the engine bay which provides plenty of power for the new Explorer. The motor produces 365hp and 350lb/ft of torque providing plenty of oomph for regular driving, and plenty of extra for the days you want to pull a trailer of a boat to the lake. The engine is mated to a six speed auto transmission which helps deliver the power smoothly making the Explorer a very nice road vehicle to drive.
Judging by the outside, one would think that the interior cabin offers plenty of space for its occupants. Well that is right and wrong at the same time. The cabin itself has plenty of space to offer, but it’s things like the seats, seat positioning, pedal placement and arm rest placement that has some issues that need to be reworked. The overall package doesn’t provide the driver with a comfortable seating position which also translates to other passenger positions as well.
An entry level Explorer starts at $44,445USD and tops out at $52,580USD all optioned out. It seems like for that price there might be other options out there for buyers. However, Ford does have a strong customer loyalty base going for them.
Many car manufacturers today are incorporating an automatic start-stop technology into their vehicles to help stretch fuel economy. When the car comes to a full stop, the engine will shut off to conserve fuel during idle times.
Ford is planning to put this same technology into their F-150 pickups which currently get 19 mpg city and 26 mpg highway. Come 2017, all F-150s with the turbocharged EcoBoost engines will get this technology as a standard feature which is estimated to boost economy by 7 percent in the city. Ford doesn’t plan to stop there. With fuel economy being a huge decision point for the consumers, Ford plans to incorporate the auto start-stop technology into their other models.
In an era where engines are being downsized for fuel economy, a nasty side effect is that the natural engine sounds are also being attenuated by the turbochargers used to make up for the lost displacement. Add on improved sound deadening for a quieter cabin and the problem gets even worse. The Volkswagen GTI replaced its natural engine noise with a speaker mounted on the firewall to project fake engine sounds as did the BMW M5 when its natural aspirated V10 was replaced with a twin turbo V8 setup. Now, as Road & Track has discovered, Ford too is moving away from a passive sound pipe to an active speaker based fake engine sound system on the Ford Mustang EcoBoost.
Ford calls it Active Noise Control. Using the factory head unit, Ford pipes in an engine soundtrack based on the real-time engine data. So, while it may be great if you like to hear the engine sing while you stomp on the accelerator, a side effect is that if you choose to change out your factory stereo to something aftermarket, your new Mustang will sound like it lost its mojo.
Unfortunately, with automakers going to smaller forced-induction engines, this fake engine sound trend will continue.
Today, Ford revealed the 2015 Ford Focus Sedan. This follows the 3 and 5 door hatchbacks revealed in Geneva earlier this year. The refresh brings the same styling cues, like the Aston Martin grill and squinty headlights that are currently seen on the Fusion sedan.
The Ford Focus is the best selling model in Ford’s stable world wide. They sold nearly 1.1 million of them. Over 400,000 of them were sold in China.
For an economy sedan, it is a great looking car and should give competitors like the Corolla and the Civic a good run for their money. New for 2015 is 1.0 Ecoboost engine mated to a 6-speed manual. This should give enthusiasts some rowing fun while saving lots of fuel in the process.
2015 brings about optional LED headlights and tail-lights as well as the usually update front and rear bumper treatments.
The SE package comes with revised dampers, 17 inch gloss black wheels, and paddle shifters.
News of the all-new 2015 Ford F-150 may have overshadowed the new sixth generation Mustang but Ford did bring a coupe and convertible 2015 Mustang for its car show debut. The new Mustang has a wider, more aggressive stance and the updated design brings a more modern look to the Mustang for its 50th anniversary. However, I don’t think it works. I thought the new design would look better in person but the updated look in my opinion doesn’t do the Mustang heritage any justice, perhaps it will grow on me.
Under the hood are three engine choices: a new 5.0L V8 that delivers 420 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque, a 2.3L EcoBoost the yields an impressive 305 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque and the standard 3.7L V6 that pumps out 300 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque. April 17, 2014, marks the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the original Ford Mustang and each 2015 model celebrates the milestone with a badge on the instrument panel that includes the galloping pony logo and the words “Mustang – Since 1964.”
I’m not a morning person, but finding out that Ford will be starting the first press conference of NAIAS 2014 here in Detroit at 8:10am local time (that’s 6:10am back in Calgary!) with the announcement of the all new F-150 gave me that extra motivation to crawl out of bed this morning. After a short trek to Joe Louis Arena we quickly found a spot to camp out to wait to see what Ford had in store for us. If you recall, this exact time last year we were in the same building to see Ford show us a preview of today’s unveiling, the Ford Atlas Concept.
What we learned since then was that the production F-150 truck was going to be a big shift in strategy for Ford trucks. Instead of relying on the proven strength of steel, they opted to construct the F-150 body and bed with aluminum. The switch has been in the works for years and the project survived the cost cutting years following the financial crisis. Today, Ford shared with us details on the first fruits of the Aluminum switch-over for their trucks with the new Ford F-150.
First off, the main frame of the truck will still be constructed out of steel but improvements in the manufacturing process have shaved almost 100 pounds. The new aluminum body and bed help push total weight savings over the previous generation F-150 to nearly 700 pounds! We saw Chevrolet’s Silverado Cheyenne concept during SEMA, but the weight savings from that one off is peanuts compared to the new F-150.
Ford also announced an all-new 2.7L EcoBoost with standard Automatic Start-Stop technology designed specifically for the Ford F-150. The 3.5L EcoBoost and 5.0L V8 will both still be available for customers that opt for them while the current 3.7L V6 will be replaced with an all-new 3.5L V6 that will be the new standard engine in the new F-150.
LED headlights, will be an available option, as will LED spotlight mirrors and box lighting, a remote power rear tailgate, 360 degree camera system, 8″ infotainment screen, dynamic hitch assist, trailer brake controller, and 110V/400W power plugs. Standard features include trailer sway control, and active grille shutters we first saw on the Atlas concept. All in all the F-150 definitely carries over many of the design elements from the Ford Atlas concept, in fact the grill on the ZLT looks just like the one off the Atlas. Ford plans to continue offering the new F-150 in all existing trims, including presumably the Raptor but it has made no official announcements. Ford is making a big move with the best-selling truck, only time will tell if the transition will be a smooth one.
Ford announced last week that the 1.0L ecoboost engine would finally be making its way over to North America by cheekily posting a picture of the engine inside of a TSA security screening bin. The engine, available already in Europe in the Focus, will be available in the 2014 Ford Fiesta and Fiesta ST seen here at the 2012 LA Auto Show. The 1.0L ecoboost motor puts out roughly the same horsepower at 123hp but gobs more torque–relatively speaking–at 148 lb/ft when compared to the outgoing Fiesta’s naturally aspirated 1.6L powerplant.
What do you do when one of your vehicles is succesful? Make it bigger of course! With the 5 passenger Transit Connect doing very well Ford is launching a bigger model for 2014 that offers optional third row seating. They showed off a pair of the new 3 row 7-seater versions at the Los Angeles Auto Show along with the 5-seater version. The newer front end design with the updated headlights and sleeker roofline makes the new Transit Connect more family friendly as it looks a lot less like a cargo/fleet vehicle.
Ford said Monday it will add it’s popular turbocharging system — EcoBoost — to three more engines by the end of 2010, with the F-150 also getting the blower for its V6.
Ford also said that by 2013m it expects to be producing approximately 1.5 million EcoBoost engines globally, about 200,000 more than originally expected.