The Truth About Cars » Ford http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 29 Sep 2014 16:40:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Ford http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/reviews/ford/ Capsule Comparison: BMW X1 S-Drive vs Ford Fiesta ST http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/capsule-comparison-bmw-x1-s-drive-vs-ford-fiesta-st/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/capsule-comparison-bmw-x1-s-drive-vs-ford-fiesta-st/#comments Fri, 26 Sep 2014 12:49:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=798050 Much has been written about the narrowing performance and luxury gap between supercars and everyday pedestrian offerings. Even as supercars have introduced even wilder styling, interiors and technology the beige lemming wagon that fills your company’s management lot puts out 240 hp, sports bluetooth integration and can hit 60 in less than 8 seconds. But […]

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Much has been written about the narrowing performance and luxury gap between supercars and everyday pedestrian offerings. Even as supercars have introduced even wilder styling, interiors and technology the beige lemming wagon that fills your company’s management lot puts out 240 hp, sports bluetooth integration and can hit 60 in less than 8 seconds. But contained within the scale of Versa to Aventador, there exist smaller comparisons. Transpose that discussion onto one about buying a brand name versus value and you can have a thoughtful discussion about what exactly are you getting for your money.

On the surface, you might object to the idea of a Ford Fiesta and BMW X1. Certainly the X1 leans more to the SUV side of the scale, but if you put the preconceived notions of their respective mission aside, they aren’t that far apart.

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On the outside, the BMW X1 is just under 6 feet wide, 14 feet long and a tad over 5 feet tall. The Fiesta ST is not even 3 inches narrower, has 8 inches less nose to tail and is 3 inches shorter. The wheels base for the X1 is a hair over 9 feet while the ST is a scant 10 inches less. The front and rear wheel track of both vehicles is within 4 inches. But side by side the BMW appears to tower over the Ford.

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Inside, the difference is narrower in numbers and feel. The Fiesta is within 3 inches of the Bimmer in almost every measurement save one; The X1 has 2.5 times the interior cargo room and with the seats folded, the BMW more than doubles the ST ‘s 26 cubic feet of cargo space with 56 cubic feet.

In contrast the BMW is the porker of the two in almost every sense, especially price. This 2-wheel drive X1 stickered at $38,790. That’s with leather and the x-line package. The ST came with every available option, including the Recaro package, and stickered at $26,000. But this particular 2014 Fiesta ST came off the lot for $24.5 with 0% financing. With the X1 was almost a stripper model without GPS and the Ford was loaded to the gills, the price difference is still a decent optioned Nissan Versa sedan.

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So, what does the almost $13,000 extra get you? To try and find out, I met up with a fellow racer, friend and owner of the ST, Chris Mills early on a Sunday morning and headed to Oklahoma’s best kept secret; Talimena drive.

It was still dark when we met and filled the tanks. The forecast was mid 40s with a high of 50 and rain all day. This gave us an opportunity to experience how each of the respective makes dealt with the drive dynamics of their vehicle.

As previously mentioned, these cars are not as different as they seem.  BMW markets the X1 as a Sports Activity Vehicle, probably to delineate it from the bloated SUV image. Ford is unapologetic in the presentation of the Fiesta ST as a hot hatch. But they are still small 5-door cars and under the skin, both are motivated by 4 cylinder turbos. The X1’s 2 liter puts 240 horses to the rear wheels and the ST’s 1.6 sends 197 to the front. The Fiesta might be down on power but only needs to haul 2,720 lbs., while the Bimmer has to contend with 3,527. It takes the X1 6.3 seconds to hit 60. For a sizable price increase, you can trim that 0-60 down a full second with the 300 hp inline 6. The fully optioned Fiesta ST will hit 60 in 6.7.

It’s 6 AM, overcast and dark out. The sky warns of impending rain as we drive through rolling hills and light sweepers. The BMW is in its element and its grand touring roots are showing. The BMW interior is 77db at speed and the ST reads 80db.

At 7 AM on OK-3 just outside of Stonewall, it begins to drizzle. We have been traveling for an hour and via our Bluetooth phone conversation we trade some data. We are averaging 60.7 miles per hour; the BMW in with the auto trans in “sport” mode is yielding 29.4 miles per gallon but the Ford is much better at 30.4 mpg.

By 7:20 it’s finally raining. In Shamrock Oklahoma we swap vehicles.

There is no ambiguity in that the ST’s mission. I’m 6 foot, just under 200 pounds with a runners build and I have to force myself into the ST’s narrow Recaros. The only transmission available is the 6 speed manual, which falls readily to hand and the ergonomics are very purposeful. Ford’s maligned SYNC infotainment and phone integration is still miles beyond the BMW. The little things highlight the difference between the two. The Ford seat is all manual adjustment vs the BMW’s electric controls. The Fiesta seat warmer has one temperature while the BMW has three. The BMW smells of leather and the Fiesta still smells like a new car.

Even in the rain, this car is ready to go, now, anywhere. It will not let you be inattentive. The BMW is like an older golden retriever; calm, soothing and comfortable. The ST is a hyperactive border collie pulling on the end of its leash; smart, energetic and if you ignore it for too long, it will do bad things.

It is not uncomfortable to drive, but the seats are not conducive to a slacker seating position. The tires dart at every patch of standing water and the turbo keeps calling you to misbehave. Even in 6th gear, the slightest prod of the gas will grab some whoosh.

When we stop at Sardis Lake, the rain has abated. While grabbing some photos, we notice a semi-curvy road below the dam. We take to it, and for the first time I get restricted by the Fiesta’s stability control. I am actually impressed. The Ford employs a McNamara tactic of gradual intervention rather than absolute cut off. But unlike McNamara, the Fiesta’s system works, and I am able to hoon very effectively through the short parking area. Too much throttle? No problem. The ST will just even out that output to match the traction and the car pulls smoothly out of the corner. The rear wheel drive BMW is a bit hairier for my partner, pulling back onto the main road he notes the road was “a lot narrower that it looked from the top.”

We arrive in Talihina OK at the base of OK-1 and grab breakfast at Pam’s Hatefull Hussy Diner on Main Street. Breakfast for two and a souvenir coffee mug is less than $15. If you are in town, it is highly recommended.

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While there we discuss the driving impressions. Chris’s first observation was that in the rear view mirror BMW doesn’t even look like a BMW. I think about that for a while, he’s right. The other unexpected observation is the BMW is more spartan inside. The ST has all the bells and whistles up front and available. The X1 tends to be more subtle. While the ST is always at the ready, the BMW chassis tended to adjust over bumps rather than transmit them. He used the word float, but immediately corrected because it wasn’t a negative feeling, as the car stayed planted. He also took the transmission out of “sport” mode and noticed an immediate MPG improvement.

After our bargain breakfast, we head up the mountain to the entrance of OK-1. It’s a great slice of pavement without the hype of the Tail of the Dragon. Our early arrival and wet weather ensures it will be free of the open pipe biker crowd and we won’t be dodging the knee draggers either. In fact, we get the entire 60 miles to ourselves. We don’t encounter another vehicle in our direction until just outside of Mena Arkansas.

As it turns out, BMW likes to push on the rough wet pavement. Given the damp and sometimes rainy conditions, we both left the stability control on. While not as smooth as the Ford, the BMW also has effective intervention. On paper, the BMW might be the faster selection of the duo, but the ST is at home here. It attacks the mountain range and opens a huge gap without trying. We weren’t racing, but it was a spirited drive and the Fiesta is the right tool for the job. The X1 is no slacker and can reel in the ST on the open sections, but when it’s tight, the Fiesta is gone.

When we get to the Arkansas side, we encounter a lot of fog which slows our progress. But it’s still a lovely drive. As we get into Mena we are both had just over a ¼ tank. The pumps tell the tale; 10.4 gallons top off the ST’s tank, while 11.09 for the BMW. The ST’s 1.6 liter is miser, even when pushed, vs the BMW’s 2.0 powerplant.

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We head back up the road. As it turns out the rear wheel drive X1 is more comfortable leading than following. I was always worried that the Ford was going to be able to correct a mistake and the BMW would slip up behind it. This was surprising, because the Fiesta is more high strung. I kept expecting the rear to step out, but the X1 would push first then the stability control would intervene.

Having already been exposed to the road, we quicken our pace just slightly on the return. The storm that was dogging us inbound is breaking up in the hills and several times we find ourselves above the heavy dark clouds, and then descending through them.

We return to flatter surface roads and weave our way westerly back to Oklahoma City. The majority of the roads are two lanes and with the weather cleared, Sunday afternoon traffic is starting to build. In both cars, passing on the open dotted lines is effortless. You can downshift the manual ST to the redline or the auto stick in the X1 if more drama is needed, but is almost every case, just a little more throttle and a dose of turbo make the pass safely and quickly.

In Seminole we stop at another OK standard; Braum’s for a malt shake and final overview. Over the course of the trip we have covered 418 miles. The Fiesta yielded 25.4 mpg and the X1 24.7. The X1 could have done better if I had left the transmission in standard drive for the highway portions.

So back to the original question; what does the BMW deliver for the extra money? By the numbers it gives you some things; an extra year on the bumper to bumper warranty, 4 for the BMW vs 3 for the Ford.  Drivetrain is identical at 60,000 miles. BMW Maintenance included for 5 years. There is extra cargo room and a few inches for your head and shoulders. It can run with the hot hatch ST all day but never get away from it. Aside from two extra heat settings on the seats and leather, everything BMW offers is available on the Ford for less. What does $13,000 get you? Honestly, not much. The Fiesta ST is a great car, and despite being the X1 being my wife’s car, I’m calling the Ford the clear winner.

Click here to view the embedded video.

The same problem with the expensive supercar vs the performance sedan is magnified as the numbers get smaller. The “little” things cost a lot more. For the money, the Fiesta is a bargain, even if you aren’t a sports car person. The drivability, options and value of the Fiesta make the justification of the X1s price difficult and I can’t see the decision getting easier with an option more targeted to the hot hatch crowd, like the Mazdaspeed 3 or Mini Cooper.

But as I headed home, I was happier to have the more larger, if less supportive seats, automatic transmission and relaxed composure of the X1. After all, it was another 50 miles, it was still cold, still wet and I wanted to be comfortable.

Neither Ford or BMW provided demo vehicles or gas. These are both privately purchased cars. Thanks to Chris for giving up his Sunday and letting me use his car.

W. Christian Mental Ward has owned over 70 cars and destroyed most of them. He is a graduate of Panoz Racing School, loves cartoons and once exceeded the speed of sound. Married to the most patient woman in the world; he has three dogs, a Philosophy degree and a gift for making Derek wonder if English is actually his first language.

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Capsule Review: 2014 Ford Fiesta 1.0L EcoBoost SFE http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/capsule-review-2014-ford-fiesta-1-0l-ecoboost-sfe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/capsule-review-2014-ford-fiesta-1-0l-ecoboost-sfe/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 14:06:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=916258 Back in June when Ford delivered a conventionally-powered 2014 Ford Fiesta to our driveway for a week-long visit, I realized that, “The subcompact buyer who wants to chase fast cars on twisty roads must move the Fiesta to the top of the list.”  With its direct and interactive steering, back-road handling chops, and surprising ride […]

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2014 Ford Fiesta SFE EcoBoost 1.0LBack in June when Ford delivered a conventionally-powered 2014 Ford Fiesta to our driveway for a week-long visit, I realized that, “The subcompact buyer who wants to chase fast cars on twisty roads must move the Fiesta to the top of the list.” 

With its direct and interactive steering, back-road handling chops, and surprising ride quality, the 1.6L-powered Fiesta   was really rather entertaining despite its underhood shortcomings. The Fiesta easily proved why it’s used as the foundation for a genuine hot hatchback, the Fiesta ST.

Unfortunately, that which is found under the hood of the vast majority of Fiestas is a true disappointment. On paper, there’s 120 horsepower. In action, the 1.6L doesn’t want to rev. You’ll always want a lower gear, yet you’ll never find yourselves smack dab in the centre of a powerband. No subcompact should be forced to fight with such a grumpy mill.

Even with that disappointment of an engine, I had plenty of fun in the Fiesta SE in June. Fortunately, Ford Canada lent us a more appetizing Fiesta last week for an EcoBoost exercise. I never thought I would recommend paying $995 more for a three-cylinder engine, but regardless of what this bite-sized powerplant achieves on the Eco front, a strong performance from the Boost side of the equation provides a strong value-conscious answer, at least in terms of pitting Fiesta against Fiesta.

After all, besides its base engine, the Fiesta still has a number of significant deficiencies which limit the car in this increasingly competent segment. The rear seat is not up to snuff in comparison with America’s segment leader, the Nissan Versa. The cargo area and the flexibility of the cargo area – it’s impinged upon by seat brackets and large chunks of plastic inside the rear bumper – is laughable when one considers the Honda Fit’s knack for hauling.

Fiesta SFE Ecoboost logosShifting this manual trans-equipped car (that’s the only way the EcoBoost 1.0L comes) into second or fourth mandates an elbow/front-of-armrest conflict. The front door armrests don’t extend as far rearward as is necessary. The driver’s side door in our test car never sounded as though it was closed, not at the moment of attempted closure; nor in motion on the highway, when all the noises crept inside like a crane fly enters your basement on a September’s night.

The radio sucks. I don’t want to know what that headliner is made out of. The shifter’s throws require reaches from one zip code into another. The seats squeezed me where I didn’t want to be squeezed and ignored me when I wanted to be held.

These frustrating traits arose in numerous conversations all week, as onlookers noticed the extensive badging: not just EcoBoost but SFE, too! Hooray!

“Would you recommend this over an Accent, Versa, or Fit?” they’d ask. “That depends,” I’d respond, “How much do you like to drive?”

And how much do you like to row your own gears? How much do you enjoy just sticking it in third, thereby allowing a wave of torque to cope with virtually every on-road scenario? How much do you like the idea of a car that sounds like half a 911?  Do you want to be tempted into using second gear to crack the 60 mph barrier every time you hit an on-ramp? To what extent do you appreciate an instantly familiar clutch?

Oh, and can you cope with a little bit of turbo lag, some strange and pervasive vibrations at low revs, an upfront price penalty that might just take decades to earn back, and those wheels?

The lag and NVH issues are one thing. Well, actually they’re two things.

The price you’ll pay for a non-ST EcoBoost Fiesta must be seen as a performance upgrade, however, as the opportunities for economic advancement are not significant, even in our best-case scenario. (With limited highway time, we saw 29 mpg with the 1.6L. With plenty of highway driving, we did 39 mpg with the 1.0L.)

Add to that the limited availability of the 1.0L in the Fiesta lineup – SE only, no automatic, these wheel covers – doesn’t make for an attractive package for every potentially willing buyer. Then there’s the actual limited availability of the car on the whole. Only six of the 34 Fiestas at my three local Ford dealers are fitted with the 1.0L. In Cars.com’s inventory, only 336, just 3%, of the 11,546 Fiestas at U.S. dealers come with the 1.0L.

Ford Fiesta interiorIn the late 90s, perhaps even more recently, this kind of power would have been appropriate for an SVT Fiesta in North America, undercutting the 170-bhp Focus SVT by 47 horsepower and a few thousand dollars. We want our intentionally hot hatchbacks to be more aggressive these days, with less body roll, stickier tires, and wheel covers that weren’t borrowed from a 1988 Fiat Uno Turbo.

That doesn’t take away from the Fiesta’s remarkable ability to provide a genuinely fun experience at downright legal speeds, nor does it deny the Fiesta’s ability to remain poised beyond the legal limit. But it’s not the best subcompact in 2014, not more than four years after going on sale, and I suspect no engine would change that.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Capsule Review: 2015 Ford Escape Titanium http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/capsule-review-2015-ford-escape-titanium/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/capsule-review-2015-ford-escape-titanium/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 12:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=914362 Today’s cute compact crossovers are slowly replacing mid-size sedans as the most popular vehicle on the market, and with good reason too. They have smaller footprints, are easier to drive, are more versatile, more economical, and AWD systems provide a piece of mind during foul weather. Is the Escape a…wait for it…game changer?   The […]

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Today’s cute compact crossovers are slowly replacing mid-size sedans as the most popular vehicle on the market, and with good reason too. They have smaller footprints, are easier to drive, are more versatile, more economical, and AWD systems provide a piece of mind during foul weather. Is the Escape a…wait for it…game changer?

 

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The interior is unmistakably Ford, with clear analog gauges and the MyFord Touch system high and center. The seats are very comfortable, heated in the front, and the angle of the headrests is adjustable so they will not press against the back of your head like some other Fords. The rear seat is best for two passengers but three adult butts or three booster seats will fit. The rear bench folds flat and is split 60:40. The dash is made of at least four different types of materials which do not always complement one another or match up perfectly, such as where the A-pillar meets the dash. HVAC controls and other buttons are small, low in the dash, and obscured by the shifter. At night the interior ambiance lighting can be adjusted in color and intensity to match your mood.

The MyFord Touch system received a slew of upgrades over the years and is now actually usable by a novice. Some of the touch-screen buttons are small and shorter drivers may need to stretch to touch the screen. Those truly adventurous can opt to shout at the system to get it to do what they want. The system easily connected to my phone and offers a ton of options and features which will likely go unused by most buyers. An Audi or Lexus-like knob would make this one of the best systems on the market.

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The previous generation had large square windows but this one, like the rest of the auto industry, has smaller windows all around. Despite that, visibility in all directions remains surprisingly good. Doors are large and open wide, making the chore of loading kids into the car a task that won’t break your back. Auto up and down on all windows, as opposed to just the driver’s window, is a nice touch. The rear bumper height is low, making loading and unloading easy. The big rear power hatch can be opened by waving your foot under the bumper, but it is slower in operation than other cars.

The top engine choice is a 240hp and 270lb-ft 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder which is very nicely matched to the vehicle; smooth, quick, and responsive. The six-speed automatic has two driving modes, D and S. In S it downshifts sooner and holds the gears longer, but not too long, where it becomes annoying. The ride is smooth and when tossed into a highway ramp, the Escpape remains neutral and composed, if a bit top-heavy. In this 4WD configuration, the EPA rates the Escape at 21mpg city and 28mpg on the highway. When equipped with a Class II trailer tow package, the little Escape can tow a 3500lb trailer.

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The 2015 Ford Escape starts at $22,610 for the base SE model with a 2.5-liter naturally aspirated engine and 2WD. Those wanting 4WD need to step up to the SE with the 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine (178hp/184tq) which starts at $26,810. Our Titanium model, with the 2.0-liter EcoBoost ($1195 over the 1.6-liter), starts at $31,965. Equipment Group 301A adds HID headlights, blind-spot detection, automatic wipers, and parking sensors for $1735. Navigation system is $795 and destination charges are $895 for a total MSRP of $35,150. At the time of this writing there was a $750 factory incentive.

The Escape is a nice vehicle overall, but aside from the peppy engine it does not bring anything new to the market. While none of its competitors feel more exciting in any comparable way, it feels like Ford decided to make just another vehicle to fill the market niche. The powerful engine is nice, but this is a price driven category where competitors offer one engine at a much lower overall price.

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Kamil Kaluski is the East Coast Editor for Hooniverse.com. His ramblings on Eastern European cars, $500 racers, and other miscellaneous automotive stuff can be found there. 

Ford provided the vehicle for this review.

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The Mustang Embargo Is Done http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/mustang-embargo-done/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/mustang-embargo-done/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 18:42:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=913850 Ah, it’s the sad truth that the only way I’ll ever be on the cover of anything is if I’m wearing a helmet. So it is here, as I drag a loaner-helmet-wearing passenger around the Motown Mile. So. What do you want to know about the Mustang? A collection of PCOTY Mustang impressions can be […]

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Ah, it’s the sad truth that the only way I’ll ever be on the cover of anything is if I’m wearing a helmet. So it is here, as I drag a loaner-helmet-wearing passenger around the Motown Mile.

So. What do you want to know about the Mustang?

A collection of PCOTY Mustang impressions can be found on the R&T site as of an hour ago. To what I’ve written there, I’ll add the following: This Mustang is a step beyond its competition into the bigger world of RWD performance sedans like the 3-Series BMW and its competitors. No, it’s not as space-efficient as something like an Infiniti Q50, but it offers a significant power advantage over those cars at an equally significant price savings.

On a fast back road, the Mustang really comes alive. It works with you everywhere you need it to. Even the brakes are better than they used to be — although if you really want to track the thing you’ll want to invest some of that price differential into a set of real six-piston stoppers. It’s a winner in every sense of the term. The wait is over, and it’s justified.

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Ford Debuting Self-Unparking Technology In 2015 Edge http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/ford-debuting-self-unparking-technology-2015-edge/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/ford-debuting-self-unparking-technology-2015-edge/#comments Thu, 11 Sep 2014 11:00:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=910658 Though Ford, Lincoln, BMW and others have mastered the art of parallel parking in tight spaces for their customers, it turns out the systems used do it too well, prompting Ford to give “unparking” a go. Automotive News reports the 2015 Edge will include an improved automated parking system that will not only allow the […]

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Though Ford, Lincoln, BMW and others have mastered the art of parallel parking in tight spaces for their customers, it turns out the systems used do it too well, prompting Ford to give “unparking” a go.

Automotive News reports the 2015 Edge will include an improved automated parking system that will not only allow the crossover to parallel-park in those tight spaces, but be able to pull itself out. The system can also do perpendicular parking, such as the sort found at your nearest supermarket. An array of sensors — four up front, six in back — use echolocation to find objects and obstacles, allowing the crossover to calculate how best to get itself out of a rock and a hard place.

In addition, the Edge will have lane-keeping technology and adaptive cruise control, both using a combination of cameras and radar to safely guide the crossover from the house to the office and back.

All of the above will be available to consumers when the new Edge arrives in showrooms next March.

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GM Mid-Size Twins Best Similarly Equipped Full-Size Pickups In Fuel Economy http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/gm-mid-size-twins-best-similarly-equipped-full-size-pickups-fuel-economy/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/gm-mid-size-twins-best-similarly-equipped-full-size-pickups-fuel-economy/#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 12:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=906401 As full-size pickups do their best to eke out as much fuel economy as possible, the upcoming Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon are set to deliver a combined 21 mpg once they leave the lot for the road. Autoblog reports the GM twin mid-sizers will net owners 18 mpg in the city and 26 mpg […]

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2015 Chevrolet Colorado + GMC Canyon

As full-size pickups do their best to eke out as much fuel economy as possible, the upcoming Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon are set to deliver a combined 21 mpg once they leave the lot for the road.

Autoblog reports the GM twin mid-sizers will net owners 18 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway in two-wheel drive models equipped with a six-speed auto mated to the 305-horsepower 3.6-liter direct-injection V6. For comparison, a Ram 1500 4×2 with the Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 sending power to the back through an eight-speed auto offers a rating of 17/20/25; the outgoing Ford F-150 4×2 with its 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 and six-speed auto delivers 16/18/22 mpg; and the Chevrolet Silverado C15 4×2 brings 18/20/24 mpg through its larger 4.3-liter V6 and six-speed auto.

Those wanting all four wheels to do the climbing up that hill will find the Colorado’s and Canyon’s ratings falling to 17/20/24 mpg, though they still best the Silverado K15 4×4 (17/20/22), Ford F-150 4×4 (15/17/21) and Ram 1500 4×4 (16/19/23).

As for trucks closer in size to the duo, Jalopnik subsidiary Truck Yeah says the two-wheel drive models are more than able to throw down against the Nissan Frontier 4×2 (16/18/22 mpg) and Toyota Tacoma 4×2 (17/19/21 mpg).

GM adds that a 2.8-liter Duramax is in the offing for 2016, with figures ready for perusing closer to launch time.

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Capsule Review: Ford Fiesta 1.0L Ecoboost http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/capsule-review-ford-fiesta-1-0l-ecoboost/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/capsule-review-ford-fiesta-1-0l-ecoboost/#comments Wed, 03 Sep 2014 12:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=904473 No alloy wheels. No automatic transmission. No fancy infotainment system. From the perspective of the Ford Fiesta 1.0L Ecoboost really doesn’t have a lot going for it – at least that’s what Kamil Kaluski thought when he tested a 4-door sedan earlier this summer. The three-cylinder Fiesta is certainly an odd duck. That’s part of […]

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No alloy wheels. No automatic transmission. No fancy infotainment system. From the perspective of the Ford Fiesta 1.0L Ecoboost really doesn’t have a lot going for it – at least that’s what Kamil Kaluski thought when he tested a 4-door sedan earlier this summer. The three-cylinder Fiesta is certainly an odd duck. That’s part of its charm.

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Due to scheduling circumstances, we spent just 36 hours with the newest Fiesta, but it was enough to get a general idea of what this car is all about.

In late 2012, Ford held media previews for the 1.0L Fiesta with European-spec cars, but it took nearly 2 years for the car to hit showrooms in North America. In between those two events, we learned that a 1.0L Fiesta with the 6-speed Powershift automatic gearbox was canned by Ford for failing to meet NVH and driveability targets. Ford was similarly vague about sales targets, refusing to give an exact number for the 1.0L.

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Our powers of deduction indicate that a major product planning shift was required for the change to a manual-only 1.0L car. Cognizant of the fact that a three-pedal configuration would restrict sales of the car to a certain demographic, Ford was subsequently unable to amortize the cost of the engine’s certification over a greater volume of sales. The apparent solution was for the 1.0L to be a lower trim “SFE” package with the increased cost of the 1.0L engine offset by the lower equipment levels.

Aside from the missing automatic transmission, the 1.0L does not have alloy wheels or the revised Fiesta’s MyFord Touch system, which might be missed on a subcompact car that costs $18,285 (less a $750 dealer incentive that is available in many markets). The upshot for Ford? Bragging rights. At 43 mpg on the highway, the 1.0L Fiesta is the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid vehicle on the market. For enthusiasts, it gives them an interesting and quirky alternative to the usual slate of subcompacts.

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The centerpiece of the SFE is the 1.0L Ecoboost, a turbocharged triple making 123 horsepower and 125 lb-ft of torque, a gain of three ponies and 13 lb-ft over the standard 1.6L naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine. Even so, this isn’t any kind of performance oriented option package, though it does accelerate quicker than the lethargic 1.6L mill. While the Ecoboost engine in the Fiesta ST gives you the grunt to accelerate even when you’re one gear higher than you ought to be in, the SFE requires constantly shifting to maximize the tiny turbo mill’s low-end torque. Your reward is a reserve of real, usable shove that can be called upon to shoot through gaps in traffic, while merging and overtaking on the highway no longer you to cross your fingers and hope for the best. The 5-speed transmission is neither vague nor particularly engaging, with long throws and a shift quality typical of most transverse gearboxes. The abundance of torque at low rpms and the clutch’s high engagement point make it an ideal candidate for someone to learn how to drive a manual transmission on – whether that’s a friend, family member or someone buying their first stick shift car.

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The SFE’s handling characteristics involve a similar set of tradeoffs. The electric power steering is sharp, speedy and direct, though the chassis is marked by excessive bodyroll, a soft suspension and tires that are as sporting as the captain of the Mathletes. One can only wonder how the SFE would fare with some lighter alloys, halfway decent rubber and the Ford Racing Handling Pack. Even so, it’s hard not to be charmed by the off-beat three-cylinder thrum, pointy steering and a performance envelope that is entirely within the grasp of the average driver (and the limits of the law).

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Lacking the MyFord Touch system available in other Fiestas, the SFE makes do with the basic SYNC system, which was tougher to master than one would expect. The regular SYNC unit is a maze of buttons, knobs and menus that never quite makes itself transparent. Previously, the MyFord Touch system was the lesser of two evils, but a series of improvements to its response time has made it the preferred choice on Blue Oval products. Unfortunately, the SFE doesn’t really give you a choice.

Understanding the value proposition for the 1.0L Fiesta is a bit puzzling. As Kamil noted, the lack of an automatic transmission or a rock-bottom sticker price will alienate the vast majority of North American subcompact buyers. But that may not be the best way to look at the three-cylinder Fiesta. Instead, think of it as a taste of the small-displacement economy cars that were once restricted to the other side of the Atlantic, and a test bed for future applications of boosted three-cylinder engines. The efficiency, character and quirkiness are just bonuses.

Ford provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gasoline for this review. We didn’t use very much gas.

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2015 Ford F-150 Customer Orders Delayed Until February http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/2015-ford-f-150-customer-orders-delayed-february/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/2015-ford-f-150-customer-orders-delayed-february/#comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 11:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=902105 Did you put in your order for the new aluminum 2015 Ford F-150? If so, you may be waiting a bit longer to join the Overlord of Truck Mountain in its court. Automotive News reports all fleet and some retail consumers who put their orders in early will be waiting until February 2015 for delivery, […]

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Did you put in your order for the new aluminum 2015 Ford F-150? If so, you may be waiting a bit longer to join the Overlord of Truck Mountain in its court.

Automotive News reports all fleet and some retail consumers who put their orders in early will be waiting until February 2015 for delivery, according to a leaked dealer memo issued August 20.

The delay is due to the automaker ensuring the launch of its newest truck will go better than when the 2013 Lincoln MKZ stumbled out of the gate early last year, as explained in the memo:

We understand the desire to get the customer units as quickly as possible, but do not want to compromise our commitment to quality for the sake of a few additional weeks of delivery.

Those who are waiting until the F-150′s showroom arrival will have better luck, as all 3,000 of the Blue Oval’s dealers will receive a handful or two of the new pickup near the end of the year, with the first pre-production units expected to roll off the line near the end of October.

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Capsule Review: 2015 Ford Ka (Brazilian Market) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/capsule-review-2015-ford-ka-brazilian-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/capsule-review-2015-ford-ka-brazilian-market/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 12:30:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=897922 The Ford Ka was born as a provocateur with a challenging design and hints of refinement that solidified the idea that cars are not sold by the pound. Highly successful in Europe, this recipe proved less so in the rest of the world, particularly Latin America were the car was relentlessly cheapened out over its career […]

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The Ford Ka was born as a provocateur with a challenging design and hints of refinement that solidified the idea that cars are not sold by the pound. Highly successful in Europe, this recipe proved less so in the rest of the world, particularly Latin America were the car was relentlessly cheapened out over its career and became irrevocably divorced from the European car in its second generation. Now, designed and developed by Ford Brazil (with some help from the European unit), the Ka, in its third generation, sets out from the tropics in its eventual quest to become an integral part of the One Ford strategy (sales in Europe, from a UK beachhead, should commence in the fall of 2015).

This time around the Ka will be Ford’s cheapest offering, nestling under the Fiesta. Though it is shorter than its cousin, its wheelbase is exactly the same. The new Ka is taller and a hair wider, offering a greater sensation of roominess in its interior. If front seat space is comparable, the back seats have been placed further back and due to the high roofline, four non-NBA sized people can sit in good comfort, especially by segment standards. As in everything else in life, this decision brought with it a definite drawback: The 257 liter trunk is the smallest in its category. While not such a problem in Western Europe, were cars like this are viewed as urban runabouts, it definitely could be  blight for the Ka’s career in much of the rest of the world. In these markets, a Ka is expected to pull family duty and the trunk is tight for a family of four come vacation time.

The new Ka is also a very interesting statement on how Ford sees the Brazil and other developing auto markets. In Brazil the car starts off at 35,000 reais, whereas some competitors are offered at 25,000 reais. When equipped like the Ka, however, Ford’s pricing becomes competitive, maybe even aggressive. Features like assisted steering, air conditioning and power windows have become the new norm, and the Ka’s equipment levels are commensurate with its price. Ford claims they want the retail sales title and will have to sell over 10 thousand cars a month to reach their goal.

For that amount of money the Ka offers the items mentioned, but extras like electronic brake distribution, hill holder, Sync and even its version of an emergency call system, the first for any car in Brazil. Other sophisticated items like ESP are offered depending on version, and a first for the small car segment in Brazil.

Stepping inside the car, besides the roominess already mentioned, the care taken in its finishing is immediately noticed. While hard plastics are the norm, they are decently assembled and different textures and color are duly appreciated. Internal design and layout is inspired by what is seen in the Fiesta. Cubbies to put modern life’s unavoidable accruements are offered generously and Ford claims there are 21 of them, though I didn’t notice all of them. However, there are more places to accommodate stuff than in the Fiesta and most competitors. Overall impressions are good.

Stepping back out to see the design, the car’s height is readily apparent. As confirmed by the tape measure, the car is and looks taller than anything else in the segment. As it is relatively short and wide, to some the car will look fat. To my eyes it doesn’t seem so, but the height is a bit of a challenge. The front fascia clearly follows Ford’s Aston Martin-inspired ideal and is still a very nice look. The side profile is also eye pleasing, with a high belt line that Ford managed to make not too intrusive as sightlines are good. The car’s worst design element is the back. Comparing to the front and even its profile, it is demure to be sure. Maybe even too timid for what the front suggests.

Mechanically, the car begins to stand out to the enthusiast. The car uses a naturally aspirated, 1 liter, 3 cylinder, 12 valve, flex fuel version of the engine already on sale in Europe and North America, but without the turbocharger. It features variable valve timing in both the intake and exhaust, and other tricks like separate cooling for head and block.  The crankshaft is built so there is an angle between flywheel and pulley, a simple solution that eliminated much of the bothersome vibrations inherent in 3 cylinder engines without having to resort to extraneous measures. Ford also promises low upkeep costs. For example, the engine features an oil bathed chain that requires no maintenance for 240,000 kilometers. This small power plant produces 80 horsepower using Brazilian gasoline or 85 ponies should you choose to fuel it with ethanol. This makes it the most powerful naturally aspirated 1.0 liter engine in Brazil and, quite possibly, the world.

The best part about driving this engine is its refinement. It pulls very progressively from 1500 RPMs up to redline. Couple that with its long fifth gear, and it’s a comfortable cruiser at speed. The sprint to 62 mph is done in about 14 seconds, which is very good in the category. Were it not for a certain sluggishness in its response, and the existence of the new Volkswagen up! (which also uses a 3 cylinder 1.0), this could be considered the best 1.0 in the Brazilian market, bringing heat to some of the 1.4 and 1.6 liters available. Though smaller, the up! is undeniably faster and even more economic. It also sounds better, though it vibrates more than the Ford.

The first Ka had a kart-like ride that enthusiasts appreciate (myself included). The back for example always threatened to let loose in curves if the driver hesitated in accelerating. The new Ka does not touch that level of sportiness, but its manners driving fast or slow are impeccable. The suspension does not allow unnecessary roll, yet manages not to be uncomfortable. Handling is precise, the electric steering is very light in urban driving and becomes heavier the faster you go (though still numb compared to hydraulic setups), noise and harshness are contained and I didn’t notice any squeaks and rattles from the finishing. Again, probably the best suspension available in small cars in Brazil, were it not for the up!.

The new Ford Ka is a well-rounded, relatively sophisticated modern car. Offering space (at least for passengers) and an undeniably modern, efficient and fun ride and engine, it is poised to become a sales leader in places where small cars are appreciated. It is on sale in Brazil and the sedan version, the Ka+, will begin sales next month. It will soon be exported to other South American markets. It will also be produced in India and sold all over the world. It is a shame North Americans will probably not get it because it continues Ford’s tradition of offering advanced and pleasant small cars.

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Employee Files Charges Against UAW, Ford Over Dues http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/employee-files-charges-uaw-ford-dues/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/employee-files-charges-uaw-ford-dues/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 11:30:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=899074 Though it won’t be until next September when Detroit Three employees in Michigan will be able to opt-out of paying dues to the United Auto Workers, one Ford employee has gone ahead with legal action to recoup some of his dues now. Detroit Free Press reports Ford tool-and-die maker Todd Lemire, with legal help from […]

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Though it won’t be until next September when Detroit Three employees in Michigan will be able to opt-out of paying dues to the United Auto Workers, one Ford employee has gone ahead with legal action to recoup some of his dues now.

Detroit Free Press reports Ford tool-and-die maker Todd Lemire, with legal help from the National Right to Work Foundation, has filed charges against both the automaker and the UAW with the National Labor Relations Board on the objection to using a portion of his dues to support the Democratic Party, invoking his Beck rights to claw back $98 of dues over the past three months thus far.

If successful, the legal action would pave the way for others who don’t want to pay dues beyond core union activities, if at all, prior to the September 15, 2015 expiration date of the UAW’s current contracts with the Detroit Three. After that date, new contracts would allow all workers in Michigan the right to opt-out of paying any dues, the result of the state legislature’s passage of Michigan’s right-to-work law in 2012.

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Ford, Chevrolet Begin Labor Day Battle Weeks Early http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/ford-chevrolet-begin-labor-day-battle-weeks-early/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/ford-chevrolet-begin-labor-day-battle-weeks-early/#comments Tue, 19 Aug 2014 13:00:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=895386 Hold onto your wallets: Ford and Chevrolet are getting the jump on Labor Day sales weeks in advance of what most consider the end of the summer season. Automotive News reports the two brands are bringing their A games to the showroom, ranging from 0 percent financing for 72 months across most of their respective […]

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Ford Labor Day Sale 2014

Hold onto your wallets: Ford and Chevrolet are getting the jump on Labor Day sales weeks in advance of what most consider the end of the summer season.

Automotive News reports the two brands are bringing their A games to the showroom, ranging from 0 percent financing for 72 months across most of their respective lines, to Chevrolet offering deferred payments for the first 90 days for select models. Rather than wait until closer to Labor Day, however, Ford launched the first attack back in late July; Chevrolet kicked off its campaign last week.

The end game? Regain lost ground in sales from the first half of 2014. Ford lost 1 percent of its share of the market, dropping to 14.8 percent in comparison to 2013. Meanwhile, Chevrolet fell from 12.9 percent to 12.5 percent in the same period comparison.

Other combatants in the end-of-summer sales battle include Toyota offering 0 percent APR for 60 months on a handful of models, Nissan presenting 0 percent between 36 and 72 months depending on the model chosen, and Dodge giving buyers 90-day deferments on 2014 and 2015 models through Labor Day weekend.

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Ford do Brasil Unveils New Ka Hatchback, Sedan For Global Markets http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/ford-brasil-unveils-new-ka-hatchback-sedan-global-markets/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/ford-brasil-unveils-new-ka-hatchback-sedan-global-markets/#comments Thu, 14 Aug 2014 12:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=893082 Last week, Ford do Brasil unveiled the new Ka and Ka+, set to be built and sold (almost) worldwide in short order. Just-Auto reports the city car will come in both five-door (Ka) and sedan (Ka+) formats, with power to the front coming from either a 1-liter 12v TiVCT or 1.5-liter 16v Sigma flex-fuel three-pots. […]

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2015 Ka

Last week, Ford do Brasil unveiled the new Ka and Ka+, set to be built and sold (almost) worldwide in short order.

Just-Auto reports the city car will come in both five-door (Ka) and sedan (Ka+) formats, with power to the front coming from either a 1-liter 12v TiVCT or 1.5-liter 16v Sigma flex-fuel three-pots. The 1-liter, in particular, will be assembled in Brazil at Ford’s Camaçari factory, while both Kas will roll off the line at its São Bernardo do Campo plant.

The Ka was developed in the country with the help of engineering teams in Europe and the United States, and will be assembled in China, Thailand, India — where Ford of Europe will likely receive theirs — and South Africa.

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Capsule Review: 1964 Ford Cortina http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/capsule-review-1964-ford-cortina/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/capsule-review-1964-ford-cortina/#comments Tue, 12 Aug 2014 12:45:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=888841 Most of my writing on this site is centered around the “clash of civilizations” – the eternal debate over whether American or European cars are superior in qualitative, if not quantitative matters. But among all those reviews of new European and American cars, or my sordid tales of living with old American iron in Europe, it’s easy […]

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Most of my writing on this site is centered around the “clash of civilizations” – the eternal debate over whether American or European cars are superior in qualitative, if not quantitative matters. But among all those reviews of new European and American cars, or my sordid tales of living with old American iron in Europe, it’s easy to forget that today’s European cars are in fact quite similar to the American ones. At least compared to what they’ve been in the past.

To prove my point, I borrowed my friend’s 1964 Ford Cortina. This car is quite special to me, being one of the old European Fords I loved in my late teens and early twenties – I took them as a substitute to the classic American cars, which were out of my reach then. My grandfather used to own a Mark I Cortina just like this one, although it was replaced by a Polski Fiat 125p before I was even born.

But more importantly to you, my dear readers, is the fact that the Cortina is representative of the typical European family car of the epoch, one of the most popular cars in Great Britain and sold in large numbers in other countries as well. You can even trace exact lineage from Cortina to 1980s Sierra to the Mondeo – which, when the new generation finally comes, will be identical to the USDM Fusion.

But back in 1964, its USDM equivalent would be the Ford Fairlane. While the Fairlane was 5,002 mm (197“) long, hulking sedan riding on a 2,934 mm (115.5“) wheelbase, with a 2.8-litre straight six (145hp) as a base engine (a 4.7/289 c.i. V8 with 271hp was available), the Cortina was a different beast altogether. A fairly sizeable car for Europe of its time, it boasted a stately 4,274 mm (168.25“) of length, riding on 2,489 mm (98“) wheelbase. Under the hood? A 1.2-litre four. That’s 73 cubic inches, or a bit less than a typical American motorcycle of the time had. Horsepower? A whopping 65 ponies.

And it doesn’t stop here. Just look at the list of optional extras. With Cortina, you could buy things like heater or a fan as extras. Or a fancy DeLuxe model with a real chrome grille, instead of painted one. The Fairlane? Power steering and power brakes were not only available, but very common, as was the automatic transmission (Cortina could have one, but it was extremely rare). You could also order power steering, power brakes or even air conditioning – something basically unheard of in Europe of that time.

On paper, it would seem that the American car beats its distant European cousin on all fronts – and usually by quite a margin. But what about reality? Did the British Ford make up for the tiny size and missing horsepower by its sophistication and precise handling?

The very first thing you will notice once you sit behind the Cortina’s huge wheel is the sheer emptiness of the cabin.You are sitting in a car quite a bit smaller than today’s Focus sedan, and you feel an unusual roominess. For the passengers in front, it can probably feel even roomier than today’s Mondeo/Fusion. There is no huge center console, no wide door pockets, no deep buckets. Just you and a lot of empty space. Also nice is the fact that you can actually see outside, as the roof is supported by slender pillars instead of massive columns used in modern cars.

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The flip side of all this? A bit of discomfort, caused by total absence of ergonomics, as well as any comfort equipment. Nowhere to put your keys, wallet or a phone. And probably also the quite unpleasant fact that once you crash, even just a little, you will die a horrible, painful death.

Obviously, this car isn’t equipped with a modern, fuel injected engine with array of sensors and a computer to decide about things like the air/fuel ratio. Today, we take for granted that once you turn a key in the ignition/press the starting button, the engine starts purring evenly, with no hesitation

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Here, you have to pull something called a “choke” to increase the air/fuel ratio, so the cold engine actually starts up. And you have to do a bit of magic with the right amount of gas during starting, or maybe a few “pumps” of the pedal before you turn the key. Once the engine gets warm enough, you have to remember to switch the choke off again, or else you’ll “flood” the engine. And no, there is no “idiot light” to warn you that you’re running on choke for too long.

But other than the carb-related wizardry, the Cortina’s operation is fairly straightforward. Step on the clutch, find first gear – yeah, in this case, you have to really find it, with a gearstick the length of a small fishing rod – and go.

Once on the move, you’ll notice much of what you have probably expected. The Cortina is very slow, but from behind the wheel, it feels like you’re driving awfully quick. The engine and transmission are noisy, the car doesn’t feel very stable and isn’t even that comfortable – it is much less comfy than you would expect with a softly sprung suspension and tiny wheels with narrow, tall tires.

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You probably also wouldn’t be surprised by the fact that driving this car requires some muscle – the brakes and the steering are not power-assisted. Braking from higher speeds, as well as turning in slow speeds, is a pain in the ass. When braking, you’re usually concerned whether you will stop the car at all and not about your tires blocking and losing grip. And similarly, at speeds over 50mph, you need to pay real attention to ensuring that you won’t just go off the road.

However, there is still one surprise. With all the current jibber-jabber about the electric power steering systems being devoid of feel, and the preceding hydraulic ones being much superior, we tend to think that old cars were magically connected to the driver, talking to him and signalling the ever-smallest changes of grip underneath the wheels.

But I have some bad news for you. With old-style recirculating-ball type steering, you can just quietly forget about “steering feel”. And without the power steering, even more so. The helm requires some strength to turn, has some play and doesn’t really tell you much about what’s happening underneath. Did I mention that the steering wheel is friggin’ huge? Otherwise it would be impossible to turn around or park, without the power steering. But if you just imagine things like going sideways with this thing, well, it’s really, really terrifying.

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This is probably the biggest surprise I encountered during my drive. Arguably, the modern car offers more driver involvement in some respects. While the new cars, with their electric steering racks, unswitchable ESPs, fat tires and absurd limits of grip are scary to drive fast simply because you have to go extremely fast to really feel any speed, the Cortina is scary to get even close to the limit, because its controls just don’t offer you enough control to ensure that you don’t kill yourself. It’s not fair to extrapolate the difference in progress between the various eras. The cars from eighties or nineties were truly the exception instead of the norm. In those two decades, it was fairly normal for a ordinary car to be truly communicative, to be easy to drive on the limit, and to provide immense fun. The gap between the 1960′s and the 1980s versus the 1980s until now provides us with a window where we can view the extraordinary progress made in terms of driving dynamics.

That’s not to say that the Cortina isn’t fun. It’s more fun than a barrel of monkeys, as they would say in the sixties. I would add that it’s more fun than barrel of angry, rabies-infested monkeys. And probably as likely to kill you. You will not want to go near the limits of grip – not because it’s hard to find, but because it’s very easy to find. And when you get there, it may be too hard to ensure that you won’t die a fiery death. It reminds you of the times when just getting your car at the (today’s) speed limit and going somewhere required skill. Our current speed limits were drawn up in the era of the Cortina, and viewed in that light, it seems crazy that we have never re-examined them.

Even so, the Cortina is a wonderful little car. It made me think about getting something slow and simple and old for myself again. But most of all, it’s a testament to how much the automobile improved in the last 50 years, and that we all should be immensely grateful for that.

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Ford, UAW, Wounded Warriors Team Up For Veteran Welding Program http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/ford-uaw-wounded-warriors-team-veteran-welding-program/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/ford-uaw-wounded-warriors-team-veteran-welding-program/#comments Tue, 12 Aug 2014 11:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=889281 Much like Jaguar Land Rover’s own program, Ford is training military veterans for apprenticeships and entry-level civilian positions in welding in the auto industry and beyond. Detroit Free Press reports the program, a partnership between the automaker, the United Auto Workers and Wounded Warriors Family Support, will teach welding to eight selected veterans of Enduring […]

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Wounded Warriors - Ford-UAW Veteran Welding Program

Much like Jaguar Land Rover’s own program, Ford is training military veterans for apprenticeships and entry-level civilian positions in welding in the auto industry and beyond.

Detroit Free Press reports the program, a partnership between the automaker, the United Auto Workers and Wounded Warriors Family Support, will teach welding to eight selected veterans of Enduring Freedom, Desert Storm and Desert Shield in a six-week course beginning this week. The course is being taught at the UAW Ford Technical Training Center.

The ultimate goal of the program is to send veterans into a profession where some 290,000 skilled welders will be needed by 2020, as explained to the students by UAW vice president James Settles Jr.:

The worst thing you can do is train people with the expectation they’ll get jobs and they don’t get jobs.

Aside from welding, Wounded Warriors founder and president Col. John Folsom is also looking into a 10-week machining course.

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GM Will Set Base Curb Weight For Its Truck Lineup http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/gm-will-set-base-curb-weight-truck-lineup/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/gm-will-set-base-curb-weight-truck-lineup/#comments Mon, 11 Aug 2014 12:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=888617 The next time you visit a Chevrolet or GMC showroom to check out a full-size or mid-size pickup, you may find the truck’s curb weight to be heavier than once advertised. That’s because General Motors has decided it will no longer remove items to make payload. Autoblog reports GM will commit to a base curb […]

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2014 Chevrolet Silverado HD 2500 long box

The next time you visit a Chevrolet or GMC showroom to check out a full-size or mid-size pickup, you may find the truck’s curb weight to be heavier than once advertised. That’s because General Motors has decided it will no longer remove items to make payload.

Autoblog reports GM will commit to a base curb weight for its Silverado/Sierra and Colorado/Canyon twins after a number of complaints regarding its and Ford’s practice of removing items — spare tires, radios, jacks, center consoles — to lower curb weight for a boost in maximum payload capacity. Representative Tom Wilkinson says the move will bring curb weight on par with other truck makers for easier comparisons when consumers go truck shopping. Heavy-duty trucks will also have a base weight, though those numbers have yet to be finalized.

However, GM and everyone else says the truck’s Tire and Load Label should be consulted over curb weight ratings when it comes to maximum payload capacity. Meanwhile, Ford will continue use its temporary decontenting methods to determine curb weight.

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FBI Obtains Work Email Of Former Ford Engineer In Espionage Investigation http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/fbi-obtains-work-email-former-ford-engineer-espionage-investigation/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/fbi-obtains-work-email-former-ford-engineer-espionage-investigation/#comments Fri, 08 Aug 2014 13:00:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=884457 Further along in its investigation of potential industrial espionage, the FBI has acquired access to the work email of former Ford engineer Sharon Leach. The Detroit News reports the email seizure was part of a search warrant issued to the automaker. Ford sent a DVD and an unidentified document to the agency earlier this week, […]

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Further along in its investigation of potential industrial espionage, the FBI has acquired access to the work email of former Ford engineer Sharon Leach.

The Detroit News reports the email seizure was part of a search warrant issued to the automaker. Ford sent a DVD and an unidentified document to the agency earlier this week, with information containing all emails, drafts, files et al linked to Leach’s account. The FBI seized similar information related to her personal email account and eight listening devices in July.

The ongoing investigation is the result of Leach admitting to her bosses to leaving behind said devices after recording meetings in lieu of taking notes, with other meetings being recorded until she found time to recover the devices. The confession prompted Ford to fire the engineer, and to make a phone call to the FBI.

Representatives for Ford and the FBI declined to provide more details into the investigation, and court records that could do so are sealed in federal court. Leach has not been charged as of this writing.

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European Review: Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/european-review-ford-mustang-shelby-gt500/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/european-review-ford-mustang-shelby-gt500/#comments Thu, 07 Aug 2014 12:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=865961 When you want to spend around $100,000 on a car in Europe, few ideas are dumber than buying a pickup truck. Except for this one. Six-hundred-and-sixty-two-horsepower. Live rear axle. A nearly two tonne curb weight. That sounds like something that belongs on a dragstrip. The problem is, we have no dragstrips in the Czech Republic. What […]

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Snímek obrazovky pořízený 2014-08-05 21:11:04

When you want to spend around $100,000 on a car in Europe, few ideas are dumber than buying a pickup truck. Except for this one.

Six-hundred-and-sixty-two-horsepower. Live rear axle. A nearly two tonne curb weight. That sounds like something that belongs on a dragstrip. The problem is, we have no dragstrips in the Czech Republic. What we do have, though, are twisty roads. And, being a not-exactly-filthy-rich-postcommunist-country, they aren’t in the best condition. In fact, they’re a lot like Michigan or Britain’s roads. You want something like a hot hatch, with lots of compliance and suspension travel.

But muscle cars seem to have a cult following here. The owner, a young man called Honza (that’s Jack for you Americans), drives a diesel Mercedes as his daily vehicle. He bought the Shelby after a long line of fast motorcycles, but he isn’t some crazy US-car loving freak like me – he also looked at Porsches, a GT-R and even a Ferrari. The GT500 grabbed his attention because of its bang for buck. Even at about $100,000 at one of our grey-market importers, it’s tough to beat.

When I got the chance to review the car and shoot a video with it, I was of course thrilled. But, strangely, it wasn’t the notion of driving a 600+ car that interested me the most. What I was most anxious to know, was how a Mustang drives on local roads. This was something I was dying to know since I drove a Boss 302 on an improvised autocross track. I wanted to know whether my feeling that I should buy a current-gen Mustang as soon as they get cheap is right, or whether I end up disappointed, like with the Chevy Suburban.

Snímek obrazovky pořízený 2014-08-05 21:10:39

Before even delving into the performance side of things, I was struck by how practical the GT500 is. The trunk is huge for a car this size, easily dwarfing the Camaro’s puny cargo compartment. Honza’s 5’10 girlfriend folded herself neatly into the rear seat without complaints.

Not even five minutes later, Honza asked me whether I feltthe live rear axle bobbing around, as we rounded a left-hand bend.When I asked how fast we’re going, the answer was not the 110-115mph I was estimating, but 150. And yes, the car really doesn’t feel as planted as the European competition at these speeds, although it’s very clearly capable of being driven in such way.

Finally, I got to drive. Since this was part of a video shoot, it was mostly driving to and fro at 20 to 30mph, doing awful lots of three-pointed (sometimes more-pointed) turns in tight places.And its civility continued to impress me.

Snímek obrazovky pořízený 2014-08-05 21:11:38

As long as you don’t have too heavy of a right foot, it drives like a very smooth, solid grand tourer. And it’s just a tiny bit harder to handle than your parents’ Ford Focus – the clutch is a bit heavier and its action a tad too sharp, the shifting is slightly heavier, and of course, the car is big and kinda hard to see out of. But you could drive this car in traffic, every day, without complaints.

Even on large wheels, and with stiffer Shelby suspension, the car is still quite comfortable on the broken pavement. Or maybe not comfortable, but definitely bearable. It’s no Town Car, but a ride on a backroads won’t send you to your dentist.

However, I could’ve expected this. After all, it’s just a Mustang. A fairly big American coupe for the masses. It may be a Mustang with an ungodly engine and fat wheels, but it’s still a Mustang. And being comfortable enough will not make it worthwhile to own in Europe all by itself. A $100,000, 662hp automobile should better be fun. And here, the GT500 can run into a bit of trouble.

Snímek obrazovky pořízený 2014-08-05 21:13:30

Czech roads are nowhere as tight as French or British ones, but they are still tight. And twisty. Driving fast in the hairpins with a Shelby is not exactly good idea – send it sideways (which should be easy with all that horsepower), and you’re at risk of hitting the trees on both left and right side of the road, at once. On the other hand, a 5-series BMW is even larger than the Mustang, and no one finds it too big for EU roads.

The main difference between the Shelby and BMWs or Audis is not the size. It’s the strange squishiness, a slight hint of instability of the suspension. With the Mustang (and I felt the same while autocrossing the Boss 302), you never feel totally in control, and the car never feels totally planted. I know that the Boss should be able to take on the BMW M3 on the track. And I guess the GT500 will at least come close, if it doesn’t beat it as well. But here, on those roads, in my hands? No way. I’ve driven a BMW 335i (F30) here, and I know it would dust the Shelby.

Projekt 1

In a BMW, or anything similar, it’s awfully easy to go fast. Those cars feel stable and planted and surefooted. They don’t talk to you about their insecurities, they just go like hell, and don’t bother you with it. You can tackle a sweeping backroad corner at 100mph with the 335i, and never think twice about it. The Shelby would probably be able to keep up – but only if you got balls, because it does let you know how fast you’re going.

I couldn’t really find out what it feels like on the limit – I’m not that good, and the owner is not that generous. But at those maybe 70% I could try, the Shelby already started to feel “exciting”, while BMWs and others pretty much feel like nothing’s happening up until some 90%.

Some of you may take it as a criticism against the Shelby. And from a certain point of view, it can be – if you want a car that’s easy to drive fast, this is not the one. But driving really fast on public roads is dangerous and expensive business. What most of us really want is the feeling of speed. The notion that you have a machine to handle and that you have to work for the speed. And the Mustang gives it to you in spades.

Projekt 9

The only problem is the power. In twisties, even half throttle is a bonkers idea. In the first hour or so of driving, I never even heard the supercharger whine – I didn’t have the space necessary to step on it and run it at more than maybe 3000 rpm. Only later, when we got to the faster roads with some straightaway sections, I had a chance to make a few full-throttle runs. Maybe five or six seconds a time, with the speedo running up to some 100 – 110mph. In those moments, I rejected my previous idea that 662hp is simply too much. It isn’t. It’s wonderful. Even for those short blast.

But to really enjoy the car, to be able to really rush it on backroads, the Shelby is too much. As Jack wrote, you have to feather it all the time even on the track. On B-roads, it’s dangerous to even look at the accelerator the wrong way. The rush from flooring it is wonderful, but also terribly short.

So, would the Boss be the right choice for European buyers? I don’t think so. Maybe if you live in Germany, or Spain, or anywhere else with new, high-quality roads. Otherwise it’s too hard, too sporty for the broken roads. No, I suspect that the best Mustang for European roads will be the 5.0 GT Performance Pack. Those great Recaros will keep you in place, the large brakes will be very needed on our roads, and the lesser engine will actually make the car more fun.

Projekt 15

I would even go further and suggest that the best Mustang for Europe may actually be the V6, but there’s still the fact that it’s a V6. Owning an American car in Europe sort of requires for it to have a roaring V8. Otherwise, the V6, with its lighter weight and better balance, may very well be the best Mustang for an European. I will have to borrow one to find out.

Until I drove the Shelby, I thought that the IRS suspension of the 2015 car will  be a vast improvement of the car, making it really usable in Europe. Now? I’m not so sure. I think that the 2015 Mustang Ecoboost will be a great car, and will work on European roads quite well. But I’m a bit worried that it may be much closer to the modern BMWs than to this Mustang.

@VojtaDobes is motoring journalist from Czech Republic, who previously worked for local editions of Autocar and TopGear magazines. Today, he runs his own website, www.Autickar.cz and serves as editor-in-chief at www.USmotors.cz. After a failed adventure with importing classic American cars to Europe, he is utterly broke, so he drives a borrowed Lincoln Town Car. His previous cars included a 1988 Caprice in NYC Taxi livery, a hot-rodded Opel Diplomat, two Dodge Coronets, a Simca, a Fiat 600 and Austin Maestro. He has never owned a diesel, manual wagon.

Projekt 17 Projekt 16 Projekt 15 Projekt 14 Projekt 13 Projekt 12 Projekt 11 Projekt 10 Projekt 9 Projekt8 Projekt 7 Projekt 6 Projekt 5 Projekt 4 Projekt 3 Projekt 2 Projekt 1 Snímek obrazovky pořízený 2014-08-05 21:14:52 Snímek obrazovky pořízený 2014-08-05 21:14:26 Snímek obrazovky pořízený 2014-08-05 21:14:12 Snímek obrazovky pořízený 2014-08-05 21:13:53 Snímek obrazovky pořízený 2014-08-05 21:13:30 Snímek obrazovky pořízený 2014-08-05 21:13:02 Snímek obrazovky pořízený 2014-08-05 21:12:48 Snímek obrazovky pořízený 2014-08-05 21:12:28 Snímek obrazovky pořízený 2014-08-05 21:12:15 Snímek obrazovky pořízený 2014-08-05 21:11:38 Snímek obrazovky pořízený 2014-08-05 21:11:22 Snímek obrazovky pořízený 2014-08-05 21:11:04 Snímek obrazovky pořízený 2014-08-05 21:10:39 Snímek obrazovky pořízený 2014-08-05 21:10:18 Snímek obrazovky pořízený 2014-08-05 21:09:59 Snímek obrazovky pořízený 2014-08-05 21:09:40 Snímek obrazovky pořízený 2014-08-05 21:09:17

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Fired Ford Engineer Under FBI Spotlight On Espionage Claims http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/fired-ford-engineer-under-fbi-spotlight-on-espionage-claims/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/fired-ford-engineer-under-fbi-spotlight-on-espionage-claims/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 11:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=874313 A former Ford engineer is currently under the gun amid espionage claims levied by the automaker with the help of the FBI. Autoblog reports the Blue Oval called upon the agency in the former’s investigation of Sharon Leach after security found and seized eight recording devices used in her meetings with her now-former colleagues. In […]

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A former Ford engineer is currently under the gun amid espionage claims levied by the automaker with the help of the FBI.

Autoblog reports the Blue Oval called upon the agency in the former’s investigation of Sharon Leach after security found and seized eight recording devices used in her meetings with her now-former colleagues. In turn, FBI agents arrived at Leach’s home with warrants to seize more such devices — along with computers, jump drives and financial records — fearing whatever may be on them would be destroyed if the agency issued the former engineer a subpoena.

Though Leach has yet to state anything publicly, her attorney, Marshall Tauber, says she used the devices in note-taking:

I think you’re dealing with a person who was seeing how sharp the new kids are and maybe feeling a need to keep up with them. And maybe she realized that she’s not as attentive as she once was and needs a little assistance. Maybe her memory was failing her on the technology end but she didn’t want to admit it.

The case is now in the purview of the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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Ford Falcon Receives New Face http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/ford-falcon-receives-new-face-in-its-twilight-age/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/ford-falcon-receives-new-face-in-its-twilight-age/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 12:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=873042 This will be the face of the last of the V8 interceptors for Ford’s Falcon, and that’s only the beginning. Autoblog reports the Falcon’s new face is in line with the upcoming Mustang, as well as the Fusion and Mondeo. Unlike the front-drivers, however, the Falcon’s new look — beginning with the XR8 — will […]

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This will be the face of the last of the V8 interceptors for Ford’s Falcon, and that’s only the beginning.

Autoblog reports the Falcon’s new face is in line with the upcoming Mustang, as well as the Fusion and Mondeo. Unlike the front-drivers, however, the Falcon’s new look — beginning with the XR8 — will come with firepower in the form of a 5-liter supercharged V8, as well as a trio of six-cylinder engines and the EcoBoost four-pot.

Other touches include LED tail lamps meant to show off the Falcon’s backside to the Commodores trailing behind it, and headlamps with that are specific to the Australian sedan. Beyond this, the Falcon’s facelift is but a mid-cycle refresh for the record books.

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Galhotra Takes The Reins As Lincoln’s New President http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/galhotra-takes-the-reins-as-lincolns-new-president/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/galhotra-takes-the-reins-as-lincolns-new-president/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 12:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=871938 As one of his first major moves since becoming CEO, Ford’s Mark Fields named vice president of engineering Kumar Galhotra as president of Lincoln, effective September 1. Automotive News reports Galhotra, who will report directly to the new CEO, will be the premium brand’s first president since Al Giombetti left the post in 2007. The […]

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As one of his first major moves since becoming CEO, Ford’s Mark Fields named vice president of engineering Kumar Galhotra as president of Lincoln, effective September 1.

Automotive News reports Galhotra, who will report directly to the new CEO, will be the premium brand’s first president since Al Giombetti left the post in 2007. The move will also reduce executive vice president of global sales, service and marketing Jim Farley’s role with Lincoln, which will be focused on marketing the brand once Galhotra takes over.

The new president — an engineer and product executive who has worked with Lincoln, Ford and Mazda in the past — will bring his marketing experience to the table as Lincoln prepares to launch in China later in 2014; he headed Ford’s Asia Pacific division from 2009 to 2013, and helped bring about the new Ranger pickup to market.

Speaking of the division, engineering director Jim Holland will move from there to replace Galhotra as Ford’s vice president of engineering, reporting to global product development chief Raj Nair.

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Capsule Review: 2014 Ford Fiesta SE 1.0 liter EcoBoost http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/capsule-review-2014-ford-fiesta-se-1-0-liter-ecoboost/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/capsule-review-2014-ford-fiesta-se-1-0-liter-ecoboost/#comments Wed, 09 Jul 2014 12:30:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=861409 Enthusiasts, rejoice! Ford has what you have been asking for – a low-priced economical vehicle with a proper manual transmission (it’s the only choice!) and turbo power. Those two important features are in a car that is not completely stripped down, either! Yes, you can stream music from your fancy phone and open the windows […]

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2015 ford fiesta se ecoboost front 34

Enthusiasts, rejoice! Ford has what you have been asking for – a low-priced economical vehicle with a proper manual transmission (it’s the only choice!) and turbo power. Those two important features are in a car that is not completely stripped down, either! Yes, you can stream music from your fancy phone and open the windows by pressing buttons. But does this combination make the 3-cylinder Fiesta a game changer?

2015 ford fiesta se ecoboost engine

For an extra $995 over the regular 1.6-liter 4-cylinder, the Fiesta SE gives you a 1.0-liter 3-cylinder EcoBoost (marketing term for a direct-injection and turbo/intercooler) engine. That engine produces three more horsepower and 13 more torques for a total 123hp and 125 lb-ft. Not surprisingly, the fuel economy increases to 31mpg in the city and 43mpg on the highway. While those are good numbers, they are certainly not changing any games. For comparison 2015 Honda Fit gets 31/41mpg, Toyota Yaris 30/37, Nissan Versa Note 31/40, and the Mitsubishi Mirage 37/44.

Even with the improved fuel economy, it is unlikely that the additional cost of the engine would make sense to most casual buyers. Furthermore, the lack of an available automatic transmission is likely to keep most buyers away, which leaves two kinds of potential buyers: cheapskates and enthusiasts. Cheapskates are out, they’ll just buy the Fiesta S. That leaves you, the enthusiasts who are reading this.

2015 ford fiesta se ecoboost details

This is a slow car, yet the engine begs to be red-lined in every gear. You can drive it like a total hooligan and not get into an ounce of trouble. While this may have an adverse effect on the fuel economy, it is fun and perfect for those who treat the accelerator like an on/off switch. The shifter is smooth and the clutch pedal is light – if you stall out in this car you should just quit saving the manuals.

That said, the Romanian-built cast iron motor in this Mexican-built car is very slow reving, as if someone intentionally bolted up a heavy flywheel to it. Get caught in the wrong gear, especially around slow city turns where downshifts into first gear may be required, and you’ll be inching along with your foot to the floor. On the highway it is surprisingly frisky, but still requiring a lot of shifting.

Common sense would dictate that a vehicle designed with the enthusiast in mind would come with perhaps a sport tuned suspension, but that is not the case here. While the engine is not overpowering the chassis, there is nothing sporty about this car’s handling. Further confusing the potential enthusiast buyer is the fact that this engine cannot be combined with the upscale versions of SYNC (Aux and USB audio inputs are there), aluminum wheels, or an upgraded interior trim which is available on the four-banger SE. This should have you scratching your head.

2015 ford fiesta se ecoboost interior dash

The interior, even without the mentioned features, is surprisingly nice. All materials are pleasing to the eyes and to touch, the seats are well padded and generally very comfortable. There is plenty of room in the front but those over six feet tall will, not surprisingly, complain when seated in the back seat. The rear seats folds down, 60:40 split, but the opening to the trunk is rather small so only flat parcels will fit. There are some typical Ford-esque ergonomic issues with the Euro-flavored dash, specifically the tiny diamond-shaped radio buttons. The center radio display and its controls seem pretty dated, too.

The SE sedan starts at $15,580. This test vehicle had the SE EcoBoost engine for $995, comfort package (heated seats, mirrors, clime control) for $290, special Green Envy paint job at $595, and a destination charge of $825. The total comes to $18,285 but at the time of this writing Ford was offering a $750 incentive which brought the total price to $17,535.

2015 ford fiesta se ecoboost rear 34

After spending a few days with this car, I could not figure out who this car was for. If I was a cheapskate I would buy the entry-level model. If I was someone who just wanted an appliance I would get the four cylinder. A true enthusiast would spend a little more and get the superb Fiesta ST for only three grand more. And that car, my friends, is a game changer.

Kamil Kaluski is the east coast editor for Hooniverse.com. Read his ramblings on eastern European cars, $500 racers, and other miscellaneous car stuff can be found there. 

Ford provided the vehicle for this review.

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Bark’s Bites: Two Years with the Boss http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/barks-bites-two-years-with-the-boss/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/barks-bites-two-years-with-the-boss/#comments Tue, 08 Jul 2014 13:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=861089 My first contribution to TTAC was the purchase story of my 2013 Ford Boss 302 Mustang. To be honest, it could have easily ended up being a Corvette Grand Sport or something else entirely; I wasn’t a “Mustang collector” in the traditional sense. You know: when the Boss was announced by Ford, shouts were heard […]

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My first contribution to TTAC was the purchase story of my 2013 Ford Boss 302 Mustang. To be honest, it could have easily ended up being a Corvette Grand Sport or something else entirely; I wasn’t a “Mustang collector” in the traditional sense. You know: when the Boss was announced by Ford, shouts were heard far and wide across the internet about the collectors who would end up purchasing the cars and that they would “stay in the garages forever” or something like that. Those guys. The ones who still have 2,000-mile Mystichrome Terminators or green ’93 Cobras with plastic on the seats.

I had a different plan. Mine was going to be a daily driver, and not only that, it was going to be a daily driver for a guy who had been averaging about 25K miles a year on his outgoing vehicle. Not only that, but it was going to be daily driven in Lexington, KY, where, despite being considered “the South” by much of the country, there are about 15-20 days of serious snowfall a year. Not only THAT, I also have two young children in car seats who were going to have to be taken to school, soccer, ballet, etc. And, of course, I bought it for sporting purposes, too, hoping to participate in the occasional autocross or track day. Seems like pure folly, no?

Well, thanks to the marvelous app Timehop, I was reminded recently that over two years have now passed since that glorious day when I said goodbye to my Pontiac G8 GT (at what has proven to be a stupid, ridiculously low price—G8s are still fetching more than that on the open market two years later) and drove home my Boss. How has it fared in all the categories in which I needed it to be excellent? Well, there’s no shortage of track reviews for the Boss, most of which contain superfluous superlatives. But as a DD? Let’s judge for ourselves and see if you, too, can daily drive a pony.
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Luckily, my day job changed from one where there was a considerable amount of driving to one where there was a considerable amount of flying, which means that the number of miles on the Boss after 25 months of so is just south of 27K. In mixed driving, I average right around 20 MPG, and on long highway trips, I have been able to get over 23 MPG. Of course, the Boss requires 91+ octane, so fuel costs are significantly higher than they were with the G8, which averaged right around 25 MPG on 87 octane. However, it’s not BAD—we’re not talking Range Rover numbers here. If I didn’t enjoy the occasional take off from red lights or hard charges through the hills of Appalachia, I’m sure it would be higher—but that’s not really the point of this car, is it? Bottom line, I drive it the way I like to drive it and it doesn’t murder me at the pumps.

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Nor has it been particularly tough on tires. I’m still on my original set of OEM Pirelli P-Zeroes (with the exception of one that was replaced at about 2K miles due to an uncompromising nail), and there’s a few thousand miles of treadwear remaining. I will likely NOT replace them with Pirellis, however—there are better performing BF-Goodrich and/or Hankooks to be had that don’t cost $500-600 each. DO NOT drive the Boss 302 in the snow, or at least not on the OEM tires—apparently stupid summer tire driving choices (All-seasons! — JB) run in the family, as my excursion in the snow one day led to a miraculous save from a ditch that scraped my right rear rim significantly. I’m sure the car would be acceptable on snow tires, but I chose to buy a used Subaru for less than a set of wheels and tires would run.

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The trunk has proven to be large enough for just about anything. I can easily fit a 27” suitcase, a duffle carry on, and a tenor saxophone case in it with a little bit of room to spare. A week’s worth of groceries for a family of four presents no challenge to the Boss, as it will easily accommodate the cargo in the trunk. However, a weeklong vacation for the family requires us to take our Flex, as two adults and two children plus luggage is just too much.

As far as the actual daily driving dynamics? Purely delightful. The Boss’ adjustable shocks with five different settings can take the car from harsh and uncompromising on the track to tolerable comfort levels on the street. I’ve never set the shocks to anything other than full soft (street) or full stiff (track/autocross), nor have I felt the need to. The steering rack has three speeds, from Comfort to Sport, and I have found that Comfort is more than enough agility for even spirited street driving, whereas Sport transforms it into an AP1 S2000-like rack. It can get you into trouble pretty quickly, but it can also get you out of it.

The Getrag transmission is the part of the car that probably gets the most flak on the intarwebz, but I’ve never found it to be a problem. If you want a car that’s easy to drive, the Boss just isn’t for you, anyway. I fully admit that I opt not to drive it when there are more mundane tasks to be done—I find my Flex to be a much more mindless drive. The Boss requires engagement of all the senses. If the government really wanted to stop texting and driving, they’d just give everyone a Boss 302—I’m not saying it can’t be done, but you really wouldn’t want to. It doesn’t like being cruised around the neighborhood in first gear. The clutch is still incredibly light and sensitive after two years, and the tires will still easily chirp in third gear. Our noted and prolific commentator, BigTruckSeriesReview, will be either pleased or saddened to know that virtually nothing non-exotic will beat the Boss off the line, especially with Trackey Launch Control— even after 27K miles, 4 seconds flat from 0-60 is a cakewalk. This is a car that demands to be driven, not simply pointed and steered.

The Recaro seats are not the most comfortable things in the world for longer commutes, especially for those who have the misfortune of being in the passenger seat. As the driver, I find them to be tolerable, but all who have endured more than an hour in the passenger’s chair complain of back pain and stiffness. There’s also not really a comfortable position for your passenger to take a nap or relax, as the Recaros are designed for total engagement. But who cares when you’re romping down I-40 from Tennessee into North Carolina, handling curves at breakneck speeds? You and your passenger will be thankful for the lateral support.

The back seats? Quite good for youngsters, and sufficient for short distances for adults. My six-year-old son and three-year-old daughter fit entirely comfortably in their forward-facing child seats, and the seats are surprisingly easy to remove and install, provided that you’re able to climb in and out of the back yourself. Not too hard for me at 5’9”, 175, but for somebody over 6’, it might be a challenge. Also, if either the passenger’s or driver’s seats are being occupied by somebody over 5’9”, then legroom begins to be somewhat compromised. Again, not a problem for me (my most frequent passenger is about 5’5”), but it could be for others.

The interior shows no wear or tear at all—everything still looks brand new when I take the time to vacuum out the cracker crumbs and pick up the toys. Ford put their best people on this one. While it may not have the refinement of a German or Japanese interior, it has been every bit as durable.

On that note—it probably has fewer interior bells and whistles than any $30K car on the market…heck, maybe even any $20K car on the market, but you know that going in. If you want a big navigation screen, leather seats, and a powerful stereo, Ford will happily sell you a Mustang GT for less money (or a Shelby GT500 for much, much more), and you’ll be happier. However, if you want the snarl and handling of the Boss, you’re likely not that interested. Bluetooth and SYNC work perfectly well, although the Bluetooth handsfree phone usage is totally useless once you decide to open up the side exhaust—nobody will be able to understand a word you say. Spotify streams delightfully well through SYNC. Although the stereo won’t inspire any audiophiles, it is more or less sufficient…but who would want to drown out that Coyote engine noise (not that you could)?

Which leads me to this—the Boss is loud, and when you remove the restrictors from the side exhaust and put in the Trackey, it’s LOUD. The rumble under acceleration is heavenly, and the lopey tone at idle is intentionally reminiscent of the original Boss 302. Don’t drive this car unless you like being noticed—everywhere I’ve driven it, whether it’s Chicago, Charlotte, or Charleston, people look at the car (yes, I know—you live in an incredibly wealthy city where nobody would look twice at a Boss 302). I wouldn’t recommend trying to commit any crimes in it. It’s a brash, bold car, both visually and aurally. I suppose that my School Bus Yellow color choice doesn’t help there, either, but none of the Boss colors are particularly bland. Even the Performance White stands out due to the black striping.

Maintenance has been worry-free, with the exception that 5W-50 oil is not easy to find, so you can’t just go to Jiffy Lube or Valvoline for oil changes (not that you’d want to, anyway). Either do it yourself or take it to a dealership, and even they will likely have to run to O’Reilly (as mine does every time). I do have an annoying fan sound coming from the passenger vent, so I’ll likely have to take it in for that when I just can’t tolerate it anymore. Boss 302 forums are totally devoid of “known issues,” and I certainly haven’t experienced anything problematic.

I really want to be “objective” and write some bad things about the car…but I just can’t. It’s been damned near perfect. I have never regretted the decision to buy it once, not even when I write my monthly payment check for it. If you never intend to drive it on the track or autocross, then a GT Premium probably makes more sense, or perhaps a SRT-8 Challenger…but neither of those say BOSS 302 on the side. Used Boss 302s are still commanding near-new money on the used market, but I am guessing that they will start to slide a bit when the new Mustang hits showrooms, and probably further when the GT 350 arrives. Snatch one up, and I guarantee you’ll love yours just as much as I love mine.

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2015 Ford Escort Goes Sunbathing Months Before Showroom Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/2015-ford-escort-goes-sunbathing-months-before-showroom-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/2015-ford-escort-goes-sunbathing-months-before-showroom-debut/#comments Mon, 07 Jul 2014 13:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=860817 The last time the Chinese-market Ford Escort was seen, it had made its world debut during the 2014 Beijing Auto Show. Over the weekend, however, new official photos had surfaced. CarNewsChina reports the Escort, originally due in showrooms Q4 2014, will instead arrive in January 2015. The new compact will retail between ¥90,000 and ¥120,000 […]

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The last time the Chinese-market Ford Escort was seen, it had made its world debut during the 2014 Beijing Auto Show. Over the weekend, however, new official photos had surfaced.

CarNewsChina reports the Escort, originally due in showrooms Q4 2014, will instead arrive in January 2015. The new compact will retail between ¥90,000 and ¥120,000 ($14,510 – $19,347 USD), and will come with a 1.5-liter I4 driving 110 horsepower and 81 ft-lb of torque to the front through either a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic.

The Escort is underpinned by the current China-made Focus Classic, which in turn is based upon the second-gen Focus riding on the C1 platform. It will replace the Focus Classic, and slot under the current third-gen Focus.

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Mullaly Sticking Close To Ford Upon Stepping Down http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/mullaly-sticking-close-to-ford-upon-stepping-down/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/mullaly-sticking-close-to-ford-upon-stepping-down/#comments Wed, 25 Jun 2014 13:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=852265 Outgoing Ford CEO Alan Mullaly may be heading out the door, but he does plan to help his successor when needed. Bloomberg reports Mullaly will act in an advisory role to upcoming CEO Mark Fields, and plans to remain close to Ford for the foreseeable future. Beyond this, the outgoing CEO has held his post-Ford […]

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Alan Mullaly

Outgoing Ford CEO Alan Mullaly may be heading out the door, but he does plan to help his successor when needed.

Bloomberg reports Mullaly will act in an advisory role to upcoming CEO Mark Fields, and plans to remain close to Ford for the foreseeable future. Beyond this, the outgoing CEO has held his post-Ford plans close to the vest, though sources claim Mullaly may be lining up a board director or chair position somewhere.

Since his arrival from Boeing in 2006, Mullaly has been credited for turning around Ford’s fortunes, establishing a collaborative environment from senior management down. After losing $30.1 billion from 2006 through 2008, the Blue Oval gained $42.3 billion between 2009 and 2013. On the sales front, its home market saw an 11 percent boost in 2013, thanks to the F-Series, Fusion and Escape, and trounced Toyota in China.

As for what Mullaly sees Fields’ Ford accomplishing, he sees the company tackling economic development, congestion and pollution:

We’re going to continue to see a very large migration into the larger cities worldwide. Personal mobility and integrated transportations [sic] systems, I think that’s going to continue to be very, very important. And Ford, as a transportation technology company, has such a great opportunity to serve in that way.

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Capsule Review: 2014 Ford Fiesta ST http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/capsule-review-2014-ford-fiesta-st/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/capsule-review-2014-ford-fiesta-st/#comments Wed, 25 Jun 2014 12:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=850314 Cheap. Fast. Reliable. Pick two. This is a conundrum that plagues enthusiasts of vast dreams and scant means. There’s very little out there that fulfills the requirement for an economical performance car that also works when you need it to. A garage-built tuner vehicle fulfills the first two criteria, but you can’t be sure it will start […]

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Cheap. Fast. Reliable. Pick two. This is a conundrum that plagues enthusiasts of vast dreams and scant means. There’s very little out there that fulfills the requirement for an economical performance car that also works when you need it to. A garage-built tuner vehicle fulfills the first two criteria, but you can’t be sure it will start every time. Cheap and reliable will get you to work…and that’s about it. Fast and reliable? Yeah, maybe if you’re one of the lucky few who can afford a fancy sports car, and the associated running costs (insurance, tires and the now-astronomical price of premium gasoline).

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Some of you have paid off homes, well-funded retirement accounts and jobs that pay handsomely, and can also afford something fun and exciting. I have precisely none of these, and thus my desire for automotive thrills has to be balanced with having the financial means to assemble the trappings of an adult life. In that light, a Mustang GT, a 370Z and even a new WRX (which loves to imbibe pricey 91 octane) start to look like options that would leave me endorphin-rich but cash poor (and also living at home well into my 30′s).

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On the other hand, most entry-level performance cars still leave something to be desired: the Fiat 500 Abarth has but three doors (I’d prefer a second set) and sounds a lot faster than it really is. The all-new Volkswagen GTI is for a more mature crowd. The Honda Civic Si is a shadow of its former self. And the Ford Focus ST has just been made redundant by this car.

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Yes, the Fiesta ST is a bit slower than its big brother. It makes 197 horsepower and hits 60 mph in 7 seconds flat. You would swear that those performance figures would be doubled and halved respectively. It might be fun to drive a slow car fast. It’s even more fun to drive a fairly quick, fairly small and fairly light (2,700 lbs) at a breakneck pace.

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The boosted 1.6L mill feels heroically powerful in such a tiny package. You would have no idea that this is the same engine that struggles to motivate the Fusion and Escape, while drinking dino juice at a prodigious rate. Previous tests of the 1.6L engine have yielded subpar fuel economy, even on the highway. On our 800 mile drive through the Canadian Rockies on the way to Montana, the Fiesta returned as high as 40 mpg on relatively flat stretches of road. As the elevation climbed, the turns got sharper and the turbo worked harder, fuel consumption dipped into the high 20′s, but it’s hard to fault the car in those conditions.

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The ST also has a way of preventing you from keeping your foot out of the throttle on said roads. Turbo lag is slightly perceptible below 1500 rpm, but once the turbo starts spooling up (which you can audibly detect with the windows down), power is delivered in a linear fashion all the way to the 6500 rpm redline. In the lower gears, torque steer is still present, but not nearly as much as the Focus ST – credit to Ford’s chassis engineers for somehow taming the 214 lb-ft worth of torque being delivered through the front wheels. Even so, this isn’t a car that will let you safely pass on a two-lane road by shifting from 6th to 5th, but the tall sixth ratio more than pays for itself given the excellent highway fuel economy.

But focusing on straight-line speed misses the point completely. Handling is the Fiesta’s forte, with Ford handing this car off to SVT to help liven the 5-door chassis for North American tastes (Europe gets a three-door version). The twisty mountain passes near Whitefish, Montana let us sample the full capabilities of the ST, and it soon became evident that this is a special car. Steering is direct and quick, but like most electric systems, it doesn’t provide the purity of feedback that hot hatch fans might expect. Initial turn-in is quick, with tenacious grip and only truly ham-fisted driving seems to invoke any semblance of understeer. The brakes are firm, scrubbing off speed quickly, at the expense of immense amount of brake dust (which you’ll notice even with the optional gunmetal wheels). The one flaw in the driving experience is the shifter, which has somewhat long throws and a bit of a vague feel. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a small price to pay for an otherwise thrilling package.

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Inside, the Fiesta ST’s interior looks a lot like a regular Fiesta, save for the portion-controlled nav screen with MyFord Touch. If you’d never seen the full-size version, you wouldn’t think that there was anything wrong with the system, but it’s fairly small, and hitting the right keys on the touchscreen can be a bit challenging. The optional Recaros fit me just fine, but anyone with a stocky build might find them challenging. The thick shells of the seat backs also render the rear seats more suitable for objects than people, and you can forget about putting child seats in a Recaro equipped Fiesta.

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Altogether may sound like hyperbolic praise for the smallest Fast Ford, but the team at SVT (and our own Tresmonos) have managed to assemble an astounding package: one that is quick, practical, efficient and affordable. It’s one of the most exciting cars I’ve driven at any price, and even though I have a paid off car, access to the press fleet and no real need for a new car, I’m seriously considering spending my own, hard-earned dollars to make this the next TTAC long-term test car. Who says young people don’t care about cars anymore?

N.B. Yes, the main image is a homage to our own Bigtruckseriesreview@youtube, who without fail, manages to leave the first comment on nearly every single article.

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