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. Fri, 30 Jan 2015 16:13:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 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/ Rental Review: 2013 Ford Focus SE http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/rental-review-2013-ford-focus-se/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/rental-review-2013-ford-focus-se/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 23:12:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=989778 You never know what car you’re going to get at the rental counter. Whether you’re at an airport in Anchorage, a Milwaukee suburb, or in Tahiti, you won’t know how you’ll get from Point A to Point B, or if you’ve ever vacationed in Tahiti, Point A to Point A. It could better than your […]

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You never know what car you’re going to get at the rental counter. Whether you’re at an airport in Anchorage, a Milwaukee suburb, or in Tahiti, you won’t know how you’ll get from Point A to Point B, or if you’ve ever vacationed in Tahiti, Point A to Point A. It could better than your usual car, a newer version of your usual car, worse than your usual car, or horribly worse than your usual car, the last category reserved for the Dodge Avenger and Chevy Spark.

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When I was at the counter, my reservation specified a full-size car, so that thankfully meant no Avenger or Spark. The Taurus and Impala, the perennial full-size rentals, have gotten pretty good, so I was really looking forward to one of those. Alas, there were no full-size or even mid-size cars at my Hertz Local Edition. So I was supposed to get a 2013 Corolla. I didn’t want the Corolla, as it looked tired and had Iowa plates, so it a) definitely had plenty of miles on it, and b) the plates were going to make me a target for California law enforcement.

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After asking the rep about all the available cars he had (“How about that Avenger that just came in?”), I ended up with a Tuxedo Black 2013 Ford Focus parked way back in the lot. That’s right. 2013. You might be thinking, “Oh, it probably didn’t have much mileage so Hertz decided to keep it in the fleet.” Well, I can safely write that wasn’t the case. It had 44,594 miles on the odometer. That is not a typo. Hertz seriously does keep cars in their fleet for that long.

On my drive home, many issues made themselves known. The car had obviously sat in the lot of my Hertz Local Edition for such a long time that the interior was stuffy, the air-conditioning blew musty air, the transmission’s clutches weren’t in the best condition, and there was so much static coming from the stereo. Additionally, the transmission never seemed to choose the right gear when climbing up the steep hill to get to my house.

I’m not going to discuss the interior that much since most of you have probably rented the Focus, sat in it at an auto show, bought it, read the brochure, seen the TV ads, made out in the back seat, etc. But I liked it. The gauge cluster and stereo interface were very intuitive. I didn’t notice any large panel gaps like I would’ve in a 2005 Ford Focus after 40,000 miles. The touch points still felt fine. The seats were surprisingly comfortable after that much rental car duty. The only qualm I had was with SYNC addressing me in Spanish since someone named Arturo had plugged in his iPhone at some point.

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I didn’t like the engine. The valve-timing system wasn’t the best, especially when climbing steep hills. 160 horsepower was not enough for this especially in the higher gears. However, if your goal is to travel at the speed limit on local roads and highways, the engine has more than enough strength to hold its own.

More important to discuss than the engine, however, is the transmission. Around town, even if you’re used to dual-clutch transmissions (which is what Ford’s PowerShift transmission is), this car is horrible. The clutches always feel like they’re going to go every time you accelerate from a stoplight. When I got the car, the rep had taken special care to inform me that how the throttle and transmission acted was normal.

I wish Ford would’ve made the gears selectable, instead of giving us the usual PRNDL, which makes most drivers treat the transmission like they would any automatic. As an owner of a 40,000-mile Jetta 2.0T with the DSG, my VW struck me as more refined (though I’m very careful with my footwork in traffic), and I found it interesting Ford doesn’t recommend transmission fluid changes at some of the service intervals.

The handling was something that brought a smile to my face. Ford got the suspension tuning spot-on. On a winding road, I didn’t feel compelled to brake in the bends, and the tires didn’t squeal either. Traction control is incredibly fair, and though the intervention is noticeable, it still lets you enjoy the car. After 40,000 miles worth of rental car abuse, I was amazed at the amount of feel I got through the steering.

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As for trunk space, the area is enough for two to three suitcases, but it probably wouldn’t be able to swallow as much cargo as a Jetta. Thankfully though, the spare tire, housed beneath the trunk, is full-size. Furthermore, rear legroom was fine, but I don’t think most people would be capable of sitting there for more than two hours, like in most compact cars.

Now, I wanted this review to be about what a Focus would be like after 44,000 miles. I wanted to ensure the car had been maintained, wasn’t involved in any accidents, and was loved unconditionally by its owner. Therefore, whoever would be considering a 2013 Focus, or any other 2013 Focus with 40,000 miles, would know what they were getting themselves into.

As a result, I went the extra mile (not that the Focus needed it) and ran the Autocheck on the car to have an idea of what it went through. It gave me no details, except for the car’s initial registration date. After more than 44,000 miles, there were dents all over the car, including a major one on one of the doors (seriously, the inspection form when I signed for the car is marked all over). Also, the car had to have been through a few services, none of which appear on the report. And according to the Hertz rep who signed out the car to me, the windows had been replaced after being smashed with the last renter. I only knew that bit after asking about the pieces on paper in the rear passenger windows. Even those details didn’t show up on the Autocheck report.

But I found even more worrying things when I simply entered the car’s VIN into Google. I managed to discover that Hertz actually had my very car for sale on eBay back in December at around 44,500 miles. I also managed to catch a Google-cached November listing of the car on the Hertz Auto Sales website. By the way, to the surprise of no one by this point, the Autocheck report didn’t catch this too. Meanwhile, Hertz has known for at least the last two months that it needs to get rid of this car!

So how on earth did I end up with a car that Hertz couldn’t sell? My guess is Hertz ended up pulling it from their sales lot once the holiday demand for rental cars happened, and automakers were too busy selling cars to individual customers that they perhaps didn’t have enough inventory to push into fleet sales. As a result, when I looked at the 2013 Ford Focuses on the website of the local Hertz Auto Sales, not one had below 50,000 miles, and some had well above 60,000, demonstrating that rental companies aren’t turning over their fleet as much as they used to.

In the end, should you buy a 2013 Ford Focus SE with over 40,000 miles on the clock?

I don’t think it would be a bad idea, as long as the transmission is inspected, you’ve ensured all recall work is done, and you have an idea of the service history.

But should you buy a high-mileage ex-rental car, particularly one that a rental company was incapable of selling to normal people and one with a questionable dual-clutch transmission?

As my car might’ve told me after hearing my voice commands in broken Spanish, “No way, Jose.

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Bark’s Bites: Two Years With the CUV That Flexes from Long Beach to Texas http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/barks-bites-two-years-with-the-cuv-that-flexes-from-long-beach-to-texas/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/barks-bites-two-years-with-the-cuv-that-flexes-from-long-beach-to-texas/#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2015 19:34:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=985722 “I’m NOT buying that thing. It looks like one of the cars that the Nazis rode around in.” Ah, the Ford Flex. It is one of those cars that all “car people” seem to love, while the general public seems to be slow to adopt—perhaps because it looks like one of those cars the Nazis […]

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“I’m NOT buying that thing. It looks like one of the cars that the Nazis rode around in.”

Ah, the Ford Flex. It is one of those cars that all “car people” seem to love, while the general public seems to be slow to adopt—perhaps because it looks like one of those cars the Nazis rode around in.

At least that’s what Mrs. Bark said in the summer of 2013 when it became painfully obvious that our 2011 Chevrolet Equinox LT was no longer meeting the needs of our expanded family. I did a good deal of comparison test reading as well as renting of larger CUVs in my journeys around the country in those days, anticipating the day when the Equinox would need to go. I drove them all—Pathfinder, Highlander, Pilot, Traverse, and Explorer—but the one that I always loved to see in the Emerald Aisle was the Flex.

National Car has several of them in the Great Lakes area airport fleets, mostly in Limited trim. I enjoyed driving them as rentals, simply because they drove more like a car than any of their lifted competitors. The Explorer and Flex, while nearly identical in most other respects, were simply not comparable in the joy-to-drive category. The Flex never drove as big as it was—from the driver’s seat, it actually felt smaller than our Equinox did.

Also, for those of you who don’t obsess over the personal vehicle purchases of TTAC writers, you may not remember that I’m not the first contributor here to own a Flex. Nope, that honor belongs to Jack, who had a baller two-tone Flex Limited that he used to tow his racing rig around the Midwest. I remember not being a huge fan of the aesthetics of the car (okay, I may have said that it looked like a hearse), but it always seemed like it would have been a great family car.

So, when the day came that a third-row was no longer simply desirable but mandatory, I only seriously considered the Explorer and Flex. In SE trim, each could be had for well under $30K, including all rebates and X-Plan pricing. And when I took Mrs. M. to drive them, even she had to begrudgingly admit that the Flex was the more enjoyable car to drive—which was important, because our Equinox had seen over 25k miles per year of driving through the mountains of Eastern Kentucky. The 2013 refresh of the Flex, which strays from the design language of both the Ford cars and Ford SUVs, improved the looks of the CUV to the point where she relented on her objections to its quadratical form. Of course, once we settled on the Flex, there really was no other color to consider other than “Mineral Gray,” or as TTAC readers might call it, “Brown.”

Well, here we are two and a half years later, and the Flex has over 55k on the clock. How has it fared? What’s the quality been like? Most importantly, would I buy it again, given the chance?

For the TL:DR crowd, the answers are:

Fantastic.
Amazingly good.
Heck to the yes.

Those who would like to know more can continue on.

I think I can describe my Flex ownership most accurately in the following way: I can’t think of any other vehicle that would do what I need it to do nearly as well as the Flex has.

The importance of the Flex’s ride height simply cannot be overstated. Not only can my six and four-year-old children get themselves in and out of the second row easily, so can my sixty-eight year old mother. This is the one area where it outshines every other vehicle in its class. I don’t know why middle-class America has decided that the elevated ride height of CUVs is a feature rather than a detriment, but I think it would only take a week or two behind the wheel of the Flex to change their collective minds. Not only has entry and exit been easier, loading groceries and Black Friday shopping runs into the cargo area is MUCH easier than in any other third-row CUV.

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While the SE doesn’t have all the entertainment options available on higher priced models, that can largely be remedied with a $69 dual-screen DVD player. However, it is missing a feature that I desperately wish I had sprung for—the second-row bucket seats. The SE has the bench seat in the second row. Although my kids like having the middle seat available for stuffed animal and LeapPad storage, it makes getting back to the third row nearly impossible for adults, especially if car seats are installed. I would love a re-do on that buying decision.

Also, the third row seats shouldn’t be used by anybody larger than a non-Jack member of the Baruth family—which is to say, nobody over 5’9″ or 165 lbs should try to sit back there for any length of time. I’ve done it, but I didn’t enjoy it. My son, on the other hand, loves it back there. I think it’s the closest thing to a modern-day rear facing station wagon seat, where children can envelop themselves in their own little worlds of creativity while the adults drone on in the first two rows.

Fuel mileage, you say? Well…it isn’t good. In fact, it’s bad. Granted, Kentucky is not fuel mileage friendly, what with its picturesque rolling hills of blue grass and truckers who are determined to patrol the left lane of highway 64 with extreme prejudice. That being said, I’ve experience about 21 combined MPG from the non-EcoBoost V6. I think drivers who have a flatter commute could realistically expect closer to 24. Meh.

The compromise you make for lackluster fuel mileage is easily justified when power is applied with the right foot. Real-world acceleration has been incredibly good, even when weighed down with kids and luggage. The Flex has never met an on-ramp it didn’t like. While 0-60 might only be in the 7.5 second range, the 5-60 grunt from the torquey sixer means that you’ll never have trouble merging, and the old-school transmission never searches for the right gear (looking at you, Highlander).

No, not everybody loves the looks of it. But those who do really, really do. I field nearly as many questions from fellow motorists about the Flex as I do about my Boss. The 2013 refresh makes for a much more masculine looking ride—I never feel like I’m driving the Mom Taxi when I’m behind the wheel. In fact, when given the choice for daily driving, I pick the Flex far more often than I pick the Mustang. Sacrilege? Not really. The Flex is just an easier car to drive.

The more utilitarian of you might be wondering, “Why not a minivan?” The Flex doesn’t do minivan things as well as a minivan does, for certain. But it does car things much better. You can take a Flex out on the town and not feel like people are wondering why you’re out without your kids. Yes, you can get a base model like mine, but if you were so inclined, you could spend $50K on a murdered-out Limited and have one bad-ass urban assault vehicle.

It’s simply a matter of preference. After thirty months or so of Flex ownership, I can’t give the car anything but the highest marks. Maintenance cost has been limited to oil changes and standard scheduled maintenance. It is still running on the OEM tires and shocks. It’s inexpensive, it’s unique, and it’s wildly functional.

The Flex is also a fantastic example of a car that isn’t a huge seller yet still retains a great deal of its value on the used car market. A quick AutoTrader search reveals that it’s difficult to find one for less than $20K that isn’t either at least four model years old or has over 100k on the clock. So go ahead and take advantage of the fact that some Ford stores have a hard time unloading them and get a new one equipped exactly the way you like.

I anticipate driving my Flex until it hits the 150K mark, myself, and its flawless mechanical performance over the first nearly 60K gives me no reason to think that it won’t easily hit that milestone and beyond. However, when it comes time to replace it, I hope that Ford is still making new examples. Unlike nearly every other car I’ve ever owned, I have no itch to replace it with anything other than another one just like it.

Seems to me like that’s as good of a recommendation as I could make. If you’re in the market for a CUV, you should be in the market for a Flex.

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Capsule Review: 1983 Ford Sierra Ghia 2.0 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/capsule-review-1983-ford-sierra-ghia-2-0/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/capsule-review-1983-ford-sierra-ghia-2-0/#comments Fri, 16 Jan 2015 13:44:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=981897     “Wait! Is that a…” “Are you British?”  “I haven’t seen one of these since I left Venezuela as a teenager, only rich people had Sierras!” Behold random responses from gawkers of TTAC’s Project Car. The surprises continue after several hundred miles under the Ford Sierra’s belt, as life with this fish out of water is […]

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“Wait! Is that a…”

“Are you British?”

 “I haven’t seen one of these since I left Venezuela as a teenager, only rich people had Sierras!”

Behold random responses from gawkers of TTAC’s Project Car. The surprises continue after several hundred miles under the Ford Sierra’s belt, as life with this fish out of water is far from a compromise.

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To see it is to not know it: like most hyper-futuristic designs past their prime, a head turner in conservative 1982 England is a familiar profile in conservative 2015 Texas.  Aside from the steering wheel on the wrong side!

But critical eyes notice the Ghia’s grille-free nose and alien headlights. The conversation’s tenor changes: there’s no better compliment to Mr. Uwe Bahnsen and his gifted team than the subtle and thoughtful reactions a Sierra earns a full thirty-three years after liftoff.

Get behind the wheel and the modern theme continues, because it drives like a newer vehicle.

Reasonable drag coefficient (.34) and almost nothing frontal area aside, the finest late-70s technology helps the Sierra match (or trump) the manners of new vehicles at most (legal) speeds.  Strut front suspension with rack-and-pinion steering is right, even without modern aluminum componentry. The semi-trailing arm rear looks modern-ish with exposed webbing on the differential: credit the beginnings of finite element analysis.

(photo courtesy: Ford Press Release)

At 2500-ish lbs, the ho-hum Ford Sierra is a balanced rear-wheel drive, fully-Germanic chassis on a family car body. Which means that roads normally tortured by flaccid CUVs now tango with something Miata-sized.

Captain Mike, the mastermind of this plan, behind the wheel at the Nürburgring.

Thrills start at the tiller: no power assist means road feel harkens to a dance with a soul mate. Manual steering effort is no chore with 165mm wide tires that rarely lack grip on city streets. Emergency maneuvers are effortless, understeer is progressive with the possibility of gentle, controlled oversteer.

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Go round-abouting and the Sierra hangs tight as speeds near 25mph. Above 25 and the front wheels howl as your grin grows. Add a dab of oppo, scandinavian flicks, badass drifter talk blah-blah-blah: with more go-juice, steering modulation and you could duplicate this:

Fiesta THIS.

Like all Sierras thrashed-then-trashed in Europe, its a joy to drift at low speeds even if hamstringed by saggy, original springs and plush dampers. But it’s a pleasant ride/handling tradeoff.  Potholes disappear with 80-series sidewalls smoothing imperfections to the point the big-rimmed Rolls Royce Phantom hangs its NVH-soaked head in shame. How Britishy!

Too bad about the buzzy powertrain: 105 bigger-than-you-think horses from a 2.0L OHC four-banger (sporting a large 2bbl Weber) means the Sierra rarely struggles, but makes a helluva ruckus.

It’s a wonderful powerband: diesel-like torque from a standstill with a smooth-ish (but L-O-U-D) demeanor all the way to 6000 emissions control free revs. The 3-speed auto schools modern units with an effortless 1-2 upshift and a reassuring push to 3rd at full throttle: all autoboxes should shift this sweet.

Brakes?  Credit the light weight for the Sierra’s discs/drums bringing the machine down from 60mph with the hustle of a modern machine. ABS would help, ditto weight adding life-saving technology like airbags, larger door bars, etc.  I reckon with today’s weight shedding tech (aluminum engines, plastic hoods/intakes, etc) offsetting the safety goodies, the Sierra’s fighting form wouldn’t gain a pound.

In the right place. (photo courtesy: Ford Motor Company)

And Ghia spec Ford Sierras are a nice place for average Americans and most Europeans, aside from the previous owner’s decision to order it sans air conditioning: antique English vehicle shopping FTW, SON MATE!

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Fleet-spec Sierras don’t stand a chance, but the real wood trim and buffet-worthy options list protect Ghias from modern motoring irrelevance. Power windows (front 2 or 4), crank moonroof, adjustable reading lamps and a four-speaker cassette stereo are far from impressive. But heated seats, roll up rear sunshades, headlight washers and a gen-u-wine electronic trip computer are touches you’d pay extra for even today.

Mediocre overall, as integration is the killer app.

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Because 1980s. (photo courtesy: Ford Motor Company)

The dash, less radical than the wraparound polycarbonate bumpers, organizes controls in zones for easy use: one to the right of the gauges, another to the left, a third atop the center stack (dark chocolate) and a 4th in the lighter brown region. It’s charming in a proto-modern, Atari 2600 human factors kind of way.

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The interior bits are from a dumber era in polymer construction, yet texture/fit/finish from the doors, vent registers, levers and switches is pure Germanic craftsmanship. Aside from the (period excellent) brown velour, the interior’s aged well.

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But goodness, those seats are magical.  Don’t let the benign seams fool you: the Ghia sucks you in, cradling you. All passengers get thick, luxurious cushions with brilliant thigh support and Volvo-worthy head restraints. Even the Velcro-like velour provides impressive lateral support for everyone but latex-wearing fetishists.

While the stereo is barely adequate, while the vintage Hitachi deck’s discman input smartphone jack provides turn-by-turn Google navigation and streaming audio, don’t forget the tunes held in a handy hatchback with 42.4 cu-ft of space!

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And the beat goes brown.

Considering fuel economy numbers near 30mpg for highway-skewed driving (no overdrive) the Ford Sierra is an antique you could daily drive. (Just find one with A/C.)

But the original MKI design asks for more. It deserves more. 

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Back on the trailer for big upgrades: more gears, power and period-correct emissions processing for a powertrain worthy of that efficient body.

Yes, this Sierra has the power of contemporary V8s in a superior chassis. And it’s quite the time capsule, even difficult to find in Europe…but at what cost to cutting-edge design?

Next time you see TTAC’s Ford Sierra, prepare for an even larger threat to the notion of a modern car!

 

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Hinrichs: Extensive Use Of Aluminum Only For Truck Lineup http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/hinrichs-extensive-use-aluminum-truck-lineup/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/hinrichs-extensive-use-aluminum-truck-lineup/#comments Thu, 15 Jan 2015 13:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=983793 The King of Truck Mountain may have new aluminum armor these days, but Ford has no plans on fully equipping the rest of its lineup with the metal. According to Automotive News, Ford President of the Americas Joe Hinrichs says other, more cost-effective methods for improved fuel economy take precedence over building an all-aluminum Mustang, […]

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The King of Truck Mountain may have new aluminum armor these days, but Ford has no plans on fully equipping the rest of its lineup with the metal.

According to Automotive News, Ford President of the Americas Joe Hinrichs says other, more cost-effective methods for improved fuel economy take precedence over building an all-aluminum Mustang, Fusion or Fiesta:

One of the big benefits you get from lightweighting on trucks is you give customers more capability that they want. You can tow more, you can haul more, you can do more of those things by taking the weight out. You don’t get those same benefits to a consumer on a car side. So truck buyers will pay for more capability. Car buyers will pay for better fuel economy, but there’s other ways to get fuel economy in a car.

As far as lightweighting the overall line is concerned, Hinrichs says aluminum may be kept to individual parts such as the hood and doors. Other materials could come into play down the road, however, such as the carbon fiber wheels on the Shelby GT350R that helped the super-pony car shed 52 pounds of unsprung weight.

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NAIAS 2015: Shelby GT350R Mustang Ready For Track Day http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-shelby-gt350r-mustang-ready-track-day/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-shelby-gt350r-mustang-ready-track-day/#comments Mon, 12 Jan 2015 16:30:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=978313 Coming to Canada and the United States later this year is Ford’s “most race-ready road-legal Mustang ever,” the Shelby GT350R. Under the bonnet of this beast is a 5.2-liter DOHC flat-plane V8, whose 500+ horsepower and over 400 lb-ft of torque make the engine the most powerful naturally aspirated unit Ford offers today. An air-to-oil […]

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Coming to Canada and the United States later this year is Ford’s “most race-ready road-legal Mustang ever,” the Shelby GT350R.

Under the bonnet of this beast is a 5.2-liter DOHC flat-plane V8, whose 500+ horsepower and over 400 lb-ft of torque make the engine the most powerful naturally aspirated unit Ford offers today. An air-to-oil cooler for the V8 and a standard cooler for the six-speed manual help the GT350R handle the hardest of track days.

Suspension is composed of revised springs, bushings and jounce bumpers, antiroll bars, a lowered ride height, cross-axis ball joints up front, and a limited-slip differential with a 3.73 axle ratio in the back.

Like its exotic sibling, the Ford GT, the GT350R was optimized for better aerodynamic performance and downforce. Key components include front and rear underbody belly pans, revised front splitter, vented hood and wheel wells, and an aggressive diffuser.

The track-day machine is also lighter than the GT350 Track Pack model by 130 pounds. Whatever Ford could remove, it did, including the rear seats, air conditioning, stereo system, trunk carpeting and floorboard, exhaust resonators, backup camera, and so on. Weight reduction is further enhanced by standard 19-inch carbon fiber wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires.

Those who prefer a little comfort in their GT350R can opt for the Electronics Packages, which includes dual-zone air conditioning and a seven-speaker audio system among its list of features.

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NAIAS 2015: 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor Ready For Return To Baja Valley http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-2017-ford-f-150-raptor-ready-return-baja-valley/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-2017-ford-f-150-raptor-ready-return-baja-valley/#comments Mon, 12 Jan 2015 16:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=978161 The King of Truck Mountain is ready for its return to Baja Valley below in its latest Raptor incarnation. The 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor is powered by a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 delivering more power than the outgoing 6.2-liter V8’s 411 horsepower and 434 lb-ft of torque, though just how much more hasn’t been stated. Said […]

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The King of Truck Mountain is ready for its return to Baja Valley below in its latest Raptor incarnation.

The 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor is powered by a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 delivering more power than the outgoing 6.2-liter V8’s 411 horsepower and 434 lb-ft of torque, though just how much more hasn’t been stated. Said power is directed to all corners via a paddle-shifted 10-speed automatic, and managed by a torque-on-demand transfer case. The front pair of wheels also boast a new Torsen front differential for greater off-road prowess.

Supporting the Raptor is standard FOX Racing Shox suspension, which uses custom internal bypass tech to “damp and stiffen suspension travel over rough terrain,” preventing the truck from bottoming out after leaping over a small hill or two. A set of 17-inch wheels mounted in BF Goodrich All-Terrain KO2 tires help cushion the blow as the truck claws its way through the trails.

The body is composed of high-strength military-grade aluminum that weighs 500 pounds less than the outgoing Raptor, and is supported by a purpose-built high-strength steel frame, the strongest frame throughout the entire F-150 range.

Other features include: six driving modes; traction control; stability control; advanced LED lighting and camera tech; roof-mounted auxiliary controls inside the cab; and three color material levels.

The 2017 F-150 Raptor is set to go on sale in the fall of 2016, and will leave for showrooms from the Dearborn Truck Plant in Dearborn, Mich.

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NAIAS 2015: The Return Of The Ford GT http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-return-ford-gt/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-return-ford-gt/#comments Mon, 12 Jan 2015 15:15:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=978057 We thought this wouldn’t happen, but here it is: The Ford GT has returned. The new GT will begin production late in 2016, and will be sold in select markets around the world in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Ford’s destruction of Ferrari at Le Mans with the GT40. Power for the GT is […]

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We thought this wouldn’t happen, but here it is: The Ford GT has returned.

The new GT will begin production late in 2016, and will be sold in select markets around the world in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Ford’s destruction of Ferrari at Le Mans with the GT40.

Power for the GT is derived from a mid-mounted next-gen twin-turbo 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 producing upwards of 600 horsepower, which is sent to the back via a seven-speed dual-clutch transaxle.

Surrounding the engine and transaxle is bodywork composed of carbon fiber with front and rear aluminum subframes. The body itself is heavily optimized for aero and downforce, and features an active rear spoiler that follows both speed and what the driver desires.

Other features include: adjustable ride height; 20-inch wheels mounted in Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup 2 tires with a composition made specifically for the GT; upward swinging doors; and Ford’s new SYNC 3 connected-vehicle system.

2017-Ford-GT-9 2017-Ford-GT-16 2017-Ford-GT-18 2017-Ford-GT-4 All-NewFordGT_01_HR All-NewFordGT_02_HR All-NewFordGT_13_HR All-NewFordGT_04_HR All-NewFordGT_03_HR All-NewFordGT_06_HR All-NewFordGT_11_HR All-NewFordGT_10_HR All-NewFordGT_09_HR

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European Prices For 2015 Ford Mustang Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/european-prices-2015-ford-mustang-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/european-prices-2015-ford-mustang-revealed/#comments Fri, 09 Jan 2015 12:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=974306 Europeans who are itching to saddle up the new 2015 Ford Mustang now know how much the price of admission will be to do so, and it’s quite the pretty penny. Mustang6G obtained a German market brochure for the pony car in late December, which listed the base prices for the following configurations: 2.3-liter EcoBoost […]

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Europeans who are itching to saddle up the new 2015 Ford Mustang now know how much the price of admission will be to do so, and it’s quite the pretty penny.

Mustang6G obtained a German market brochure for the pony car in late December, which listed the base prices for the following configurations:

  • 2.3-liter EcoBoost Fastback (manual) – €34,000 (~$41,511 USD)
  • 2.3-liter EcoBoost Fastback (auto) – €36,000 (~$43,953)
  • 2.3-liter EcoBoost Convertible (manual) – €38,000 (~$46,394)
  • 2.3-liter EcoBoost Convertible (auto) – €40,000 (~$48,836)
  • 5.0-liter Coyote Fastback (manual) – €39,000 (~$47,615)
  • 5.0-liter Coyote Fastback (auto) – €41,000 (~$50,057)
  • 5.0-liter Coyote Convertible (manual) – €43,000 (~$52,500)
  • 5.0-liter Coyote Convertible (auto) – €45,000 (~$54,941)

Though the European prices are much higher than the $23,800 – $46,170 base range in the United States, the Mustang still fares well against other sport coupes in the market. For example, the BMW 4 Series starts at €36,050 ($42,638), topping out at €48,100 ($56,891) for the 435i. Meanwhile, the Euro-spec Chevrolet Camaro, powered by the SS’ 6.2-liter V8, begins at €39,990 ($47,298), bringing it in line with the 5-liter manual fastback.

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New Apps, Infotainment Systems Turn Up At 2015 CES http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/new-apps-infotainment-systems-turn-2015-ces/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/new-apps-infotainment-systems-turn-2015-ces/#comments Thu, 08 Jan 2015 14:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=973610 Autonomous alien luxury pods and royalty-free hydrogen patents aren’t the only things coming onto the stage during the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Today, we’ll show you the latest and greatest from BMW, FCA, Audi and Ford, with the help from our brothers and sisters over at AutoGuide. BMW introduced non-contact gesture controls […]

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FCA Uconnect Access Services

Autonomous alien luxury pods and royalty-free hydrogen patents aren’t the only things coming onto the stage during the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Today, we’ll show you the latest and greatest from BMW, FCA, Audi and Ford, with the help from our brothers and sisters over at AutoGuide.

BMW introduced non-contact gesture controls for its Control Display touchscreen infotainment system, allowing drivers to input a given address with directed gestures made between the instrument panel and gear shift, among other tasks. Another system, Touch Command, will use a standard Samsung tablet to handle all infotainment and comfort functions, and provides wireless access to all onboard electronics for all passengers.

Over at FCA, the automaker debuted new additions to its Uconnect Access suite of apps: Vehicle Finder, Send Destination to Vehicle, Monthly Vehicle Report and Vehicle Health Alert. All four allow owners to keep tabs on their vehicle’s systems, easily navigate to a given destination, and know where their vehicle is at all times. The new suite will debut in H1 2015 on select FCA products equipped with either 8.4A or 8.4AN Uconnect systems.

Audi showed off the new interior of the next-gen Q7 — set to bow in Detroit next week as a 2016 model — to the media in attendance at the 2015 CES. The dashboard arrangement is derived from the TT, featuring a 12.3-inch Audi Virtual Cockpit display with 3D maps and other important information. An additional pop-up central display uses a rotary knob and touch-sensitive pad to operate, while two large, removable, Wi-Fi-enabled tablets mounted in the back of the front headrests provide navigation info and entertainment for those seated in back.

Finally, Ford has added on AccuWeather and Life360 to the AppLink suite of apps on-board the new, QNX-based Sync 3 system. The Life360 Sync 3 app has a special Drive Mode feature that sends text messages to a driver’s friends and family so that they know not to contact the user while driving, with a follow-up text sent upon arrival at the user’s destination. AccuWeather, meanwhile, will use GPS to give minute-by-minute weather forecasts to help drivers better deal with and plan around inclement weather.

BMW CES 2015 01 BMW CES 2015 02 BMW CES 2015 03 BMW CES 2015 04 Uconnect_Access_Smartphone_App_ Vehicle_Finder Send_Destination_to_Vehicle_FCA Monthly_Vehicle_Health_Report Audi Q7 CES 2015 01 Audi Q7 CES 2015 02 Audi Q7 CES 2015 03 Audi Q7 CES 2015 04 Ford CES 2015 01 Ford CES 2015 02 Ford CES 2015 03 Ford CES 2015 04

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Callum: No ‘Visual Connection Between Lincoln And Ford’ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/callum-no-visual-connection-lincoln-ford/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/callum-no-visual-connection-lincoln-ford/#comments Thu, 08 Jan 2015 13:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=973594 For the longest time, there wasn’t much difference between Lincoln and Ford in the design game, consumers hardly seeing much difference between an MKZ and a Fusion despite the former’s premium price. Ford global design boss Moray Callum is drawing a line in the sand as far as that is concerned. In an interview with […]

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Lincoln MKC

For the longest time, there wasn’t much difference between Lincoln and Ford in the design game, consumers hardly seeing much difference between an MKZ and a Fusion despite the former’s premium price. Ford global design boss Moray Callum is drawing a line in the sand as far as that is concerned.

In an interview with Automotive News Callum said that as far as design goes, he didn’t think there should be “a visual connection between Lincoln and Ford.” The decision to have a design studio separate from Ford is part of this goal, citing the cross-pollination among competitors Lexus and Infiniti with their respective parent brands, Toyota and Nissan.

Within Lincoln, the differentiation is beginning to take hold. Callum explained that the MKC and MKZ share no common sheet metal, proportion or stance with its cousins, the Ford Escape and Fusion. That said, the differentiation is not something he has to enforce, nor does he feel a need to do so, proclaiming that it’s a decision both brands are consciously making.

As for Ford’s own premium concerns, Callum states that though the Blue Oval isn’t pretending “to be a premium brand,” he didn’t see any harm in bringing a premium feel to the portfolio, adding that “the premium brands don’t have a monopoly on great design.”

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Ford Transit Best-Selling US Van In December http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/ford-transit-best-selling-us-van-december/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/ford-transit-best-selling-us-van-december/#comments Wed, 07 Jan 2015 15:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=972929 Ford may soon have a new member in its royal family, as the 2015 Transit is asserting its dominance upon Flower Shop Lane. Autoblog reports the Blue Oval moved 20,488 2015 Transits in 2014, half of which — 10,030 — were sold to plumbers, caterers and hotel shuttle fleets in December. In that same month, […]

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2015 Ford Transit at a Hotel

Ford may soon have a new member in its royal family, as the 2015 Transit is asserting its dominance upon Flower Shop Lane.

Autoblog reports the Blue Oval moved 20,488 2015 Transits in 2014, half of which — 10,030 — were sold to plumbers, caterers and hotel shuttle fleets in December. In that same month, the Chevrolet Express took second on the podium with 5,611 sold, while the outgoing Ford E-Series — the current king of Flower Shop Lane with 103,263 units sold in 2014 — took third at 5,256.

Ford representative Mike Levine took to Twitter to express his joy at the news, dubbing the Transit a “game changer.” Per an interview with the publication, Levine cited his employer’s commitment to its customers’ needs, as well as the vast configurability of the Transit and its smaller sibling, the Transit Connect.

AutoPacific auto industry analyst Dave Sullivan added that the van’s lower base price — in comparison to competitors like the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter — also helped in winning the sales game for December. However, he warns the Transit will have a major challenge ahead this year, as it will have to take up the throne abdicated by E-Series.

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Obama Visiting Ford Plant Wednesday Amid Temporary Closure http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/obama-visiting-ford-plant-wednesday-amid-temporary-closure/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/obama-visiting-ford-plant-wednesday-amid-temporary-closure/#comments Tue, 06 Jan 2015 13:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=972082 President Barack Obama will be visiting the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich. Wednesday, a plant currently closed due to low demand for both the Focus and C-Max. The Detroit News reports the president will be in Michigan for less than two hours that afternoon before jetting off to Phoenix to give a speech […]

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Barack Obama + Connected Vehicles

President Barack Obama will be visiting the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich. Wednesday, a plant currently closed due to low demand for both the Focus and C-Max.

The Detroit News reports the president will be in Michigan for less than two hours that afternoon before jetting off to Phoenix to give a speech on the recovering housing market. Both Ford CEO Mark Fields and Chairman Bill Ford Jr. are expected to be in attendance; the company received $5.9 billion in low-cost government loans from the U.S. Energy Department in 2009 to help transition Michigan Assembly from SUV production to that of fuel-efficient small cars

Per the White House, his speech at the plant will focus upon “the workers in the resurgent American automotive and manufacturing sector now that the auto rescue has been completed and the decision to save the auto industry and the over one million jobs that went with it.”

Meanwhile, the plant’s closure is expected to be temporary, with its 5,100 employees receiving most of their standard pay in the interim. The closure is an extension of a two-week Christmas break at the plant, and is meant to help better manage supply as consumers, encouraged by falling fuel prices, look at F-150s and Explorers over smaller cars like the aforementioned Focus and C-Max.

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Benson: Ram ProMaster City Portfolio Could Expand Via Demand http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/benson-ram-promaster-city-portfolio-expand-via-demand/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/benson-ram-promaster-city-portfolio-expand-via-demand/#comments Tue, 30 Dec 2014 14:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=969937 Right now, one can pick up a new Ram ProMaster City for catering tacos and installing cable down Flower Shop Lane. If that’s not enough, however, Ram might soon have a few more tricks up its sleeve. According to Edmunds, Ram commercial truck operations chief Joe Benson says consumer demand could increase the current ProMaster […]

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2015 Ram ProMaster City 01

Right now, one can pick up a new Ram ProMaster City for catering tacos and installing cable down Flower Shop Lane. If that’s not enough, however, Ram might soon have a few more tricks up its sleeve.

According to Edmunds, Ram commercial truck operations chief Joe Benson says consumer demand could increase the current ProMaster City portfolio beyond the two-passenger commercial panel van and five-passenger people carrier. Possibilities include diesel power, shorter wheelbases, seven-passenger models, a taller panel van, and a pickup variant with drop-down sides for easy cargo-box access.

Regarding the overall picture for Flower Shop Lane, Benson believes combined U.S. sales could climb to 100,000 by 2016, compared to the predicted 50,000 units sold in 2014. The increased demand is likely to come from Chevrolet Astro and GMC Safari owners looking to replace their aging units with those from not only Ram, but Ford, Chevrolet and Nissan.

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Changan-Ford Introduces New Edge For Chinese Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/changan-ford-introduces-new-edge-chinese-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/changan-ford-introduces-new-edge-chinese-market/#comments Mon, 29 Dec 2014 13:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=969281 It’s official: This is the Chinese-made Ford Edge Sport and Edge Limited. CarNewsChina reports the new crossover for the Chinese market will be leaving for the showroom from Changan-Ford factories beginning in May 2015, arriving just before the Everest SUV. Power for the seven-passenger Limited and five-passenger Sport will come from either a 2-liter turbo-four […]

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It’s official: This is the Chinese-made Ford Edge Sport and Edge Limited.

CarNewsChina reports the new crossover for the Chinese market will be leaving for the showroom from Changan-Ford factories beginning in May 2015, arriving just before the Everest SUV.

Power for the seven-passenger Limited and five-passenger Sport will come from either a 2-liter turbo-four producing 252 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, or a larger 2.7-liter turbo V6 making 300 horses and 370 lb-ft of torque. Both engines will send their power through a six-speed automatic to all four corners, with the 2-liter offering FWD as standard.

Price of admission begins at ¥280,000 ($45,000 USD), topping off at ¥450,000 ($72,400). The Limited will be limited to China for the near-term.

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Teknikens Värld: Ford Mondeo Estate ‘Dangerously Overweight’ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/teknikens-varld-ford-mondeo-estate-dangerously-overweight/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/teknikens-varld-ford-mondeo-estate-dangerously-overweight/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 11:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=962754 The Ford Mondeo Estate is in trouble with one Swedish automotive publication, thanks to how much it weighs. Teknikens Värld reports the Mondeo Titanium Estate equipped with the 150-horsepower 2-liter TDCi and six-speed manual is supposed to weigh 3,530 pounds. However, when the publication’s test subject was placed on a roadside scale, the weight came […]

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Ford Mondeo Estate overweight

The Ford Mondeo Estate is in trouble with one Swedish automotive publication, thanks to how much it weighs.

Teknikens Värld reports the Mondeo Titanium Estate equipped with the 150-horsepower 2-liter TDCi and six-speed manual is supposed to weigh 3,530 pounds. However, when the publication’s test subject was placed on a roadside scale, the weight came out to 4,145 pounds, 615 more than what Ford said it weighed.

This is a problem in Sweden, as loading a vehicle above its total gross weight is illegal, something that would occur if a family loads the Mondeo to what they believe is the gross weight, only to find they’ve exceeded it.

The extra weight also proved to be dangerous, as the Mondeo failed the publication’s moose test, faring better at said test when the load dropped to 220 pounds above the maximum load limit.

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NHTSA Ready To Force Nationwide Takata Airbag Recall http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/nhtsa-ready-force-nationwide-takata-airbag-recall/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/nhtsa-ready-force-nationwide-takata-airbag-recall/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 14:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=962073 The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is ready to force Takata and three of its clients into a nationwide recall over the catastrophic failure of the supplier’s airbags. The Detroit News reports the agency will bring Ford, FCA US and BMW to court if necessary, compelling the automakers to recall 5 million affected vehicles in […]

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is ready to force Takata and three of its clients into a nationwide recall over the catastrophic failure of the supplier’s airbags.

The Detroit News reports the agency will bring Ford, FCA US and BMW to court if necessary, compelling the automakers to recall 5 million affected vehicles in addition to those already recalled.

The first act in bringing the named parties to trial will be a formal demand letter issued to all concerned. Upon refusal, the NHTSA will file a suit against each party in U.S. District Court, a process that could last for months, if not years.

The die was cast when Takata rebuffed the agency’s request earlier this month to expand its recall efforts beyond high-humidity locations in warm climates around the United States, including Florida and Hawaii.

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Seven Finalists Announced For Europe’s 2015 Car of the Year http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/seven-finalists-announced-europes-2015-car-year/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/seven-finalists-announced-europes-2015-car-year/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 11:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=961993 After months of deliberation, Europe’s Car of the Year panel has narrowed down the field of 31 to seven finalists. Autoblog reports the panel has chosen the following nominees for the 2015 Car of the Year: BMW 2 Series Active Tourer Citroën C4 Cactus Ford Mondeo Mercedes-Benz C-Class Nissan Qashqai Renault Twingo Volkswagen Passat The […]

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After months of deliberation, Europe’s Car of the Year panel has narrowed down the field of 31 to seven finalists.

Autoblog reports the panel has chosen the following nominees for the 2015 Car of the Year:

  • BMW 2 Series Active Tourer
  • Citroën C4 Cactus
  • Ford Mondeo
  • Mercedes-Benz C-Class
  • Nissan Qashqai
  • Renault Twingo
  • Volkswagen Passat

The winner will be announced during the 2015 Geneva Auto Show this coming March. Previous winners include the Peugeot 308, Volkswagen Golf and Opel Ampera, with the first title awarded 50 years ago to the 1964 Rover 2000.

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Trucks, SUVs Best Premium Sedans In Over $50K US Segment http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/trucks-suvs-best-premium-sedans-50k-us-segment/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/trucks-suvs-best-premium-sedans-50k-us-segment/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 14:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=961313 Keep those Benzes, BMWs and Audis in the garage, son: $50,000-plus trucks and SUVs are where it’s at for the ballers and players these days. TrueCar says trucks and SUVs account for six of the top 10 best-selling vehicles in the United States market, specifically the segment where transaction prices of $50,000-plus are the norm. […]

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Keep those Benzes, BMWs and Audis in the garage, son: $50,000-plus trucks and SUVs are where it’s at for the ballers and players these days.

TrueCar says trucks and SUVs account for six of the top 10 best-selling vehicles in the United States market, specifically the segment where transaction prices of $50,000-plus are the norm.

The biggest of them all? The Ford F-150, whose projected 2014 volume of 189,776 “will likely surpass total U.S. volume of luxury car benchmarks including BMW’s combined 3, 5 and 7 Series sales or total deliveries for the Audi brand this year.” The Blue Oval will see revenue of $10.8 billion from those high transactions, making up a third of an estimated $33.2 billion for the overall F-Series portfolio.

The demand for looking California and feeling Minnesota is helped in part by a recovering U.S. economy, improved vehicle quality, and a growing supply of cheap gasoline, which is helping the $50,000-plus transaction segment, as well: approximately 8.1 percent of total 2014 sales will transact at that level, up from 6.6 percent in 2013.

Finishing out the podium per TrueCar is Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Ram truck lineup, with sales of 76,266 at the $50,000 transaction level, Mercedes taking third with its E-Class at 67,006.

TrueCar 2014 50K USD Transaction Table

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Ford Kills MyFordTouch, Introduces SYNC 3 Connected-Vehicle System http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/ford-kills-myfordtouch-introduces-sync-3-connected-vehicle-system/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/ford-kills-myfordtouch-introduces-sync-3-connected-vehicle-system/#comments Fri, 12 Dec 2014 12:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=959081 Joy to the world, MyFordTouch is dead. In its place, Ford introduced Thursday its new SYNC 3 connected-vehicle system. Pulling from suggestions and comments from 22,000 consumers, in combination with clinics and surveys, the QNX-based SYNC 3 aims to be more intuitive than the outgoing technology, delivering an interface similar to those found on smartphones […]

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SYNC 3

Joy to the world, MyFordTouch is dead. In its place, Ford introduced Thursday its new SYNC 3 connected-vehicle system.

Pulling from suggestions and comments from 22,000 consumers, in combination with clinics and surveys, the QNX-based SYNC 3 aims to be more intuitive than the outgoing technology, delivering an interface similar to those found on smartphones and tablets. The system also offers day and night settings, reduced complexity, and better voice recognition.

Speaking of smartphones, users can connect theirs via SYNC 3’s AppLink, allowing them to control their smartphones through voice commands. The latest version of AppLink can automatically discover music and news apps such as Spotify, iHeartRadio Auto and NPR One.

Software updates can now be achieved via Wi-Fi: once a user links the system to their home network, updates can happen while the car is parked in the garage or on the driveway.

Finally, users can dial 911 via the subscription-free 911 Assist service, which uses a Bluetooth-connected phone to call first responders in the event of an accident, and providing detailed information location, whether airbags were deployed, how many seat belts were used, and the type of crash that occurred.

Owners can expect SYNC 3 to arrive in the 2016 model year, with full replacement by New Year’s Eve 2016. Lincoln will have a slightly touched-up version for its customers, as well.

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Nair: Ford Considering CVTs For Future Applications http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/nair-ford-considering-cvts-future-applications/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/nair-ford-considering-cvts-future-applications/#comments Tue, 09 Dec 2014 11:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=957306 Ford is considering giving the B&B’s least favorite transmission type another go for future applications. Automotive News reports global product development boss Raj Nair said as much during a media event in Detroit. Though Ford hasn’t had much success with CVTs in the past — the last models to use the transmission were the Five […]

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Ford is considering giving the B&B’s least favorite transmission type another go for future applications.

Automotive News reports global product development boss Raj Nair said as much during a media event in Detroit. Though Ford hasn’t had much success with CVTs in the past — the last models to use the transmission were the Five Hundred, Freestyle and Mercury Montego back in 2007 — the automaker is “taking another look, particularly in low torque applications” such as the Fiesta SFE, whose 1-liter EcoBoost is only available with a manual transmission.

As for where Ford will get its new CVTs, Nair didn’t say if the transmission type would be made in-house or obtained from a supplier, as was the case with ZF Friedrichshafen AG in 2007.

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Nair: Ford Hard At Work On F-150 Hybrid http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/nair-ford-hard-work-f-150-hybrid/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/nair-ford-hard-work-f-150-hybrid/#comments Fri, 05 Dec 2014 12:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=955650 Losing 700 pounds may not be enough in the fuel economy for the 2015 Ford F-150, as plans are being made to add hybridization to the mix. Detroit Free Press reports global product development boss Raj Nair stated the automaker was “working very hard” on the hybrid system for the F-150, but that it was […]

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2015 Ford F-150

Losing 700 pounds may not be enough in the fuel economy for the 2015 Ford F-150, as plans are being made to add hybridization to the mix.

Detroit Free Press reports global product development boss Raj Nair stated the automaker was “working very hard” on the hybrid system for the F-150, but that it was too soon to go into detail on when it would hit showrooms or how the system functioned.

Regarding diesel, Nair said that fuel prices — already falling below $2/gallon in a few spots in the United States — are making such a thing tough to bring about, that even a hybrid system would pay for itself long before a diesel F-150 could. That said, if the demand is there, Nair believes Ford could tap into its diesel portfolio to make that model happen.

Speaking of fuel prices, truck marketing chief Doug Scott said he didn’t think sales of EcoBoost models would be dampened by cheap fuel, citing customers’ choice to buy an EcoBoost F-150 for the performance as well as fuel economy.

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Aluminum Mainstreaming May Mean More Dent & Ding Policies http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/aluminum-mainstreaming-may-mean-dent-ding-policies/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/aluminum-mainstreaming-may-mean-dent-ding-policies/#comments Thu, 04 Dec 2014 14:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=955409 Planning to buy a new 2015 Ford F-150 soon? You might be purchasing a dent-and-ding policy for your ride, too. Automotive News reports the aluminum pickup has created an opportunity for F&I departments to sell dent-and-ding polices, playing on the notion that the metal isn’t as tough as steel when it comes to such things. […]

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Planning to buy a new 2015 Ford F-150 soon? You might be purchasing a dent-and-ding policy for your ride, too.

Automotive News reports the aluminum pickup has created an opportunity for F&I departments to sell dent-and-ding polices, playing on the notion that the metal isn’t as tough as steel when it comes to such things. Ford begs to differ, as the F-150’s “high-strength, military-grade, aluminum-alloy body is more dent and ding resistant” than the outgoing steel-paneled model, per representative Mike Levine.

However, the increased use of aluminum would mean those polices would cost a pretty penny. EFG Cos. executive vice president Cliff Eller says repairing the panels with paintless dent removal would be more labor-intensive and time-consuming than doing the same for steel panels, with the aforementioned increase likely to push the cost of an average claim upward.

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Ford: Market Share Declines Will Continue Near-Term http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/ford-market-share-declines-will-continue-near-term/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/ford-market-share-declines-will-continue-near-term/#comments Wed, 03 Dec 2014 13:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=955033 Things are rough for Ford on Truck Mountain, with ground lost for the fourth consecutive month in November in a market-share situation that isn’t about to improve any time soon. Automotive News reports sales fell 2 percent last month compared to the same time in 2013, with its market share in the United States diving […]

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Things are rough for Ford on Truck Mountain, with ground lost for the fourth consecutive month in November in a market-share situation that isn’t about to improve any time soon.

Automotive News reports sales fell 2 percent last month compared to the same time in 2013, with its market share in the United States diving to 14.3 percent from 15.3 percent in November 2013. The 2014 average holds at 15 percent, compared to 2013’s 15.9 percent through the first 11 months, while Ford experienced declines year over year every month this year except July.

One of the hardest-hit models was the F-150, which is undergoing its transition to aluminum, and affecting market share in so doing. 2015 models began shipping the week prior to Thanksgiving, with a handful arriving garages thus far. Vice president for U.S. marketing John Felice says inventory of the outgoing model remains sufficient, but adds that the company is maintaining a “delicate balance” with incentives until enough of the new trucks arrive on the lot. Overall inventory is at 79 days, down from 88 in October, and 89 in November 2013.

Throughout the range, every car model posted a decline in November except for the Mustang, whose sales jumped 62 percent that month, and the Police Interceptor Sedan. SUV sales fared better, with a 15 percent increase, while Lincoln posted a 21 percent boost, linked completely to the success of the MKC. Finally, the Transit reclaimed Flower Shop Lane this month, moving 373 more units over the Chevrolet Express.

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2015 Ford F-150 Pulls 22 MPG Combined, 12,000 Pounds Of Boat http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/2015-ford-f-150-pulls-22-mpg-combined-12000-pounds-boat/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/2015-ford-f-150-pulls-22-mpg-combined-12000-pounds-boat/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 14:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=950017 So, how many miles per gallon did the 2015 Ford F-150 gain for the trouble of losing 700 pounds by gaining an aluminum body? How does 22 mpg combined sound? The 4×2 model with the 2.7-liter EcoBoost delivers 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. The 19/26/22 rating bests the 2008 […]

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2015 Ford F-150

So, how many miles per gallon did the 2015 Ford F-150 gain for the trouble of losing 700 pounds by gaining an aluminum body? How does 22 mpg combined sound?

The 4×2 model with the 2.7-liter EcoBoost delivers 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. The 19/26/22 rating bests the 2008 model with the 4.6-liter V8, which brought a rating of 14/19/16 to the party.

Aside from the 2.7-liter mill, the F-150 can be had with a standard 3.5-liter Ti-VCT V6, 3.5-liter EcoBoost, or 5-liter Ti-VCT V8. Horsepower ranges from 282 for the V6, to 385 for the V8, while torque comes at 253 lb-ft for the former, 420 lb-ft for the 3.5-liter EcoBoost.

As far as towing boats and hay are concerned, the larger EcoBoost 4×2 pulls the most at 12,200 pounds, whereas the 5-liter V8 edges out the EcoBoost with a max payload of 3,300 to 3,270.

Per Ford, new models are being shipped to dealers now, though special orders will be delayed until February.

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Farley, Odell Exchange Roles In Ford Exec Shuffle http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/farley-odell-exchange-roles-ford-exec-shuffle/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/farley-odell-exchange-roles-ford-exec-shuffle/#comments Mon, 10 Nov 2014 11:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=943409 Two Ford execs are about to have their passports stamped, as marketing chief Jim Farley and Ford of Europe general Stephen Odell are switching roles and addresses, effective on New Year’s Day 2015. Both execs will continue to report to Ford CEO Mark Fields, who had this to say on this exchanging of executives: We […]

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Jim Farley, Ford Executive Vice President of Global Marketing, Sa

Two Ford execs are about to have their passports stamped, as marketing chief Jim Farley and Ford of Europe general Stephen Odell are switching roles and addresses, effective on New Year’s Day 2015.

Both execs will continue to report to Ford CEO Mark Fields, who had this to say on this exchanging of executives:

We are excited to see Jim and Stephen take on these new roles as they bring unique skills, experience and fresh perspectives to these critical positions. These moves also underscore our commitment to develop our senior leaders through deep experience within both our business units and our global skill teams.

Farley has been in his current role since 2007, having come over to the Blue Oval after a decade of leading Toyota’s marketing efforts. Come January, he’ll be tasked with executing the One Ford plan in Europe “to achieve profitable growth through an unprecedented focus on new products, a strong brand and increased cost efficiency.”

Odell held down the fort since 2010, and was Volvo’s CEO and president from 2008 to 2010. He’s also been with the company for 34 years, and will work on building Ford’s and Lincoln’s global presence “through innovative new digital communications and transforming the retail experience for customers.”

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