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, 31 Aug 2015 17:30:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.4 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 » Ford http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/reviews/ford/ VIDEO: Ford GT LM GTE Sounds Like A Four-wheeled Warzone http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/video-ford-gt-lm-gte-sounds-like-a-four-wheeled-warzone/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/video-ford-gt-lm-gte-sounds-like-a-four-wheeled-warzone/#comments Sun, 30 Aug 2015 14:58:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1156250 Ford is out at Sebring testing their newest toy — the Ford GT LM GTE — in preparation for the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship. Thankfully, someone was on location and captured a few laps on video. I’d like to personally thank this intrepid track video reporter. The car sounds like a four-wheeled warzone, completely with […]

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Ford is out at Sebring testing their newest toy — the Ford GT LM GTE — in preparation for the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship. Thankfully, someone was on location and captured a few laps on video.

I’d like to personally thank this intrepid track video reporter. The car sounds like a four-wheeled warzone, completely with six turbocharged AK-47-esque cylinders.

Ford’s third iteration of the GT will be more track ready than its immediate predecessor. The Blue Oval plans to bring the pain to Ferrari at LeMans next year — and every other possible competitor in the GTE category.

Sitting just ahead of the rear wheels is a 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6 with the horsepower knob turned up to 600.

Those looking to buy a street-legal version of the Ford GT will have to go through an application process and be accepted by Ford before parting with an estimated $350,000 in exchange for the car.

Maybe Bernie Ecclestone should buy 24 of these engines for Formula 1 next year.

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Can Ford Control Ford GT Ownership Through Applications? Lexus Did http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/can-ford-control-ford-gt-ownership-applications-lexus/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/can-ford-control-ford-gt-ownership-applications-lexus/#comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 19:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1155385 If Ford wants to control sales of its extremely small production of Ford GT and vet its owners, it only needs to look at the Lexus playbook from 2010 to see how. On Thursday, Ford’s Group Vice President for Global Product Development and Chief Technical Officer Raj Nair told a group of last-gen Ford GT […]

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If Ford wants to control sales of its extremely small production of Ford GT and vet its owners, it only needs to look at the Lexus playbook from 2010 to see how.

On Thursday, Ford’s Group Vice President for Global Product Development and Chief Technical Officer Raj Nair told a group of last-gen Ford GT owners that it would ask potential owners to submit an application through the automaker to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for the supercar. Official pricing for the car hasn’t been announced, nor has the criteria for ownership been made public.

Ford said it would only make available 250 cars each year worldwide. There are more than 3,200 dealerships in America alone and more than 7,500 worldwide.

If all this sounds familiar (as in, 500 Lexus LF-A cars at $400,000 for thousands of Toyota dealers) you might be right.

In 2010, Autoblog detailed the extraordinary process that potential LF-A buyers had to go through to qualify to buy the car.

Included was a “lease” option with $60,000 in deposits required before getting the car, $297,000 due upon receipt of the car, and a $93,000 option to buy the car after the 24-month lease expired. The “lease” amount was $12,398.44 per month.

Ford hasn’t announced how much it will sell the Ford GT for, or how it would collect that money, but it appears that every part of the buying process for the supercar will be unique to the Ford GT alone.

In 2005, when the last generation of Ford GTs were sold in America, the first cars were going nearly $100,000 over the MSRP price, as chronicled by the defunct FordGTPrices.com. As production ramped up on that car in 2006, prices eventually normalized to MSRP, but as the former site’s administrator Paul Allen told us, the 4,000+ volume of the last generation car and the 250-per-year production of this car makes it a whole different animal.

In its bulletin to dealers, Ford said it would make available to dealership owners a separate number of cars — available by application as well — for them to buy. Those cars would still come from the 250 produced each year, but a Ford spokesman declined to say how many would be allocated to dealer owners.

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Add Bronco To Today’s Ranger Return Rumor http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/add-bronco-todays-ranger-return-rumor/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/add-bronco-todays-ranger-return-rumor/#comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 17:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1153329 Ford may bring back the Bronco name as a Ranger-based SUV if production returns to the U.S. in 2018, Bloomberg is reporting. The Bronco would be based on a mid-sized pickup frame, unlike the current Explorer. A Bronco could be targeted at Jeep, either Grand Cherokee — or Wrangler. Ford ended production of its Bronco in 1996. […]

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Classic 1966 Bronco Body Shell Available Soon

Ford may bring back the Bronco name as a Ranger-based SUV if production returns to the U.S. in 2018, Bloomberg is reporting.

The Bronco would be based on a mid-sized pickup frame, unlike the current Explorer. A Bronco could be targeted at Jeep, either Grand Cherokee — or Wrangler.

Ford ended production of its Bronco in 1996.

According to the Bloomberg report, both Ranger and Bronco could be built at Ford’s plant in Wayne, Michigan, which will lose production of the C-Max and Focus to Mexico in 2018. Adding the production of those trucks to that plant would replace production to appease the United Auto Workers during contract negotiations.

It’s unclear how the addition of a Bronco would fit into the Ford lineup, but I’m guessing Mark Stevenson has a good idea.

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Ford May Bring Ranger Back To US in 2018 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/ford-may-bring-ranger-back-us-2018/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/ford-may-bring-ranger-back-us-2018/#comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 15:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1152977 Ford is reportedly discussing bringing back the mid-size Ford Ranger pickup to America and Canada in its bargaining negotiations with the United Auto Workers, the Detroit News is reporting. Ford may be assembling the truck, which could be brought back as early as 2018, at its Wayne, Michigan plant. The truck would replace the outgoing C-Max and Focus […]

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Ford is reportedly discussing bringing back the mid-size Ford Ranger pickup to America and Canada in its bargaining negotiations with the United Auto Workers, the Detroit News is reporting.

Ford may be assembling the truck, which could be brought back as early as 2018, at its Wayne, Michigan plant. The truck would replace the outgoing C-Max and Focus at the plant. Ford announced production of those two products would move to Mexico in 2018.

The last U.S.-spec Ranger was most recently produced at Ford’s St. Paul, Minnesota plant, which shuttered in 2011.

According to sources, the formal decision would need to be ratified by Ford executives and the union’s board.

According to the report, Ford was enticed by the small, but growing, mid-size pickup segment. Although the segment only accounted for 227,000 sales in 2013, it is expected to grow in coming years. Toyota’s Tacoma dominates the segment, accounting for more than half of the segment’s sales, but General Motors’ Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon could slowly gain a higher market share.

Ford produces the Ranger in Thailand, South Africa and Argentina for 180 global markets including Mexico. Recently, Ford announced it would produce the Ranger in Nigeria.

It’s unlikely that Ford would would bring the global Ranger to America without significant modifications for safety and fuel economy. The Ranger’s size and classification places it firmly in the CAFE “dead zone,” which could make it difficult for Ford to find a suitable (read: efficient) powertrain.

The Ranger was last redesigned in 2011 and facelifted in 2015. A redesign for the Ranger would align with the 2018 production start date in Wayne. The C-Max and Focus are scheduled to leave that plant in 2018 as well.

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2015 Ford Mustang GT Review – No Longer A One-Trick Pony (With Video) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/2015-ford-mustang-gt-review-no-longer-one-trick-pony-video/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/2015-ford-mustang-gt-review-no-longer-one-trick-pony-video/#comments Mon, 24 Aug 2015 16:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1149057 2015 Ford Mustang GT Premium 5.0-liter, DOHC V-8, CVVT (435 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm; 400 lbs-ft @ 4,240 rpm) 6-speed Getrag MT82 manual 15 city/25 highway/19 combined (EPA Rating, MPG) 18.2 mpg (Observed, MPG) Tested Options: GT Premium Trim, Ruby Red Paint, 401A Package, Performance Package, Adaptive Cruise Control, Navigation, Recaro Seats Base Price: $30,875* As Tested: $45,470* * All prices include $900 destination charge. Ford’s Mustang is […]

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2015 Ford Mustang Exterior-010

2015 Ford Mustang GT Premium

5.0-liter, DOHC V-8, CVVT (435 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm; 400 lbs-ft @ 4,240 rpm)

6-speed Getrag MT82 manual

15 city/25 highway/19 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

18.2 mpg (Observed, MPG)

Tested Options: GT Premium Trim, Ruby Red Paint, 401A Package, Performance Package, Adaptive Cruise Control, Navigation, Recaro Seats

Base Price:
$30,875*
As Tested:

$45,470*

* All prices include $900 destination charge.

Ford’s Mustang is as American as the hot dog and KFC Double Down, but for 2015 it received an internationally-focused makeover. Since 1964, the Mustang has been the place to find a large V8, a manual transmission and a solid rear axle. That solid axle has been a point of contention for foreign auto journalists who frequently compared the Ford’s handling to a pickup truck, and decried the GT as a one-trick pony: the car that was excellent in a straight line at a drag strip — and that was about it. That’s a problem when Ford’s new mission is greater harmony in their lineup worldwide.

While 2015 retains the large V8 engine, manual transmission and rear wheel drive we’ve all come to know and love, it brings the first completely independent suspension to every Mustang in over 50 years. Also big news for 2015 is the resurrection of a 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine, something we haven’t seen since the Fox body Mustang of the early 1990s. In a nod to our friends in Old Blighty, a factory-made right hand drive model is also in the works. All of these changes are because this Mustang is suddenly thrust into a much bigger pool of competitors.

Can Ford teach this pony some new tricks to compensate?


Exterior
The first thing you’ll notice about the new Mustang is the Aston Martin meets Fusion meets Mustang styling. The sheetmetal looks more elegant and more intentional than before. While the 2014 looked cartoonish from some angles, the 6th generation ‘Stang doesn’t seem to have a bad angle to be found. It’s clear Ford not only spent more time styling their new 2-door, but is also spending more on stamping the metal as we have more curves and angles providing visual interest. The front quarter panel for instance rises up, then curves back down to meet the hood panel, giving the front of the Mustang something of a “proto-fin.” We’re hyped that 2016 will bring back turn signals integrated into the hood vents (visible to the driver) in certain trims.

2015 Ford Mustang Exterior-014

All Mustang models now come standard with HID headlamps, a nice touch in a segment that generally lacks modern lighting. Out back, the sequential turn signals are now made from LED strips inside large vertical plastic housings with deep recesses between the lamp modules. The look is striking, but proved more effort to clean than I had considered.

The sleek profile belies the sixth generation’s shrinkage of about two inches versus the out outgoing model. The loss in length helps the Mustang slightly in international markets where the Ford is considered a large two-door. In terms of comparisons, the Mustang is nearly a foot longer than the BMW M235i we recently reviewed, about the same size as a 435i, and a foot shorter than a Dodge Challenger. The main reason for the long body, of course, is the massive engine bay designed to longitudinally accommodate large engines.

There was a great deal of speculation about Ford’s right-sizing program. Would a weight reduction be part of the package? The answer is no, the Mustang has actually gained a little weight in this generation. Contrary to the earlier rampant “weightgate” speculation, curb weight is up just 20 to 80 pounds, depending on how you compare a 2014 trim to a 2015 trim.

2015 Ford Mustang GT Interior-004

Interior
The one area that didn’t receive as much attention is the interior. The style is fresh and instantly recognizable as a Mustang, but we only get an incremental improvement in the feel of the parts. There are still plenty of hard plastics lower in the interior including the center console and areas where your knee and leg are likely to rest. (Remember that the Mustang starts under $24,000.) The new steering wheel is loaded with buttons, but thankfully I found the layout intuitive. Lovers of thick-rimmed steering wheels will be disappointed to find that the tiller is no thicker than the Ford Edge we recently tested.

When looking at the Mustang parked next to a BMW 2-Series, you might assume the Ford would be larger inside. You would be wrong. The Mustang and the 2016 Camaro have about the same amount of front and rear seat legroom as the baby Bimmer, with the Mustang actually being slightly smaller inside. This mainly has to do with the position of the engine in the Mustang and the size of the engine bay which makes the nose longer to give it a proportion similar to a British sports coupé. Meanwhile, BMW pushes the engine a little further back making the overall packaging more compact. On the upside, the Mustang has more footwell room making it more comfortable for folks with larger feet.

2015 Ford Mustang GT Interior-011

Our tester had the nearly $1,600 optional Recaro seat package. If you track your car regularly, and need the aggressive bolstering, and are about my size or smaller, get them. Everyone else should avoid them entirely. The standard seats are softer and more comfortable, they offer more lumbar support and the Premium trim of the Mustang would normally get memory-linked power seats, adjustable lumbar support as well as heating and ventilation. All of those features are given up for the Recago logo, and it’s just not a good trade. A quick spin in a dealer provided GT without the Recaro seats, but with the Performance Package, confirmed that the firmer suspension is also easier to live with if you get the base seats. The difference is more pronounced when you consider the Mustang comes with very comfortable seats in every other version, beating the current Camaro and Challenger easily, and are actually quite competitive with the standard seats in the 2-Series, 4-Series and Lexus RC.

Hop in the back and you are reminded the Mustang is best described as a “2+2 coupé” where the last digit is a little smaller than the first. While not as tight as a Jaguar XK, the back seat should be reserved for small children or your legless friends. With the driver’s seat adjusted comfortably for my 6-foot frame, there was a 3-inch gap between my seat back and the rear seat bottom cushion. (I prefer an upright position when driving a manual.) Convertible shoppers will be pleased to know that rear headroom actually increases if you chose the rag top. At 13.5 cubic feet, the Mustang’s trunk is also similar in size to the BMW 2-Series, but Ford thankfully uses hidden hinges to make the most out of the trunk. You should know that the optional ShakerPro speaker package consumes just over a cubic foot of space.

2015 Mustang My Ford Touch

Infotainment
Our pony car had Ford’s optional MyFord Touch infotainment system. This software is due to be replaced in 2016 by Ford’s completely redesigned SYNC3 system. MFT is one of the most maligned infotainment systems on the market, but it is also one of the most fully featured. Even in 2015, there are still mainline brands that don’t offer voice command of your USB-connected music library. At this point, Ford has addressed most of the major issues that plagued MFT, except for the speed. Interacting with the touchscreen requires patience as screen changes are considerably slower than the Hyundai, Chrysler and GM alternatives. SYNC includes an integrated telematics system that emails vehicle health reports, allows you to call a concierge, request emergency assistance and knows when your airbags have gone off. On the downside, this system is dependant on a paired Bluetooth phone to actually make the calls — so if you’ve forgotten your phone and you get in an accident, the car can’t dial for help.

Our tester included the optional navigation software and the up-level ShakerPro branded speaker system. The 12-speaker system uses a trunk mounted subwoofer, a dash-mounted center channel speaker and a 550-watt 9-channel amp. The system is certainly tuned with a significant bass punch, but overall it is still well balanced. It had no problems rocking my Vanilla Ice album all the way to A1A Beachfront Avenue.

2015 Forg Mustang GT Engine-003

Drivetrain
The big engine news for 2015 isn’t that the 3.7-liter V-6 lost a few ponies, or even that Vanilla’s five-point-oh is still available; it’s that we have the first four-cylinder Mustang in quite some time. To make room for the new EcoBoost mill, Ford de-tuned the V6 slightly to 300 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 280 lb-ft of twist at 4,000. That means that unlike the Camaro, the four-cylinder is an upgrade, not the base engine. Checking the EcoBoost box gives you 310 horsepower at a lower 5,500 rpm and a whopping 320 lb-ft at a low 3,000 rpm. But I’m here to talk about what separates this American from the European and Asian options. Five. Point. Oh. Revving up to 7,000 rpm and featuring twin independent variable valve timing, the Coyote V-8’s only modern omission is direct-injection. Power comes in at 435 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 400 lb-ft at 4,250 rpm. (The recently announced 5.2-liter V-8 Shelby is a perfect example of naturally aspirated engine designs vs turbo engine design. The 2016 Shelby GT350 will bump power by 91 horsepower but torque by only 29 lb-ft. Compared to the twin-turbo German V8s, the horsepower is similar but torque is notably lower.)

Unusual in 2015, even in performance cars, is your choice of manual or automatic transmissions on all models (in 2016, the Shelby will be manual only) and your choice doesn’t interfere with the options packages. That means you can get the GT and EcoBoost Mustangs with radar cruise control, all the goodies and still get the 6-speed stick. (There have been some complaints about the Getrag MT82 manual transmission but I didn’t experience an unusual shift feel during my week. Be sure to let us know if you’ve had a problem with yours in the comment section below. There has been quite a bit of forum buzz regarding “clunks and thunks”.) Also a little unusual these days is the option of multiple rear axle ratios. For those that are unfamiliar, axle ratios are the final “link” in the chain for your drivetrain. The transmission’s 3.65:1 first gear ratio is multiplied by the rear axle you chose — 3.31, 3.55 or 3.73 — to get the effective total ratio of 12:1, 12.9:1, or 13.6:1. (All three ratios are available in the EcoBoost model but just the 3.55 and 3.73 are offered in the GT). That has a big impact on acceleration and fuel economy since the 6th gear ratios have the same variance. The available axle ratios are why fuel economy has dropped in the V-6’s EPA test, as Ford is no longer offering the 2.73:1 rear axle in the V-6 like they did in 2014. This means the base V-6 in 2015 is much peppier, but the MPGs drop two steps. This is where the EcoBoost model steps in with 31 or 32 mpg combined (depending on the transmission) despite giving you more power, more torque and a more aggressive rear axle ratio than the base 2014 V-6. On the downside, power and economy figures for the 5.0 and 2.3 are based on premium unleaded.

2015 Ford Mustang Exterior-001

Drive
Over twenty years ago, I was learning to drive on my neighbor’s 1988 2.3-liter four-cylinder Mustang LX with a shot clutch. My how times have changed. Back then 300 horsepower was a pipe dream, the GT’s 6.3 second 0-60 time was rad to the max and a 32 mpg Mustang was as likely as a blue unicorn. Even ten years ago, the thought that the Mustang would be serious competition to the imports was wishful thinking, but the sixth-generation pony offers 300 horses standard, the mid-range model gets over 30 mpg on the highway, and every version is faster to 60 than it was in 1988. Combined with a more refined and capable suspension, this is that unicorn.

The 2014 Mustang’s rear end got upset on broken pavement and felt heavy in the corners. The 2015 feels composed and significantly lighter in comparison, despite actually being heavier. The GT still feels slightly front heavy in the corners, no surprise with a large V8 under the hood, but the EcoBoost model feels much better balanced. Thanks to the gearing and tire selection, all versions are tail happy when prodded. Next year brings us a new Camaro with a Cadillac ATS-derived chassis and suspension, something that bodes very well for the bowtie brand as well. However, this is 2015 and the current Camaro is a notch behind the outgoing Mustang. Absolute handling is obviously a factor of your tire choice, and ours was equipped with the optional Pirelli PZero summer rubber in a staggered 255/40R19 front, 275/40R19 rear setup. In an interesting twist, the suspension is quite firm but there’s more body roll than you’d expect.

2015 Ford Mustang GT Interior-007

If you’re a traditionalist, fear not. The Mustang, especially our GT tester, is still about well-priced straight-line performance. The V-6 will sprint to 60 in 5.8 seconds, the turbo will do it in 5.6, and our GT in a swift 4.6 seconds with launch control enabled and the 6-speed manual. A nice touch: Unlike many cars out there with launch control, Ford keeps it crazy simple. Once enabled in the LCD between the speedo and tach. it stays on. Period. That means you don’t have to worry about fiddling with menus; you just floor it, release the clutch and let the nannies do their thing. The car retains the setting even through ignition cycles. You can improve things further by double-tapping the traction control button and enabling sport mode which allows a little more action in the rear. (Note: Ford says that both systems should be used on the track only. Sure…) Of course, you’ve probably also heard about Ford’s nifty line lock feature that allows perfect burnouts every time without wearing your rear brake pads.

The GT’s 7,000 rpm redline means that the ‘Stang sings like a high-revving European sports coupé more than a Camaro or Challenger. Since all the ponies come to a trot at 6,500 rpm, you’ll spend a great deal of time at those lofty heights. The good news is thanks to the throttle mapping and general character of the 2015, it revs easily, happily and sounds great while doing it.

2015 Ford Mustang Exterior-009

Thanks to electric power steering, the Mustang’s wheel is as numb as most of the competition, although BMW and Nissan manage to transmit more road feel in the M235i and 370Z. Skipping the Performance Package makes the GT more driveable on a daily basis in terms of suspension tuning, and in that form the body roll seems well-balanced with the spring firmness. The downside of skipping the pack is the reduced grip. If I were shopping in this segment I’d probably skip the package and use the cash to swap in some sticky rubber. If you do get the package, I suggest some stiffer sway bars.

Ford set the base price for 2015 low — very low. At $23,800, the Mustang undercuts the Camaro and Genesis Coupé by $3,000 and the 370Z by nearly $6,000. That means that for the price of the base 2.0-liter, 275-horsepower 2016 Camaro, or the Genesis Coupé V-6, you could get a 2.3-liter EcoBoost ‘Stang with an option or two. A base Z will cost you more than a well-equipped V-6 Ford or only about $2,500 less than a Mustang GT. At $32,850, the BMW 228i is a whopping $7,550 more than the more powerful EcoBoost model, and the M235i is $11,850 more than a Mustang GT. Why all this focus on the M235i? Because the Mustang actually reminded me a great deal of the small BMW. The Mustang finally feels light and nimble, and at the same time the M235i feels far more substantial than small BMWs of the past. While the BMW does feel more refined, the delta has never been smaller. With previous generations, one could have argued that the BMW’s greater refinement was worth $10,000. With this generation, I wouldn’t pay more than $1,000 for the extra feel in the BMW. That’s a problem because in order for the M235i to be as fast as our $45,470 tester, you would need to add the 8-speed automatic and all-wheel drive, both of which would make it less fun. Better in the rain, but less fun. The added hardware also makes the M235i xDrive tip the scales at 3,695 pounds, just 10 pounds lighter than the Ford, and still considerably more expensive. Although the BMW’s suspension is better sorted and more settled, if you shod them with identical tires, the Mustang will be right on the 2-Series’ bumper.

Is the Mustang perfect? No. I wish the interior was a little more comfortable and the automatic transmission needs a few more gears in order to match the competition. Hyundai, BMW, GM and Chrysler have gone 8-speed and even Nissan is one cog higher at 7 in the 370Z. That means there is still a toll to be paid for selecting the automatic, while the competition’s slushboxes promise improved fuel economy and improved acceleration. Still, the Ford holds true to what the Mustang has always promised: performance at a reasonable price. The big news is that those reasonable prices come with surprisingly few compromises and it’s entirely possible to consider the Mustang as a value alternative to a German coupé. Comparing a Pony Car to a compact German coupé used to be ridiculous, but this pony is a blue unicorn that’s learned a few tricks.

Ford provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review.

Specifications as tested

0-30: 2.0 Seconds

0-60: 4.6 Seconds

1/4 Mile: 13 Seconds @ 112 MPH

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F-150 Raptor Runs Off Road, Ford Offers Pictures to Prove It http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/ford-f-150-raptor-runs-off-road-ford-offers-pictures-prove/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/ford-f-150-raptor-runs-off-road-ford-offers-pictures-prove/#comments Fri, 21 Aug 2015 16:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1149633 Ford released photos and video Friday of its newest Raptor off-road testing in Northern Michigan. The truck, which will go on sale next fall, has better ground clearance than the outgoing Raptor, although Ford isn’t giving us official specs yet. We know the last generation’s fording depth was officially 30 inches up to 4 mph and […]

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Raptor Prototype Testing

Ford released photos and video Friday of its newest Raptor off-road testing in Northern Michigan.

The truck, which will go on sale next fall, has better ground clearance than the outgoing Raptor, although Ford isn’t giving us official specs yet. We know the last generation’s fording depth was officially 30 inches up to 4 mph and that capability likely won’t decrease — but we don’t know if it’ll go up.

“The all-new Ford Raptor will be more capable than the previous Raptor, including improved wheel travel and ground clearance,” Ford spokesman Mike Levine told us.

Ford said today that the newest-generation Raptor will have new Fox racing shocks with internal bypass to adjust and stiffen suspension off road, and an all-new four-wheel-drive transfer case in the back.

In other words: Specs for the official truck are slowly coming out. We’ll stay tuned for official horsepower figures from the twin-turbo V-6 under the hood.

17RaptorGIF2

17RaptorGIF1

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Ford May Offer 10-speed Mustang, Maybe With Mach 1 Name http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/ford-may-offer-10-speed-mustang-maybe-mach-1-name/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/ford-may-offer-10-speed-mustang-maybe-mach-1-name/#comments Thu, 20 Aug 2015 21:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1148945 Ford’s plans for the Mustang may include their 10-speed automatic transmission, jointly developed with General Motors, and a Mach 1 version, according to Automotive News (via Motor Authority). The amazingly engineered 10-speed, which will make an appearance on the new Ford F-150 Raptor, may be mated to Ford’s four-cylinder EcoBoost engine in the Mustang in the U.S. — […]

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Ford’s plans for the Mustang may include their 10-speed automatic transmission, jointly developed with General Motors, and a Mach 1 version, according to Automotive News (via Motor Authority).

The amazingly engineered 10-speed, which will make an appearance on the new Ford F-150 Raptor, may be mated to Ford’s four-cylinder EcoBoost engine in the Mustang in the U.S. — and only in the Mustang — which feels weird.

But Mach 1(!)

The report is fairly sketchy on whether Ford will revive the nameplate from the 1970s (and early 2000s, I guess) for this generation. According to the story, the Mach 1 may not arrive until 2018, which would be one to two years before the Mustang would be due for a major update.

It’s unclear what engine Ford may stuff into the future Mach 1. Every version up until now has included a V-8 strapped under the hood, but Ford’s upcoming GT hypercar will have a twin-turbocharged V-6, so things have clearly changed.

Any mention of the Mach 1 probably brings up more memories of this than this, so it could be a good move to help move more Mustangs toward the end of its lifecycle. But for now, I guess we’ll just have to deal with our flat-plane V-8 noises from the GT350.

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Could the Ford Taurus be Imported From China? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/ford-taurus-imported-china/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/ford-taurus-imported-china/#comments Mon, 17 Aug 2015 17:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1144049 The Ford Taurus, once the flagship in Ford’s range, apparently has fallen on hard times. Sales are down 28 percent through July, it hasn’t done much to outrun its perception as a perennial fleet queen and police fleet buyers are picking the Explorer-based Interceptor over the sedan. Automotive News details the fall and rise and fall again […]

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New Ford Taurus

The Ford Taurus, once the flagship in Ford’s range, apparently has fallen on hard times.

Sales are down 28 percent through July, it hasn’t done much to outrun its perception as a perennial fleet queen and police fleet buyers are picking the Explorer-based Interceptor over the sedan. Automotive News details the fall and rise and fall again of the Ford Taurus (thanks mostly to former Ford CEO Alan Mulally) and throws in a little tidbit in the middle:

If sales keep falling, analysts speculate Ford could eliminate U.S. production of it and … import the small volume it needs here from China …

Oh boy. 

It’s clear that Ford will have to make a decision about the Taurus soon. The current Taurus was last redesigned in 2009 and slightly updated in 2012. In April, Ford announced it would redesign the Taurus, but only in China.

Sales of the full-size Taurus peaked only a couple years ago, but the Taurus is on pace to sell 45,000 cars this year — including police cars — it’s lowest total ever.

In fact, the move to a full-size sedan — something Mulally pressed for early on in his tenure — may be what is killing the Taurus. By comparison, the Ford Fusion outsells the Taurus nearly four to one and is about $5,000 less for roughly the same car.

All that may be contributing to the tough time the Taurus is having in the States, and there’s always the Lincoln Continental right around the corner too.

So could the Taurus be Ford’s first import from China?

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LEAKED: 2017 Ford Fusion Refresh – Can You Tell The Difference? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/leaked-2017-ford-fusion-refresh-can-you-tell-the-difference/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/leaked-2017-ford-fusion-refresh-can-you-tell-the-difference/#comments Sat, 15 Aug 2015 16:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1143137 Is this the refreshed 2017 Fusion? A Ford slideshow presentation used at the J.P. Morgan Auto Conference sure points to the affirmative, according to AutoBlog. Yet, it doesn’t look like much in the way of change is afoot with the Blue Oval’s midsize sedan. You’d be hard pressed to find much of a difference at all. The slideshow […]

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Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at 12.32.30 PM

Is this the refreshed 2017 Fusion? A Ford slideshow presentation used at the J.P. Morgan Auto Conference sure points to the affirmative, according to AutoBlog. Yet, it doesn’t look like much in the way of change is afoot with the Blue Oval’s midsize sedan. You’d be hard pressed to find much of a difference at all.

The slideshow doesn’t offer up any details on the refreshed-looking model pictured, but we can take a few educated guesses.

For one, the Fusion is likely to retain all its powertrain options — minus the base 2.5-liter fleet flavorite. There is a change Ford could ditch it all together in favor of the 1.5-liter EcoBoost that currently sits one rung higher on the current ladder.

With the Taurus looking more and more likely to leave the American market, could the Fusion will that role with V6 power? That’s unlikely, as it would go against the grain of the current market — other sedans are downsizing and adding turbos, not upsizing and adding cylinders.

We are likely in for a fairly mild refresh that doesn’t rock the boat, but we will see later this year or early next year what comes to pass.

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2015 Ford Expedition Platinum Review http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/2015-ford-expedition-platinum-review/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/2015-ford-expedition-platinum-review/#comments Wed, 05 Aug 2015 15:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1116809 Has there ever been a longer running runner-up in an automotive category than the Ford Expedition? The large three-row SUV has been outsold by the Chevrolet Suburban/GMC Yukon XL twins for years by as much as a 2:1 margin in the ever-shrinking large SUV segment. Throw in the Tahoe and regular Yukon numbers and the Expedition lags even further […]

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Has there ever been a longer running runner-up in an automotive category than the Ford Expedition? The large three-row SUV has been outsold by the Chevrolet Suburban/GMC Yukon XL twins for years by as much as a 2:1 margin in the ever-shrinking large SUV segment. Throw in the Tahoe and regular Yukon numbers and the Expedition lags even further behind. The Expedition does outsell its luxo Lincoln stablemate, the Navigator, by about a 4:1 margin.

It may not be able to overcome the years of momentum and iconic brand image of the Suburban — proclaimed back in 1986 as the “National Car Of Texas” — but the latest iteration of the Expedition is fighting back.


The Tester

2015 Ford Expedition Platinum 4×2

Engine: 3.5-liter DOHC V6 EcoBoost, twin-turbocharged and intercooled, direct injection (365 horsepower @ 5,000 rpm, 420 lbs-ft torque @ 2,500 rpm)
Transmission: 6-speed SelectShift automatic

Fuel Economy (Rating, MPG): 16 city/22 highway/18 combined
Fuel Economy (Observed, MPG): 17.1 mpg, approx. 75 percent city

Options: Power deployable running boards, power liftgate, 600A Equipment Group (power moonroof and voice-activated navigation system), 22-inch polished aluminum wheels, Blind Spot Information System with Cross-Traffic Alert, leather front bucket seats, heated/cooled front seats, heated 2nd-row seats, Powerfold 3rd-row seats, 390W Sony premium audio, SYNC with MyFord Touch, Continuous Control Damping Suspension with three selectable drive modes, HD Trailer Towing Package.

Base Price (U.S.): $59,995
As Tested: $63,750

Additional Reviewer Notes:

Average available savings off MSRP per TrueCar: Los Angeles: $4,974; Dallas: $6,459; Chicago: $6,774; New Jersey: $6,319.

Other styles, base price: XLT, $45,095; Limited, $54,805; King Ranch, $59,035

Add approx. $3,000 for 4WD.

Wheelbase: 119 inches. Add approx. $2,700 for 131-inch wheelbase EL models.

Maximum towing capacity: 9,200 pounds.
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The 2015 Expedition’s refresh highlight was Ford’s dropping the 5.4-liter V-8 engine in favor of the 3.5-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V-6 power plant. With a jump in horsepower from 310 to 365 and an additional 2 mpg in gas mileage over the V-8, it is hard to argue with this CAFE-driven decision. Other upgrades for 2015 include the optional controlled damping suspension on our tester that offers three driving modes — comfort, normal and sport — and a redesigned center stack.

Exterior changes were minor and included an enlarged grill and tweaked lower bumper, fog lights and taillights. Ford calls these visual updates “fresh and aggressive.” Every automaker calls such changes “fresh and aggressive.”

It may be an 8-year-old design, but the optional 22-inch polished aluminum wheels and Ruby Red Metallic paint on this top of the line Platinum edition make the old war-horse look pretty darn good…until you notice other Expeditions on the street and realize its looks are pretty darn tired.

The first thing you see when climbing aboard is the keyless entry keypad on the doorsill. I had forgotten this feature was still around. first seeing it on a 1990s Lincoln Mk VIII Coupe (which means Sajeev probably has three of the pads in his parts bin). Instructions on how to program the keys and keypad take up 28 pages of the owner’s manual but work intuitively. Open the door and the Escalade-like stainless power running boards whir down to assist you with the two-step climb into the cab.

The voluminous interior is a mix of old and new: tons of outlets, cubbies and cup holders with modern satin aluminum trim clashing with ugly, dark vertical slabs of plastic on the dash. The heated and cooled leather front seats in our tester were comfortable but already showing signs of cracking on the edges after a few thousand miles. It is too bad Ford does not offer a panorama sunroof option because the expanse of black tones made for a dark interior on our tester.

This is a true eight-adult-sized vehicle with third-row seats that fold down at the touch of a button on the back of the seats. Cargo volume is 108 cubic feet (131 cubic feet in the long-wheelbase EL model) with 55 cubic feet available with the 3rd row of seats folded down. A low load height thanks to the independent rear suspension makes access to the rear a snap.

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The last Ford I drove with the MyFord Touch infotainment center was a 2012 Escape and it was fine if you were a Rubik’s Cube champion, but was way too confusing for the average driver. In this redesigned system, with an 8-inch touch screen high sitting in the center stack and twin 4.2-inch LCD screens surrounding the speedometer, every function was easy to find. Syncing phones and iPods was easy and the soft multi-colored glow it emits at night looks great.

One quirk I noted is when you switch the transmission into manual mode a tiny tachometer pops up on one of the small LCD screens and it’s truly comical in appearance.

The center touch screen can be divided into quadrants displaying Phone, Navigation, Entertainment and Climate functions. It resembles an electronic version of the old-school car dealer “Four-Square” closing worksheet. Perhaps Ford could speed up the sales process by programming the elements of the four square into the boxes and you could negotiate your deal with your salesperson during your test drive:

MyFordTouch_Home_screen-640x383 (1) Courtesy extremetech.com

Why yes, I have been in the car business way too long.

It is strange to fire up a 5,600 pound SUV and not hear the rumble of a V-8. You will not miss the sound when you hit the gas on the EcoBoost V-6: the Expedition is quick, whooshing from 0 to 60 mph in the mid 6-second range. There is a touch of turbo lag but the motor shows tremendous flexibility at all speeds, helped along by the smooth-shifting 6-speed automatic transmission. I absolutely loved the brakes, which are firm and easy to modulate.

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Along with its independent rear suspension, our tester had the new Continuous Control Suspension option with three selectable drive modes — comfort, normal and sport. You can actually feel the difference in the each mode. In the sport setting, the slightly sloppy steering tightened up, the cornering was much crisper and the ride much more choppy. The comfort mode may as well be called the wallow mode. All three settings eased the pain of driving Tucson’s crater-filled roads. After fooling around with the settings on the first day, I ended up leaving it in normal mode for the duration of the test. Who needs a sport setting on a school bus anyway?

Despite a tiny bit too much wind and road noise, the Expedition is an extremely comfortable long-distance cruiser.

As far as the comparison to the Suburban, tests indicate the refreshed Ford offers a better ride thanks to its independent rear suspension and adjustable damping, slightly better acceleration and better towing capacity at 9,200 pounds vs. 8,000 pounds. With the Suburban you get a 355-horsepower 5.3-liter V-8 with only a slight sacrifice in gas mileage (16/23) versus the Expedition, but it’s accompanied by less road noise and a more luxurious interior thanks to a generous use of softer materials.

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The Suburban offers much more interior room than our 119-inch wheelbase tester; the 131-inch wheelbase Expedition EL is slightly roomier than the Chevy.

Basically, the Expedition is the better truck and the Suburban the better car.

Comparing similarly equipped models shows a Suburban LTZ stickering at $70,215, or about $3,600 more than a long-wheelbase Expedition Platinum.

Ford is readying a complete overhaul of the Expedition for 2017. Word is they will add a diesel engine option, which Chevrolet has not offered in the Suburban since 2000. (Ford’s even-larger Excursion, discontinued after 2005, did have an available 6.0-liter Powerstroke diesel.) The Mercedes-Benz GL is the only large SUV currently offered with an oil-burner engine and I think an American-brand, full-size SUV with a diesel powerplant would sell very well.

The 2015 Ford Expedition is an old-school SUV with a new-school motor. If you are a road warrior needing lots of room for cargo or kids and tons of towing capacity, this may be the sport-ute for you.

Picks:

  • Powerful EcoBoost V-6
  • Power-folding third-row seats
  • Plush, comfortable ride

Nit Pics:

  • Some cheap interior materials
  • Even 22-inch dubs can’t hide dated look
  • No pano roof available

Wife Sez: I love the power extending running boards!

Ford provided the vehicle for one week, one tank of gas and insurance.

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IIHS: Not All Ford F-150s Are Built Just As Tough http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/iihs-not-ford-f-150s-built-just-tough/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/iihs-not-ford-f-150s-built-just-tough/#comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 16:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1129193 Automotive News is reporting the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety will rate versions of Ford’s F-150 pickup with dramatically different safety ratings after re-testing versions of the pickup, which is a highly unusual move for the safety nonprofit. The SuperCrew cab version of the F-150 earned the highest marks from the IIHS in its small overlap […]

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Automotive News is reporting the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety will rate versions of Ford’s F-150 pickup with dramatically different safety ratings after re-testing versions of the pickup, which is a highly unusual move for the safety nonprofit.

The SuperCrew cab version of the F-150 earned the highest marks from the IIHS in its small overlap crash test, earning a Top Safety Pick rating. The re-tested SuperCab registers only a “marginal” rating in the same crash.

The difference, according to Automotive News, are tubular frames called “wheel blockers” installed on the SuperCrew, but missing from the SuperCab and Regular Cab models.

David Zuby, who is the chief research officer for the IIHS, said that the crash ratings between different cab versions could give buyers the wrong impression.

“(It) shortchanges buyers who might pick the extended cab thinking it offers the same protection in this type of crash as the crew cab,” Zuby told Automotive News.

A Ford spokesman said the company would look into adding additional safety measures into the Regular Cab and SuperCab versions of the F-150 for 2016.

The wheel blockers present on the SuperCrew, but missing on the SuperCab and Regular Cab, significantly varied the trucks’ performances on the small overlap crash test. In the follow-up test conducted on the SuperCab, the “intruding structure seriously compromised the driver’s survival space,” the IIHS told Automotive News.

The notoriously difficult small overlap test has been particularly difficult for automakers to solve. It’s unclear why Ford put the wheel blockers on the SuperCrew, but not the SuperCab and Regular Cab. Zuby offered a possible solution.

“I think automakers are trying to design the vehicles to offer the best protection for their customers,” he told Automotive News. “But occasionally, we do see evidence that maybe they are trying to get a good rating in a test, maybe without looking for a completely holistic solution.”

The IIHS tests only high-volume models. Historically the SuperCab and Regular Cab models only comprised 25 and 5 percent of sales respectively.

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Ford Posts $1.9B Second Quarter Profit, Largest Since 2000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ford-posts-1-9b-second-quarter-profit-largest-since-2000/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ford-posts-1-9b-second-quarter-profit-largest-since-2000/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 17:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1126521 Ford announced that it made a $1.9 billion net-adjusted profit in the second quarter of 2015, marking the largest gain for the automaker since 2000, according to Automotive News. The profit represents a 44-percent gain over last year despite dipping global sales and a stronger U.S. dollar hampering exports. Ford said it was selling cars for […]

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2015 Ford F-150

Ford announced that it made a $1.9 billion net-adjusted profit in the second quarter of 2015, marking the largest gain for the automaker since 2000, according to Automotive News.

The profit represents a 44-percent gain over last year despite dipping global sales and a stronger U.S. dollar hampering exports. Ford said it was selling cars for more money and offering fewer incentives, despite recent reports of F-150 incentives topping nearly $11,000 in some places.

Ford said revenues in North America surged 10 percent, which helped the company beat Wall Street’s expectations.

The 10-percent gain in revenue in North America is despite Ford’s slower-than-average sales compared to the overall industry average. Automotive News reported that the automaker achieved a 1.7-percent increase in sales for the second quarter compared to the industry average of 3.3 percent.

A slowdown in production of the F-150 is partially to blame for the sales shortfall. Building the redesigned F-150 at both of Ford’s plants has gone slower than normal, the automaker said, and inventory levels should return to normal in September.

The automaker said it increased its global market share one-tenth of a percent to 7.6 percent. Twelve of its 16 planned global launches have happened already this year, and Ford said the rest were on track. The company said it was still on track for an end-of-year, pre-tax profit of between $8.5 billion and $9.5 billion.

Ford posted a net loss in South American, European, Middle Eastern and African markets, but posted a $33 million gain in the Asia Pacific region, a 20-percent improvement over last year.

Ford Credit posed a $506 million pre-tax profit for the second quarter, a 17-percent gain.

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2015 Ford Edge Ecoboost Review with Video http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/2015-ford-edge-ecoboost-review-video/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/2015-ford-edge-ecoboost-review-video/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 14:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1116857 The large two-row crossover is a rare breed. With compact crossovers getting less compact and folks defecting to supersized three rows, Toyota and Honda chose to kill the Venza and Accord Crosstour while Ford pressed on with a redesign of the Edge. You can think of the Edge as a “tweener” crossover slotting between the Escape and […]

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2015 Ford Edge Exterior Front-002

The large two-row crossover is a rare breed. With compact crossovers getting less compact and folks defecting to supersized three rows, Toyota and Honda chose to kill the Venza and Accord Crosstour while Ford pressed on with a redesign of the Edge. You can think of the Edge as a “tweener” crossover slotting between the Escape and the Explorer while at the same time being the spiritual successor (in modern form) to the Bronco and two-row Explorers of yesteryear. Although Ford says the Edge is a complete redesign, you could be forgiven for thinking this is more of a refresh, and that’s not a bad thing since the Edge was already one the most appealing options in this phone-booth-sized segment.

Exterior
Although the 2015 Edge looks more like a lightly massaged 2014 than an all-new model, it actually rides on a different platform with two all-new engines under the hood and shares surprisingly little with its predecessor in terms of parts. The last-generation Edge was designed around Ford’s “CD3″ parts bin which was co-designed with Mazda and from those building blocks came the last-generation Fusion, Mazda6, MKZ and even the CX-9. For 2015 Ford pulls from the new CD4 parts bin which serves as the basis for the current Fusion and will underpin the new Taurus and Flex among others. Although weight reduction is all the rage these days, the platform swap sheds less than 100 pounds from the Edge’s curb weight.

This change under the sheetmetal explains the Edge’s growth which is up four inches overall with a one-inch wheelbase stretch. The increase gives the Edge a sleeker and less boxy profile than before while offering more interior room. Meanwhile, Ford tacked on a new grille that strikes me as the merger of Hyundai and Ford’s styling cues. Since the Venza and Crosstour are leaving us this year (production has supposedly already stopped) this means the Edge’s direct competition comes in the form of the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, Nissan Murano and certain versions of the Kia Sorento which comes as either a two- or three-row crossover for 2016. If you want to expand the pool, the Grand Cherokee and Lexus RX are also plausible cross-shops, although the Jeep is far more off-road focused and the RX truly competes with the Edge’s ritzy brother: the Lincoln MKX.

2015 Ford Edge Interior Dashboard

Interior
Having not sat inside an Edge in about a year, I had to hunt one down to figure out what changed. The short answer is: everything. The long answer is: the design is similar enough to the outgoing model that current Edge shoppers will feel right at home, but different enough to give them a reason to lease another. Ford merged the squarish style of the 2014 interior with design cues from the latest Focus and Fusion. Instead of continuing Ford’s button minimalism strategy, 2015 adds buttons to make the infotainment system and climate control easier to use.

Front-seat comfort is excellent, although you’ll find that the new Murano’s seats are a hair softer and the 2016 Sorento (in top end trims) offers a wider range of seat adjustments. Rear-seat comfort is excellent and I found the rear cabin more comfortable than the competition, especially the Jeep which has strangely stiff seat cushions. Seat comfort is, in general, a reason to upgrade from a compact crossover to this midsized category. Much of the increased comfort comes from increased legroom and headroom. For 2015, the Edge gains three inches of combined room vs the outgoing model. The way legroom is measured seems to be a matter of constant debate, highlighted by the similar legroom numbers you get in the Honda CR-V. However, in the real world, the Edge not only feels larger, but it’s larger in practical terms as well. In the Edge I was able to properly install a rear-facing child seat behind a 6’2″ passenger, something I could not do in the CR-V. In the way-back you’ll find 25 to 40 percent more cargo room than most compact crossovers, but less than the average 3-row crossover with the 3rd row folded.

2015 Ford Edge MyFord Touch

Infotainment
Ford’s touchscreen infotainment system is not long for this world. Starting in the 2016 calendar year, we will see the highly-anticipated SYNC3 system start to roll into Ford models. Until the software refresh hits however, the Edge will soldier on with the base 4.2-inch SYNC system or the optional 8-inch MyFord Touch (optional in SEL and standard in Titanium and Sport). Since LCD love is all the rage, SEL models can be equipped with Ford’s ubiquitous partial LCD instrument cluster (standard in Titanium and Sport) where twin 4.2-inch displays flank a large central speedometer. Base models get a 6-speaker unbranded audio system and shoppers can option up a 9-speaker premium option or a 12-speaker Sony audio system as our tester was equipped. The twin-LCD system is starting to look dated compared to the LCD clusters that are optional in high end trims of the Grand Cherokee and Sorento but on par with what’s in the Murano.

MyFord Touch is one of the most maligned infotainment systems on the market, but it is also one of the most fully featured. Even in 2015 there are still mainline brands that don’t offer voice command of your USB-connected music library. At this point Ford has addressed most of the major issues that plagues the MFT system launch, except for the speed. Interacting with the touchscreen requires patience as screen changes are considerably slower than the Kia, Chrysler, GM and Toyota alternatives.

Integrated telematics systems that email you vehicle health reports, allow you to call a concierge, request emergency assistance and know when your airbags have gone off are seeing a renaissance. This generation of Ford’s infotainment system includes SYNC Services which offers OnStar-like telematics without the integrated modem. On the downside, if you’ve forgotten your phone and you get in an accident, the car can’t dial for help.

2015 Ford Edge 2.0L Ecoboost Turbo Engine-001

Drivetrain
Last time we looked at the Edge, Ford made the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder a $995 option over the 3.5-liter V6. In an interesting reversal, the V6 is now a $425 optional engine and the 2.0-liter is standard. Despite the identical displacement, the 2.0-liter is almost a new engine. Ford increased the compression, fiddled with the fuel and oiling systems and tacked on a new twin-scroll turbocharger for improved efficiency and a broader torque curve. Power is up 5 horsepower and 5 lb-ft over last year to 245 and 275 respectively with a beefier power band. That’s 35 fewer ponies than the optional V6, but 25 lb-ft more. Also different from last year, you can finally get the small Ecoboost engine with all-wheel drive.

Making the Edge Sport sportier than before is another new engine: the 2.7-liter twin-turbo V6 from Ford’s F-150. Inserted sideways under the Edge’s hood, the turbo-six loses a little power but still trumps the outgoing 3.7-liter V6 by 10 ponies and 70 lb-ft (315 hp 350 lb-ft). More impressively, that torque comes to a boil 1,250 RPM sooner. In perhaps the most interesting twist, the Edge Sport doesn’t come with AWD standard. That’s right, all 350 lb-ft of twist are routed to the front wheels only by default. Torque steer? You betcha.

2015 Ford Edge Exterior-001
Drive
Torque steer isn’t just what classifies the 2.7-liter turbo. The 2.0-liter turbo has plenty of that particular demon under the hood as well. (Although I find the act of controlling torque steer amusing, I also willingly bought a new Chrysler LHS at age 18, so take that into consideration.) Put the pedal to the metal and the small turbo engine whirs to life with a hair of lag that’s very similar to BMW’s 2.0-liter turbo. After 7.5 seconds the Edge will hit 60 mph, followed by the 1/4 mile in 15.8 seconds. That’s almost half a second slower than the Murano and V6 Grand Cherokee but only a hair behind the Santa Fe Sport and Sorento with the 2.0-liter turbo. Shoppers should know that a dealer provided 3.5-liter V6 model was just 2/10ths faster to 60 and posted essentially identical 1/4 mile numbers while drinking more fuel. Why is it a $425 option? Because some folks just want six cylinders. (In case you were wondering, a brief test in an AWD Edge Sport (dealer provided) ran to 60 in a scant 5.8 seconds.)

Curb weight ranges from 3,912 pounds in the FWD 2.0-liter Ecoboost base model to a maximum of 4,236 pounds in the FWD Sport model. If you want AWD, it adds around 165 pounds, bringing the AWD Sport to a fairly hefty 4,400 pounds when fully equipped. Despite the weight, the Edge handles surprisingly well. You can thank a few things for that: the wide 64.8 inch track, standard 245-width rubber and a suspension design that’s related to Ford’s global portfolio including the current European Mondeo. Somewhat surprisingly, jumping from the base SE to the Titanium or Sport trims doesn’t buy you wider rubber but the aspect ratio falls from 245/60R18s in the SE to 245/55R19s in the Titanium and 245/50R20s in the Sport. While the aspect ratio and spring rates obviously play a role in lateral grip, the SE and Sport are closer together than you think. (As a late 2015 option Ford will offer an optional 265/40R21 wheel and tire package with summer rubber which we were not able to test.)

2015 Ford Edge Interior Dashboard-004

The hefty curb weight, moderately soft springs and 55-series tires combine to give the Edge a compliant highway ride that wafted over potholed and rough pavement without batting an eye. While not as soft as the new Murano, the Edge has a more pleasing balance because the Nissan often feels too soft on your favorite winding mountain road. Hyundai’s Santa Fe Sport actually deserves its name because it feels the most nimble and athletic in the corners. The Hyundai weighs around 500 pounds less which certainly doesn’t hurt, but the suspension is also tuned on the firmer side of this segment. On the other side is the Grand Cherokee which, thanks to its off-road mission, weighs more, is higher off the ground and feels more ponderous. Meanwhile the Sorento straddles the middle of the segment thanks to a light curb weight and moderately firm springs. Steering feel is numb but accurate and I had no problems understanding what the front wheels were up to.

Priced between $28,100 for a FWD SE model and $48,100 for the AWD Sport trim, the Edge starts more expensive and scales higher than the Korean options. However, shoppers need to look beyond the low starting price with the Kia and Hyundai because base Santa Fe and Sorento models come with a naturally aspirated 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that is considerably less powerful than the Edge’s base engine and the Koreans have fewer features standard as well. Equip the Hyundai and Kia with a 2.0-liter turbo engine so they compare more directly with the Edge and they ring in at $31,250 and $31,100 respectively, giving Ford the upper hand in MSRP. The value pricing continues against Nissan and Jeep with the Edge undercutting the Murano by around $1,000 across the line and the Jeep by $1,500-2,000 depending on the options.

Nissan’s Murano wins the award for being the best highway cruiser in the bunch. The Jeep is the off-road alternative and the Edge is the value leader. The Kia, however, is my top choice. The Sorento has a fresher look, it’s slightly bigger with a nicer interior and a 0-60 time that’s a bit faster as well. The Sorento handles surprisingly well in its latest generation and top-end trims are better equipped than the Edge. While the Sorento EX is more expensive than a base Edge, you do get more feature content in the Kia and by the time you compare top-end trims the Sorento is less expensive. The only trouble with the Sorento is that Kia attempts to compete with the Edge, Escape and Explorer with one vehicle. Get the base Sorento and it’s Escape priced with 2 rows and a weak 2.4-liter engine. The 2.0-liter turbo Sorento is a 2-row luxury-leaning crossover with optional Nappa leather and HID headlamps. Check the box for the V6 and you get a small third row for your mother-in-law as a smaller alternative to the Explorer. This means that V6 Edge competition gets whittled down to just the Nissan and the Jeep.

After a week with the 2.0-liter Ecoboost Edge I have come to a few conclusions. First up, skip the V6 as it really makes no sense. The fuel economy in the 2.0-liter turbo is better and the performance is nearly identical. Second, get AWD even if you live below the snow belt, unless you really love torque steer. Third, the front-wheel peel in a FWD 2.7-liter twin-turbo Edge Sport made me giggle. If you’re shopping for the best 2.0-liter turbo crossover in this segment, stop by your Kia dealer. However, if you want something this size that will put a smile on your face without braking the bank, the Edge Sport is the CUV you’re looking for. The Edge Sport AWD bridges the gap between the fire-breathing Grand Cherokee SRT and a mainstream crossover like the Sorento and Santa Fe Sport. Think of the Edge Sport as the gravel-road version of the Taurus SHO. I’ll take a red one.

Ford provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review

Specifications as tested

0-30: 2.65

0-60: 7.5

1/4 Mile: 15.80 Seconds @ 86 MPH

Average Economy: 24.6 MPG

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Super Duty Buoys Flagging F-150 Sales for Ford http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/buoyed-heavy-duty-ford-still-leading-pickup-sales-us/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/buoyed-heavy-duty-ford-still-leading-pickup-sales-us/#comments Wed, 22 Jul 2015 18:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1123137 The Chevrolet Silverado has outsold the Ford F-150 so far this year, but sales of Ford’s Super Duty trucks have boosted the company’s truck business past its competition, PickupTrucks.com is reporting. All three truck makers are selling more pickups than they were a year ago, but flagging F-150 sales and depleted inventory could be keeping Ford’s […]

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2015 Chevrolet Silverado

The Chevrolet Silverado has outsold the Ford F-150 so far this year, but sales of Ford’s Super Duty trucks have boosted the company’s truck business past its competition, PickupTrucks.com is reporting.

All three truck makers are selling more pickups than they were a year ago, but flagging F-150 sales and depleted inventory could be keeping Ford’s perennial half-ton leader back.

The website, which used data from Cars.com to determine sales by segment, said that Ford’s Super Duty trucks led Ram and General Motor’s heavy-duty offerings by a large margin. Roughly 120,000 three-quarter and full-ton Ford pickups have been purchased this year, compared to around 80,000 and 75,000 heavy-duty trucks for Ram and General Motors, respectively.

Earlier this month, Ford offered a series of incentives totaling $11,000 on its F-150 in specific areas for specific models. A spokesman for Ford said that dealer stocks of the full-size F-150 pickups were unusually low, and that normal inventories would be restored by the end of September.

According to our own Timothy Cain, truck sales represent around 14 percent of overall vehicle sales in the United States, up one percentage point from last year. And the average price paid for a truck is $42,429 so far this year.

So who’s ready for a $100,000 pickup?

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Ford Announces Nearly $60K-to-Start “Limited” F-150 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ford-announces-nearly-60k-start-limited-f-150/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ford-announces-nearly-60k-start-limited-f-150/#comments Tue, 21 Jul 2015 19:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1121473 Ford announced Tuesday its new range-topping truck, the F-150 Limited, which will go on sale this winter. The Limited replaces the Platinum as the most you can pay for an F-150, and while the automaker didn’t specify how much the Limited may cost, it’s clear it will be knocking on the door of $60,000 — if not […]

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2016 Ford F-150 Limited

Ford announced Tuesday its new range-topping truck, the F-150 Limited, which will go on sale this winter. The Limited replaces the Platinum as the most you can pay for an F-150, and while the automaker didn’t specify how much the Limited may cost, it’s clear it will be knocking on the door of $60,000 — if not kicking it down.

Limited only in name, not in price, Ford’s newest F-150 is aiming to push average transaction prices higher and further than they’ve ever gone before. According to Reuters, the average price paid for a pickup was $42,429 so far this year.

The Limited model sports 22-inch wheels, a 3.5-liter EcoBoost turbocharged V6, 360-degree cameras and massaging seats.

The F-150 Limited will take head-on the Ram 1500 Limited and GMC Sierra 1500 Denali, which cost $51,370 and $51,160 respectively.

In addition to unique exterior and polished aluminum wheels, the F-150 Limited sports four colors: Shadow Black, Magnetic, Blue Jeans (!) and White Platinum Metallic.

The new Limited trim features all of the interior goodies available: Ford’s Sync infotainment system, panoramic sunroof, cross-traffic alerts, remote start and tailgate release, and a laser-engraved production number plate on the center console that shows the position of your truck in the likely five-figure “limited” production run.

2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited 2016 Ford F-150 Limited

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Ford: Our Incentives Are Still Lower than Overall Segment http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ford-incentives-still-lower-overall-segment/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ford-incentives-still-lower-overall-segment/#comments Fri, 17 Jul 2015 20:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1118913 A Ford spokesman said Friday that despite the automaker offering nearly $11,000 on particular F-150 models, their incentives are still under the segment average. “It’s not like every F-150 customer walking into a Ford dealer today — whether they’re in L.A. or New York — is going to get $10,000 off of every single model,” Truck […]

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2015 Ford F-150

A Ford spokesman said Friday that despite the automaker offering nearly $11,000 on particular F-150 models, their incentives are still under the segment average.

“It’s not like every F-150 customer walking into a Ford dealer today — whether they’re in L.A. or New York — is going to get $10,000 off of every single model,” Truck Communications Manager Mike Levine said.

“On average, we’re lower than the segment.”

Levine said the $10,819 we reported on yesterday was a specific truck in a specific area. Those numbers, such as $7,050 off, that Ford publicizes on its website aren’t indicative of every incentive available.

F-150 incentives

“That’s a very specific set of incentives that are all stacked together that gets you to $10,000,” he said.

According to Ford, those incentives include: $3,769 average dealer discount; $500 customer cash; $1,000 XLT customer cash; $300 2.7-liter V6 EcoBoost bonus cash; $2,000 302A XLT Luxury Chrome or Sport packages.; $2,500 bonus cash; and $750 Ford Credit Bonus Cash, which requires Ford Credit financing.

Levine said the average incentive offered on a F-150 is $3,354, which is $800 lower than the segment average and lower than the automaker had offered one year ago.

Dealer inventories are down, Levine said, and Ford needs to stay competitive.

“For this particular truck, we’re helping customers get into a better truck. It’s something that we do from time-to-time, and it’s in line with what our competitors do,” he said.

Representatives from Ram and General Motors didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

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Ford Patent Filing Shows Exterior Lighting Trim, Future is Here http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ford-patent-filing-shows-exterior-lighting-trim-future-is-here/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ford-patent-filing-shows-exterior-lighting-trim-future-is-here/#comments Thu, 16 Jul 2015 19:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1117985 Future Fords may have decorative exterior molding or body panels with built-in lights, Carscoops.com (via FocusRSClub) has uncovered in patent filings. The filings detail luminescent panels and moldings that would light up to accent portions of some of Ford’s vehicles. Or you know, the stuff aftermarket shops have been offering for years now. According to the […]

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Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 10.59.27 AMFuture Fords may have decorative exterior molding or body panels with built-in lights, Carscoops.com (via FocusRSClub) has uncovered in patent filings.

The filings detail luminescent panels and moldings that would light up to accent portions of some of Ford’s vehicles.

Or you know, the stuff aftermarket shops have been offering for years now.

According to the patent filing, “Illumination arising from the use of photoluminescent structures offers a unique and attractive viewing experience.” So it’s clear we’re going to love these things.

Although the car depicted in the filing’s drawings is a Mustang, it’s likely that the lights could apply to any of Ford’s vehicles.

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 11.21.00 AM

Of course, this isn’t the only hubbub we’ve seen from a patent filing this week. Ram’s Ramps hit the United States Patent and Trademark Office earlier this month, and like we learned then, automakers file lots of patents that never see the light of day.

Or the light of a Mustang convertible’s rear deck, in this case.

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Ford Putting Nearly $11,000 on Hoods of Some F-150s http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ford-putting-nearly-11000-hoods-f-150s/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ford-putting-nearly-11000-hoods-f-150s/#comments Thu, 16 Jul 2015 17:00:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1117793 Ford is looking to boost sales of its full-size F-150 by offering more than $10,000 in incentives for some higher-trim models in some parts of the United States, Automotive News is reporting. Production issues have plagued the aluminum 2015 F-150 since its launch late last year. According to Ford, only half of the F-150’s normal inventory […]

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Ford F-150 grey, side

Ford is looking to boost sales of its full-size F-150 by offering more than $10,000 in incentives for some higher-trim models in some parts of the United States, Automotive News is reporting.

Production issues have plagued the aluminum 2015 F-150 since its launch late last year. According to Ford, only half of the F-150’s normal inventory has been available since June, which as hampered sales. The automaker says dealer stocks will be full by the end of September.

The company’s website offers nearly $11,000 off of 2015 Ford F-150 XLT SuperCrew with Chrome or Sport packages in some parts of the country.

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 9.09.07 AMWe found this offer available in the middle of Michigan, near Clare, on Ford’s website. Other parts of the country may receive up to $7,050 off similar models.

“The truck hasn’t sold up to expectations for the most part,” Akshay Anand, an analyst at Kelley Blue Book, told Automotive News. “This may be a hint that in certain parts of the country, the issue might just be more than supply.”

Truck sales have been up for the first half of this year, but the F-150’s sales pace has been modest. F-Series volumes have dipped in each of the last five months, and second-quarter sales have dropped 6.5 percent.

 

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No, This is Not the Mustang Apollo Astronauts Drove http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/no-not-mustang-apollo-astronauts-drove/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/no-not-mustang-apollo-astronauts-drove/#comments Thu, 16 Jul 2015 16:00:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1117641 It is the Mustang that could help students become future astronauts, however. Ford announced Wednesday the one-of-a-kind Apollo Edition Mustang that will be auctioned July 23 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, to benefit the Experimental Aviation Association’s Young Eagles program, a youth flying education program. On top of the Saturn V-inspired paint, the 2015 Mustang GT goes like a […]

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00-2015-ford-mustang-apollo-edition-2

It is the Mustang that could help students become future astronauts, however.

Ford announced Wednesday the one-of-a-kind Apollo Edition Mustang that will be auctioned July 23 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, to benefit the Experimental Aviation Association’s Young Eagles program, a youth flying education program.

On top of the Saturn V-inspired paint, the 2015 Mustang GT goes like a rocket: 627 horsepower and 540 pound-feet of torque.

Ford engineers bolted on a Ford Performance supercharger screw, side and rear exhausts, six-piston Brembo brakes and custom Forgiato 21-inch performance wheels to the Mustang. The interior has a specialized instrument cluster, custom-embroidered seats, performance gauges and trim panels.

It’s the eighth-consecutive year Ford has developed a special vehicle for the Young Eagles program. Past highlights include a Blue Angels Mustang, a Roush-Shelby collaboration SR-71 Blackbird Mustang and an AV-X10 “Dearborn Doll” Mustang, which netted more than $250,000 for the charity. In total, the special-edition Mustangs have netted nearly $3 million, according to Ford.

Is it as cool as nerds in matching 1969 Corvettes? Maybe not.

Apollo Corvettes

But it is for a good cause, which is totally OK.

(Editor’s Note: In all due fairness, this is not the first car we’ve seen painted up like a Saturn V. All credit to Escape Velocity Racing, which painted up their Dodge Dart something fantastic for 24 Hours of LeMons.)

Escape Velocity Racing

Photo courtesy Escape Velocity Racing

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2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Convertible Review – No Respect http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/2015-ford-mustang-ecoboost-convertible-review-no-respect/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/2015-ford-mustang-ecoboost-convertible-review-no-respect/#comments Thu, 16 Jul 2015 14:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1117449 I pull up next to a previous-generation Mustang — its 5-liter V8 rumbling as it sits at a stop light — and look over to the driver. There is no acknowledgement from him that I exist. Not a nod, glance, nor a typical, Mustang-owner two-finger wave. That’s not surprising though — he probably couldn’t hear me. The 2.3-liter EcoBoost inline four is but a whimper […]

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2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Convertible (1 of 11)

I pull up next to a previous-generation Mustang — its 5-liter V8 rumbling as it sits at a stop light — and look over to the driver. There is no acknowledgement from him that I exist. Not a nod, glance, nor a typical, Mustang-owner two-finger wave.

That’s not surprising though — he probably couldn’t hear me.

The 2.3-liter EcoBoost inline four is but a whimper next to the eight cylinders of Detroit aluminum. I give the boosted four banger a slight tip of accelerator. Still nothing from the owner of the “five-point-oh.”


The Tester

2015 Ford Mustang Convertible EcoBoost Premium (Automatic)

Engine: 2.3-liter DOHC I-4, direct injection, twin independent variable camshaft timing (310 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm, 320 lbs-ft @ 2,500-4,500 rpm)
Transmission: 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters

Fuel Economy (Rating, MPG): 20 city/30 highway/24 combined
Fuel Economy (Observed, MPG): 23.3 mpg, approx. 70 percent highway

Options: 201A Equipment Group (Shaker Pro Audio System, Memory Driver’s Seat and Mirrors, Blind Spot Information System with cross-traffic alert), Triple Yellow paint, 50 Years Appearance Package, EcoBoost Performance Package, Enhanced Security Package Active Anti­, Theft System with Perimeter Alarm, HID Headlamps with Signature Lighting, Reverse Sensing System, Spoiler Delete, Wheel Locking Kit, 3.55 Limited-Slip Rear Axle, 19-inch-by-9-inch Gloss Black Premium Painted Aluminum Wheels, Raven Black interior, Adaptive Cruise Control with Collision Mitigation and Rain­ Sensing Wipers, SYNC with MyFord Touch, Voice­Activated Navigation System, Premium AM/FM Stereo with HD Radio.

As Tested (U.S.): $45,060 (sheet)
As Tested (Canada): $52,649 (sheet)


It isn’t until the light turns green that my newfound nemesis in the neighboring lane graces me with a single eyeball. Even with the EcoBoost’s bright yellow paint, a pass is required to command the 5-liter’s driver to look to his right and gaze upon my taillights.

Admittedly, this is a very specific scenario. During normal driving, when other Mustang owners are traveling in the opposite direction, any Mustang — no matter the vintage — is still due its two finger, steering-wheel salute. Unless you’re driving a Mustang II.

2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Convertible (6 of 11)

Exterior
The front fascia of the Mustang is all modern. New headlights. New grille. This is the new look for Ford’s pony car going forward. While I don’t think this is a design Ford will look back on in 2050 and say, “Hey, we should make a retro-modern version of this,” it’s still a much more streamlined than the upright front with its recessed headlights that have graced the faces of Mustangs for the last two generations.

The headlights give the Mustang a purposeful, angry demeanor, while the long hood foretells of engines upwards of eight cylinders, though that hood is a bit of a lie in this case.

2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Convertible (10 of 11)

On our convertible tester, the looks are greatly improved as soon as you drop the top. There is no cover for the folded roof, but it is neatly packed away behind the rear seats — unlike the Beetle Convertible — and doesn’t really require a covering. The belt line is rather high, but it works in this case. The Mustang is a big-bodied pony car and it should have as much sheet metal as is possible.

2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Convertible (3 of 11)

The convertible, I’d argue, has a better silhouette than the new coupe. Instead of the awkward rear-window profile, the convertible offers a flatter and seemingly longer, deck lid. Our tester, with the EcoBoost Performance Package and 50 Years Appearance Package had its rear spoiler deleted, which made for one of the cleanest looking forms of the Mustang money can buy.

My only qualms with the Mustang’s design have to do with the rear. The designers at Ford had an opportunity to go all new with their latest creation, but the rear is still stuck in the past.

2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Convertible (7 of 11)

Interior
Thank you Ford, for real, honest-to-goodness controls. What the Mustang offers up is incredibly user friendly and — save the outgoing version of SYNC with MyFord Touch — amazingly intuitive. The steering wheel controls are not as simple as those in the Dodge Charger I reviewed last week, though there’s definitely nothing wrong with the buttons festooned to the wheel in the Mustang. More options need more buttons.

Below the large MyFord Touch screen and HVAC controls sits a row of toggle switches to change driving mode, steering effort and a few other options. I would prefer these be closer to the driver and out of reach of any underage passengers trying to be clever by flipping between Comfort and Sport steering modes mid-corner.

Another pet peeve: Ford has decided to put the boost gauge right in the middle of the dash, far outside the peripheral vision of the driver. Please, Ford, put this in the instrument panel. At the very least, this could be one of the performance gauges offered up by the digital display between the speedometer and tachometer.

The seats are, well, just fair. I found myself constantly readjusting in order to be comfortable. Also, thanks to the speedometer and tachometer being fairly far apart from each other, the view through the steering wheel to the gauges can be compromised by the steering wheel itself.

The phrase “backseat comfort” in a car like this is an oxymoron, so I’m not even going to mention it.

2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Convertible (8 of 11)Infotainment
As previously mentioned, the Mustang makes do with the outgoing version of SYNC and MyFord Touch. While other reviewers have called out Ford’s system for being a confusing, four-cornered mix mash, I’ve never had any serious usability problems with Ford’s infotainment system. If anything, my experience has been nothing but glowing — though not due to the screen itself.

SYNC’s voice-activation feature is one of the best systems for people like me who have horrible regional accents. Somehow, whether it be the folks at Ford or Microsoft (the company responsible for the software guts of SYNC) the system is able to figure out how to cut through all my weird ‘ar‘ combinations and other oddball dialectical artifacts.

Beyond that, the optional Shaker audio system might sound great in the coupe, but in the Mustang convertible it sounds like a tinny mess. If you can avoid the extra cost, do so.

Drivetrain
And now we get to the crux of this particular Mustang: its engine.

Ford’s new found love for turbocharging, combined with its “One Ford” plan to send Mustangs to Europe, has resulted in a four-cylinder Mustang with a twin-scroll turbocharger hanging off its side. On top of that, this engine is considered to be a premium choice over the 3.7-liter V6 engine.

Sitting them side by side, the EcoBoost four does, in fact, make more horsepower and torque. However, the quality of how it delivers that power and its attack on your senses is not something I would call premium.

For starters, the EcoBoost engine — even with faux exhaust note pumped through the Shaker audio system — sounds like any other four-cylinder engine on the market. Neither the engine nor exhaust notes are pleasing to the ear. Remember back when Hondas and Acuras would activate all the VTEC goodness at the top RPMs? Remember how great that sounded? The exact opposite is happening here.

That’s not to say the EcoBoost mill is a horrible engine. If your plan is to putt around town and stay out of the boost, the little four pot will return some pretty excellent fuel economy, even with the six-speed automatic. But, if you are looking for an experience pleasing to the ear, get a 6- or 8-cylinder engine.

Drive
I drove the Mustang the week following the Charger, and while I called the Dodge a “four-door pony car,” the two cars are definitely not in the same league.

For starters, the Mustang still sports a stiff ride, even with its new-fangled independent rear suspension. Handling might be improved, but the convertible still communicates a fair amount of chassis flex. With the top up, the Mustang isn’t even close to quiet; in truth, it even seemed quieter with the top down. It’s still a Mustang, foibles and all.

If the V6, automatic, convertible Mustang is the Cheerleader Edition of the Ford’s pony car, this EcoBoost-powered version is for the cheerleader that munches on Adderall from a Pez dispenser. It’s high-strung when pushed, but relaxed when it needs to be. The only time it sounds good is when you can’t hear it. And, to top it all off, this car is nearly $50,000. That’s fifty grand for a four cylinder.

Get the six. Save your money. Invest in the improved auditory experience for yourself and others. Turbocharging is not the answer — at least in this case.

2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Convertible (10 of 11) 2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Convertible (2 of 11) 2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Convertible (3 of 11) 2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Convertible (1 of 11) 2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Convertible (6 of 11) 2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Convertible (5 of 11) 2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Convertible (4 of 11) 2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Convertible (9 of 11) 2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Convertible (8 of 11) 2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Convertible (7 of 11) 2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Convertible (11 of 11)

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Union Talks Set to Start on Monday, Will Focus on Raises http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/union-talks-set-start-monday-will-focus-raises/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/union-talks-set-start-monday-will-focus-raises/#comments Sat, 11 Jul 2015 15:30:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1113441 The newest round of negotiations between the Big Three automakers and the United Auto Workers will focus on narrowing the gap between veteran workers and “second-tier” workers hired after 2011, Reuters is reporting. Talks between the UAW, which represents around 138,000 workers, and Ford, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and General Motors will begin Monday. The UAW’s contract […]

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UAW Wages

The newest round of negotiations between the Big Three automakers and the United Auto Workers will focus on narrowing the gap between veteran workers and “second-tier” workers hired after 2011, Reuters is reporting.

Talks between the UAW, which represents around 138,000 workers, and Ford, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and General Motors will begin Monday. The UAW’s contract with GM ends Sept. 14.

Union President Dennis Williams said he wanted to focus on narrowing the gap between veteran workers, who make on average $28 an hour, and workers hired post-recession, who make on average $16 to $19 an hour, according to the story.

The raises would be significant for more than 39,000 workers who were hired after the recession on the “second-tier” system. More than 40 percent of FCA’s union workforce was hired at second-tier rates of $15.78 to $19.28 per hour, compared to 28 and 20 percent for Ford and GM respectively.

Falling labor costs have helped the Big Three stay competitive with other automakers, Sean McAlinden, chief economist at the Center for Automotive Research told Reuters. However, rising profits and sales have prompted Williams to call for the automakers’ to share profits with workers.

In an interview in February, Williams told Reuters that the union’s workers need the automakers to remain competitive in the long-term for his membership.

“We’re … mature organizations that have been through a hell of a lot together to survive,” Williams said. “None of us want to blow it.”

On Thursday, Ford announced it was ending production of the Focus and C-Max at its Wayne, Michigan plant by 2018.

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Ford Will Stop Michigan C-Max, Focus Production in 2018 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ford-will-stop-michigan-c-max-focus-production-2018/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ford-will-stop-michigan-c-max-focus-production-2018/#comments Thu, 09 Jul 2015 20:05:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1112353 Ford will stop building the C-Max and Focus at its Wayne, Michigan plant in 2018, Automotive News is reporting. Moving the production of the compact cars could signal a coming slowdown in small car sales, or a shift in strategy for the global automaker. UAW officials say they’re confident the C-Max and Focus will be replaced […]

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2015-Ford-Focus-02

Ford will stop building the C-Max and Focus at its Wayne, Michigan plant in 2018, Automotive News is reporting.

Moving the production of the compact cars could signal a coming slowdown in small car sales, or a shift in strategy for the global automaker. UAW officials say they’re confident the C-Max and Focus will be replaced with a different product at the plant.

The automaker recently removed a third shift at the Wayne, Michigan plant and said they were cutting about 700 jobs at the plant.

“We actively are pursuing future vehicle alternatives to produce at Michigan Assembly,” Ford said in a statement, “and will discuss this issue with UAW leadership as part of the upcoming negotiations.”

Negotiations with the UAW begin July 23, according to Automotive News.

The Focus and C-Max are due for redesigns within 3 years. Sales for the C-Max have slumped this year.

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2015 Ford F-150 Platinum 4×4 3.5L Ecoboost Review [With Video] http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/2015-ford-f-150-platinum-4x4-3-5l-ecoboost-review-video/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/2015-ford-f-150-platinum-4x4-3-5l-ecoboost-review-video/#comments Mon, 22 Jun 2015 12:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1094033 Ford’s F-150 is an important vehicle for Ford and it’s not too much of an exaggeration to say it’s an important vehicle for America. In 2014, the F-150 was not just the most popular truck in America, it was the most popular anything in America, selling more than 740,000 examples. For those that love their […]

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2015 Ford F-151

Ford’s F-150 is an important vehicle for Ford and it’s not too much of an exaggeration to say it’s an important vehicle for America. In 2014, the F-150 was not just the most popular truck in America, it was the most popular anything in America, selling more than 740,000 examples. For those that love their numbers, that is more F-150s than everything Hyundai sold in the USA put together.

Redesigning the F-150 isn’t just putting Ford’s profits on the line. Hundreds of suppliers and countless employees are worried about Ford’s aluminum gamble.

First let’s talk aluminum. There seems to be plenty of confusion about the first “all aluminum pickup.” Here’s the deal: the F-150 is aluminum bodied. If you were worried about how an aluminum frame would hold up, fear not, the F-150’s body rides on a high strength steel frame, which is half the reason for the high towing and payload numbers. The other half is the aluminum body. Although, there has been plenty of argument about the supposed 700 pound weight saving, Ford does say that about 450 lbs comes from the aluminum body alone. In a simplistic sense, for every pound you take out of the body, you can put it right back in the form of payload. This is the single largest reason the F-150 has payload figures that are 400-600 lbs higher than comparable GM and RAM models.

The majority of the body is made of 6000-series aluminum, which is about 33% lighter than sheet steel of the same thickness. Ford heat treats most of the F-150’s aluminum panels to improve strength and saves a little bit of money by using less expensive 5000-series aluminum in areas like the cab floor and interior parts. According to an engineer at BAE Systems, aluminum also has better dent, ding and corrosion resistance than steel, which is why it is used in military vehicles where those properties are important. If you’re thinking about how easily an aluminum soda can bends, a steel can of that same thickness would dent easier and, according to the engineers, shatter more easily. This is a huge benefit in the bed of the F-150, where Ford was able to make the panels thicker and still save weight. The bugaboo of course is the cost of repair. Body shops have less experience with aluminum, it’s more expensive to replace and labor costs are higher at the moment.

2015 Ford F-158

Exterior
As you’d expect from a modern American pickup, the F-150 is bigger, bolder and angrier up front than the model it replaces. If you’re willing to pony up the cash, Ford will sell you the segment’s first full-LED headlamps, but I found the headlamp brightness to be somewhat lackinglike all the main players in this segment. Out back we find a new tailgate design that is not only lighter because it’s aluminum but also damped like the Japanese competition so it doesn’t slam down on you. The benefit of an aluminum tailgate is immediately evident as it was much easier to close than the competition even though our model had the integrated tailgate step.

Although I think the RAM is attractive, the growing overbite is a design I’d have left on the cutting room floor, and GM’s square wheel arches have always made me scratch my head. Therefore the pickup aesthetics award goes to Ford since the 2015 model brings just enough “butch” without looking ridiculous.

2015 Ford F-166

Interior
When designing a vehicle that spans from $26,100 to over $62,000 there will invariably be trade offs. If you use the same core interior parts in all models, you have to either be willing to make the base models look and feel more expensive, or be willing to have some hard plastics in the top end trims. Ford, like GM and Chrysler, chose the latter. This means that our nearly fully-equipped Platinum model sported real wood trim and soft leather, but inches away were hard plastic door panels and trim pieces. Note: that’s not a negative, it’s simply a statement of fact. Personally, I don’t have a problem Ford’s use of hard plastics because that’s the norm in the pickup truck segment. It would only be a problem if nobody else was doing it.

While I think the RAM’s interior is better looking, especially in the brown and tan version, the F-150 is the king of the hill in terms of parts quality, especially in the platinum trim where you get acres of aluminum trim and fit and finish beats the competition. While I found the base front seats in the Silverado to be more comfortable than the Ford, the Platinum model gets Ford’s massaging and anti-fatigue system. Basically, it’s the same system we saw in the Lincoln MKS. Ford places several air bags inside the seat bottom and back cushion that are tied to a compressor and computer-controlled valve system. In addition to providing multi-way adjustable lumbar support, the software can inflate and deflate the bags in sequence to “massage” your back and improve leg circulation. At first, it just seemed like the truck was slowly groping my bottom, but after an hour and a half in the seat I was hooked. Most luxury cars with similar systems only run for 15 to 20 minutes, but the Ford system stays on until you turn off the car or the compressor noise gets to you.

 

2015 Ford F-162Infotainment
Ford’s touchscreen infotainment system is slated to be replaced by the highly anticipated SYNC 3 system as soon as next year. Until then, the F-150 soldiers on with the same infotainment systems we’ve seen for some time. Base models get a 4.2-inch color LCD radio with SYNC voice recognition software and 4-speakers. Top end trucks jump to 11 speakers (with a subwoofer) and the screen grows to an 8-inch touchscreen with navigation, satellite and HD radio.

Dropping LCDs into the instrument cluster is all the rage, and Ford has three to choose from. Base models get a small 2.3-inch LCD, mainly for trip computer functions; mid-level trucks use a 4.2-inch LCD and top end trims get customizable 8-inch display. Compared to the RAM and Chevy disco dashes, the Ford LCD looks more polished and was more responsive than the system in the Chevy

Drivetrain
The big three have chosen different paths to fuel efficiency nirvana. Chrysler is doubling down on the ZF 8-speed automatic, GM designed a new family of 6 and 8 cylinder engines with aggressive cylinder deactivation and Ford has chosen a two prong strategy with aluminum bodies and small displacement turbo V6 engines.

smart-trailer-moduleThe engine lineup starts with Ford’s familiar 3.5L V6 used in everything from the Explorer to the Taurus. Good for 283 horsepower and 255 lb-ft, the V6 is a little down on power vs the Chrysler 3.6L V6 and certainly less “torquey” than GM’s new pickup-only 4.3L V6. Instead of a V8, the next stop is a 325 horsepower 2.7L V6 with twin turbos. While that sounds down on power vs the GM 5.3L V8, keep in mind the Ford is lighter than the Chevy and the 375 lb-ft of torque comes to the boil sooner and hangs out longer than GM’s V8. Chrysler’s 5.7L HEMI and 8-speed automatic yield better power, torque and 0-60 performance, but fuel economy is drastically lower.

Next up is the only V8 on offer, but it’s not the top-end engine option. Producing 385 horsepower a 387 lb-ft, the 5.0L produces more torque just above idle and over 3,000 RPM, but at certain speeds the 2.7L actually beats the V8. The halo engine is the same 3.5L twin-turbo V6 we have seen for a while. For 2015, it’s tuned to 365 ponies and 420 lb-ft of twist but Ford has implied it will get some significant updates for the upcoming Raptor.

15F150-3.5L-EcoBoost_01_HR

All four engines are mated to a 6-speed automatic and available four-wheel-drive. This puts Ford two speeds behind most RAM models and the 6.2L Chevy which finally gets GM’s heavy-duty 8-speed. The Raptor will receive Ford’s new 10-speed automatic and we should see that filter down to other V6 models, but Ford hasn’t said when. In the mean time, the most efficient F-150 is the RWD 2.7L Ecoboost model at 22 MPG combined while the least efficient, the 5.0L V8 4×4, rings in at 17 MPG combined. Meanwhile the Chevy ranges from 17-20 (despite the cylinder deactivation on the 4.3L V6) and the RAM runs from 15-24 thanks to a thirsty 5.7L V8 and the fuel sipping diesel at the top end.

2015 Ford F-155

Drive
Although the F-150 was put on a diet, the base V6 still feels a bit sluggish compared to the competition. RAM’s heavier 1500 has a hair more torque, a lower first gear and 33% more gears to choose from overall. GM’s 4.3L V6 offers considerably more low-end torque which allows it to feel peppier when towing.

Of course, the naturally-aspirated V6 and V8 engines are arguably less important to the F-150 shopper since a whopping 63% of sales have been twin-turbo equipped. Ford hasn’t broken out sales of the 2.7 and 3.5L Ecoboost engines separately, but I suspect the new 2.7L engine is quiet popular. While our tester was 3.5L equipped, I spent a day in a dealer provided 2.7L model for comparisons.

Although the 3.5L Ecoboost is fun, I think the 2.7 fits my needs better. The turbos largely make up for the slight torque reduction you get compared to the competition’s V8s, and although the 5.7L HEMI and 8-speed auto are faster and nicer to tow with, the 2.7L engine is quite simply the most well-rounded truck engine out there. There’s more than enough torque for towing 7,500 lb trailers with ease, dropping 2,000 lbs into the bed, or piling the kids into your SuperCab. Over 110 miles in the 2.7L RWD tester, I averaged 21 MPG, below the EPA numbers but still above the V8 competition.

2015 Ford F-153

The 3.5L twin-turbo engine allows up to 12,200 lbs of towing in some configurations thanks to the healthy torque figures. 0-60 times came in at 6.45 seconds, among the faster times in this segment, but thanks to GM’s new 8-speed automatic, the 6.2L  Silverado is fastest. Fuel economy in the 3.5L Ecoboost model was lackluster, coming in at 16.4 MPG during our week, nearly 1MPG behind the 2014 6.2L Silverado before GM added the 8-speed to the mix.

Apples to apples comparisons are hard because of the multitude of cab, bed, axle, tire, wheel and drive line choices in all the trucks in this segment, but you can bet if everything were equal, the F-150 would be the handling champ simply because it is lighter. When it comes to the ride, the RAM 1500 wins hands down due to the coil springs in the rear and the available cushy air suspension system.

I hinted about it earlier, but the main benefit to the reduced curb weight of the F-150 is not fuel economy but load capability. It’s most obvious when we compare like model to like model as shown below. All three models are within $1,000 of one another with the F-150 being the most expensive at $43,950 and the RAM the least expensive at $43,010. I chose the 2.7L V6 in the Ford because it is seen as the alternative to an entry-level V8.

F-150 TowingFord advertises a maximum 3,300 lb payload capacity and 12,200 lb towing limit, but like every other truck, most configurations are below the maximum. The take away here is that the payload is consistently higher than the competition. Keeping in mind that the payload is the total of cargo and passengers, it is easy to see how this improves practicality. In the F-150 you and your two 190-pound friends can grab 1,500 lbs of concrete at Home Depot with ease. In the Ram or Chevy you’d have to make two trips. Opt for the 5.0L V8, and the payload jumps to 3,020 pounds and towing increases to 9,200 in the same configuration. If that’s not enough the 3.5L Ecoboost will tow 10,700 in approximately the same configuration. You should note that conventional towing over 10,000 pounds will require a commercial Class-A or non-commercial Class-A license in some states, so depending on where you live, towing over 10,000 may not be material.

If my money were on the line, I suspect I would be torn between the 2.7L F-150 and the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel. In that mash-up, the EcoDiesel with the air suspension would be my choice largely because I tow more than I haul and the EcoDiesel not only has a higher tow rating but the way it tows it also superior thanks to the epic torque and the 8-speed automatic. Does that make the RAM the better truck? No, it’s just the one that suits my need better. After a week with the F-150, I have to say the 2.7L engine is a 10-speed automatic away from perfection and the 3.5L Ecoboost would be perfect if the fuel economy was 4 MPG better.

Ford provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review

Specifications as tested

0-30: 2.4 Seconds

0-60: 6.45 Seconds

1/4 Mile: 15.12 Seconds @ 92.56 MPH

Average Fuel Economy: 16.4 MPG

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2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Review http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/2015-ford-mustang-ecoboost-review/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/2015-ford-mustang-ecoboost-review/#comments Fri, 12 Jun 2015 15:00:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1084361 I’m giddy like a school girl when the Mustang shows up. This is my ride to southern New Jersey for the 24 Hours of Lemons race, and it’s a perfect tool for the job. I think the new Mustang looks much better in person than pictures. This color combination is love at first sight. Upon closer inspection, it has the coveted […]

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2015 ford mustang ecoboost front side

I’m giddy like a school girl when the Mustang shows up. This is my ride to southern New Jersey for the 24 Hours of Lemons race, and it’s a perfect tool for the job.

I think the new Mustang looks much better in person than pictures. This color combination is love at first sight. Upon closer inspection, it has the coveted Performance Package, and a peek inside reveals its optional Recaro seats and, most importantly, a proper six-speed manual transmission! Yes, the car Gods have smiled upon me.

Yet, the biggest surprise is when I start the engine…

2015 ford mustang ecoboost engine

…which sounds like the Ford Escape.

Yup – it’s the new four-cylinder Mustang EcoBoost. That deep V8 tone, pronounced by a sweet rumble at start-up that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, is gone. Instead, I get the sound and fury of a CUV.

I keep an open mind because surely no one at Ford would put this four-banger into a Mustang if it’s anything but great. To be honest, to me, this is the most interesting engine of the three available, if for no other reason than I simply don’t not know what to expect.

Right away, this engine feels different than most sporty turbocharged fours. For one, it feels heavy. It does not rev very freely, as if there is a heavy flywheel attached. Interestingly, I said the exact same thing of the 1.0-liter three-cylinder in the Fiesta. Secondly, the torque curve is very flat and without much lag, both good. Ford says the engine’s peak 320 lb.-ft. is available between 2500 and 4500 rpm. There are 310 horsepower at 5500 rpm and it seems to drop off when approaching the redline.

2015 ford mustang ecoboost rear side

Accompanying that power from 2500 rpm up is the sweet sound of turbo whistle – quite addictive. During street acceleration or highway passing, this engine whistles blissfully while pulling hard, and it almost makes up for the lack of the V8 sound. Almost. But I question the noise: is it organic or is Ford fooling me?

So it’s got torque, but is it fast? That’s depends on your definition of fast. Buff books say the EcoBoost ‘Stang will achieve 0-60 mph in 5.5 seconds and complete the quarter in 13.9 seconds. That was fast some years ago, but today that’s hardly quick; a V6 Accord is just two tenths slower through the traps. The EcoBoost Mustang requires persuasion to really move fast, whereas a V8 engine would seemingly have all the power, all the time.

Even when driven in anger, I wouldn’t go racing any V8 Mustangs and, trust me, every Mustang driver on the road will want to race you. Just look away. If you’re into modifying, you’ll be happy to know there are EcoBoost Mustangs running around with 400 horsepower at the rear wheels.

2015 ford mustang ecoboost dash

Despite being the smallest of the three American muscle cars, the Mustang isn’t a small sports car, being six inches longer and two and a half inches wider than the BMW 428i coupe. It weighs 3,532 pounds, which is about 100 pounds more than the Bimmer and 170 less than an equivalent Mustang GT.

While it feels heavy, Ford has somehow managed to make this weight work, and it’s damn fun to drive on any road. Despite being at a race track, I did not have permission to do any laps in the ‘Stang, but I am certain it would do quite well with the Pirelli P-Zeros as part of the Performance Package.

What I’m disappointed with is the fact Ford went through all this effort to make the F-150 body out of aluminum but only the hood and fenders on the ‘Stang. Less weight, which one would expect in the change to a four-cylinder engine, would drive the fun factor way up. It would improve the fuel economy, too, which the EPA rates at 22 mpg in the city, 31 mpg on the highway and 26 mpg combined. On my somewhat casual New Jersey Turnpike drive I got about 27 mpg. With the overall trip average, which included the fun Merritt Parkway and crowded Bergen County, I averaged 23 mpg. For comparison, the manual V6 gets 17 mpg city and 28 highway, while the V8 manual is rated for 15 mpg city and 25 highway. Not that fuel economy is a selling point of the Mustang.

2015 ford mustang ecoboost interior details 2

The rest of the car, to be brief, is great. The Recaro seats, despite lacking side bolster adjustments or bottom cushion extension, are very comfortable for the six-foot-two me and drew cheers from the dozen guys who asked me if they could check out the car. While supportive, the seats are not difficult to get in and out of and not at all tiring over my six hour drive. Unlike the conventional seats, the Recaros are not heated or ventilated, and they don’t return to their original position after accessing the rear seat. If I had one wish, it would be for slightly more headroom for the times one is wearing a helmet. The rear seats are best suited for shorter folks.

The shifter is damn near perfect for enthusiastic driving – not too short, with only the sixth gear not always where expected; little to the right. It was as if the car wanted to shift naturally from fifth to fourth, but going into sixth requires more decisiveness, which makes sense. The clutch pedal feels a bit stiff, reminding you this is no econobox, but it is not difficult when stuck in gridlocked traffic on the George Washington Bridge approach.

2015 ford mustang ecoboost exterior details

Once seated, forward visibility is very good and much improved over the previous generation, but the side mirrors are a bit small. The dash is nicely laid out, with all controls within easy access. Some things, such as the toggle switches chrome-like trim or the “ground speed” speedometer, may not be to everyone’s taste, but everything worked very well. It has taken me many years, but I have finally warmed up to the love-it-or-hate-it, soon to be replaced MyFord Touch system, which in this car was complimented by the Shaker audio system. The HID headlights are excellent, too.

What irks me are the selectable drive and steering modes. There are four driving modes (normal, snow-wet, sport, and track) and three steering modes (comfort, normal and sport). With each restart they default to normal. I understand all automakers do this now for various reasons, but I shouldn’t need to tell my Mustang to be sporty each time I get into it. It should have two modes: Go! and LMHBSMA!, let-me-hoon-but-save-my-ass track mode.

2015 ford mustang ecoboost other details

The 2015 Mustang EcoBoost starts at $25,300. This Premium model punches it up to $29,300. The Shaker audio system is $1,795, adaptive cruise control is $1,195, Performance Package (19” wheels with Pirellis, 3.55 LSD, thicker rear sway bar, bracing, larger rotors and 4-piston front calipers, larger radiator, gauge pack) is well worth $1,995, $1,595 for Recaro seats, few other minor options and destination charge bring the price of the reviewed vehicle to $38,585. For comparison, an equally equipped GT model would cost over $5,000 more.

Minor annoyances aside, I really like this ‘Stang. I love how it looks (especially in this color combination, which seemed especially tricky to photograph). I like all the features, the fun-to-drive factor, comfort, refinement, and its surprisingly large trunk – but it does leave me somewhat puzzled. It’s not significantly lighter, cheaper, or economical than a Mustang with the proper V8 engine. It’s also not much faster than the V6. It exists so Ford can sell the Mustang around the world, but anyone who buys one anywhere will be reminded they should have gotten the V8 every time they start the engine.

2015 ford mustang ecoboost

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. He and his team were doing really great in the race right until they blew the engine

Ford Motor Company provided the vehicle for the purpose of this review. 

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Bark’s Bites: Ford’s ST Octane Academy Should Be Rated at 100 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/barks-bites-fords-st-octane-academy-rated-100/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/barks-bites-fords-st-octane-academy-rated-100/#comments Thu, 11 Jun 2015 16:00:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1089489 Many car manufacturers will sell you a hot hatch. Only Ford will teach you how to drive one after you’ve bought it. Thanks in part to the success of their Boss Track Attack program (of which your author is a proud graduate), Ford made the decision to offer a one-day track experience to anybody smart enough to […]

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Ford Fiesta ST Octane Academy Race Car

Many car manufacturers will sell you a hot hatch. Only Ford will teach you how to drive one after you’ve bought it.

Thanks in part to the success of their Boss Track Attack program (of which your author is a proud graduate), Ford made the decision to offer a one-day track experience to anybody smart enough to buy either a Focus or Fiesta ST.

Since I had such a great time at the Boss Track Attack two years ago, there was no way I was going to pass up this opportunity to head back to Miller Motorsports Park and burn the brakes out of wring out one of their STs at one of the finest motorsports facilities in the world, especially if the track is as doomed as some say it is.

After arriving in Salt Lake City and checking in at the sumptuous Hotel Monaco in the city’s beautiful downtown, I took my rental Toyota Yaris hatchback out to Ken Block’s Hoonigan headquarters in Park City, Utah, where a buffet dinner awaited the ST Octane Academy participants.

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I have a lot of things to say about Ken Block and DC Shoes, none of which are particularly nice, so I will just focus on the fact that I met some super cool guys at dinner. Seated at my table were three young men who worked as engineers for Ford in Livonia, MI, and another young man from NYC who had to take a eighty-five dollar taxi from the airport to Park City because he was only twenty years old and wasn’t allowed to rent a car.

When I visited MMP for Boss Track Attack two years ago, I was the second youngest participant at 35 years old. At 37, I was among the oldest of the nineteen STOA participants. This pleased me immensely to know there are still many, many so-called “millennials” that have a passion for not only owning such great cars, but also for learning how to drive them. That being said, none of the other participants had any track experience, and only a couple had even autocrossed before.

We were strongly advised by the lovely young lady who was in charge that we should save the partying for the next night, because we needed to be at MMP no later than 7:45 a.m. the next day. Also, for anybody who hasn’t spent much time at the altitude levels of Salt Lake City, dehydration is a serious concern. This was confirmed for me when I awakened the next morning at 6:30 to find that my nasal passages had completely dried out and filled with blood overnight, despite the fact that I had consumed two sixteen-ounce bottles of water right before going to bed.

No matter – I was going to get to drive at MMP that day! No blood-covered pillow could dampen my enthusiasm. I hopped out of bed and headed out for a thirty-five minute drive west to Tooele, the home city of Miller Motorsports Park.

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Okay, so maybe I was a bit overexcited. I was the first one to arrive at the classroom by a rather wide margin, so I decided to go speak to the young lady who was working in the souvenir store about the day’s schedule.

“Excuse me, miss, but do you know which course we’ll be running today for ST Octane?” I asked.

Miller Motorsports Park’s road course has several different configurations, including the ability to be split into two separate courses – East and West. I had driven the East course for Boss Track Attack, and I was hoping that maybe, just maybe, West would be used that day. Gotta add to that track count!

“Well, normally they use the East course, but there’s a Porsche Club HPDE today on East, so you guys will be on West,” she replied.

“YES!” I shouted, startling both of us a bit. “I mean – cool. I’ve never driven West before!”

“Well,” she said as she backed away slowly, “you will today!”

One by one, the other participants filed into the classroom. One of the instructors asked everybody to grab a pretty blue firesuit and white open-faced helmet from the racks.

“I brought my own,” I mumbled. Apparently, I was that guy. Here’s the class pic to verify my douchiness:

 

stoa class picture

Who is the douche with the full face helmet and triple-layer racing suit? Oh, wait, that’s me.

Before any track driving could happen, we had to receive a bit of classroom instruction on cornering theory. Our excellent classroom instruction was provided by Ronnie Swyers, a noted driving coach, karting champion and LeMons/ChumpCar driver.

 

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Here, Ronnie shows everybody how I will be overcooking the entry to corners

He explained the Focuses and Fiestas we’d be driving had some mild performance upgrades – improved brake pads, brake fluid, rollcages, handbrakes – but they were otherwise very much like the cars  we had in our respective garages (fortunately, they also had different tires). After our classroom session, we were split into two groups – one group would be doing a handbrake turn exercise that we’d be using on the UrbanCross X course later in the day, as well as a apex exercise, while the other group was sent off to drive the skid car and take a couple of laps on the West course as passengers in a van. I was in the handbrake turn group. Take a look below at my effort at making a 180 handbrake turn in the Focus ST:

Next up was my attempt at driving the skid car. What’s a skid car, you may ask? Well, it’s a car that is suspended on casters that can be raised and lowered on hydraulics to simulate oversteer at very low speeds. I remembered my complete and utter failure at driving it the last time I tried. “Prepare for a humbling experience,” I told my fellow classmates. Sure enough, after giving us a few seconds to become acclimated to the car, instructor Charlie Putnam dialed up the hydraulics and made it nearly impossible to drive the Ford Fusion skid car in a straight line. Each of us got a chance to practice shuffle steering and applying the throttle under oversteer conditions.

Finally, they piled all of us into the van for a ride around the track with Ronnie, who explained the proper entrance and exit of each corner on the West course. The apexes were clearly identified with cones. “We’ve made it point-to-point for you guys,” Ronnie explained. We took two complete laps of the course then headed back to the classroom for lunch. My major complaint about Boss Track Attack was the poor quality of the lunch [You should be an automotive journalist! -Mark]. Luckily, this has been remedied.

After lunch, it was time to take the Focuses (Foci?) and Fiestas out on track. We did two lead/follow sessions – one in the Fiesta and one in the Focus – then we were allowed to pick our own poison for the following instructor ride-along laps. Since I’ve already tracked my Fiesta, I decided to pick the Focus. My instructor, Donny, rode with me for one full lap, advised me to stop using the brakes like an On/Off switch, and to track out more on corner exit. He then hopped out and let me fly solo. Here’s the resulting three-lap session:

Why only three laps, you may ask? Well, I had caught the driver ahead of me and no passing was allowed, so I decided to roll through the pits. When I came back down pit lane, the brakes were, um, on fire. So they didn’t let me go back out. Can’t say I blame them.

After driving both cars on track, I felt incredibly glad that I bought the Fiesta and not the Focus. The Focus felt slow and plodding in comparison to the Fiesta. It understeered nearly everywhere. I felt as though I was constantly battling the car to get the nose pointed the right way. The Fiesta, on the other hand, was nimble and agile on course. Later in the day, the instructors each chose the Fiesta for their Hot Lap student ride-alongs. When I talked to Focus owners who drove the Fiesta, more than a couple of them said the experience made them wish they owned a Fiesta, not a Focus.

Fortunately, the only choice for the UrbanCross X course was the Fiesta. The UrbanCross was essentially a short autocross course that was slightly complicated by a forward 180 turn at the beginning and a 90 degree box turn at the end. If you didn’t get all four wheels inside the box, you got a four second penalty. This was the only timed event of the day, so there was a “fabulous prize” offered up to the winner of the event. We had four practice laps then one final run that would be the only one that counted for all the marbles. I had heard the best time of the first group was around a 53.0, so I was pretty pleased when my first lap was a 51.3. I got down to about a 50 flat, but I crunched a couple of cones. For my final lap, I decided to play it a little safe and stay off of the cones. Here it is:

It ended up a little slower than my best, but still fast enough to win by about three seconds over the second-place finisher. For my efforts, I won the following:

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As you can see, it’s a baby traffic cone and a disturbingly large sex toy. I think.

We finished up with a round of karting action, which was a fun way to put a bow on an outstanding day. So, to summarize:

Pros:

  • Great instruction
  • Plenty of time behind the wheel
  • World-class facility
  • It’s FREE*

Cons:

  • Not enough track time (Boss Track had two twenty-minute sessions, STOA had one 15-minute session and the UrbanCross)
  • Ummm…I can’t think of anything else

Listen, y’all – as we’ve reported here previously, Miller Motorsports Park is at risk of closing. FOR GOOD. If you have a Focus or Fiesta ST, you simply must find a way to take advantage of this opportunity to receive professional instruction on one of the most exciting (and equally important, safest) tracks you can drive before the end of the program on October 31st.

If you don’t own a Focus or Fiesta ST…well, why the hell not? If anything, this program proves these cars are nearly track-ready right out of the box, particularly the Fiesta. There’s no more fun to be had per dollar.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m making plans to get back out on track with mine.

* Ford Focus ST or Fiesta ST lease or purchase required.

The post Bark’s Bites: Ford’s ST Octane Academy Should Be Rated at 100 appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

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