It’s hard for some people to accept change, regardless of the facts on the ground. The revised Mustang V6 with the 3.7L engine had been out for almost two years before I drove it; I avoided it only out of stupidity and prejudice, the reason that most “car guys” write off perfectly good vehicles that don’t fit their pre-conceived notion of what makes a good car or fits their image. What a terrible mistake I made.
Jackie is the first girl to fawn over the Shelby GT500 once it’s in my hands. Hadn’t expected that; make no mistake, it is a dude magnet without exception and the double-X-chromosome crowd usually goes for something cuter. Jackie appears to be the exception, so far. She’ll tell you she’s a bit of a tomboy. She likes cars, long boarding, and gangsta rap. Tonight, she’s traded her usual, Ralph Lauren-catalog attire (not-so-snug pants, a button up men’s dress shirt) for a dress that can only be described as one yard of Tensor Bandage that somehow made its way out of the factory with a muted floral print.
I’m hardly complaining, though it’s clear that she’s not used to wearing this kind of garment. I tell myself that it’s all because of my strong jawline, cleft chin and thick, flowing locks, but that’s a yarn of self-deception long enough to knit Jackie a twin to the sweater I’m glad she left at home.
It’s the car.
Jackie is comfortable looking at brake calipers and superchargers, but the dress is fighting her attempts to check out the machinery tonight. “Turn around,” she tells me, “I don’t want you to see me adjusting my underwear”.
“That dress is ridiculous.” I’m trying really hard to do the gentlemanly thing and focus on the car.
A pause. I’m facing away from her, but I can imagine her eyes running along the length of the racing stripes that trace the Shelby’s sillhouette. The car isn’t running, but I can hear the crackling and pinging of the cooling drivetrain against the humid, lifeless air of the August night.
“Not as ridiculous as the car,” she replies. “How fast did you say it is?”
When you’ve reviewed over 600 cars, few new ones surprise you. With the polished road manners and granitic structure of a far more expensive car, the 2012 Ford Focus was one of the few. But its 160-horsepower engine, while easily adequate for daily driving, doesn’t provide the thrust many driving enthusiasts demand. For 2013, this should no longer be a problem. A 252-horsepower Ford Focus ST has joined the line.
Let us go then, you and I,
When the Oak Tree flagger lets the blue flag fly
Like a warning for the engine-bay unable;
Let us go, slideways through the track-out,
The supercharger shouts
And restless Vettes with small-blocks spinning hard
And sundry other so-called fast cars
Moving to the right like a conga line
The four-lobe whine
To lead you to an overwhelming question…
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
This GT500 is tha shiznit.
Want a quick, agile, fun-to-drive vehicle you can stuff a bunch of kids into? Ford has what you’re looking for. Just one catch: you’ll have to move to Europe. Not that Ford sees no market here for a swift seven-seater. They do, just not for one like the S-Max. Instead, for 2013 we receive the Explorer Sport. CEO Alan Mulally’s “One Ford” vision apparently acknowledges that some models must remain regional. Here’s what real Americans want in a high-performance crossover…
How similar is a man to his brother? Their parents flipped the chromosonal coin twenty-five thousand times with each. Perhaps they are entirely different, individuals in perfect reversal. Perhaps they are identical twins. But it’s rarely that simple. Imagine two brothers, similar and different. One is balanced, light, controlled; the other is brutish, temperamental, dramatic. One is well-liked everywhere he goes; the other is either despised or adored. Yet they are both capable of callous viciousness, careless love, arrogant intellect, base stupidity. It would be a rare woman who would want them both.
We’re obviously talking about the 2013 Boss 302 and Shelby GT500, right? As fate would have it, I happened to have the Shelby for a week. In the course of that week I drove it over a thousand miles on gnarled back roads and ruler-straight Midwestern freeways, took it to five different states, and hammered it to one hundred and sixty-eight miles per hour on the back straight of Virginia International Raceway. I would have loved to have compared it to the Camaro ZL1, but I’ll need to do a few more Sonic advertorials before I get GM loaner cars here in the States. Instead, I compared the big Shelby to the only car that its purchasers are likely to genuinely consider. Brother Boss, step forward.
I hate to review mass market midsize sedans. Especially with the latest round—every key player save the Sonata has been redesigned in the past 18 months—all are good cars. But they’re also all boring. Given the large number of conflicting criteria that must be met for a shot at segment leadership and the rarity of solutions that dramatically push the envelope, all serious players have devolved into highly competent appliances. Then we have the 2013 Ford Fusion.
Today, we’re trying something new. Alex is doing his review in video-only format. Let us know how you like it.
When we awarded the Scion FR-S DFL in our three-way affordable-sportster test, many commenters both on TTAC and elsewhere pointed out that the FR-S supposedly wasn’t meant to be a complete package from the factory. Rather, the new hachi-roku was intended to be a platform for individual development, you see. By judiciously applying the finest in aftermarket upgrades, the FR-S would become a highly personal racetrack scalpel.
Well, to paraphrase Katt Williams, “The Scion do look like an outstanding platform on which to build one’s ideal track car… until a real outstanding platform on which to build one’s ideal track car pull up.” As it turns out, one of our Best&Brightest brought his lightly-modified “New Edge” Mustang GT to our test, and he was gracious enough to let your humble author put twenty or so laps on it.
How’d it do?
“Hey Sajeev, it’s Mark. We’re up in Tomball looking at a ’95 Bronco. We could use some advice.”
Without sarcasm, a laugh, or any explanation, Sajeev replied with one word, “Run.”
Once upon a time, in a country known as America, SUVs roamed the land with large-displacement inline 6s, optional V8s, and locking axles. Nobody had heard of a “cute ute.” Of course, gasoline was also under a buck a gallon. Today the landscape is different. While the last energy crisis caused entire vehicles to downsize, the response to the latest energy “crisis” (and government pressure) has been to downsize engines while leaving the rest of the vehicle intact. Case in point? The Ford Edge EcoBoost. No, this isn’t the 3.5L fire-breathing twin-turbo you’ve heard about before, this is the all-new 2.0L engine that puts the Eco in EcoBoost.
You can read Jack Baruth’s extremely thorough track-test of the 2013 Mustang V8 here.
All right stop, collaborate and listen:
The Mustang’s back in a brand-new edition,
Recaros, grab a hold of me tightly -
Flow through the corners daily and nightly
“Will it ever stop?” Yo, I think so,
It’s got grabby pads and brakes by Brembo.
To the extreme: a drag car that can handle,
Light ‘em up, stage, then wax a chump like a candle.
Right, I think that got all the Vanilla Ice out of my system. Let’s drive this damn thing. Read More >
Two years ago, we met the five-liter Mustang at Summit Point’s Shenandoah course and pronounced it to be an outstanding track car with perhaps too emphatic a nod of the head to the bare-bones aesthetic. This year, we have a 2013-model five-liter with the same performance equipment but another eight thousand dollars’ worth of options and product improvements. Is this loaded Mustang GT worth considering as a trackday toy, or should you go straight to the Boss 302?
Americans with well worn passports often amaze their less-traveled friends with miraculous tales of a land full of tiny, fuel-efficient vehicles, expensive gasoline and miniature cans of Coke. (Really, those Coke cans are awesome.) The story inevitably ends with, “I wish I could buy X here”. Ford has so far been the most receptive to these cries, with the tasty Euro Focus, Fiesta (and soon the Fusion/Mondeo) to our shores. But what about some fuel-efficient love for the man-in-the-van? That’s where the Transit Connect fits in according to Ford. TTAC is no stranger to the Transit Connect with our own Sajeev Meta taking a spin in 2009. However in this review, we’ll attempt to compare the Connect to the other commercial options on the market while channeling our inner Joe-six-pack.
The Connect is off to a good start, with sales climbing from 8,834 in 2009 to 31,914 in 2011 proving there is a market for a mini-bread-van. The small hauler even accounted for 21.4% of Ford’s US van sales in 2011. Meanwhile, sales of the ancient and thirsty E-Series increased from 85,735 units to 116,874 from 2010 to 2011. By comparison, GM shifted just 89,211 vans in 2011. The reason behind the sales jump is obvious: high gas prices and no efficient cargo haulers to compete with it. But does that mean you should own one?