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. Tue, 21 Oct 2014 18:05:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Ford http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Exported To Detroit: Next Ford Focus RS Won’t Be Built In Michigan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/exported-detroit-next-ford-focus-rs-wont-built-michigan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/exported-detroit-next-ford-focus-rs-wont-built-michigan/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 12:00:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=933714 Fans of fast Fords will be glad to know that our sources at the Blue Oval have confirmed that the Ford Focus RS is on its way for a 2016 debut. It will be (relatively) affordable, provide a measurable performance boost above a Focus ST, and it will be imported from Europe. According to our […]

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Fans of fast Fords will be glad to know that our sources at the Blue Oval have confirmed that the Ford Focus RS is on its way for a 2016 debut. It will be (relatively) affordable, provide a measurable performance boost above a Focus ST, and it will be imported from Europe.

According to our source, the 2.3L Focus RS will be equipped with all-wheel drive and be priced a couple of thousand dollars higher than a loaded Ford Focus ST3. But getting your hands on one will be tough.

The Focus RS will have to be imported from Europe, since it apparently won’t fit down the production line at the Michigan Assembly Plant that builds our Focus. This means a very limited run of cars, serving as a halo car for those who want something more rally-inspired than a Mustang.

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Koesters: Ford May Build PHEV For Europe Should Demand Rise http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/koesters-ford-may-build-phev-europe-demand-rise/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/koesters-ford-may-build-phev-europe-demand-rise/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 11:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=933746 While U.S. consumers can opt for a PHEV version of the Fusion or C-Max, European customers have had to look elsewhere. This could change soon, however. Automotive News reports Ford is “actively considering” bringing over a PHEV to go up against offerings from Volkswagen, Mitsubishi, Toyota and Volvo, according to vehicle line director for large […]

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While U.S. consumers can opt for a PHEV version of the Fusion or C-Max, European customers have had to look elsewhere.

This could change soon, however.

Automotive News reports Ford is “actively considering” bringing over a PHEV to go up against offerings from Volkswagen, Mitsubishi, Toyota and Volvo, according to vehicle line director for large cars in Europe, Uli Koesters.

The reason the Blue Oval hadn’t planned on playing the game? Low demand in Europe for PHEVs overall. Koesters could immediately bring a PHEV to market, such as one based upon the Fusion’s European cousin, the Mondeo, but only if the interest is there:

I believe the plug-in take-up in Europe is not quite as ready as some people would like to think, but it is clearly a technology that can do a lot better at significantly reducing fuel consumption and that is why we are actively looking at it.

At the moment, the most popular PHEV is the Mitsubishi Outlander, with 8,953 units sold in H1 2014. Volvo, meanwhile, sold the fewest PHEVs in the same period, moving only 3,233 V60s.

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Automakers, Utilities Collaborate On Plug-In Cloud Charging Technology http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/automakers-utilities-collaborate-plug-cloud-charging-technology/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/automakers-utilities-collaborate-plug-cloud-charging-technology/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 14:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=932394 A group of eight automakers are collaborating with 15 utility companies in the United States to give PHEVs and EVs the ability to communicate with the latter party and the grid through cloud computing. Edmunds reports the group of eight — BMW, Ford, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota and Mitsubishi — along […]

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A group of eight automakers are collaborating with 15 utility companies in the United States to give PHEVs and EVs the ability to communicate with the latter party and the grid through cloud computing.

Edmunds reports the group of eight — BMW, Ford, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota and Mitsubishi — along with the 15 companies, Sumitomo Electric Industries and the Electric Power Research Institute, are developing a platform that would use the cloud to better manage energy usage and grid efficiency “while still meeting the needs” of PHEV and EV owners. The platform is called the Open Vehicle-Grid Integration Platform.

OVGI would operate as follows: an owner would plug their car in as usual, then set a time for when the vehicle would be back on the road. The utility company could then send a message to the car to stop charging during peak power use, or, if doing so would hinder the vehicle’s ability to get back on the road, allow the vehicle to continue charging until it was ready to go.

In turn, the companies could offer their customers incentives to offer their plug-ins to the grid through lower rates on electricity usage. Customers can opt-out, charge elsewhere, or have the vehicle ignore the request.

The first OVGI test is occurring this week at Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s Customer Service Center, where the tech will be demonstrated before federal, state, automotive and utility representatives and officials.

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Junkyard Find: 1993 Ford Taurus SHO http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/junkyard-find-1993-ford-taurus-sho/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/junkyard-find-1993-ford-taurus-sho/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 13:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=931626 While the Ford Taurus has been the most numerous vehicle in American self-service wrecking yards for at least 15 years, most of the time they are the background against which the more interesting cars stand out. Only the SHO version seems worthy of inclusion in this series, and until today we’ve seen just just this […]

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13 - 1993 Ford Taurus SHO Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinWhile the Ford Taurus has been the most numerous vehicle in American self-service wrecking yards for at least 15 years, most of the time they are the background against which the more interesting cars stand out. Only the SHO version seems worthy of inclusion in this series, and until today we’ve seen just just this ’96 Taurus SHO with V8. These cars have been very affordable for quite some time, but there remains enough of an enthusiast base to keep most of the survivors on the road. Here’s one that I spotted in the San Francisco Bay Area back in August.
LTXS10-NickShots-336We see quite a few Taurus SHOs in 24 Hours of LeMons racing (in fact, Sajeev Mehta reviewed one for us a while back), and they’re both very quick and very fragile. Transmissions, engines, brakes, suspension— you name it, the Taurus SHO can break it in spectacular fashion.
09 - 1993 Ford Taurus SHO Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinThe heart of the first- and second-gen Taurus SHO is the frantic Yamaha-designed V6 engine. This one was good for 220 horsepower, which sure doesn’t seem like much these days.
04 - 1993 Ford Taurus SHO Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinThis one even has the manual transmission.
18 - 1993 Ford Taurus SHO Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin20 years from now, when the few remaining ’93 SHOs are worth big currency units, someone will find this post and marvel at the idea of a rust-free California car like this going to The Crusher. Reminds me of the very solid ’70 Buick GS I saw in the Oakland U-Pull, circa 1983.

Another reason why the Taurus is the best selling car in America, again.

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Dispatches Do Brasil: Salão do Automóvel de São Paulo (A Preview Of The Sao Paulo Auto Show) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/dispatches-brasil-salao-automovel-de-sao-paulo-preview-sao-paulo-auto-show/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/dispatches-brasil-salao-automovel-de-sao-paulo-preview-sao-paulo-auto-show/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 15:40:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=932081 With an expected attendance of over 750,000 visitors, the biannual São Paulo Auto Salon opens its doors to the public on October 30th and will go on for 11 days. By far the largest of this kind of fair in Latin America, the organization of the show ambitions to turn it into one of the […]

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With an expected attendance of over 750,000 visitors, the biannual São Paulo Auto Salon opens its doors to the public on October 30th and will go on for 11 days. By far the largest of this kind of fair in Latin America, the organization of the show ambitions to turn it into one of the five largest in the world and make it the world’s premier compact car launch platform. In 2012, only with Brazilian tourists going to see the show in the city of São Paulo, that city grossed over R$250 million. This year, expectations are that tourism, and all other businesses involved, will make 30 percent more than they did at the last one.

Since we are still a couple of weeks away, here’s a quick overview of the confirmed and the speculated, based on nationality. Check back next week as we cover the big debuts in depth.

The Americans

The Chrysler group will surely be among those most visited. Spies have taken pictures of pre-production run, Brazilian-built Renegades, which are, frankly, generating strong interest. Depending on price, it should be a hit.  Jeep will also show its Cherokee and this will be the first time most of us will be able to lay our eyeballs in person on the thing. Challenger and Viper should be shown yet again, but mostly as attention getters as there are no official plans for them in Brazil.

GM will show the latest Corvette and this should garner interest. There are strong indications that they will finally get around to importing the thing (about time). A Camaro Z28 should also make the rounds. For the real world, a Spin minivan in “adventure” guise is rumored, including an a la Wrangler, back hatch-mounted spare.

Ford will also be busy showing imports. The new Edge, and the body-on-frame Everest SUV will be shown. Most importantly, the Mustang seems set to become Brazilian, the first time ever; Ford will import its wild pony, though only for 2016. Of course the new line will be shown, and the Ka should be of particular interest for Brazilians, though the new Focus shown elsewhere will be hidden as the three front triangles one has been here for less than a year.

The Chinese

If you fall down, try again. After relative success when they first arrived, the Chinese have been beaten down by government intervention, high depreciation, continued worries on quality, and mechanically (some) and dynamically (most) have been considered abject failures. Changing strategy, most makers will now focus on CUVs, ranging from compact to gigantic as their hatches and sedans have proved uncompetitive so far.

The French

…will be very busy. PSA should get a lot of visitors as they continue to spin off the DS sub-brand into its own brand. All models will be present and the most important launch is the DS 6WR, a midsize CUV-SUV-thing with turbo engines of up to 200 hp. Citroën will show off the Cactus, but to underscore that it will not be for us, the model shown is the show-circuit one. Peugeot meanwhile, has real news. For the first time in Brazil, it will exhibit its compact 2008 CUV, slated for Brazilian production and on sale by the middle of next year. To attract attention, besides the civilian version, the 37-inch wheeled, V6 biturbo motivated 2008 DKR that will compete in the 2015 Dakar Rally will be here. Another anticipated car is the Brazilian market 208 compact hatch in GT trim, an homage we can say to the European GTi as engines (1.6L, 165 hp) and number of doors (5 and not 3) will be different.

Renault has not confirmed the Duster pickup, but it should go on sale by midyear 2015 will be proudly shown off. If true, they will have a busy stand, because besides concepts, that will be the only launch. Beyond that possibility, both redesigned Fluence and Duster are confirmed. What has not been confirmed are exactly what changes are expected to the Duster. Some say only externally, and in the front it will be retouched. For Duster fans, the most important news will be if the inside finally follows the redesigned and much more inspired new Logan and Sandero interiors. Speaking of the hatch, the Stepway “adventure” version will make its debut and surely generate sales and visits for Renault.

The Italians

Alfa Romeo will again tug our hearts and show off their full line (what there is of it) in São Paulo. Rumors as to their return have been growing of late and a full line show can’t be a coincidence (can it?). The 4C will collect millions of flashes, from a distance, as Alfa Romeo is usually one of those who show but don’t allow touching.

Fiat has not officially denied or confirmed any new launches for the Salon. As the largest Brazilian maker, the new Uno should be enough to generate lines at the stand, but they always have a surprise or two up their sleeves. I wouldn’t call you crazy if you expect to see the 500L and even the 500X (also already in pre-production in the new factory) make an appearance. Besides, the female model selection is usually best in show.

The Germans

Audi will probably show coupe and convertible of the new, angular TT. Taking a page from China, the extra-long A8L is confirmed and, if Brazilian plutocrats demonstrate enough interest, could be imported.

BMW will show the electric line, i3 and i8, and surely talk in the backstage to authorities of the necessity of credit and financing to popularize such cars in this country. Besides those and the regular line, the homely X4 and Series 2 Active Tourer will be launched. Sort of German, but I will include it here; MINI will show off its also homely new line, including the 5-door hatch.

Mercedes Benz will show their regular line and the crazily-powerful, AMG-branded or not, vehicles launched in other international salons recently. In a good moment in Brazil, probably beating their über rivals in sales this year, some of their models will not be shown at their stand, but will rather rub shoulders with such luminaries and exotics as Rolls Royce, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Porsche and others in the so-called “Super Cars’ Space”.

Volkswagen will have lots of attractions. In the Brazilian line, the adventure line of the demure up! will be presented, as will the SpaceFox, a sort of a cross between a minivan and station wagon. It will receive the changes the hatch it derives from (the Fox) has already received. The best news though is the Jetta. VW has confirmed local production for the new one (one less Mexican import), which will submit to the same re-skin the American Jetta suffered recently.

The Japanese

Honda will showcase its new HR-V or Vezel. Maybe they’ll even settle on a name… The car will use a 1.8 engine and aim at EcoSport and Duster. The Civic Si makes its glorious return. This time it will be imported only in coupe form, use a 2.4, and be sold for a modest R$115,000. The re-styled CR-V is also likely to show.

Nissan will show its re-styled Versa and March, both of which are already in production at their new Brazilian plant, which marks the first time Nissan is producing in its own factory here, as its Livina minivan is built by Renault at the French facility. To call even more attention, the re-tuned 553 hp, Nissan GT-R will grace the stand.

Called 86 here, the Toyota twin of the Toyota-Subaru collaboration will appear yet again. It was shown back in 2012, but nothing came about. This time around Toyota promises to import it. Showing mostly the regular line, it seems Toyota is focusing on Lexus.

Lexus will focus more on CUVs than sedans. After importing and failing to sell their sedans for lack of prestige and an excess of ambition (priced higher than the equivalent German suspects, much more known and oozing in prestige), might be that the bizarre NX could do the trick. I wouldn’t hold my breath though as things like Land Rover Evoque and Audi Q3 are firmly entrenched in the category and command much better brand recognition.

At least Lexus tries; Acura and Infiniti have given up the pretense and will be noticeable only by their absence.

The Koreans

…also known as Hyundai-Kia, seem not too interested. Hyundai promises to show its pseudo-German Genesis, while Kia neither acknowledges nor denies rumors that the K900 will appear for the first time in South America.

The others

Jaguar, Ferrari, Maserati, Porsche, Volvo, among others will all be here. In spite of showing only what has already been seen and launched elsewhere, they always attract a crowd as the Salon is a real opportunity for many a Brazilian to see these cars up close. Depending on attractiveness though, and if people are not too interested, some of these brands, sometimes, are known to throw caution in the wind and hide the ropes, letting the hordes actually open and close doors, mess with the switchgear and sit in the cars.

 

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Ford Hires 850 To Build New F-150 Ahead Of 2015 UAW Negotiations http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/ford-hires-850-build-new-f-150-ahead-2015-uaw-negotiations/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/ford-hires-850-build-new-f-150-ahead-2015-uaw-negotiations/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 11:00:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=930842 In anticipation of high demand for the 2015 Ford F-150 — as well as covering its bases ahead of negotiations with the United Auto Workers in 2015 — the Blue Oval is hiring 850 employees to help assemble the reborn king of Truck Mountain at the automaker’s Dearborn, Mich. plant. Bloomberg reports the new hires […]

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In anticipation of high demand for the 2015 Ford F-150 — as well as covering its bases ahead of negotiations with the United Auto Workers in 2015 — the Blue Oval is hiring 850 employees to help assemble the reborn king of Truck Mountain at the automaker’s Dearborn, Mich. plant.

Bloomberg reports the new hires bring the total of hourly employees brought into the fold since 2011 to 14,000, 2,000 more than pledged to the UAW three years ago, when it promised to hire 12,000 by 2015. The 850 will be split up, with 500 headed for assembly, nearly 300 to stamping, and over 50 allocated to Dearborn Diversified.

The hiring spree is in part due to the two-tier system put into place seven years ago, with new Ford employees making just over half of the $27/hour wage veteran employees are paid. The system will likely be on the table when the UAW begins negotiations with the Detroit Two and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles next year.

The total number of employees working for Ford stand at 84,000 in North America, up from 75,000 in 2011, when the pledge was made.

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Junkyard Find: Electric-Powered 1988 Ford Ranger Custom http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/junkyard-find-electric-powered-1988-ford-ranger-custom/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/junkyard-find-electric-powered-1988-ford-ranger-custom/#comments Fri, 10 Oct 2014 13:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=926825 I’ve just driven a couple of modern electric cars, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV and the Tesla Model S, and they’re real cars. Actually, the i-MiEV is a perfectly serviceable short-distance commuter and the Model S is the best street car I’ve ever driven, but I was ready to hate both of them a lot, because all […]

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15 - Electric 1988 Ford Ranger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinI’ve just driven a couple of modern electric cars, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV and the Tesla Model S, and they’re real cars. Actually, the i-MiEV is a perfectly serviceable short-distance commuter and the Model S is the best street car I’ve ever driven, but I was ready to hate both of them a lot, because all my previous experience with EVs had involved growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1970s and hearing a lot of eat-yer-vegetables talk from earnest green types about how electric cars are good for you, when in fact those cars sucked stringwart-covered pangolin nodules. Then, of course, there are all the flake-O electric conversions from the 1980-2000 era that I’ve seen, a fair number of which appear in self-service wrecking yards as long-abandoned EV conversions are towed out of back yards and driveways. In this series, we’ve seen this EVolve Electrics 1995 Geo Metro and this 1988 Chevrolet Sprint Electric Sport, and there have been others too stripped to be worth photographing. Today we’re going to look at a California-based Ford Ranger that still has just about all its electric running gear.
14 - Electric 1988 Ford Ranger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinSome EVs like this were put together for driving around in warehouses, others were built by government agencies trying to showcase green technologies, and still more were built by backyard electric-car fanatics. Ford even built their own electric Rangers later on.
04 - Electric 1988 Ford Ranger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinSince the battery box (or what I am assuming is the battery box) is so small, my guess is that this truck was made for short-distance indoor use. Running parts inside hangars at nearby Oakland Airport?
Note: Crab Spirits did some research and found this truck on the North Bay Electric Automobile Association website for us. It turns out to be a veteran of the 2004 North Bay Eco-Fest, i.e., it was admired by a lot of earnest Marin County green types, all of whom probably abandoned their 20-mile-range EVs the moment they could buy a Leaf.
17 - Electric 1988 Ford Ranger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinI thought about buying these gauges for eBay reselling later, but it didn’t seem worth the hassle.
09 - Electric 1988 Ford Ranger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinThe motor was still there when I visited this yard about a month ago, but the value of the copper inside it means that this is one part that will not go to The Crusher.
06 - Electric 1988 Ford Ranger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinGreat big Bycan battery charger under the hood.
16 - Electric 1988 Ford Ranger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinI doubt that the sight of this truck had Chevron execs trembling.
19 - Electric 1988 Ford Ranger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinI didn’t check underneath to see if the original automatic transmission was still installed. The shifter might have been just used to control forward and reverse.

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Exclusive: Lincoln’s Upcoming RWD Crossover http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/exclusive-lincolns-upcoming-rwd-crossover/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/exclusive-lincolns-upcoming-rwd-crossover/#comments Tue, 07 Oct 2014 12:06:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=927137 Thanks to TTAC‘s sources inside the Blue Oval (the same ones who scuttled rumors of a revived Ford GT), we can exclusively reveal that the long awaited RWD Lincoln is in the works, along with a Ford counterpart. But the newest rear-drive Blue Oval vehicle won’t be a sedan ala the Lincoln Continental or a Ford […]

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Thanks to TTAC‘s sources inside the Blue Oval (the same ones who scuttled rumors of a revived Ford GT), we can exclusively reveal that the long awaited RWD Lincoln is in the works, along with a Ford counterpart. But the newest rear-drive Blue Oval vehicle won’t be a sedan ala the Lincoln Continental or a Ford Falcon revival. It’s going to be a crossover.

On the surface, the idea of two rear-drive crossovers makes zero sense at all. Rear-wheel drive is now primarily used for enhanced driving dynamics, and a crossover isn’t exactly the kind of vehicle that stands to benefit from such a layout. But Ford has tried this before with the Australian market Territory (above) a vehicle that was widely lauded for its performance and practicality.

But a closer look at the dynamics of the auto market place shows that a new full-size sedan is a fool’s errand. The full-size market is shrinking with each year, as large crossovers take an increasing bite out of a once dominant segment. The next generation Ford Taurus is rumored to be dead in the water after it bombed a series of design clinics – instead, a large Ford sedan based on the Fusion’s CD platform will be built for the Chinese market, alongside Project GOBI, a large Lincoln sedan, akin to the MKS, but focused on Chinese tastes and sold world wide.

Aside from the growing crossover market, there’s also the matter of police car sales. Year-to-date, the Explorer Police Interceptor sales are up 52 percent while Taurus Interceptor sales are down 7 percent, with the Explorer outselling the Taurus by a 2:1 margin. By combining the SUV bodystyle and rear-drive dynamics in a Pursuit rated package, Ford could offer a police vehicle that offers law enforcement officials the best of both worlds, while also offers an alternative to the Chevrolet Tahoe that is more fuel efficient and able to use the same mounting points for police hardware as previous Ford vehicles.

A civilian version would be a slightly different beast. Although rear-drive would be a way to differentiate itself from the Edge and MKX, most of the new upcoming RWD CUVs would likely leave the showroom with AWD. We don’t know much about powertrains, styling details or even a moniker for the future Lincoln, but we do know the name for the upcoming Ford version.

Explorer.

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Deep Dive: Ford 1.0L Ecoboost http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/deep-dive-ford-1-0l-ecoboost/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/deep-dive-ford-1-0l-ecoboost/#comments Mon, 06 Oct 2014 18:35:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=926729 Brown paint isn’t available from the factory and adding diesel would require pumping out its fuel system, but Ford’s Fiesta SFE is practically built for the Internet. Though sales projection for the turbocharged, direct-injected three cylinder subcompact are modest, the car is at least proving popular to discuss. TTAC has already triple-teamed the basics through […]

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Brown paint isn’t available from the factory and adding diesel would require pumping out its fuel system, but Ford’s Fiesta SFE is practically built for the Internet. Though sales projection for the turbocharged, direct-injected three cylinder subcompact are modest, the car is at least proving popular to discuss. TTAC has already triple-teamed the basics through capsule reviews – it is more composed than sporty, more mature than it is hoonish, and the selling proposition is a bit of a mystery. Ford sent me the car for a week’s evaluation as well. What’s left to be said?

Quite a bit actually, as long as you are interested in FoMoCo’s smallest production engine. This ain’t the paint shaker you’ve experienced in the Mitsubishi Mirage or other triples. If anything, it’s a sign of things to come.

Most North Americans associate three cylinder engines with improved fuel economy, reduced power and added vibration. In spite of this, Ford boldly suggests you spend an extra $995 to get the three cylinder over than the standard inline four. Horsepower (123) only improves by a modest three geldings over the 1.6 Sigma four, but 148 lb. ft. of torque (an improvement of 36) will get the driver’s attention. Fuel economy, at 31 city/43 highway/36 combined, is up by 3/7/5 versus the Sigma. While arranging for the loan, Ford also insisted that the 1.0L EcoBoost was a qualitative improvement too. That’s a bold claim, but 450 miles of driving convinced me that Ford pulled it off.

Vibration is inherent in three cylinder engines – an odd number of cylinders means there are no “equal but opposite” actions happening across the engine block to calm things down. Left to their own devices, triples tend to move around on their mounts and often make booming resonances. OEMs generally respond by adding counterrotating balance shafts. This minimizes vibration at the expense of fuel economy and power output, which isn’t much of a sales pitch.

Ford chose a different path. As seen in the below video, fore-and-aft motion was dealt with by intentionally unbalancing the flywheel and accessory pulley. The increased lateral motion was then handled via careful tuning of the engine mounts and their placement. They aren’t active mounts like some publications have reported, but they generally do the job. Startup is a touch rougher than a well-tuned inline four and buzz sometimes passes through the steering wheel at idle, but my passengers suspected nothing unusual ahead of the firewall. So far, so good.

Click here to view the embedded video.

An iron block allows for compact overall dimensions and cylinder walls of just 6 millimeters. The thin walls and dual cooling circuits in the engine (one for the block, one for the aluminum head) both aid warm-up times and improve efficiency. The oil pump is a variable-displacement unit and particularly improves efficiency at higher rpm. The crankshaft is also offset to reduce friction along the pistons. Some early press reports indicated that the Fiesta SFE features regenerative brakes as well. Don’t go looking for any additional batteries or electric motors – the car only features a “smart” alternator that cycles during deceleration to avoid unnecessary taxing of the engine. Start-stop isn’t offered in the US, but Ford said this was only due to market acceptance (the option is available with this engine in Europe).

Interestingly, the exhaust manifold is water-cooled and integrates directly into the cylinder head. (The upcoming 2.7L EcoBoost engine also features this construction). This water-cooling negates the need to dump extra fuel to cool the turbo at high rpm. Speaking of turbos, this specimen is of the small, low-inertia sort and spins up to 248,000 rpm. A vacuum-actuated wastegate keeps the turbo spooled when freewheeling to reduce lag. At least on paper, power and efficiency are both accounted for then.

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Power and efficiency were both accounted for during my driving as well. The gearing stops it from feeling Fiesta ST-fast, but 125 lb. ft. of torque at 2,500 rpm is plenty sufficient for city maneuvers if you don’t write for Car & Driver. Interstate performance was also among the best I’ve met in a subcompact – 70 mph equates to a peaceable 2,500 rpm, yet passing power is intact. My daily drive is a 40/40/20 split of highway/country/city driving. The overall result after 450 miles was 42.8 miles per gallon (I took one final Interstate drive before snapping the above picture). Driven like I owned it, I’m sure the Fiesta would yield at least a couple more mpg.

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So far, we’ve established that this is a high-feature engine that happens to be small. Does it require high-end maintenance then? Not according to Ford’s published schedule. Some competing small displacement turbocharged engines require unusual oil weights, but the 5W-20 Ford calls for should be an easy find at your local autoparts store. The side-mounted oil filter will be messy, but at least the entire underside of the engine bay isn’t totally shrouded in plastic (I’M LOOKING AT YOU, FORD ESCAPE 1.6!). The top of the engine resembles a spaghetti-monster of plumbing at first glance, but accessory belts, spark plugs and the other DIY maintenance items are all accessible. The shade tree mechanic isn’t obsolete yet then… depending how you feel about the timing belt. As with some of Ford’s other recent small engine implementations, the belt is sealed and immersed in oil to reduce friction, reduce noise and increase the service interval. An inspection is called for at 150,000 miles, but Ford expects the belt to last the life of the engine. That’s great if they are right, but the replacement will be exceptionally complex if they are wrong.

Quibbles aside, 450 miles was enough to convince me that the 1.0L EcoBoost is both a qualitative and quantitative improvement over the 1.6 Sigma. Those who consider the Fiesta too small may be more interested in the upcoming application in the Focus. Ford is currently mum on whether the Focus will be tuned for more output in North America, but these variants already exist in Europe – the 1.0L EcoBoost has achieved 160 hp with just software tweaks and 200 hp with hardware upgrades. Whether this particular engine sells in meaningful volumes in North America will probably hinge on the ability to pair the engine with an automatic transmission in the upcoming Focus, but the 1.0L Ecoboost is undoubtably a sign of the times. And I know at least 42.8 reasons why that isn’t a bad thing.

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Housekeeping: On Clickbait, Wish Fulfillment And The Ford GT http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/housekeeping-clickbait-wish-fulfillment-ford-gt/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/housekeeping-clickbait-wish-fulfillment-ford-gt/#comments Mon, 06 Oct 2014 17:26:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=926689 None of you could ever accuse me of having a particularly thick skin, but there is one accusation that does get to me. Cries of “clickbait” are often doled out in these pages. They seem to occur when somebody disagrees with the conclusions reached in the article, or when too much negative light is shed on […]

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None of you could ever accuse me of having a particularly thick skin, but there is one accusation that does get to me. Cries of “clickbait” are often doled out in these pages. They seem to occur when somebody disagrees with the conclusions reached in the article, or when too much negative light is shed on the reader’s pet brand. Cognitive lapses aside, these accusations get under my skin for a couple of reasons

  1. TTAC has never been under a mandate to increase our click count, and as long as I am at the helm, it will not be. Unlike other competitors, who tie everything from their editorial schedule to the compensation of their writers to “clicks”, we are allowed to sacrifice quantity in favor of quality and editorial independence. This means that in exchange for our freedom, we don’t get certain things, like unfettered press car access, or the budget to hire a copy editor. But our owners at VerticalScope have consistently understood and respected our need to liberate this site from the shackles of tyranny: in this case, click-based reporting, compensation structures etc. It comes at a significant cost, in terms of budget and salaries, but the end result is a website that can bring you The Truth About Cars, rather than baseless rumors, photos of celebrity genitalia and other unseemly editorial topics designed to juice our stats.
  2. In terms of ROI, a 1000 word essay on the topic of automobiles is hardly the stuff that clickbait is made of. Slide shows, listicles and the like are far better instruments to cheaply generate clicks, and they’ve never appeared on this site. Not agreeing with a point of view does not equal clickbait.

That’s not to say that all clickbait appears in the form of a Buzzfeed-esque “YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHAT THESE 25 ADORABLE BABY DIESEL WAGONS DID NEXT” piece of “content”. Sometimes, you get it in the blind repetition of totally baseless rumors that are, at best, wish-fulfillment for poorly trained, poorly paid bloggers and at worst, inaccurate information posted out of a reckless disregard for the realities of what it takes to bring a new vehicle to market.

On October 1st, Road & Track published a piece titled “All signs point to new Ford GT and 2016 return to Le Mans”. The piece was authored by respected motorsports figure Marshall Pruett, though it was largely filled with speculation and conjecture, though R&T, felt that Pruett’s sources and Pruett’s own track record were sufficient to run with the story. That alone lends a measure of credibility to the story, though as we’ll see, it was contradicted by our own sources.

In the piece, Pruett asserts that the Ford GT supercar will be revived in 2016, to coincide with Ford’s 50 year anniversary of its racing efforts at Le Mans. How does Pruett know this?

Recent meetings between GTE constructors on 2016 rules, as witnessed at Circuit of The Americas, have included a representative affiliated with Ford, and based on additional feedback, a launch of the Ford GT 24 Hours of Le Mans project would coincide with the introduction of the successor to the Ford GT, which ceased production in 2007. 

Based on additional feedback? What exactly does that mean? Pruett then asks Jamie Allison, the head of Ford Racing, whether plans are afoot for a revived GT. Allison’s response is about as close to an outright denial as one can get

“Our focus right now is, obviously, finishing the season on a high note at Petit Le Mans,” he said.  “Our focus is also working with our partners.  I do look forward into a future of some of the classes in the sport, including the P2 we just talked about.  We really have our near-term lenses on our participating in the sport and that’s really the scope that we are focused on.

“Anything beyond that would be strictly endeavoring into… just propagating something that is not within the scope of what we focus on. In our realm and in the world of sports-car racing, [we’re] really focused on our EcoBoost-powered DP and focusing on the season here as it comes to an exciting end at Petit Le Mans.”

It all adds up to pretty flimsy evidence that a new GT is in the works. Pruett makes a giant leap of his own, stating “Here’s the thing, Allison could have just said, “No.”  But he didn’t,” and then speculating on which high-end race shop could prepare the car, and suggesting a 2015 Detroit Auto Show debut.

Rather than follow the lead of a million other outlets and blindly regurgitate the story, we chose to wait to see if anyone could confirm the story. Here at TTAC, we have the luxury of being able to take time and talk to people who are in a position to give us a straight answer. And according to our numerous sources inside the Blue Oval and its suppliers, this story is worth less than Zimbabwean currency.

Despite its mythical status and strong secondary market values, the original Ford GT was considered a failure. It sold poorly, cost a ton of money to bring to market and was quickly axed.

Anyone with a basic understanding of how new vehicle programs work would know that even if there were budget, personnel, R&D resources and production capacity available, a 2015 introduction and a 2016 launch for a brand new sports car that shares virtually no common components with an existing vehicle is a laughably short timeline, bordering on fantasy. Our Ford sources, mired with the task of reviving Lincoln, supporting a struggling European unit and launching the most important vehicle in their portfolio, to be a flight of fancy from the enthusiast community. Another publication suggested that perhaps a super secret skunkworks team is hard at work on the car, but even this is little more than the stuff of car guy fantasy. Such teams do exist in certain capacities, but every new vehicle program, from the lowliest crossover to the most game-changing halo supercar has its own new vehicle program that is visible to the relevant employees who are responsible for tracking and reporting on the progress of these programs to top executives. Our sources are the people involved in these functions, and they were able to confirm that this program does not exist anywhere within Ford (stay tuned this week when we leak all of those juicy product details).

Here’s where things get out of control. R&T and Pruett did the original reporting, the vetting of sources and exercised judgment on running the story. Even if the info doesn’t pan out, that’s still the proper process for maintaining journalistic integrity.

What’s truly insidious is the fact that countless outlets outlets blindly regurgitated the item without making even the slightest attempt to verify its accuracy – or even worse, slyly admit that it was basically nonsense, but still run with it anyways. This is the most subtle and most insidious form of clickbait – publishing articles that are known to be false, out of negligence or a desire to deceive all in the name of boosting traffic stats. And it’s the kind that you’ll never, ever see on these pages. R&T has the kind of processes that are missing from the more unscrupulous players. They think there is something to the rumors and feel confident in reporting them, to the point that they will stand behind what they report. The other guys are happy to publish something they wouldn’t stand behind, and they are doing it with a wink and a nod. If the rumors don’t pan out, they’ll never be held accountable for reporting on it, and they know it.

All we get for it is less revenue, a need to go outside official channels for vehicle reviews, none of the traditional perks that the auto media is accustomed to and a select group of commenters eager to accuse this site of the very tactics that is deliberately eschews. We must be insane.

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Ford Mulling Smaller Pickup, But Global Ranger Is Too Big http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/ford-mulling-smaller-pickup-global-ranger-big/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/ford-mulling-smaller-pickup-global-ranger-big/#comments Mon, 06 Oct 2014 15:59:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=926657 Ford is said to be mulling a smaller pickup to slot beneath the F-150, plucked from their existing global product portfolio. One thing we are sure of is that it won’t be the new “global Ranger” sold in world markets. Despite the relentless insistence of enthusiasts, Ford’s new Ranger will not be sold here because […]

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Ford is said to be mulling a smaller pickup to slot beneath the F-150, plucked from their existing global product portfolio. One thing we are sure of is that it won’t be the new “global Ranger” sold in world markets.

Despite the relentless insistence of enthusiasts, Ford’s new Ranger will not be sold here because it is simply too big. Calling it “90% of the F-150 size”, Ford’s Dave Scott told USA Today that the new truck would be a true small truck, rather than something mid-size like the new Chevrolet Colorado.

“We’re looking at it. We think we could sell a compact truck that’s more like the size of the old Ranger, that gets six or eight more miles per gallon (than a full-size truck), is $5,000 or $6,000 less, and that we could build in the U.S. to avoid the tariff on imported trucks,” he says.

And there lies the problem. How do you find a product cheap enough to sell at such a price point (the F-150 already starts at around $20,000), and then amortize the cost of producing it in an American factory and homologating it for FMVSS standards while still making a profit? Oh, and there’s the whole CAFE thing as well.

Despite the insistence of the internet small truck brigade, the case for the small(er) truck is largely predicated on desiring variety for its own sake. The obstacles to profitability are extremely high, and there aren’t enough customers demanding a small truck to make the exercise worthwhile. The alternatives are to bring a unibody “lifestyle truck”, as Ford is exploring, or letting your current mid-sizer sit on the vine for years, sans updates, as Toyota and Nissan have done with the Tacoma and Frontier. In Nissan’s case, even developing something affordable for North American consumers on a long amortized platform was deemed to be an economically unfeasible proposition, thanks to burdensome regulations and weak demand.

The alternative is to task a risk, listen to the cheerleaders and bring out a new mid-size truck…and then have your dealers upsell potential customers into a more profitable full-size truck that also happens to have four-figure rebates attached to it. Don’t think that’s going to happen? Go ahead, I’ll wait.

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UAW Prepares For Autumn 2015 Detroit Three Negotiatons http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/uaw-prepares-autumn-2015-detroit-three-negotiatons/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/uaw-prepares-autumn-2015-detroit-three-negotiatons/#comments Mon, 06 Oct 2014 13:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=926465 Autumn 2015 will be a big moment for the United Auto Workers, as the union prepares to negotiate new contracts with the Detroit Three, with the aim of improving pay for both Tier 1 and Tier 2 members under conditions that weren’t there in the year prior to the Great Recession. The Detroit News reports […]

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Autumn 2015 will be a big moment for the United Auto Workers, as the union prepares to negotiate new contracts with the Detroit Three, with the aim of improving pay for both Tier 1 and Tier 2 members under conditions that weren’t there in the year prior to the Great Recession.

The Detroit News reports the UAW wants the Detroit Three to give Tier 1 employees the first raise since 2007, as well as add more jobs to the factory floor. Meanwhile, the union is also facing pressure to improve the financial state of Tier 2 employees, who earn less than those grandfathered by the 2007 contracts, with benefits to match.

On the other side of the table, the Detroit Three want to reduce pension costs among those on the floor as they had with those who retired. GM and Ford offered buyouts for employees who agreed to forgo future benefits, while Chrysler froze its plans for 8,000 salaried employees in 2013.

Outside the conference room, Michigan’s right-to-work law will give current union members and new employees the right to not be a part of a union. That said, UAW president Dennis Williams says members in other right-to-work states have remained members despite the option to opt-out, and won’t focus all of his energy on this issue.

As far as striking is concerned, Williams want to avoid using that option “unnecessarily,” but does want the Detroit Three to know that his membership “have sacrificed,” and that new members “want a higher standard of living.” The union recently raised dues 25 percent to replenish its strike fund — having fallen to $600 million — to remind companies how serious the threat of work stoppage can be.

Finally, the UAW will continue to bring aboard transplants in the Southeastern United States, like those working for Volkswagen, Nissan and Mercedes-Benz, as well as suppliers, employees in the gaming industry, and those in higher education.

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September 2014 Sales: Outgoing F-Series Not Responsible For Ford Decline http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/fords-f-series-brought-blue-oval-september-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/fords-f-series-brought-blue-oval-september-2014/#comments Fri, 03 Oct 2014 12:56:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=924393 The Ford Motor Company’s namesake Ford brand suffered a September 2014 sales decline of 3% as the industry reported gains in excess of 9%. First thought? The F-Series, not just Ford’s best-selling model line but the country’s most popular vehicle range, was revealed in new, high-tech form months ago, and we’re rapidly approaching the replacement […]

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2015-ford-f-150-platinumThe Ford Motor Company’s namesake Ford brand suffered a September 2014 sales decline of 3% as the industry reported gains in excess of 9%.

First thought?

The F-Series, not just Ford’s best-selling model line but the country’s most popular vehicle range, was revealed in new, high-tech form months ago, and we’re rapidly approaching the replacement phase. Some members of the media have even been driving the new truck.

In other words, with factories being overhauled and buyers interested in waiting for a more efficient F-150 with a better power-to-weight ratio, sales of the current model would naturally decline, bringing down a brand that relied on the F-Series for more than three out of every ten sales last year.

Indeed, F-Series sales did decline in September. But only slightly.

At least up until this point, Ford has matched the appropriate level of incentives to the appropriate level of production in order to maintain F-Series sales leadership, while clearly sacrificing some market share.

Through the first nine months of 2014, F-Series sales are down just 0.4%.

On the other hand, the overall Ford brand is off last year’s pace by 1%. September 2014’s 3.2% drop for the Ford brand involved a 1% decline in F-Series sales, equal to 593 fewer units, but a 5.5% decline in Ford car sales, equal to 2952 fewer units.

The C-Max slid 18%, Fiesta sales fell 17%, Focus volume was down 8%, Taurus sales fell 15%. These weren’t anomalies, either, as all four of those cars have reported year-over-year declines over the last nine months. (Not unpredictably, Mustang sales fell 29% in September; they’re up 1% this year.)

Meanwhile in the SUV and crossover corners of the showroom, Ford utility vehicle sales were down 1.9% in September, having risen just 1% through three-quarters despite a massive boom in SUV/crossover sales.

There are reasons for all of this, of course. Moreover, there is one key exception which we’ll get to later. The car lineup is anything but new. The Fiesta’s introduction in its current form preceded new introductions of virtually all direct Fiesta rivals. The Focus is being freshened for 2015, but the segment leaders, Corolla and Civic, are much newer. The Taurus is part of an increasingly less desirable segment. The embattled C-Max – “Where’s my as-advertised fuel economy?” they’ve often asked – has never approached Prius-like sales volume, and it trailed the Prius V by 960 units in September.

TTAC_Ford-sales-article-chart-September-2014Ford’s Edge, of course, is approaching replacement, having been around since late 2006 with small updates scattered throughout its tenure. Expedition sales are up 19% this year, but the 3% decline in September comes as GM’s popular full-size SUVs compete against the outgoing, V8-engined Expedition.

Explorer Police Interceptor sales provided a boost to the overarching Explorer nameplate in September, but sales of the civilian Explorer were up just 0.8%, well off the 5.5% pace achieved through the first three-quarters. More troubling was the Escape’s 3.9% loss. The Escape, last America’s top-selling utility vehicle in 2011, set a sales record in calendar year 2013. Based on the three-quarter performance (sales are up 0.8% this year), it could do so again in 2014. But its competitors are quickly garnering larger portions of the segment.

Escape sales fell by 889 units in September. Of greater numerical significance last month was the 2151-unit decline in full-size commercial van sales at Ford. As the E-Series winds down, with a 38% drop to 5549 units in September, the Transit has not yet wound up. 1225 were sold last month, up from 1099 in August and 496 in July. It’s very early, but if we exclude those numbers, and if we assume Ford will get its full-size commercial van groove back, the brand-wide numbers certainly change. Without the E-Series and Transit, Ford sales fell 2.1% in September.

Regardless, to blame the F-Series for Ford’s stagnation in 2014 is to ignore the responsibility other models have of carrying fair shares of the load. The Fusion, sales of which jumped 9% to 21,693 in September and 6% to 240,585 so far this year, isn’t going to carry the passenger car load on its own.

Perhaps non-truck Fords are simply levelling off before the overall industry does so in 2015 or 2016. Perhaps we can expect surprising growth from Ford when the next Edge arrives. Perhaps we should recognize the F-Series for what it is: Ford’s engine.

Setting aside guessing and surmising, we are able to grasp some facts firmly in our minds. Even if Ford F-Series sales had increased 1% in September rather than declining 1%, overall Ford brand sales would still have decreased by 2.6% last month. And if we exclude the F-Series’ actual tally from Ford’s September results, the brand’s figures look rather worse, falling 4.4%, rather than 3.2%.

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Paris 2014: Revised 2015 Ford C-Max Debuts http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/paris-2014-revised-2015-ford-c-max-debuts/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/paris-2014-revised-2015-ford-c-max-debuts/#comments Thu, 02 Oct 2014 19:30:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=924529 The Astonization of Ford continues, this time with the newly revised 2015 C-Max, bowing at the 2014 Paris Auto Show. Along with the new face, the compact MPV boasts new tail lamps, revised hatch, new alloy wheels, two new shades of color — Red Rush and Caribou — and an updated center console with fewer […]

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The Astonization of Ford continues, this time with the newly revised 2015 C-Max, bowing at the 2014 Paris Auto Show.

Along with the new face, the compact MPV boasts new tail lamps, revised hatch, new alloy wheels, two new shades of color — Red Rush and Caribou — and an updated center console with fewer buttons and less stitching for a cleaner look.

Safety features for the C-Max include parking assist, cross-traffic alert, the new Park-Out Assist — allowing the crossover to unpark itself from tight spaces — and adaptive cruise control.

Under the hood, a 1.5-liter turbo-four is now available, while European customers also receive a variety of engines, from a 2-liter turbodiesel, to a 1-liter EcoBoost.

Speaking of Europe, the above reflect what can be had in the market, with no word as of yet regarding if any of the changes will cross the Atlantic.

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Paris 2014: 2015 Ford Focus ST Diesel Debuts http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/paris-2014-2015-ford-focus-st-diesel-debuts/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/paris-2014-2015-ford-focus-st-diesel-debuts/#comments Thu, 02 Oct 2014 17:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=923785 European customers will soon have another option on the table, as the 2015 Ford Focus ST turned up at the 2014 Paris Auto Show with diesel power. In addition to the 2-liter EcoBoost gasoline engine — capable of 252 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque — the hot hatch will have the 2-liter TDCi turbodiesel […]

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European customers will soon have another option on the table, as the 2015 Ford Focus ST turned up at the 2014 Paris Auto Show with diesel power.

In addition to the 2-liter EcoBoost gasoline engine — capable of 252 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque — the hot hatch will have the 2-liter TDCi turbodiesel under the bonnet. The TDCi is the ST’s first-ever diesel powerplant, and will deliver 182 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque to the front through the same six-speed manual as the EcoBoost.

Performance-wise, the turbodiesel moves the ST from nil to 62 mph in 8.1 seconds, and visits the fuel station less often with an average of 67.3 mpg on the European cycle. Stop-start is available for both engines, as well, improving fuel economy by 6 percent.

The Focus ST will arrive in European showrooms starting next year.

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Next-Gen Ford Super Duty To Receive Aluminum Bodies http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/next-gen-ford-super-duty-receive-aluminum-bodies/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/next-gen-ford-super-duty-receive-aluminum-bodies/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 11:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=922353 The King of Truck Mountain’s royal guard will soon be outfitted in aluminum, thanks to Ford’s vision for the next-gen Super Duty. The Detroit News reports product development boss Raj Nair made the announcement during Ford’s investor day Monday. Though details were scarce, it’s likely the first aluminum-bodied Super Dutys will leave Louisville, Ky. in […]

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2015 Ford F-250 Super Duty King Ranch FX4

The King of Truck Mountain’s royal guard will soon be outfitted in aluminum, thanks to Ford’s vision for the next-gen Super Duty.

The Detroit News reports product development boss Raj Nair made the announcement during Ford’s investor day Monday. Though details were scarce, it’s likely the first aluminum-bodied Super Dutys will leave Louisville, Ky. in 2015 as 2016 models, in keeping with the bigger trucks following the F-150 down the upgrade trail.

As for the aluminum F-150, president of the Americas Joe Hinrichs said the Dearborn Truck Plant has completed the month-long changeover needed to make the new truck, with aluminum sheets running through the plant starting this week. The new F-150 is expected in showrooms by the end of the year, so long as nothing fancy is needed.

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Piston Slap: Factory Tune, Power On The Table? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/piston-slap-6/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/piston-slap-6/#comments Wed, 24 Sep 2014 12:02:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=916986 TTAC commentator Raph writes: Hey Sajeev I’ve got a a bit of a conundrum with 09 GT500. I recently purchased a blue-tooth OBDII dongle and the Torque Pro app for my phone which provides a variety of useful functions including monitoring various PIDs (On Board Diagnostic Parameter IDs). While checking over the various PIDs I […]

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TTAC commentator Raph writes:

Hey Sajeev I’ve got a a bit of a conundrum with 09 GT500. I recently purchased a blue-tooth OBDII dongle and the Torque Pro app for my phone which provides a variety of useful functions including monitoring various PIDs (On Board Diagnostic Parameter IDs).

While checking over the various PIDs I noticed the throttle body was limited to 75% of WOT and I’m not sure if that was just a limitation of the app or perhaps the tune was limiting the range of movement on the throttle body?

Also I noticed that the boost inferred by the car’s factory boost gauge does not correlate to the boost reading in Torque Pro? The Torque Pro app has an adjustment feature to scale the boost reading by either setting it to zero, a positive value or 14.7 psi or a negative value of 14.7 psi.

I’m unsure how Ford references boost with the MAP sensor since fiddling with the scale adjustment in Torque Pro hasn’t produced any worthwhile results (a best 4 PSI but the blower on the car is pullied to produce in the neighborhood or 18 psi.

Long story short: Am I leaving some power on the table and what about that damn boost reading?

 

Sajeev answers:

Whoa duuude, you mean that the fancy smarty-phone app says you are only at 75% throttle when you floor it?

We’ve been down this road before, as these apps often read parameters sans the accuracy of tools available to powertrain engineers or even shade-tree tuners with EFI hacks. While it’s been proven many times over that the GT500’s stock tune is pretty conservative, it surely ain’t 75% throttle conservative.  As much as I love new tech, while my career revolves around Web 2.0, we need a reality check: sometimes apps aren’t that awesome, they can kinda suck.

To wit, I sent your queries to a real tuner, Mr. Torrie McPhail, who is both a trusted friend and a well-regarded dude in the tuning world.  This isn’t an endorsement (even if it is) because I can’t possibly know the stuff in Torrie’s brain. So let’s do it, to it:

“First point: what calibration is in use? If you are using something non-stock, I would request calibration information from that source as to vehicle output.

I doubt anyone would be limiting throttle angle on a car like this, most likely that is how the phone app construes the PID output while at WOT which would put it squarely in the shadow of the shaft anyways.

And the factory boost gauge isn’t actual and just calculates inferred manifold pressure from sensor output. I would stick a good Autometer boost gauge in the car to solve that.”

So there you have it: if you have a stock tune, you are leaving PLENTY of power on the table, even a conservative tune will unlock plenty more power. And don’t take the engine app too seriously. Off to you, Best and Brightest!

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice. 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bark’s Bites: Let’s Play TTAC Fantasy Garage! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/barks-bites-lets-play-ttac-fantasy-garage/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/barks-bites-lets-play-ttac-fantasy-garage/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 13:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=915874 All across America, every Sunday (and Monday…and Thursday, I guess), men and women glue their eyes to television screens to watch the National Football League’s latest public relations gaffe teams and players duel on the gridiron. However, the popularity of these games often has nothing to do with the teams playing or the cities/states they […]

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All across America, every Sunday (and Monday…and Thursday, I guess), men and women glue their eyes to television screens to watch the National Football League’s latest public relations gaffe teams and players duel on the gridiron. However, the popularity of these games often has nothing to do with the teams playing or the cities/states they represent.

It’s all about Fantasy Football, man! That’s right, people who’ve never played or coached a single down of competitive football in their lives can live vicariously through the players that they picked for their weekly lineups. In fact, people often are faced with the dilemma of rooting against their favorite teams so that they can get fantasy points.

So what if we could take the game that is responsible for the highest rated show on television and make it all about what we care about—cars? Of COURSE we can!

The way many fantasy leagues work is that they have a dollar amount assigned to each player, and teams can only spend up to the pre-determined “salary cap” for their league. For example, you might really want Peyton Manning, but your team salary cap is $100M and Manning would count $25M, so it might behoove you to choose Russell Wilson, who only counts $600K against the cap.

So let’s play Fantasy Garage! The average price of a new car in the United States is $32K, so we’ll use that as our number for figuring out our salary cap—nine classifications x $32K=$288,000. Use MSRP, not market pricing. We’ll use market segment classifications, and you’ll need to pick a car for each classification without going over the cap to create the “best” garage you can. You must pick a car that can be bought new for the 2014 or 2015 model years.

The classifications are (examples in parentheses):

Two-seater sports car (MX-5, Boxster, F-Type, Z4, Corvette)

Four-seater sports/pony car (Camaro, Mustang, Challenger)

Subcompact (B segment—Fiesta, Fit, Sonic, Versa)

Compact (C segment—Cruze, Focus, Civic, Sentra, 2 series)

Mid-size (D segment—Accord, Camry, Altima, 3 series)

Full-size (E segment—300, Taurus, Impala, A6)

Small CUV/SUV (CX-5, Escape, X3, Equinox)

Mid-size CUV/SUV (Grand Cherokee, Explorer, Highlander, Q7)

Pickup Truck (all sizes—Canyon, Silverado, F-150, RAM 1500, Tundra, Titan)

Here’s my version—see if you can beat me (it’s all subjective but I’m the final judge).

Two-seater: 2015 Mazda MX-5 sport ($24,765)

Four-seater: 2015 Ford Mustang GT Performance Pack ($35,420)

Sub-compact: 2015 Ford Fiesta ST w/Recaro package ($23,235)

Compact: 2015 VW Golf GTI Autobahn ($30,415)

Mid-size: 2015 BMW 435i ($49,950)—or the 335i variety if you insist on playing by the rules.

Full-size: 2015 Chevrolet Impala 2LT ($31,110)

Small SUV/CUV: 2015 Mazda CX-5 Touring AWD ($26,215)

Midsize SUV/CUV: 2014 Ford Flex SEL AWD ($32,495)

Pickup Truck: 2015 GMC Canyon SLE All-Terrain Package ($33,195)

Did it! My Salary Cap number is $286,800, giving me $1200 of room to spare in case my Fiesta transmission blows.

All right, now it’s your turn—quibble with my picks and make your own. Remember, pick one car for every category, and you cannot go over $288,000. Go!

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Ford Cutting European Fiesta Output On Weak Demand http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/ford-cutting-european-fiesta-output-weak-demand/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/ford-cutting-european-fiesta-output-weak-demand/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 18:36:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=915210 As one of Europe’s most popular vehicles, the Ford Fiesta’s sales is an interesting datapoint when it comes to looking at the strength of the overall European car market. So it’s interesting that despite a supposed rebound of Europe’s new car market, Ford is cutting Fiesta output at its plant in Cologne, Germany. Just-Auto is […]

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As one of Europe’s most popular vehicles, the Ford Fiesta’s sales is an interesting datapoint when it comes to looking at the strength of the overall European car market. So it’s interesting that despite a supposed rebound of Europe’s new car market, Ford is cutting Fiesta output at its plant in Cologne, Germany.

Just-Auto is reporting that Ford will cut output for 11 days, despite an overall EU market up 6 percent this year, though key markets like France, Italy and Germany were down slightly. Last year, the Fiesta was Europe’s best-selling small car, and according to Polk registration data, the top-selling subcompact in the world. The aforementioned countries are also key markets for the Fiesta (though the UK, its top market, is still going strong), so Ford won’t be taking this development lightly.

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A Hot Hatch Polo Match http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/hot-hatch-polo-match/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/hot-hatch-polo-match/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 14:15:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=914410 At 155 inches long, the current Volkswagen Polo fits neatly in between the size of the MK1 and MK2 Volkswagen GTI hatchbacks. That’s a foot shorter than the current MK7, and in GTI trim, an enticing competitor to the Ford Fiesta ST. For 2015, the Polo GTI gets a nice bump in power. Out goes […]

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At 155 inches long, the current Volkswagen Polo fits neatly in between the size of the MK1 and MK2 Volkswagen GTI hatchbacks. That’s a foot shorter than the current MK7, and in GTI trim, an enticing competitor to the Ford Fiesta ST.

For 2015, the Polo GTI gets a nice bump in power. Out goes the nifty twincharged 1.4L 4-cylinder, in favor of VW’s corporate 1.8L turbo mill. With 189 horsepower and about 2600 lbs to move around, the Polo GTI just nips the Fiesta ST to 60 mph (6.7 seconds, versus 6.9 for the Ford) while offering a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed DSG, as well as a nicer looking interior.

Unfortunately, the Polo GTI is not in the cards for North America. A shame, since the new MK7 platform has now morphed into something beyond a mere compact hatchback in terms of size. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but the Fiesta ST and Fiat 500 Abarth have both shown that there is a market for hot hatches that are still small in stature. And for all its technical brilliance, the GTI, as Jack mentioned, just lacks that ineffable quality that puts a smile on your face – something that the Fiesta ST has in spades. The economics of importing a subcompact for sale in America are likely tough to justify for VW, but that won’t stop me from lusting after a Polo GTI.

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

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

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

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

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

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TTAC Salutes The Lincoln Motor Company http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/ttac-salutes-lincoln-motor-company/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/ttac-salutes-lincoln-motor-company/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 16:52:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=913802 Last year, TTAC reviewed the Lincoln MKZ, and found it wanting. Poor build quality, sub-par fuel economy and questionable value for money led me to write a review that, while accurate in its portrayal of the cars faults, went above and beyond the call of duty as far as verbal vitriol was concerned. We all know […]

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Last year, TTAC reviewed the Lincoln MKZ, and found it wanting. Poor build quality, sub-par fuel economy and questionable value for money led me to write a review that, while accurate in its portrayal of the cars faults, went above and beyond the call of duty as far as verbal vitriol was concerned. We all know what happened next, and in the end, it was only due to an outpouring of support from the B&B that TTAC was given access to Ford’s press fleet again. Note that in that time, we didn’t once drive a Lincoln.

This week marks the first time that TTAC is back in a Lincoln since that episode. I’m driving a fully loaded 2.3L Ecoboost MKC, which is the Lincoln Motor Company’s version of the Ford Escape. My biggest bone of contention with the MKZ was that it didn’t offer anything particularly compelling that would tempt me to buy one over a Ford Fusion. The MKC doesn’t appear to have that problem. Check back next week for the full review. In the mean time, we salute the Lincoln Motor Company for putting the episode behind them and having the courage to invite us to test out their newest wares.

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Piston Slap: A Grey Market Global Ranger? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/piston-slap-global-ranger-management/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/piston-slap-global-ranger-management/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 11:57:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=912394 H.Y. writes: Hi Sajeev, the global Ford Ranger is still sold overseas now.  What are the challenges for a person to import a modern used Ranger these days? how much addedcostsontopofthepurchase/transport price? 25% truck import duty?  even with a 4-door model ? how much paper work?  US customs, EPA, State safety inspection, DMV plate? what if the truck […]

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H.Y. writes:
Hi Sajeev, the global Ford Ranger is still sold overseas now.  What are the challenges for a person to import a modern used Ranger these days?
  • how much addedcostsontopofthepurchase/transport price?
    • 25% truck import duty?  even with a 4-door model ?
  • how much paper work?  US customs, EPA, State safety inspection, DMV plate?
  • what if the truck has a broken or no engine/transmission, would that make the import any easier/cheaper?
    • if it has no engine, install a local used engine in the US?
  • does it matter if the truck is from Mexico,Thailand, South America…?  any easier rules?
    • RHD personal vehicle is allowed in the US?
Thanks.

Sajeev answers:

Importing a Global Ranger?  Oh hell no!  As per NHTSA:

“As a general rule, a motor vehicle less than 25 years old must comply with all applicable Federal motor vehicle safety standards (FMVSS) to be imported on a permanent basis.”

There’s a reason why I imported my Sierra.  Well, aside from the sheer stupidity of wanting a brown jellybean-shaped hatchback from London: it was also over 25 years old.  It just comes in like any other car, and depending on your state, obtaining a title involves extra paperwork, classic car insurance and a (sometimes) basic vehicle inspection. No need to get federal approval over emissions tests, crash standards, noise regulations and who the hell knows what else?

So it’s time to give up. Instead buy one of the Last Great Compact Trucks in the USA:  especially since I got 30.1 MPG in my 2.3L Duratec 5-speed Ranger on a recent trip to San Antonio/Austin/Round Rock in mostly highway driving.

The time, money and stress you’ll avoid makes you forget about that cool Global Ranger.  Console yourself with one of these 25 year old beauties:  it sure worked for me.

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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Ford’s Final Ute http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/fords-final-ute/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/fords-final-ute/#comments Fri, 12 Sep 2014 14:52:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=911170 The Ford Falcon Ute will bow out for 2015, alongside its Falcon sedan sibling, and Ford is preparing a final edition to commemorate the end of an era. The last Falcon Ute will come with a 4.0L I6 making 260 horsepower. A turbocharged version of this mill is also available, and bumps power up to […]

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The Ford Falcon Ute will bow out for 2015, alongside its Falcon sedan sibling, and Ford is preparing a final edition to commemorate the end of an era.

The last Falcon Ute will come with a 4.0L I6 making 260 horsepower. A turbocharged version of this mill is also available, and bumps power up to 362 horsepower. Both manual and automatic transmissions will be offered. The Ute’s final redesign follows an update for the Falcon sedan.

Ford’s Australian manufacturing arm will shut down in 2016, with arch-rival Holden ending its own operations a year after that. The Ute is considered an icon of the Australian motoring industry, which has now largely collapsed in a short time frame due to a strong Australian dollar and shifting market conditions.

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