2021 Ford Bronco Sport - This is It [UPDATED]

The Ford Bronco news doesn’t just stop with one model. There’s not one, not two, but three in the family.

That threesome includes the two-door and four-door versions of the Bronco, as well as the smaller Bronco Sport.

Think of the Bronco Sport as an off-road version of Ford’s Escape crossover. Ford might get mad at us for saying that, but hey, we’re not PR.

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2021 Ford Bronco Two-Door and Four-Door: Forward to the Past

Eventually, the absence of a body-on-frame, go-anywhere, dedicated off-road SUV was too great for the Ford lineup to bear — which is why, after a quarter-century absence, the Bronco triumphantly returns to do battle with its Mopar foe, the Jeep Wrangler.

Talked about endlessly since Ford announced the storied model’s return and leaked as often as celebrity medical records to the National Enquirer, the Bronco makes its debut with the goodies fans want and certain things all SUVs need in the futuristic year of 2021. Namely, a four-door model.

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Socially-Distanced Tracking Is Strange

I almost turned the invite down.

In early June, Ford lit up my inbox with an invitation to head to Joliet, Illinois, to drive the Shelby GT500 on track at the members-only Autobahn Country Club.

Ah, Joliet – best known for the now-defunct prison featured in The Blues Brothers and other media. Also home of the Chicagoland Speedway, where NASCAR has a Cup race most years, as well as the Route 66 drag strip, which hosts NHRA events. Too bad we couldn’t turn the Shelbys loose on the oval. Or the drag strip. The latter was actually part of the plans. More on that later.

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Ford's Mexican Engine Pipeline Running at Half Speed; Automaker Warns of Plant Shutdowns

Ford cautioned that some of its American assembly plants could be put on ice as early as next week, as shortages persist at a Mexican plant still not running at full capacity.

The potential engine shortages stemming from coronavirus fears at Ford’s Chihuahua Engine Plant and in the surrounding countryside would stymie production of key Ford products, including the new-for-2020 Super Duty line.

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Adventures in Marketing: Ford Bronco Goes Into the Wild

A 1970 Dodge ad campaign once said of the viewer, “If you can cope with a whole new image, you could be Dodge material.” Well, today — a week out from what this writer has dubbed B-Day — Ford is appealing to those wild at heart to leave their old lifestyles, and the pavement, in the past.

Are you Built Wild?

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Ford Ranger Packages Aim for Off-Roadability, but There's Power to Be Had, Too

If you’re in the market for a midsize pickup and possess an irresistible urge to tackle the worst terrain you can find, chances are the most rugged variants of Chevy’s Colorado and Toyota’s Tacoma top your list of maybes. Ford would like a word.

The Ranger didn’t enter the segment with the brawniest hardware in tow, but the passage of time has a way of correcting mistakes (if you want to look at it that way). On Tuesday, the Blue Oval debuted a trio of packages designed to deliver more off-road capability — and even power. Raptor Lite?

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Rare Rides: The Beloved Ford Bronco II, From 1988

The Bronco II was a compact SUV marketed on the long-term brand recognition of the Bronco. But only a few years into its production run, the Bronco II had established an infamous reputation all its own — and eventually proved one of the most costly models Ford ever created.

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2021 Ford F-150: There's New Faces in Your Future, and Maybe a Hybrid, Too

Ford Motor Company pulled the wraps off the next-generation 2021 F-150 on Thursday night, revealing a new body and face that’s evolutionary in nature and a powertrain addition that sets its apart from all rivals. Could you call it revolutionary?

Being first in its class to offer something new is key for the F-150, being America’s best selling vehicle and all. In this case, that feature is a hybrid powertrain — one Ford says will make the F-150 the most potent light-duty pickup on the market.

There’s also added inches where it supposedly counts

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Ford Edge, Lincoln Nautilus in Danger?

Ford’s utility vehicle lineup may grow too crowded to sustain the midsize Edge and its Lincoln Nautilus sibling for much longer. That’s the opinion of AutoForecast Solutions’ Sam Fiorani, who claims the Blue Oval has cancelled next-generation versions of both models.

Introduced for the 2015 model year and facelifted for 2019, the two-row Edge and Nautilus (formerly, the MKX) slot between the compact Escape and three-row Explorer, but the appearance of new models in the coming years might trample these models into the dust. If so, it could spell the end of Ford’s vehicle manufacturing presence north of the border.

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Junkyard Find: 1977 Mercury Bobcat 3-Door

You’d think that examples of the Ford Pinto and its Mercury-badged twin, the Bobcat, would have disappeared from the American junkyard ecosystem by now, given the cheapness of these cars and the decades of exploding-Pinto punchlines since “Pinto Madness” came out in 1977. No doubt due to the huge quantities sold during the Pinto/Bobcat’s 10-year production run (well over three million), such is not the case; I continue to find Pintos and Bobcats in junkyards to this day.

Here’s a light blue ’77 three-door Bobcat in a Northern California self-serve yard.

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Rare Rides: The 2005 Ford Saleen Focus S121 - an Improved Hot Hatch

Most examples of the popular first-generation Focus lived life as appliances. Use and abused, they filtered to the used car lots during the late 2000s alongside brethren like the Mercury Cougar and Jaguar S-Type. However, a select few were spared from such an ignominious fate by performance tuner Saleen. The Californian company took some new Foci and imbued them with extra performance.

Today’s Rare Ride is among the chosen — it’s the 2005 Saleen Focus.

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Buy/Drive/Burn: Three Family Sedans From 1989

Today’s trio of sedans was suggested by an old MotorWeek review of the new-for-’89 Maxima. Let’s pit that fresh-faced midsizer against the more established Taurus and the more luxurious Mazda 929.

Which is worth a Buy?

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Buy/Drive/Burn: Economical, Basic American Sedans for 1985

It’s the mid-1980s, so having a gas-guzzling, rear-drive Malaise box from the late ’70s is unthinkable. No, you’re a modern consumer, and you demand something front-drive and economical, but still with Malaise build quality.

Today we pick a compact Ace of Base from 1985.

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Rare Rides: The 1994 Ford Aerostar - Better in Brown

Much like our recently presented Tempo, today’s Ford is a well-kept oddity that’s already considered a classic due to its age. A ho-hum family van, the Aerostar was the sort of vehicle that got well-used and (usually) rusted by its eighth birthday.

Today’s short-wheelbase beauty, however, made it to 26.

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Rare Rides: The 1989 Ford Tempo - Luxurious and All-wheel Drive

Today’s Rare Ride is an example of a vehicle that was fairly common in the early Nineties. However, the passage of time is never kind to low-value and oft-forgotten economy cars, so survivors like this little blue Tempo are quite a find.

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Junkyard Find: 1986 Ford Taurus L
I look for good examples of automotive history for this series, and today’s car certainly qualifies: one of the very first Ford Tauruses ever built, a car that came off the assembly line during the first month of Taurus production.I found this option-laden ’86 in a San Francisco Bay Area yard back in February.
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Will the Ford Bronco Do the Texas Two-Step?

The upcoming Ford Bronco and its baby sibling, Bronco Sport, have been inspiring a lot of dreaming around these parts.

We’re even dreaming of a Bronco that dances.

No, that’s not a quarantine-inspired fever dream. It’s inspired by a new report from Motor1 that suggests that the next Bronco will, indeed, be able to two-step. So to speak.

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Rare Rides: The Shocking 2002 Ford Ranger Thunderbolt

Rare Rides previously featured the weather-inspired SVT Lightning, an effort that saw Ford add a healthy dose of power and sporty handling to its full-size pickup.

Today we’ll have a look at Lightning’s smaller sibling, which is named after the same weather event: the Ranger Thunderbolt, from 2002.

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2020 Kia Telluride SX Review - Meeting Expectations

My review of the all-new 2020 Kia Telluride last year was mostly positive.

There’s a reason for this – I thought it was pretty damn good. Especially given its price point, and that it was Kia coming up with a very good three-row crossover, seemingly out of nowhere.

Yep, Kia, a brand that hadn’t been a player in this segment since its last attempt, a body-on-frame SUV called Borrego, ran into the economic headwinds of the Great Recession. Kia had help from corporate partner Hyundai – that brand’s Palisade is the more urbane sibling to Telluride – but still, Kia’s reentry to the segment seemed remarkable.

After living with the Telluride for a week as opposed to a day, that remains true.

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2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt Review - Classic Cool

Give Ford credit – the Blue Oval could, at any time, create a special Mustang Bullitt that’s little more than an appearance package.

Yet, the current Mustang Bullitt, like the one offered a decade ago, isn’t just a GT with cosmetic changes. It’s a certified bruiser that goes as well as it shows.

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Buy/Drive/Burn: Compact and Captive Pickup Trucks From 1982

In the last edition of Buy/Drive/Burn we pitted three compact pickup trucks from Japan against one another. The year was 1972 — still fairly early in Japan’s truck presence on North American shores. The distant year caused many commenters to shout “We are young!” and then claim a lack of familiarity.

Fine! Today we’ll move it forward a decade, and talk trucks in 1982.

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Junkyard Find: 1961 Ford Falcon Ranchero
As anyone who follows this series knows, Detroit sedans from the 1946– 1975 era still show up in cheap self– service junkyards all the time ( really, I photograph several every month). What might not be as well-known, however, is the frequency with which classic cartrucks ( or truckcars, if you prefer) end up in such yards.Here’s an early Falcon Ranchero that worked hard for many decades after its New Car(truck) Scent faded away, photographed in a Denver yard just a few days ago.
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2019 Ford Raptor Review - Truckin' Absurd

Camera in hand, I left the truck idling as I descended the running board onto the dirt path. I’d planned to get a couple of quick snaps in a beautiful natural setting, considering the vehicle’s considerable off-road prowess.

The report of what could only be a 12-gauge shotgun fired a couple hundred yards away made me reconsider my artful ambitions.

Have I ever mentioned how much I appreciate good, clear rear-view cameras? I’m not the greatest at parking large vehicles, so the tech is useful in many situations — but this feature was especially helpful as the 2019 Ford Raptor and I quickly escaped a bad situation in reverse.

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2019 Ford F-150 SuperCrew Power Stroke Review - Strokin'

I’ve never owned a truck. Over my two-plus decades of driving, I’ve shopped for trucks new and used, but have always stopped short of stroking a check for something with a bed for various reasons big and little. Typically I needed something with more interior space, more lockable cargo space, or more comfort — but one thing always holding me back was fuel economy. Traditionally, trucks aren’t particularly efficient.

However, modern diesel engines can yield impressive economy, which is why we’re beginning to see them trickle into the half-ton range of pickups from each of the Detroit Three. Ford, long the sales leader in the segment, has given the Power Stroke treatment to this F-150, and we were curious if it improves an already impressive truck.

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2020 Ford Mustang GT PP2 Review - Pony Car Essence, at a Price

In order to promote the Mustang Mach-E that would be unveiled later that night, Ford gave journalists who’d flown to California for the reveal the chance to drive the rest of the Mustang lineup.

From Shelby GT500s and GT350s to GTs and EcoBoosts, they were all on hand for a run up the Angeles Crest Highway.

Perhaps unintentionally, the drive was a reminder that the Mach-E probably isn’t going to fit right in. It may actually be fun to drive – certainly, as an EV, it will have plenty of torque – but we won’t know that for a while. Still, it’s hard to picture it running the mountain the same way the two-door coupe Mustangs do.

Which is to say, pretty damn well.

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Rare Rides: A 1991 Ford F-150, Pace Truck and PPG

In what is assuredly the most Nineties looking Rare Ride to date, today’s Ford F-150 wears its decade loud and proud. Let’s find out more about this one-off pace car.

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Rare Rides: The Very Special 1998 Ford Expedition SeaScape

There’s nothing especially unique about a first-generation Ford Expedition, given that the company sold hundreds of thousands of them in the late Nineties. But things get a bit more exciting when the Expedition in question was a custom build for SEMA.

So today let’s remember the boat times, with this 1998 SeaScape.

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Gone Truckin' Nuts — TTAC Compares Midsize Trucks

The midsize pickup truck market was once thought dead, particularly in the wake of seemingly unstoppable sales in the full-size class. But after General Motors brought forth updated generations of the Chevrolet Colorado and the GMC Canyon a few years ago, Ford brought the Ranger back to North American shores, realizing that it couldn’t sit on the sidelines, joining the Japanese stalwarts – the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier. Now midsize pickup market isn’t just heating up, it’s starting to catch fire.

To see if they’re up to the task of some good ‘ole classic four-wheelin’, I took part in an event that rounded them all up — well, nearly all of them — at the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area in Eastern Pennsylvania for a day to test their off-road chops.

Although they may not seem quite as imposing as the larger full-size pickups, these midsize brutes offer plenty of capability. Their smaller footprint also allows for easier maneuverability around tight trails. So a bunch of us auto journalists gathered up all the contenders in the most off-road-biased specification to duke it out for off-roading superiority: The Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison, Ford Ranger FX4, Jeep Gladiator Rubicon, and Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro.

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Junkyard Find: 1986 Ford Escort L

I try to mix up these Junkyard Finds so that you won’t see five 1990s Oldsmobiles in five consecutive weeks. This week, after a 1990s Volvo and a 1990s Honda and a 1970s Plymouth, it seemed time for a really old car or maybe something from 2000s Detroit.

Then I remembered that Sajeev has been complaining about insufficient recognition from other writers of his weird love for Ford products of the 1960s-1990s, so I opted to open the floodgates for his bitter tears with the nicest fleet-grade mid-1980s Escort I’ve ever seen in a junkyard.

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2012 Ford Escape Hybrid Taxi Review - 400,000 Miles of Cabbie Farts

Do not adjust your dial. Despite all appearances to the contrary, you have not been magically transported back in time to halfway through the Obama administration. Yes, we know the design of this venerable website hasn’t changed significantly since then, but you have to trust us on this one – it is indeed late 2019, and yet I’m driving a cab from 2012.

It’s the 2012 Ford Escape Hybrid Taxi, fresh from service on the mean streets of New York City, and with over four hundred thousand miles on the original hybrid powertrain. It’s been stripped of the meter and medallion, of course – can’t have shrimp-eating journalists trying to double-dip by hacking while being a hack – but otherwise is very close to how it rolled into Ford’s care a few months back.

It’s a marketing stunt, to be certain. Ford is using one of its oldest, highest-mileage hybrids to sell journalists and the general public on the durability of this solution to electrified motoring. I’m here to say that, while I was skeptical of this stunt, I’m now a believer.

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Ford Mustang Mach-E - Here It Is

The newest Mustang is here, like it or not.

Whether the idea of a Mustang that’s both an EV and a crossover – Ford calls it an SUV – gives you hives or excites you, the four-door battery-electric Mustang Mach-E has officially been revealed to the world, following some leaks.

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Ford's Bronco R Hints at the Future Production Vehicle

Ford has a history of testing its latest Ford Performance products in motosports. For the off-roaders, like the Raptor, that meant building one to race in events like the SCORE Baja 1000. A new Ford Bronco is coming, and the company plans to test it by running this year’s Baja 1000. In doing so, the company is telling us more than we ever knew about the upcoming vehicle.

The Bronco R prototype seen here is based on what will ultimately be the production-spec Bronco. The engine and transmission? Production. The T6 platform that underpins the Ranger? Production. Even the front badge will likely be production, minus the red R signifying the racing version.

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2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 First Drive - Approachable Power

Cinched into a five-point racing harness, with a head-and-neck support device attached to my helmet, I felt a bit of nerves as I awaited my turn to pilot the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 at full-tilt-boogie around a road course at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Without the benefit (or restriction, depending on your point of view) of a pro driver riding right-seat.

Just a tiny bit, anyway. I’m no Bark, but I have track experience. I’d just handled a similarly powerful Hellcat Dodge Charger at an arguably more difficult track with no drama just a few weeks prior. And unlike some of the folks who fill up the press-junket buffet line, I know my limits. If I’m slower than some buff-booker with an extensive resume of laps, so be it. I’m not going to drive off into the desert in service of my ego.

That last bit helped keep me calm while waiting for my turn, but there was also this bit of knowledge on hand to keep my heart rate down: If the Mustang’s on-road behavior was any indicator, this 760-horsepower muscle/pony car wouldn’t be half as intimidating to drive at speed as it looked. This snake would be a sweetheart.

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Opinion: A Mustang-inspired EV Spells an End to the Traditional Mustang

Yesterday, TTAC reported on a leaked video (quickly confirmed by Ford) that showed an all-new “Mustang-inspired” model due for debut in November. A sleek, four-door CUV appears on the screen. Highlighted in silhouette, its design represents so many familiar Mustang cues. It’s the Mustang of the future, and it’s a future that will be electric and have four doors.

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Rare Rides: A Ford Consul From 1954 - Little Beige Bathtub

Today’s Rare Ride put me immediately in mind of the Austin Cambridge featured in this series last year. Both were intended primarily for British customers, and both have a similar upright sedan shape which seemingly made so many British cars of the Fifties look exactly the same.

Let’s take a look at some basic Euro Ford transportation that was grandfather to the Cortina.

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Bark's Bites: A Moment of Appreciation for the Ford Flex

Seven years ago today, I bought a 2013 Mineral Gray Ford Flex SE. It wasn’t the ideal combination of options, nor was it the most desirable color — I would have preferred something in a Blue or Red, but Flex inventory was pretty limited, and Ford was offering some sort of quarterly promotion on in-stock inventory that was expiring that same day, so Mineral Gray SE it was.

180,000 miles later, it’s still in service as the family hauler. It’s taken thousand-mile-plus trips to places like Orlando, Minnesota, Kansas, and Iowa every summer, loaded to the gills with suitcases and sleeping bags. It’s endured through dozens of fruit punch spills and had hundreds of Cheerios trampled into its carpets. It even took a 40 mph hit to the rear subframe at a dead stop, and the precious occupants inside, my two young children, suffered nothing except a cup of spilled chocolate milk (which the interior also suffered, with a smell that took multiple cleanings to exorcise).

It started making a weird whirring sound in the dash a few years ago, but when the Ford tech said it would cost a few hundred bucks to fix, we simply got used to it. The “Check Fuel Filler Inlet” warning comes on every so often, as it does with all Fords of this era with capless fuel fillers, but I just clean it out and wait for the CEL to clear. It has consumed six sets of tires, but only two sets of brake pads — and it’s on the original shocks. I nearly knocked myself out with the tailgate once, thanks to the lack of a push-button feature, but honestly, I deserved it.

In other words, the Flex, long since paid off, continues to do exactly what I bought it to do all those years ago — transport my family with relative ease and comfort. I confess that I enjoy not having that $500-a-month payment anymore, and I fully expect to drive it another 2-3 years without issue (knock on wood). But if I did want to replace it, I’d have trouble doing so, because Ford won’t be making it after the 2019 model-year run expires. And that’s kind of a shame, because there’s nothing else like it.

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Rare Rides: The 1967 OSI 20 M TS - a Stylish Ghia and Ford

Today’s Rare Ride is part Belgian, part Italian, and almost unheard of. It’s an OSI-Ford 20M TS sports coupe from 1967.

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2020 Ford Mustang Ecoboost High Performance Package First Drive - Skunkworks 'Stang

During Ford’s product presentation, held just north of the famed Golden Gate bridge on a chilly Bay Area morning in September, one of the men who worked on the 2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost High Performance Package trotted out a not unexpected comparison.

He brought up the old LX trim available on Fox-body Mustangs of yore, and compared today’s four-cylinder Mustang to that model.

It’s not the world’s worst comparison, although the LX back then was available with the same renowned 5.0-liter (yes, I know that it’s really a 4.9) V8 that was under the hood of the GT. The LX’s claim to fame was that it was lighter, cheaper, and perhaps less expensive to insure, while still offering V8 power and a five-speed stick. That’s why your author bought a used ’89 example in the late 1990s.

As someone who owned that LX Fox body for five years, I sniggered a bit, since the Mustang parked in front of us had just half the cylinder count, but of course today’s turbocharged four-banger could smoke the V8 of yore. I understood where Ford was going with this, though – the EcoBoost Mustang High Performance Package is meant to be the value performance buy, and not just a rental-fleet darling or the car for Mustang shoppers who care more about show than go.

Of course, when I relayed this spiel to the ne’er do wells in the TTAC Slack channel, contributor Chris Tonn shot back “SVO”, typed out repeatedly, a la Nicholson’s manuscript in The Shining.

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2020 Ford Escape Hybrid First Drive - To Plug or Not to Plug

The 2020 Ford Escape Hybrid faces the same problem as its gas-engined sibling: Styling.

That’s the bad news for Ford. The good news is that this particular hybrid doesn’t sacrifice too much of the gas Escape’s fun-to-drive factor in the search for better fuel economy.

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2020 Ford Escape First Drive - Books, Covers, Judgement, Et Cetera

Ford says it is eventually going to phase out most of its cars – save the Mustang – but the brand isn’t above basing a compact crossover on a car platform.

Yeah, it may be called a crossover, especially by people who draw paychecks from the Blue Oval, but the 2020 Ford Escape is based on the company’s European Focus platform.

Perhaps it’s a bit of a cynical approach, especially with a more rugged “baby Bronco” on the way. But if ride and handling are something you care about, even when shopping crossovers, the results may be pleasing to you.

Possibly more pleasing than the Escape’s styling, anyway.

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Ford: Now's the Right Time to Push Into EVs, Not Yesterday

Ford Motor Company wants the buying public to have no recollection of the slow-selling, painfully short-range Focus Electric. Thankfully, few already do.

The Focus Electric, born of government grants in the wake of President Barack Obama’s post-recession green push, joined the far more popular Nissan Leaf in offering buyers a driving distance of about 75 miles, give or take. Innovative, new, and green, sure, but certainly not desirable for most buyers.

Starting next year, the automaker plans to roll out a cautious crop of strategic electric vehicles. And this time, Ford aims to make money on them.

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Seatback Strength at Centre of New Ford Recall

The 2020 Lincoln Aviator, a much-championed midsize crossover only just entering dealerships, has earned the second recall of its very short life. The crossover, along with the current- and previous-generation Explorer, the Ford Expedition, F-150, and Super Duty line are nameplates involved in a recall concerned with seatback strength.

According to Ford, vehicles may have left the factory “missing the third pawl required for seatback strength,” meaning that seatback may not stay in place in the event of a crash. The recall covers more than half a million vehicles sold in North America.

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Report: Emasculated by Ram's Impressive Size, Ford Wants to Up Its Inches

Get your filthy minds out of the gutter — we’re talking about touchscreens here. Big ones. Specifically, the monstrous, tombstone-sized slab of screen found in Ram’s new 1500 and Heavy Duty pickups.

Apparently, the boys and girls in Dearborn are envious of their rival’s vertically-oriented footlong and aim to get their hands on an even bigger one.

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12 MPG in 10 Years: Ford Explorer Hybrid's Fuel Economy Figures Come to Light

Barring the development of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, the slow march towards better fuel economy, especially in larger vehicles, has been just that: slow. Yet incremental improvements continue, and the latest large family vehicle to see a darker shade of green is Ford’s new-for-2020 Explorer.

Now bearing rear-drive architecture it shares with the Lincoln Aviator, the Explorer drives into its sixth generation with a hybrid and high-performance model in tow. The greenest of the bunch, unlike the Aviator, is not a plug-in proposition, so fuel economy gains are limited. It’s up to buyers to decide if the just-released EPA numbers are worth the extra coin.

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Going Green: America's Most Cash-laden Utility Vehicle Is the Base Ford EcoSport

Lovers of low-rent vehicles bemoaned Ford’s decision to cull its small-car herd, shedding tears at the loss of the Fiesta and Focus, and no doubt choking back a few sobs at the impending loss of the midsize Fusion sedan. Finding a five-passenger vehicle priced below $20,000 is rapidly becoming a thing of the past, they cried.

Indeed, the supply of low-cost cars is shrinking, though Nissan seems to tuned in to the laments of penny-pinching shoppers. Over at Ford, the discontinuation of the Fiesta and Focus means the three-cylinder, front-drive EcoSport S — a subcompact Indian import we’ve, um, mentioned on this website in the past — is the only Blue Oval ride with an MSRP south of $20k, though adding a destination charge pole-vaults it over that threshold.

Before incentives, that is.

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Pricing Surfaces for 2020 Ford Escape

Ford’s Escape has become the bread and butter of many Blue Oval dealership across the nation, usurping Explorer as the default choice for most families that choose to wander onto a Ford lot in search of an SUV or crossover. Sales have routinely hovered around the 300,000 mark for each of the last eight years.

The 2020 rethink, complete with styling apparently inspired by a Salofalk suppository, brings a solid amount of skin to this cutthroat segment, deploying new hybrid tech and all manner of driver assist technology. Its build and price tool is now live, allowing us a peek at what it’ll cost the Smith family to trade up.

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Buy/Drive/Burn: Full-size Van Time in 1990

The year is 1990, and you live in Utah or someplace similar and find yourself with plentiful offspring. The only solution here is a full-size van that seats 15. Which extra-long BOF box goes home with the Buy?

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Report: Ford's Flat Rock Assembly Tapped for Brace of Midsize EV Crossovers

While Ford has a “Mustang-inspired” electric crossover on the way for 2020 and a ICE-free F-150 coming down the pipe, the automaker’s future green product offensive remained murky — until now, apparently. The company’s Flat Rock, Michigan assembly plant will give birth to two electric vehicles in three years’ time, a new report claims.

Both vehicles are — quelle surprise — crossovers, bearing both the Ford and Lincoln logos. To make it happen, however, a famous nameplate will almost certainly have to die.

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Behind the Sport Coat: The Bullitt Mustang - Yes, That One - Heads to the Auction Block

Automotive collectibles emerge from pop culture all the time, but this particular auction item can be assured of stratospheric bids. It’s an icon, one that’s thrilled generations of audiences for 51 years, ever since San Francisco’s nattily-dressed Lieutenant Frank Bullitt spotted a suspicious black Dodge Charger in the rear-view of his Highland Green 1968 Ford Mustang 390 fastback.

Two identical Mustangs went into the Holy Grail of all movie car chases, but only one remains in drivable condition (the subject of this story didn’t have to endure the suspension-twisting jumps). Ford pressed both it and Steve McQueen’s granddaughter into service during the 2018 Detroit auto show, using the historical eye candy as a backdrop to its launch of the new Bullitt edition ‘Stang.

Come 2020, the actual Bullitt Mustang will change hands. Who the lucky bastard is who gets behind the wheel remains to be seen.

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QOTD: Thinking Small Again?

If the global economy were weather, yesterday brought dark clouds, an unsettling calm, and that weird ozone smell that heralds a violent storm. The bond market is waving its hands and flashing a warning sign. Spooked traders waded through a sea of red as Wall Street and other foreign exchanges began resembling the elevator scene in The Shining.

It’s quite possible all those warnings issued by major automakers of a looming recession weren’t made out of an abundance of caution, but something a little more concrete. No wonder the likes of Ford and General Motors find themselves in the midst of “downturn planning.”

As you read yesterday, one possible consequence of another economic meltdown is a return of smaller, more affordable vehicles — products both Ford, GM, and Fiat Chrysler spent the last few years dropping from their lineups. While the entirety of these small vehicles wouldn’t return in such a scenario, some might. Which cars deserve a green light?

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Not Quite a Recall: Ford Extends Transmission Warranty for DSP6

Ford took some heat after reports emerged that it was well aware of the issues plaguing the PowerShift transmission found in third-gen Focuses and sixth-gen Fiestas. While the automaker has issued numerous recalls on the vehicles in question, the transmission was never officially included. Instead, Ford provided impacted owners with extended warranties on the problematic DSP6 tranny and issued a software update.

Hoping to quell public outrage, the manufacturer said on Wednesday that it will stretch the warranty on certain 2014-16 model year Focus and Fiesta vehicles by two years and 40,000 miles. It also announced that software updates are incoming for customers who found the six-speed dual clutch a nonstop headache. While not quite a recall, it puts Ford on the hook for transmission repairs some customers had to pay for out of pocket.

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It Takes Two: Ford's Ranger FX2 Is (Mainly) an On-roader With Off-road Looks

In all fairness, the newly announced FX2 Package does boost the off-road cred of the two-wheel drive Ford Ranger, albeit modestly. If memory serves this writer correctly, RWD trucks can be a load of fun in the rough, assuming that backcountry trail isn’t too slick, greasy, or soupy.

An obvious ploy to capture the hearts and minds of those enamored by Ford’s popular (4×4) FX4 Off-Road Package, the FX2 seeks to slightly improve the off-roadability of rear-drive Rangers while elevating the truck’s visual brawn.

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Second From the Top: Ford Expedition King Ranch Pricing Revealed

Unlike in the F-150 lineup, Ford’s returning Expedition King Ranch does not sit comfortably in the middle of the trim range. It’s on a higher shelf, sandwiched between the Limited and the range-topping Platinum. And, as you’d expect, the King Ranch version of Ford’s largest SUV, last seen in 2017, demands a premium over lesser Fords.

If looking like a refugee from Southfork doesn’t appeal to you, it’s easy to outfit your Expedition Limited to King Ranch specs for less money.

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Rare Rides: The Original Ford SVT Lightning From 1993

Today’s Rare Ride is a first-generation SVT Lightning from the first year of production. Let’s find out what happened when Ford decided to turn its F-150 into a sport truck.

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Junkyard Find: 2005 Mercury Monterey
With minivan sales in decline and the Mercury brand itself locked in a death spiral, the bosses in Dearborn decided to create a Mercury-badged version of the Ford Freestar: the Monterey. No, not this kind of Monterey, which sought slightly devilish middle-managers with a sense of style as potential buyers, but an option-loaded and sensible family hauler for the 21st century.Sales of the 2004-2007 Monterey started off weak and then bombed miserably, to be followed by the disappearance of Mercury itself by 2011. Here’s a rare example of this forgotten-but-interesting vehicle, found in a Denver self-service wrecking yard.
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Flurry of Trademark Applications Points to Ford Ranger Trim Buffet

Do you find yourself wishing Ford turned up the heat on the Ranger pickup, perhaps offering customers a choice of powerplants and greater diversity in appearances? You’re likely in luck.

According to U.S. trademark applications filed late this month, the Blue Oval has just gotten started with its new midsizer, though anyone waiting patiently for the Raptor variant already offered overseas will have to remain on ice.

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Ford's Small Car Purge Continues Apace

Two months and change after Ford Motor Company ceased production of North America’s smallest Blue Oval vehicle, Europeans are waking up to news that their tiniest offering has a date with death.

The Ka+, a name this writer can’t read without imagining a Bostonian pronouncing the word “car,” will disappear from the marketplace thanks to —what else? — fuel economy regulations that disproportionately impact small vehicles.

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Junkyard Find: 1981 Ford Escort L Liftback Coupe
The automotive industry’s shift from rear-wheel-drive to front-wheel-drive was in full swing by the late 1970s, and the folks at Dearborn knew that the successor to the Pinto would need to get with the space-and-weight-saving FWD program. The North American Escort appeared in the 1981 model year and sold very well to buyers with strong memories of gas lines in 1979 and 1973.Rapid depreciation condemned nearly all of these early Escorts to The Crusher well before the end of the 1990s, but a few miraculous survivors managed to hang on for extra decades. Here’s one of those cars, spotted in a Denver-area self-service yard last winter.
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Billion-dollar Lawsuit Accuses Ford of Falsifying Pickup Fuel Economy

As if preordained to coincide with Ford’s announcement of its electric F-Series prototype, news of a class-action lawsuit accusing the automaker of falsified fuel economy tests surfaced last night. The suit, filed on Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan by Seattle law firm Hagens Berman, asks $1.2 billion in damages for customers it claims are overspending on fuel.

The legal action piggybacks on the Justice Department’s criminal investigation of Ford’s testing procedures for the 2019 Ford Ranger in April. However, the civil suit also ropes in the F-Series — claiming that customers could spend upwards of two grand in gas they never budgeted for.

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Ford Extends One Million Pound Middle Finger at Tesla

Elon Musk certainly hasn’t been kind towards Ford in the past, talking about how the Dearborn truck plant is like a morgue. It’s a bold move considering his cars are assembled outdoors in a tent, but that hasn’t stopped the Twitter man from tweeting. He even recently claimed the Tesla all-electric pickup truck will be as good as Ford’s truck but also be able to tow 300,000 pounds.

Yes, that’s a totally ridiculous number and there’s no way the truck will tow that much in the real world, under the SAE J2807 standard. That’s assuming, of course, the Tesla pickup even exists. While Musk has long teased the truck, we’ve yet to actually see it in any physical capacity. It’s easy to say (or joke) your truck can tow 300,000 pounds when it doesn’t actually exist.

Ford is also working on an all-electric pickup truck. Today the company released a video of that development process, including the vehicle towing rail cars weighing over 1 million pounds. Not only is that 700,000 pounds more than Tesla’s claim but, since it’s a real truck that really exists, we can actually see it do it.

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  • KOKing I car-sat an A32 while its owner was out of the country, and the then whiz-bang VQ motor was great, but the rest of it wasn't any better than a XV10 or XV20. Definitely the start of its downward slide, unfortunately.
  • Norman Stansfield Why are leaf springs still a thing on this truck?
  • Syke The expected opening comments. Have had mine for two years now, the car has done exactly what I want out of it, and a little better. I'm quite happy with the car, haven't had to adjust my driving style or needs in the slightest, and . . . . oh, did a mention that I don't give a damn what today's price at the pump is?Probably going to go for a second one in the coming year, the wife's happy enough with mine that she's ready and willing to trade in the Nissan Kicks. Eventually, the not often used van will end up getting traded on a Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, basically ensuring that we don't use gas for anything except the occasional long trip.And the motorcycles.
  • Bobbysirhan I've never found the Allegro appealing before, but a few years of EV rollouts make it seem downright desirable.
  • Scoutdude I know that dealership. Way back when my friend's grandfather was that Turner that owned the Chrysler Plymouth International dealer, in MacPherson. Of course the International was dropped when they didn't deem the Scout reason enough to keep the franchise. I moved from there in late 1978 so it is possible I saw this running around town way back when.