Can the US-based Ford Edge conquer premium SUV territory?


It’s the largest-selling crossover SUV in the USA. And it’s crossed over the Pond. But does its presence mean that Ford can actually make inroads into what is already a well-established premium SUV category? We’re aiming to find out.

It certainly has a presence, the Ford Edge. It’s big, in the American full-size mode. There’s that extremely large and confident front grille, the light line running right round the rear; it’s all pretty American, but the rest of the lines look pleasing to a European. And it really is large, being almost exactly the same length as Mercedes’ GLE.

It comes with a choice of two diesels, effectively the same 2.0-litre unit, but with either 178bhp and 295lb ft or, as here, a twin-turbo version with 207bhp and 332lb ft of torque. It’s fitted here with the six-speed Powershift dual-clutch auto transmission and what the company calls ‘intelligent’ all-wheel drive.

It has suspension. That’s about it, so there’s no height-adjusted air suspension, or self-levelling ability if you’re towing or adaptive dampers. There is an option for adaptive steering, although it wasn’t fitted to our vehicle.

On the road the engine works reasonably well but needs to be worked. It’s a heavy vehicle and so it does need to keep working, which it can do. The gearbox isn’t the best as it doesn’t seem to like kicking down or holding a gear long enough when you’re in a hurry-up, but there’s enough power and torque for most normal driving conditions.

Reassuringly for a big SUV, braking is strong. And handling is what you’d expect. This is a big American rig and it’s best when it can roll steadily along, at which point it’s very comfortable indeed. It actually handles quite well, better than the soft suspension would lead you to believe, but it’s hindered by some seriously uncommunicative steering.

The cabin is pretty much what you’d expect too. Which means it doesn’t exactly dazzle a market used to some premium cabins. None of it looks that high quality, and then you start noticing the things you wouldn’t get in say an Audi Q5 like lots of bits of chrome trim with every bit a slightly different shade. However stowage areas are good, with deep everything from cupholders to centre cubby to door pockets.

It’s not just the Slurpees that get the space though. There is tons of room in the Edge, with those in the rear getting some of the largest personal spaces in the sector. Headroom is equally good but compromised by the panoramic sunroof.

There’s plenty of kit in there, including a powered tailgate, DAB, reversing camera, sat nav and heated sports seats among the goodies thrown in. Active and passive safety levels are also high.

The pricing means this is up against smaller SUVs, so it looks better than if it was up against similar sized SUVs. However, you simply can’t disguise that the Edge simply doesn’t match up in areas like the cabin, the dynamic capabilities and sophistication when placed against some of the formidable incumbents in the SUV sector. The Edge is a worthy effort, but it still feels like Ford is consigned to the edge of the SUV market and isn’t yet ready to take centre stage. 

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2016 Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost 100 ST-Line review


Ford is cashing in on the popularity of its Fiesta ST hot hatch by lending its name to this less potent model. It makes a lot of sense

What is it?

A Fiesta with the sporty looks of the ST but without that car’s sparkling performance. As part of a rejig of its award-winning Fiesta line-up, Ford has replaced Zetec S trim with the Ford Performance-inspired ST-Line.

No shrinking violet, ST-Line versions are easy to spot because they wear a full body styling kit, including a rear diffuser and bigger rear roof spoiler, a lip spoiler on the front bumper, a black honeycomb-style grille and dark surrounds for the foglights. Sports suspension that lowers ride height by 10mm and intricate 17in eight-spoke alloys complete the exterior alterations.

On the inside, there are red-stitched sports seats, a leather-clad steering wheel, aluminium pedals and ST-Line kick plates.

There’s slightly less to get excited about when it comes to engine options: initially, there are three versions of the three-cylinder 1.0 petrol unit plus the 94bhp 1.5 TDCi diesel. We tested the entry-level turbocharged Ecoboost petrol, which produces a cost-conscious 99bhp.  

What’s it like?

The racier styling of the ST-Line ups the anticipation before you get behind the wheel. Pushing the start button on the dash is a bit deflating, though, because it results in a weedy sounding trill from the little three-cylinder lump under the bonnet. Still, that’s hardly a surprise. 

Shift the closely spaced five-speed manual gearbox into first and pull away and the disillusionment continues. This ST-Line’s 0-62mph time of 11.2sec isn’t going to get you away from the lights before many other cars. That’s the price you pay for this model’s frugal official combined economy figure of 65.7mpg and its eco-friendly 99g/km of CO2 emissions.

However, there’s more to this little hatch than off-the-mark acceleration. We’ve seen how well this diminutive engine performs in other Fords, including the ST-Line’s predecessor, the Zetec S, in the past few years, so we know it should be good.

True to form, if you crank it up past 1400rpm it starts to zing. Its 125lb ft of torque may not sound like a lot, but it’s enough for the ST-Line to zip around slower moving traffic on urban roads and get up a good head of steam on quiet A-roads.

Working the little powerplant hard makes it sound great, too; it’s not the throaty hum of the ST-Line’s far more potent big brother, the ST200, but it’s a pleasant, whizzy thrum. This is a good thing, as engine noise is the main accompaniment to driving, especially at higher speeds when it blocks out most tyre or wind noise.

The deft handling of the 10mm -owered chassis, the superbly weighted and accurate steering and the short, crisp gearshifts all add to the mix, making the ST-Line a joy to drive. The suspension is a bit softer than that of its brawnier siblings, so it crashes a little less over uneven surfaces, but Ford hasn’t turned the ST-Line into a wallowy soft touch and it still clings to the road with little body lean through bends.

It’s not a perfect package though. Inside, the Fiesta’s switchgear is showing its age compared with newer rivals. The plethora of switches on the dashboard and the tiny, hard-to-read 4.2in TFT infotainment screen look like they should have been put out to pasture a long time ago. At least it has Ford’s SYNC hands-free Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity, so you can call a friend while you spend an entire journey trying to retune the radio.

The amount of black trim is rather overwhelming, too: roof lining, carpets and seats are all black, with only the red stitching on the fabric sports seats adding a splash of colour. And while the seat fabric looks durable, it doesn’t exactly feel premium.

The three-spoke steering wheel clad in soft leather is good to grip though, and some nice touches to the interior feel a bit more special, such as the aluminium pedals and ST-Line kick plates. If you’re after Audi-esque levels of sophistication, however, you should look elsewhere. 

Should I buy one?

If you want to enjoy the looks and superb handling and poise of the Fiesta ST but can’t stretch to its £17,745 starting price or afford its higher running costs, then the £1200-cheaper ST-Line should be on your shortlist.

In 99bhp guise, Ford’s peppy turbocharged 1.0-litre Ecoboost isn’t the swiftest but it is still fun, as well as being light on fuel and emissions. And the ST-Line handles just as well as its hotter ST sibling, so it’s still more fun to drive than a Vauxhall Corsa SRi VX Line or Volkswagen Polo 1.2 TSI.

Ford has recently deleted the two cheapest trim levels from its Fiesta range, so the line-up now starts at £13,395, with the cheapest five-door 1.0 Ecoboost pitching in just below £15,000 in plain Zetec trim. If you factor in the ST-Line’s bodykit, sports suspension and other extra kit, it seems rather good value for around £600 more. It’s also cheaper than a Renault Clio GT-Line or Corsa SRi VX Line. 

Ford F-150 STX package added to 2017 lineup 


Just like the previous generation, the 2017 Ford F-150 will be available with a new STX package adding numerous exterior and interior features that aren’t offered on base XL models. It can be had from $40,499 in SuperCab configuration.The list of STX extras includes:

20” machined-aluminum wheels;

Black billet-style grille with body-colour surround;

STX Sport Box Decal;

Unique black sport cloth seats with lumbar support;

Flow-through console (with steering column-mounted shifter);

Privacy glass;

8” touchscreen with SYNC 3 and support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto;

And more.

2017 Ford F-150 Gets Upgraded 3.5-Liter EcoBoost Engine


As reported before, for the 2017 model year, Ford is updating its premium EcoBoost V-6 engine and offering 10 more horse power and 50 pounds-feet more torque compared to the outgoing engine. It’s even more than it was thought, delivering more torque than other half-ton (liking all V-8s) in the sector.

The Ford Edsel


Almanac: The Ford Edsel –

And now a page from “Sunday Morning” Almanac: September 4th, 1957, 59 years ago today … the day Americans got their first look at a brand new car.

“This is the Edsel … Unlike any other car you’ve ever seen!”

 

 

Named for Henry Ford’s son, who had died years before at the age of 49, the Edsel was the Ford company’s bid to expand market share.

In its TV commercials, Ford showcased the Edsel’s futuristic features, including its push-button steering wheel.

“With Edsel’s exclusive ‘Teletouch’ drive you can shift and turn the wheel more safely and easily than ever before, because both hands remain on the wheel while the Edsel shifts electrically.”

The Edsel rollout was a huge event, featuring a mountain of print ads and TV commercials, and an all-star television spectacular (here on CBS), called “The Edsel Show”:

The jazz-inflected show (featuring Frank Sinatra, Rosemary Clooney, Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong), was produced at CBS Television City and aired on October 13, 1957:

Edsel_ad

Critics mocked the Edsel’s distinctive vertical grille as a horse collar, or worse.

And owners complained of problems with all those space-age features.

Sales fell drastically short of projections, and in the fall of 1959, Ford shut down the Edsel assembly line.

Although collectors and enthusiasts still keep a few Edsels on the road, for most Americans the Edsel remains synonymous with failure … failure on something of a cosmic scale.

2017 Ford Fusion V-6 Sport First Review


For all its dashing good looks—James Bond would not look out of place in this Aston-faced sedan. 

There is a hybrid and a plug-in hybrid, as well as a trio of 4-cylinders, two of them turbocharged.
With the corporate 2.7-liter EcoBoost under its elegant hood, the Fusion Sport becomes the pacesetter for the entire sedan category.
But horsepower, 268 for the Toyota Camry’s like-sized V6. Fusion’s hottest engine option has been the 240-hp 2.0-liter EcoBoost four.
Borrowing the 2.7 turbo V-6 from the truck inventory (Explorer, F-150) creates a much more vigorous midsize sedan: 325 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque, both arriving at 5,500 rpm.

As you’d expect, an extra 85 horsepower adds considerable urgency to the Fusion’s forward progress. Throttle response is right-now, not a hint of turbo lag. What one might not expect: the Fusion Sport hooks up and leaves the line in a hurry without a hint of wheelspin or torque steer, thanks to standard all-wheel drive.

While the additional haste is welcome, the Sport model’s dynamics are even more impressive—decisive responses to orders from the helm, nicely controlled body motions, impressive grip from a set of all-season performance tires on handsome 19-inch wheels, and, a pleasant surprise bonus, supple ride quality.

Adaptive suspension
The key to the foregoing is Ford’s adaptive suspension—Continuously Controlled Damping—which instantly adjusts to road surface, vehicle speed, cornering loads, steering angle, and severe pavement irregularities such as potholes. Is it as effective as GM’s cutting edge magnetorheological damping system? Without a direct comparison, that would be hard to determine.

But an afternoon of driving some challenging roads in southeast Michigan made it clear that Ford’s system does the job, particularly in Sport mode.

Sport mode is achieved by pushing a button in the center of a new rotary gearshift, like the ones used by Jaguar and Fiat Chrysler vehicles. Pressing that switch makes a number of changes in the Fusion’s operating parameters: the suspension damping stiffens; the engine control computer raises shift points of the 6-speed automatic transmission; the transmission holds shift commands from the paddle shifters up to redline; throttle responses, already prompt, perk up even more; steering effort increases; the exhaust note acquires more authority; and a small tachometer—dormant in ordinary operation—materializes in the instrument display.

The net of all this is a powerful Fusion that shows impressive composure in fast corners, building driver confidence with every turn. The Fusion Sport is quick on its feet, hangs on at high velocities like a bat in a wind tunnel, and responds with enthusiasm in quick maneuvers. Braking is another strong suit, thanks to a more robust system—bigger vented rotors front and rear.

Pros and cons
Weak suits? Not many. The steering, though quick and nicely weighted, could be more informative. Up- and downshifts using the paddle shifters are unhurried—the Fusion Sport 6-speed will never be mistaken for a Volkswagen dual clutch DSG automated manual. And could there be a little less up-and-down suspension motion in Sport mode? Yes, but there’s not really much, and it would probably be reduced at the expense of ride quality, which is very good.

Inevitably, more power from an internal combustion engine inevitably equates with increased fuel consumption—17 mpg city, 26 highway.

And of course the substantial increase in all-around performance includes a corresponding uptick in price. The MSRP for the V-6 Sport, which is on sale now, is $33,475, putting it near the top of the Fusion range. Our test subject, which was enhanced by a number of optional features, stickered at $41,350.

That’s tops among Fusion competitors. On the other hand, this Fusion makes the competition look a little tame, sprinting right to the head of the class—and without sacrificing any of its civilizing traits.

 

2017 Ford Super Duty says-tanks-a-lot


Did you catch that the new 2017 Ford Super Duty pickup trucks now have more fuel capacity, which will translate into much longer distances between fill-ups? Here’s how Ford has staggered the three sizes of fuel tanks — 29, 34 and 48 gallons — now offered.
Long-bed regular-cab and short-bed or long-bed SuperCab Super Dutys equipped with the gas engine get the 34-gallon tank.

Long-bed regular-cab and long-bed or short-bed SuperCab Super Dutys equipped with a new Power Stroke diesel engine get the 29-gallon fuel tank and the larger 7.5-gallon diesel exhaust fluid tank. Short-bed crew-cab Super Dutys (160-inch wheelbase) with the diesel get the 34-gallon fuel tank and 7.5-gallon DEF tank.

The big news for the heavy-duty segment is that a Super Duty crew cab with the 8-foot bed (F-250, F-350 or F-450) comes standard with a class-leading 48-gallon fuel tank when equipped with either a gas or diesel engine.

And if offering larger fuel tanks isn’t a big enough draw to lure prospective buyers to dealerships, Ford has embarked on a nationwide tour with the new Super Dutys. During stops at 14 cities now through Nov. 13 (Ford says more events may be added), Ford will have Super Dutys and competitive vehicles on hand for visitors to drive, empty and loaded, on test tracks. Ford also will offer demonstrations of the new features on 2017 Super Dutys.
Curious about pricing for the 2017 Super Duty? Check out the chart below. All prices include a $1,195 destination fee.