Posts tagged Ford
MANjr writer Jeremy Johnson takes the 2017 Ford Escape to Joshua Tree, CA
The desert has a way of putting you in your place. One step out of our press fleet Ford Escape and the hot air stuck to my face like the oven door was open. I was stunned by the sudden shift from a dual climate controlled cocoon to the bone dry desert air and took a moment to get my bearings. The Mojave desert is definitely not Los Angeles. The barren moonscape is dotted with mystical rock piles and joshua trees straight out of a Dr Seuss book. With red tailed hawks circling overhead, we departed the electronic influence of civilization, flipped on the satellite radio and cranked the AC. Our peaceful retreat to the desert had begun, and with it our test of the 2017 Ford Escape was underway.
Though still a flagship vehicle for Ford (306,492 sold in 2015) the Ford Escape is under heavy fire from competitors at home and abroad. It’s not hard to see why the compact SUV segment is in such demand, the size and accessibility offers a little bit of everything for everyone. Increased competition by automakers has resulted in an arms race of features and comfort, traditionally found in more luxurious brands. This one-upmanship helped get us to the 2017 model year, where Ford has focused on refreshing the design of the Escape, offering new engine sizes, a tightened up exterior, and a more upscale and open interior.
We gave the Escape a fair shake, asking it to perform in many varied terrains. It delivered.
From the front, the Escape benefits from some minor tweaks. The trapezoidal grill and headlights are framed in chrome while the air intakes and fog lamps have a more subdued finish. Side panels follow two clear lines with slightly concave door panels and gray matte rocker panels run the length of the doors. Up top the Escape pinches smoothly towards the back and manages to appear aerodynamic without losing all of its aggressive notes. The rear finishes with strength in the corners and a broad shouldered roofline. The 2017 refresh ends all comparisons to older Explorers and latches firmly on to the styling embraced by the newer Explorer and Edge models.
Clearly a lot of attention paid here. The gear shifter has been moved back and the traditional pull parking brake has been replaced with an electronic model, opening up the center console for two cup holders and device storage. The arm rest is wide and useful and the instrument panel remains simple and clearly laid out. Nearly all surfaces have been refreshed with more high end materials and the cabin succeeds in offering a more open and useful space. The two rows of seating offer enough to comfortably seat four full size adults and the split fold 60/40 rear seats give an already substantial cargo area in the rear more than double the space. We packed a 3 night weekend, including groceries, with room to spare and the back seats upright. Plenty of space for glamping and play dates alike.
My favorite part. In city driving, the Escape showed off it’s car chassis and modest size with a smooth ride and easy parking. The optional Parallel Park Assist and Adaptive Cruise Control offer more than a glimpse of self driving technology to great success. Swinging into a perpendicular spot between two cars was a breeze, the added height of the driver’s seat position combined with the slightly tapered nose gave great visibility in and out of tight spots. Mostly seamless automatic start and stop helped save fuel mileage (20 city, 27 highway) and the constantly monitoring blind spot indicators helped keep an extra eye on adjacent lanes. Out on the open road the 2.0L turbocharged engine flashed enough power to overtake semis and commuters with ease and managed little to no turbo lag. The 6 speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly through it’s paces and a “Sport” setting offers the option of paddle shifters and a more responsive throttle. We spent most of our time in the sport mode, where the Escape was able to showcase it’s relatively nimble handling and effective acceleration in turns and straightaways. Ford’s claims of best in class handling may be up for debate but the 2017 Escape showed an athleticism rarely found in the Small Crossover SUV marketplace. Out of the city and off of the road, the optional 4WD proved very capable in loose sand and gravel across the California Desert. There was little to no backslide and when encouraged to do so, the Escape found its nose and continued on with little oversteer at all.
The Finish Line
The 2017 Escape grew on me the more we asked it to do. It is an exceptionally useful vehicle, combining practicality with some premium touches to offer a definite upgrade of years past. 2017 seems to be a year where Ford addresses some of their critics biggest complaints by fixing the infotainment system and focusing heavily on more upscale interiors. The Ford Escape starts at $23,600 and tops out fully loaded at just over $38k.
While the Fusion remains one of the standard bearers of the mid sized sedan category, it faces increased competition from all sides. Traditional segment customers are flocking to crossover SUV’s while the more well heeled continue to be enticed by the comfort and high tech offerings of luxury brands. It’s this market sweet spot that the 2017 Platinum Fusion takes aim at, combining the steady style of the 2nd generation Fusion and the luxury of the Lincoln MKZ into the highest level Fusion available.
Bold on the Nose, Mellow on the Finish
Ford stuck with their wildly successful 2013 redesign with a few subtle additions. Chrome trim is everywhere, most notably wrapped around the headlights and now signature oval shaped grill. The Platinum benefits from the sharp accents of LED head and tail lights and the 19” wheels give the car a stout and bold profile. The front quarter angle allows the car to really shine, showcasing the premium sport grill and the strong lines down the sides. The dual exhaust and slight flare on the trunk help finish the design with character and flow.
A Steady and Capable Drive
Though the 2017 model year will offer a Fusion Sport Trim level (325-hp twin-turbo V-6!!!), the Platinum Model is not engineered for overt performance. The drive is smooth, utilizing continuously controlled damping technology to adjust the shock absorbers to current road conditions. This allows the suspension to be firm in the corners without rattling your jaw every time the tires find a bump. The “S” mode creates a more aggressive shift that can be controlled by paddle shifters on the wheel and does provide a noticeable difference in performance. Steering is responsive and provides good driver feedback while the 2.0L Ecoboost engine proved capable in negotiating freeway on ramps and passing lanes.
Inside it’s Time to Shine
This is where you stop and say whoa.
The interior of the Platinum is not what you expect from a Fusion, not one bit. Glove soft leather is mended with big attractive stitches and diamond shaped patterns on the seats and door panels. The steering wheel is hand wrapped in supple leather that is equal parts luxurious and functional. The slightly bolstered seats promise hours of driving comfort with their deep cushion and firm support. Chrome trim is tastefully applied throughout the cabin and useful space is prominent. The dial shifter frees up space in the center console for two cupholders and easy to access device storage. The minimalist design of climate and media controls proved to be as functional as it is modern, giving the dash a clean and uncluttered look.
Don’t Sleep on the Technology
Ok first things first and if you’ve read our reviews you know this is a big one.
The new Sync 3 software is hands down the best infotainment interface we have seen in a car to date. Its simple and intuitive layout knocks all other suites out of the water. Finally gone is the clunky and frustrating Microsoft powered Sync system, the Sync 3 wins because everything is easy to find, easy to touch and right where you think it should be. The strip at the bottom of the screen provides constant access to Audio, Climate, Navigation, Phone and Settings. It features the smartest and fastest phone pairing process to date, and buttons large enough to touch while you’re paying attention to the road. It requires no learning curve for the reasonably tech savvy and enough RAM onboard to switch between menus with little to no lag. Simply put, the Sync 3 is now our new standard bearer in infotainment software.
Outside of that, the Platinum offers an automatic parallel and perpendicular park that is actually useful in real life applications, rear cross traffic alerts, blind spot monitoring, and a lane keeping system that helps to keep the car between the lanes if it starts to drift. Heated and cooled seats continue the luxury, as does a power moonroof and a 12 Sony speaker audio system.
Smashing the Line Between Economy and Luxury
Ford’s newest offering to the Fusion line hits all the marks of a mid sized sedan while raising the bar on the segment’s highest trim levels. From the curb, the Platinum refreshes and accents the successful Fusion design but it’s on the inside that really counts. With premium luxury and class leading comfort, the Fusion Platinum comes a whisper away from joining a new class entirely. The late summer addition of the Fusion Sport will join the Platinum in rounding out a full slate of styles for most types of mid sized buyers. If the goal is to surprise and coddle, the 2017 Platinum hits all the marks. Whether it has enough to slow the tide towards crossover SUV’s remains to be seen.
2017 Ford Fusion Platinum
231 hp 2.0L Ecoboost Engine
6 Speed Automatic Transmission
0-60 in 6.7 seconds
Ford’s F-150 Raptor is getting ready to travel….well sort of. Ford recently announced that the truck will available in China in 2017. F-150 Raptor is unique among off-road performance vehicles, with a purpose-built engine, chassis and suspension – all of which enable it to travel fast over challenging desert landscapes or crawl over rocky terrain, from Baja to the Gobi Desert.
China will get to experience the F-150 Raptor and experience all of the advanced materials – including a fully boxed, high-strength steel frame and high-strength, military-grade aluminum-alloy body – help to improve durability while greatly reducing the weight of Raptor for improved off-road prowess. Combined with all-new EcoBoost engine technology, F-150 Raptor SuperCrew has a power-to-weight ratio that makes it even more agile off-road.
F-150 Raptor is powered by Ford’s new, second-generation high-output 3.5-liter EcoBoost that produces more power with greater efficiency than the previous Raptor’s 6.2-liter V8, which was rated at 411 horsepower and 434 lb.-ft. of torque. An F-150 Raptor exclusive, the engine is paired with an all-new 10-speed transmission for improved efficiency.
An all-new four-wheel-drive, torque-on-demand transfer case manages power distribution between front and rear wheels. It combines the best attributes of clutch-driven, on-demand all-wheel drive with durable, mechanical-locking four-wheel drive to send power to the wheels in slippery conditions.
The truck’s pioneering off-road driving mode technology has evolved into an all-new Terrain Management System that enables the driver to select from among six preset modes to optimize driving dynamics to environmental conditions. Driving modes include:
•Normal mode for everyday driving
•Street mode for high performance, on-road driving
•Weather mode for rain, snow or ice
•Mud and sand mode for muddy and sandy trails and terrain
•Baja mode for high-speed desert running
•Rock mode for low-speed rock crawling
What is your dream car? What does is it look like? If you are looking at picking up the all new Ford GT you might want to read this. For those of you who want to purchase the Ford GT ultra-high-performance supercar you can now officially submit your applications today at FordGT.com. The only thing is that there is a limited production of the Ford GT.
Ford Performance to create a unique, customer-focused experience to help select potential owners for the new supercar. Approved applicants will work with the new Ford GT Concierge Service for a personalized purchase experience. “The purchase process for the Ford GT is as unique as our all-new supercar,” said Henry Ford III, global marketing manager, Ford Performance. “We understand GT customers are strong ambassadors for Ford Motor Company, and we look forward to providing them a service as distinct as the car itself.” The Ford GT is the most advanced Ford production vehicle ever, featuring the latest in light weighting, aerodynamics and EcoBoost engine technology – an innovation showcase for the Ford brand.
Applicants will have an opportunity to identify their preferred Ford dealership in GT-approved markets and, if approved, will complete their purchase with the help of their dealer and the new Ford GT Concierge Service. Accepted applicants from around the world will be contacted by the concierge and provided a tailored experience – not only through the ordering and delivery but through years of ownership.
The new Ford GT website also offers a configurator that allows anyone to build a virtual GT and easily share their dream combinations from a number of color, wheels and interior themes with the world through social media. For production, eight exterior colors can be paired with one of seven different stripe colors, giving the Ford GT customer many choices to keep their vehicle as unique as they are.
Pricing for the Ford GT is expected to have a starting price in the mid-$400,000s, excluding destination and delivery. The Ford GT will be one of the rarest Ford products ever. Production is limited to 250 units per year, and the initial ordering period will cover the first two years of production – 500 vehicles. The web-based application process for the first round of applications for the all-new Ford GT closes on May 12, 2016, at 11:59 p.m. EDT. Build your Ford GT today at FordGT.com.
Every year it seems that Ford keeps on pushing the limits. The constantly add new features to cars that greatly improve their cars. Recently, under the cover of night, a Ford Fusion Hybrid autonomous research vehicle with no headlights on navigated along lonely desert roads, performing a task that would be perilous for a human driver.
Driving in pitch black at Ford Arizona Proving Ground marks the next step on the company’s journey to delivering fully autonomous vehicles to customers around the globe. It’s an important development, in that it shows that even without cameras, which rely on light, Ford’s LiDAR – working with the car’s virtual driver software – is robust enough to steer flawlessly around winding roads. While it’s ideal to have all three modes of sensors – radar, cameras and LiDAR – the latter can function independently on roads without stoplight.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data has found the passenger vehicle occupant fatality rate during dark hours to be about three times higher than the daytime rate.
“Thanks to LiDAR, the test cars aren’t reliant on the sun shining, nor cameras detecting painted white lines on the asphalt,” says Jim McBride, Ford technical leader for autonomous vehicles. “In fact, LiDAR allows autonomous cars to drive just as well in the dark as they do in the light of day.”
To navigate in the dark, Ford self-driving cars use high-resolution 3D maps – complete with information about the road, road markings, geography, topography and landmarks like signs, buildings and trees. The vehicle uses LiDAR pulses to pinpoint itself on the map in real time. Additional data from radar gets fused with that of LiDAR to complete the full sensing capability of the autonomous vehicle.
For the desert test, Ford engineers, sporting night-vision goggles, monitored the Fusion from inside and outside the vehicle. Night vision allowed them to see the LiDAR doing its job in the form of a grid of infrared laser beams projected around the vehicle as it drove past. LiDAR sensors shoot out 2.8 million laser pulses a second to precisely scan the surrounding environment.
This year, Ford will triple its autonomous vehicle test fleet – bringing the number to about 30 self-driving Fusion Hybrid sedans for testing on roads in California, Arizona and Michigan.
For those who live in the cold climate areas and have to deal with winter I have a ray of sunshine for you. Ford looks to change the driving game in winter. Customers of Ford’s all-new all-wheel-drive 350-horsepower Focus RS will now be able to order a fully certified winter tire kit for great driving enjoyment in the snow.
The Focus RS Winter Wheel & Tire Package offers customers a unique set of wheels and tires – the first time an original equipment manufacturer is making a check-the-box winter tire option available in North America.
“We started this project knowing what our RS customers really want out of their cars,” says Adam Wirth, chassis supervisor, Ford Performance. “This tire package allows RS owners to continue spirited driving even in the snow.”
Ford Performance developed this package so the most demanding Focus customers can be outfitted with optimum equipment for winter conditions. The challenge was that normal vehicle testing procedures require certification with production wheels and tires; winter-only standards had never been authored. To bring this package to owners, the first step Ford Performance had to undertake was creating a new set of standards specifically suited for brutal winter conditions.
These new standards were put to the test in extreme cold and snow in Northern Michigan and Sweden, to guarantee the quality and performance Ford customers expect. Engineers and technicians tested a wide variety of high-performance winter tire and wheel setups to determine the optimum combination for ride, handling and performance in various wintry conditions.
The winning setup is a 225/40R18 Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 tire mounted to a new 18×7.5-inch wheel, which looks very similar to the base Focus RS option, but is finished in sparkle silver to hide salt spray. The set is complete with tire pressure monitoring sensors and center caps fully mounted and balanced and ready for installation at the dealer.
The wheel and tire are narrower, to provide improved snow traction, while the overall diameter is smaller, so owners can fit chains if necessary.
Focus RS Winter Wheel & Tire Package is available only in North America – a $1,995 option. For customers in Canada, the package comes standard on Focus RS.
Ford is making some news with the all-new 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor. The Raptor race truck will leverage Raptor’s production platform including its all-new high-output 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine and 10-speed transmission, along with torque-on-demand transfer case.
“The all-new Raptor has the DNA of a Baja race truck, with a purpose-built engine, chassis and suspension that enables it to travel fast over challenging desert landscapes or crawl over rocky terrain,” said Jamal Hameedi, chief engineer, Ford Performance.
Putting the all-new Raptor through this grueling stretch of races will help demonstrate how a truck born in the desert is even more prepared to take on the very toughest of terrain. The purpose-built fully boxed frame of the all-new Raptor – the backbone of the truck – features more high-strength steel than the outgoing Raptor. F-150 Raptor’s chiseled looks are reminiscent of Trophy Trucks – the fastest and most powerful class of off-road pickups. F-150 Raptor is six inches wider than standard F-150 for improved stability off-road.
The all-new race truck leverages the built-in capability and features of the production Raptor, including the Torsen front differential boosts off-road capability further, significantly increasing grip for the front end and allowing the truck to pull itself over obstacles and up steep grades – even when traction is split between the front tires. It has the first-ever dual exhaust and new Ford Performance 17-inch beadlock-capable wheels with next-generation BFGoodrich All-Terrain KO2 tires enhance off-road performance.
For more information on the Raptor race truck, visit www.ford.com/trucks/f150raptor.
One of the coolest pieces of news to come from the 2016 NAIAS is the introduction of the FordPass. There have been a ton of people geeking out over this new tech. FordPass will launch April. Ford says that it will reimagine the relationship between automaker and consumer; membership is free whether you own a Ford vehicle or not by registering online.
The benefits include a Marketplace offering mobility services; FordGuides, who are always there to help you move; Appreciation, for membership loyalty; and FordHubs, where you can go to experience the company’s latest innovations. Ford is partnering with ParkWhiz to help drivers find and pay for advance parking more easily, and with FlightCar to help consumers share and borrow; FordPay makes it easy to pay for mobility expenses
It doesn’t stop there. Ford is also partnering with McDonald’s and 7-Eleven to reward FordPass members with merchandise and unique experiences. The FordHubs will open in New York, London, Shanghai and San Francisco; first will open later this year at New York’s Westfield World Trade Center
“Ford always has been motivated to make people’s lives better,” said Mark Fields, Ford president and CEO. “We did it when we put the world on wheels a century ago and we do it now through our strong lineup of cars, SUVs, trucks and electrified vehicles. Today, we take our commitment one step further with the introduction of FordPass – an all-new platform that may be our most revolutionary yet.”
The NAIAS is right in Ford’s backyard in Detroit. Every year Ford continues to surpass people’s expectations on what to expect from the Detroit based car company. One of the models that people look forward to is the F-150 Raptor. It is eagerly anticipated and still unmatched by any auto manufacturer, Ford, America’s truck leader, introduced the all-new F-150 Raptor SuperCrew, adding agility, versatility and roominess to the toughest, smartest, most capable F-150 Raptor ever.
Developed with the DNA of a Baja race truck, F-150 Raptor is unique among off-road and performance vehicles, with a purpose-built engine, chassis and suspension that enables it to travel fast over challenging desert landscapes or crawl over rocky terrain.
F-150 Raptor SuperCrew with four full-size doors provides rear passengers with more legroom and comfort on the trails and more space to stow gear while exploring the American and Canadian wilderness. SuperCrew’s 145-inch wheelbase is 12 inches longer than the standard Raptor SuperCab 133-inch wheelbase.
“F-150 Raptor means superior off-road capability, from rock crawling to sand running,” said Dave Pericak, Ford Performance global director. “With the addition of SuperCrew, F-150 Raptor customers can leave the pavement behind – without sacrificing comfort and space.”
Advanced materials – including high-strength steel and high-strength, military grade, aluminum alloy – help save up to 500 pounds versus the prior Raptor for improved off-road prowess. Combined with all-new EcoBoost engine technology, the next-generation F-150 Raptor’s power-to-weight ratio has been improved, making the truck even more agile off-road.
Here are some cool new features with the latest F-150 Raptor
Roomier: All-new Ford F-150 Raptor SuperCrew adds room for passengers and gear, expanding choice and versatility in the toughest, smartest, most capable F-150 Raptor ever.
More agile: Enhanced suspension, use of advanced materials, all-new EcoBoost engine technology plus smart engineering saves up to 500 pounds, for improved power-to-weight ratio for even better off-road agility than previous F-150 Raptor.
Unmatched performance: All-new high-output 3.5-liter EcoBoost, all-new 10-speed transmission and torque-on-demand transfer case make F-150 Raptor even more powerful, efficient and easy to drive off-road.
Better traction: Segment-exclusive redesigned beadlock-capable wheels help increase grip in low-traction conditions; unique Avalanche Grey color signifies Raptor’s Ford Performance tie.
Ford Motor Company is always looking for ways to add innovation to their cars and trucks. Recently they teamed up with Corning for a new addition to their Ford GT model. What started as a lightweight concept technology is about to become reality for Ford GT customers when the all-new supercar debuts the Corning Gorilla Glass hybrid windshield – a tough, durable, scratch-resistant window that is about 30 percent lighter than traditional glass.
Developed by Ford and Corning, Gorilla Glass hybrid window will be used on both the windshield and rear engine cover of Ford GT, contributing to enhanced vehicle handling, improved fuel efficiency and reduced risk of glass damage.
“Gorilla Glass hybrid is a great example of how Ford works with suppliers to innovate in every area of our business,” said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford group vice president, Global Purchasing. “Ford GT is setting new standards for innovation through performance and light-weighting, and we’re excited about exploring other applications for this great new technology.”
When tasked with developing lightweight and advanced material vehicle applications, the Ford team approached Corning, a recognized leader in materials science that introduced light and durable Gorilla Glass to the consumer electronics market in 2007. Interested in further exploring potential automotive applications, Ford engaged Corning to help research and develop a unique formulation for exterior vehicle glass.
Once the technology was studied for Ford’s supercar concept, the team realized there were real-world applications for the new hybrid glass. A small, dedicated group comprised of purchasing and engineering employees from Ford and Corning fast-tracked the technology toward rapid introduction. Within four months, they were seeking program approval.
The new hybrid glass uses a multilayer approach – a pane of toughened automotive-grade formed hybrid acts as the strengthened inner layer, an advanced noise-absorbing thermoplastic interlayer is in the center, and an annealed glass serves as the outer layer. The result is a windshield and rear engine cover approximately 32 percent lighter than competitive vehicles.
The new Gorilla Glass hybrid window laminate is approximately 25 percent to 50 percent thinner, and has equal to, or greater strength than traditional laminate. Traditional laminate glass ranges from four millimeters to six millimeters in thickness, where Gorilla Glass hybrid window ranges from three millimeters to four millimeters. This remarkable reduction in thickness greatly reduces the weight of each panel. Plus, the glass is more robust due to advanced processes for contaminant reduction, chemical strengthening, unique edge treatment and laminate construction.
Ford’s use of the new hybrid glass underscores the company’s aggressive goals for innovative engineering and light-weighting technologies that will one day benefit all Ford customers.