Posts from ‘Ford’
Note: In 2013, Ford is still struggling with glitches and consumer complaints regarding its MyFord Touch interface control system, available in all of its cars and SUVs as well as the Ford F-Series. Presented here is a MyFord Touch-related article from August 2011 that we feel is still relevant today.
On the day that Google used high-tech graphics to honor Lucille Ball’s 100th birthday, auto-technology expert Jason Vieau had a lot of esplainin’ to do about MyFord Touch.
The controversial interface control system is so sophisticated, and has generated so much consumer frustration, that Ford dealerships have begun to stage technology workshops to explain it all. Arlington Heights (Illinois) Ford held two of them on the morning of Saturday, August 6, 2011.
Seven Ford customers, all in their 50s or older, arrived for the 10:30 tutoring session. Don Lane, a white-haired grandfather originally from Georgia, knew he had a lot to learn about the MyFord Touch system in his new Ford Edge. “It’s a bit overwhelming, to be honest with you,” he said.
On a humid, overcast morning, Vieau invited Lane into a Ford Explorer that would remain parked in the lot (with the air conditioning on, thank God) throughout the training session. Bruce Smith, a bespectacled 50-something who would take detailed notes with his pen and paper, climbed into the back seat with me.
Roush Mustangs are known for their loud, menacing exhaust note. When we drove the 2014 Roush Mustang Stage 3 with the 675-horsepower Phase 3 package, we captured that exhilarating, ferocious noise. Here it is. (Adjust your volume accordingly.)
It’s the Earth lover’s dream-come-true: an electric car that’s powered by the sun!
In late 2011, SunPower announced partnerships with Ford and Nissan regarding the Ford Focus Electric and Nissan Leaf. A year and a half later, a small number of these electric car owners are pursuing this option. Some believe that it not only makes sense for the environment, it could actually make sense for them financially.
On the homes of Focus Electric and Leaf owners, SunPower is able to install solar energy systems that involve approximately 150 square feet of solar panels. Each system is able to generate enough electricity to power an electric car. SunPower stated that each 2.5-kilowatt system produces about 3,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year, which they claim would be enough juice to power a Focus Electric for 12,000 miles and a Leaf for 10,000 miles.
In an age in which the heroes of auto racing are often backed by big money and equally big egos, LeMons racers are backed by pocket change and a flair for the absurd.
By the way, don’t in any way confuse “LeMons” (as in lemons) with “Le Mans” (as in the famed road race in France), though that’s of course the play on words the organizers intended. Whereas teams spend millions of dollars to field a Le Mans car, teams are supposed to spend no more than $500 to field a LeMons car.
Yep; you read that right: $500. The rules state that you can deduct any parts sold off a donor car to arrive at that figure (such as interior pieces and windows you don’t need), and in time-honored racing tradition, there’s probably some cheating in this regard. But for the most part, the cars start out as bona fide beaters.
Now, that $500 doesn’t include safety equipment, which the rules regard as tires, brakes, and the mandatory roll cage and fire extinguisher. Nor does it include the encouraged “cosmetics,” which can run the gamut from sloppy paint schemes to outrageous costumes. And yes, we mean for the cars.
List three is all about car/SUV-based pickups. Maybe you’re seeing more of these around than I am, because my impression is that they’ve all but vanished. Like most rarely seen vehicles, unless you see one on a regular basis, you likely don’t see any of these oddities at all. Let us know if you spot one, and we’ll add your name to the Daily Drive Sharp-Eyed Reader List*.
1982-1984 Dodge Rampage/1983 Plymouth Scamp
I’ll just admit this up front: I think these are pretty cool. Based on the Dodge Omni 024 (which became the Charger for 1983) and clone Horizon TC3 (which became the Tourismo for 1983), the Rampage and Scamp are pretty transparently nothing more than pickup beds grafted onto the backs of sporty coupes. But that’s okay, because the resulting rides are arguably handsome enough. While the Rampage qualifies as rare, with only about 37,000 examples produced over three years, the Scamp is positively elusive. Just 2,000 or so copies of this last-ever Plymouth pickup were built.
I write a lot about the effects of the great American automotive downsizing that began in the late ’70s. Most of the cars shrunken at the time suffered from looking ill-proportioned or just from having changed too much too suddenly. Sure, this wasn’t always the case. Most folks paying attention at the time found the 1977 redesign of the Chevrolet Impala and Caprice to be an unmitigated success. Still, I would argue that, at best, most of the cars of the period could be described as inoffensive.
It was during this period, in the weak-kneed aftermath of the muscle era, that makers began focusing on bling and faux luxury, as there was no horsepower story to sell. As it turned out, combining downsized cars with baroque levels of bright trim and vinyl roofing proved unfortunate—at least to these eyes.
Unlike the previous ugly-car lists I’ve penned, here I am focusing on very specific versions of certain cars. Seems makers picked a few special trim levels on which to truly pile on the kludge. No doubt you have your own list of ugly rides from this era. Please feel free to let us know what they are.
I’m not suggesting that this is a problem; I am just sharing a fascinating tidbit: Of the 31 separate Toyota, Scion, and Lexus models for which Automotive News reports sales, four models alone account for more than half of that volume. Just four.
Toyota Motor Sales, USA sold nearly 2.1 million cars in the U.S. during calendar year 2012. Combining for a hefty 1.1 million of those sales are the Camry, Corolla (including Matrix), Prius (all versions), and RAV4.
|Toyota’s U.S. Sales, Calendar 2012|
|Combined 2012 sales||1,104,369|
What this means is open to interpretation. Three of these big-volume vehicles fall into what Ford recently began calling the “Super Segment,” specifically compact and midsize cars and compact crossovers. These segments have enjoyed the bulk of the post-recession auto-sales boom.
However, despite Ford’s success in these categories, we see that its Super Segment plus dedicated hybrid (SSPDH) performance trails Toyota’s by a wide margin:
|Ford’s U.S. Sales, Calendar 2012|
|Combined 2012 sales||761,502|
Note: See Consumer Guide Automotive’s detailed review of the 2013 Ford C-MAX Hybrid.
I got into the Ford C-MAX Hybrid this weekend, and a number of things caught my attention—good and bad.
Most impressively, C-MAX is remarkably sprightly for a hybrid. It’s quick off the line, and power delivery is strong and smooth. Moreover, it has plenty of juice for merging and passing. The 2.0-liter 4-cylinder/CVT powertrain is the same one that’s in the Ford Fusion Hybrid, which we’ve also lauded. Honestly, this powerplant feels nothing like the fussy, wussy hybrid engines of a few years back. It actually feels like a normally aspirated V6.
In more than 200 miles of driving, my Consumer Guide colleagues and I have averaged around 34 mpg in the C-MAX. That’s awesome for a car with such “go,” but it’s alarmingly low for a vehicle that is EPA rated at 47 mpg city/47 highway. We’re not the first to call out this discrepancy. In fact, it’s become a national story, and in April C-MAX Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid owners in Pennsylvania sued Ford for false mileage claims.
Note: Frank Peiler is the publisher emeritus of Consumer Guide Automotive. For more of Frank’s “What If?” artwork, check out his blogs on the 1957 Mercury, 1957 Packard, Cord 810, and Lincoln Continental.
The 1955 Chevrolet had it all. It was all-new from bumper to bumper with a new frame, new V8 engine, and new body.
The body design was a complete departure from previous Chevys. The hood was low, and the fender line was window-sill high. With a wide panoramic windshield and Ferrari-like grille, it looked like it was designed as a show car for one of the General Motors Motoramas. Here it is in hardtop form . . .
So what if American Motors, Chrysler, Ford, and Studebaker had applied Chevrolet design elements onto their 1955 bodies? Here is what I think they might have looked like . . .
1955 Chevrolet by AMC
I used AMC’s Rambler as a basis for the RamAir. Hooded headlight bezels, parking lights, and a new grille finish off the front end. Reworked quarter panels with a new taillight/back-up light assembly complete the rear (see drawing above). Bel Air-like side trim accommodates the ’50s two-tone paint scheme (above). The wraparound windshield is the biggest and probably the most expensive change to the old Nash body.
Note: This article is reprinted from the April 2013 issue of Collectible Automobile.
If Frank Sinatra had been a Ford man, he might have sang about how 1963 was a very good year. In Dearborn, it certainly was.
At the start of the model run, Ford’s four passenger-car lines wore freshened styling. For the midsized Fairlanes, the most obvious change was a restyled front end along the lines of the year’s full-sized Fords. The rear fenders still wore small fins, though.
Fairlane offered only two- and four-door-sedan bodies when it was introduced in 1962. For its sophomore season, it added four-door station wagons and two-door hardtops.
The latter was limited to the tonier Fairlane 500 series, and was offered in two versions. For a base price of $2,324, it was possible to get a Fairlane hardtop with a front bench seat.
Then there was the Sports Coupe, which added front bucket seats, a console, spinner wheel covers, and Sports Coupe script on the decklid. It was the only ’63 Fairlane to wear three Buick-style “ventiports” on each front fender.