Hot Hatch Shakedown – Honda Civic Type R Vs. Ford Focus RS
For older stateside hot hatch fans out there, it’s probably crystal clear that we’re currently in a new golden age of performance, one that was once relegated to the realm of fantasy and bench racing. High-powered, tear-drop-shaped compacts with an odd number of doors, turbocharged power, and sports car-like handling are finally, finally finding their way to the U.S. market, and after decades of waiting and ogling from afar, U.S. buyers will soon have a chance to get behind the wheel of four-wheeled superstars previously considered forbidden fruit solely for Europe and Japan. Two of the biggest contenders in this space are the Honda Civic Type R and the Ford Focus RS, both incredible cars aimed squarely at the enthusiast buyer. But which is better?
You can’t help but put these two compact titans in a side-by-side comparison. Both are roughly the same in terms of cost, both come with turbocharged four-cylinder engines, both get manual transmissions, and both offer five-door practicality. Both also carry a long history of making speed lovers smile, and command a veritable army of zealous followers to champion their claim to hot hatch supremacy.
But there are some serious differences as well. While the Focus is an AWD hammer, boasting four corners of grip and some impressive firepower under the hood, the Civic is a FWD scalpel, packing less weight and a history of apex-hunting prowess.
Which will come out on top – the Blue Oval Drift Mode bomber, or the H Badge slice and dice katana? It’s America versus Japan in a hot hatch shakedown. Read on for our take.
Continue reading for the full comparison.
Digitally Tuned Ford Mach-E Is Closer To the Notion of a Mustang
There’ve been a lot of voices speaking against Ford’s decision to use the Mustang moniker on a crossover, be it a fully-electric one, in tandem with a second name, derived from the iconic Mach 1 nameplate. Some say Ford’s naming gamble might cost the company in the long term, but we’re not here to discuss that.
Today, we stumbled upon a digitally rendered Mach-E that in our view, is closer to what the Mustang name entails. Albeit still a crossover, you’ll see that the vehicle tweaked tastefully by Abimelec Design oozes a lot more sportiness than the real Mach-E EV.
Ford Needs Your Help to Identify This Mid-Engined Mustang
A front-engined pony car since its inception in 1964, the Ford Mustang has occasionally been imagined as a mid-engined sports car. In fact, Ford used the Mustang name on a mid-engined concept car it built in 1962. It’s called the Mustang I and it sparked rumors that Ford might build a competitor for the Corvette.
The idea was revisited in 1967 with the Mach 2 concept, but the production Mustang remained a front-engined vehicle to this day. But it seems that Ford built another mid-engined Mustang in 1966 and forgot about it. Photos of the vehicle were found recently in Ford’s archives and the automaker wants your help to identify it.
2020 Ford Mustang Lithium
The 2019 Ford Mustang Lithium is an all-electric version of the sixth-generation Mustang developed by Ford in collaboration with Webasto. Showcased at the 2019 SEMA Show, the Mustang Lithium is just a concept car, but it paves the way toward the Mustang-inspired electric SUV that Ford will launch in 2020. The latter is part of Ford’s plans to invest more than $11.5 billion in electric cars by 2022, so the Mustang Lithium likely features technology that will make it into production vehicles. Is this the future of Ford?
Ford’s SEMA-Bound SUV Lineup Will Feature Portable Fridges, Camping Tents, and Video Cameras
The 2019 Ford Escape, 2019 Ford Explorer, and 2019 Ford Expedition are all fresh in the eyes of many, making them ideal candidates to get showcased at the 2019 SEMA Auto Show. In keeping with form, that’s exactly what Ford is doing. The Blue Oval is bringing eight custom SUVs to SEMA, including three Escapes, three Explorers, and a pair of Expeditions. Each of these SUVs come with different flavors of personalization that showcases the variety of ways current and future owners can customize their rides. There are some interesting creations among the eight SUVs, some of which are more interesting than others.
Ford Will Debut Its Mustang-Inspired All-Electric SUV At the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show
Don’t hold your breath just yet, but it looks like the Mustang-inspired SUV will make its debut at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show. Okay, so we’re reaching a little bit, but honestly, it’s not much. According to a report by The Detroit Bureau, a Ford Spokesperson as confirmed that the brand will launch a “sport-utility vehicle that will be heavily influenced by the Mustang’s traditional design” and that the public should get its “first peek at the new SUV in November.”
It doesn’t take much to do the math on this one. The Ford Mach-E, as the Mustang-based electric SUV is expected to be called, has been in the works for a while now. We’ve seen the teaser, heard the rumors, and now we have a spokesperson (unnamed as of the time of this writing) claiming that we’ll get a peak in November. Sure, this could mean that the company is going to quietly release another teaser video or a few images, but the Los Angeles Auto Show is also in November, and the company isn’t going to miss the opportunity to get vital public feedback on a concept or near-production-ready concept.
In fact, the brand really needs to hear public feedback. It almost made the mistake of calling this Electric SUV the Mach 1, and there were damn near riots in the streets. Since then, the company as pedaled back and filed a new trademark for “Mach-E,” but that name hasn’t been officially confirmed. If the company did a better job at designing this electric, Mustang-based EV then maybe we’ll see it soon enough, but if the company makes the wrong move again – much as it did with the Mach 1 name – then the company could be forced to regroup its plans for the SUV once again.
The Electric Ford-150 Can Tow Some Serious Weight
Have you heard about the heavyweight lifting competition going on in the truck segment? Until last year, the Super Duty and Heavy Duty trucks from Ford, Ram, and Chevy were leading the way by towing in the ballpark of 35,000 pounds. However, the wonder boy, Elon Musk, swatted these figures by announcing on Twitter that the upcoming Tesla pickup truck will be able to tow 300,000 pounds. This, obviously, sent everyone into a frenzy because such a figure was unheard of. But, it looks like this hurt Ford’s ego and the company released a video of its upcoming Ford F-150 electric pickup truck and its towing capability. The latest creation from Ford can tow more than one million pounds! Yes, you read that right. How’s that spank, Tesla?
Remember the Mustang-Inspired EV Ford is Working on? Here’s When We’ll Finally See It
In case anyone’s forgotten, Ford’s all-electric,
inspired crossover is still happening. In fact, it’s happening sooner than you think. The long-awaited and highly controversial model is arriving in concept form later this year — the L.A. Auto Show, perhaps? — and will go on sale sometime in 2020. The yet-to-be-named model (it could be called the Mach-E) is expected to serve as Ford’s champion in the increasingly competitive electric SUV market, a segment with no shortage of new models that are arriving around the same time as the Ford electric SUV. The time for talking is over. Ford’s Mustang-inspired crossover is coming, and, for better or worse, it’s going to be one of the most important vehicles Ford has released in recent memory. Pressure? What pressure?
2005 Ford Shelby GR-1
Ford rebooted two of the cars that brought about some of its biggest victories ever scored on the world’s road courses. First, in 2004, Ford introduced the Shelby Cobra Concept, a modern reinterpretation of the mythical AC Cobra and, one year later, the Cobra Daytona Coupe was reborn through the GR-1 prototype.
It was 14 years ago that Ford released the S197 fifth-generation Mustang. Its old-school styling proved to be a hit among customers young and old, but the Mustang was only the tip of the iceberg, the model that made it through all the board meetings. Ford, in fact, built a number of old school-looking concepts in the early ’00s besides the Mustang and the GT that eventually got the green light. There was the 2001 Forty-Nine which harkened back to the smooth lines of the late ’40s Ford Custom, the F150 Lightning Rod and, then, there was the GR-1. Clearly, nostalgia was trendy a decade and a half ago.
This car, like the open-top Shelby Cobra Concept, is underpinned by a modified Ford GT platform made to suit the front engine layout. It went from a sketch on a drawing board to a full-size clay model displayed at the 2004 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in virtually no time and was then built as a fully-functional prototype in time for the 2005 North-American International Auto Show. Then, it all went silent. The suits didn’t approve another high-performance supercar right after the GT and only recently have we heard of plans to revive this special one-off.
The Forgotten 2004 Ford Shelby GR-1 Concept Is Finally Going to Production
How often do you get to read a title like that? How often does anybody revive a 15-year-old concept? Well, that’s exactly what Superformance, licensed builders of Shelby reproductions for decades, are plotting to do with the stunning GR-1 concept car. It will be here in two year’s time, with either an electric or gas-powered drivetrain, and it should deliver astonishing performance that includes a two-second sprint to 62 mph.
Now, I know you may be asking yourselves why we’re reporting about what a tuner plans to debut two years from now. It’s even fair to assume that all of this may be vaporware, but the guys at Superformance are as serious as it gets. It is, first and foremost, "a distributor of complete, rolling-chassis replica and continuation race cars of the 1960s" that’s been in the business since 1996 and has received the blessing of both Ford and Shelby American to build a number of Shelby Cobra continuation models that are painstakingly accurate to the original.
2018 Ford Ka Urban Warrior
The Ford Ka Urban Warrior is a small compact sedan dressed up as a light off-roader. It is like the Škoda Fabia Scout, only with *ss, or the Volvo S60 Cross Country, only cheaper and smaller. It is like the Dacia Logan Stepway, only for Brazil, not Russia. Obviously, this is quite a special car, but still in its concept guise and was revealed at the San Paulo International Motor Show. I told you before, one can see many gems there. The Ka Urban Warrior Concept is one of them.
2018 Ford Ranger Storm Concept and Ford Ranger Black Edition
Some gems appeared at the Sao Paulo International Motor Show - the Ford Ranger Storm Concept definitely being one of them. The other one? The Toyota Hilux Gazoo Racing truck. Interestingly enough, neither will be coming to the U.S. Well, the Ranger Storm Concept, if approved for production, will be one of the closest things to a Ranger Raptor without actually being the Raptor. Considering that Ford confirmed that the Ranger Raptor wouldn’t be coming in the U.S., something like the Ranger Storm Concept or the other one that appeared at the Sao Paulo International Motor Show - the Ranger Black Edition could be a wonderful addition to the U.S. range.
Without further ado, let’s see what the Ranger Storm Concept and the Ranger Black Edition are all about.
Budget Direct Renders Six Unique Manufacturer Collaborations
One of the great things about car renderings is the ability to let your imagination go crazy. You can use an existing car model and re-imagine it without a roof, or you can get really creative and redesign it in a different body type altogether. There’s something to be said, then, for renderings that take two models from two different automakers and combine them to create an entirely new model. It’s the kind of Transformers-like job that we should be seeing more often in the real world. Or should we? The truth is, BudgetsDirect undertook this very exercise, and the results are all “interesting,” to say the least. As an added bonus, we’re doing our own part and renaming these creations in the best way we can.
2018 Ford Explorer Sport by MAD Industries
One of the Ford Utility Concepts scheduled to debut at the SEMA this month is a rather fashionable piece finished by MAD Industries. This California-based tuner has worked with Ford numerous times before usually tuning cars for the SEMA. This time is no different as they have revealed a custom Ford Explorer with a cool two-tone exterior paint job. Now, I have to tell you that, at first glance, the MAD Industries Explorer looks a bit like a Range Rover. Maybe the Evoque.
Nevertheless, there is much more to it than that. MAD Industries did a thorough job refreshing the Explorer inside and out.
2018 Ford Edge ST by Blood Type Racing
Blood Type Racing is returning to the SEMA Auto Show with a new creation. The noted tuner is mixing it up this year, ditching past automotive muses like the Hyundai Genesis Coupe and Ford Focus ST in favor of a Ford Edge ST. It’s a fitting challenge for Blood Type Racing; the Edge ST is the first SUV to come out of the Ford Performance team so, by default, it’s performance-ready on its own. But even that didn’t dissuade Blood Type Racing from going to work. The tuning specialist created an extensive program for the SUV, highlighted by an engine upgrade program that adds more power to a vehicle that already boasts an output of 335 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque to go with an ST-tuned suspension.
2018 Ford Expedition Classic by LGE*CTS Motorsports
The Ford Expedition is arguably one of the most versatile SUVs in the market. It has the size, the technology, and the all-around capability that you’d want from a full-sized SUV. It’s also highly customizable, whether through Ford itself or through the aftermarket tuning scene. The Ford LGE*CTS Expedition Classic is a perfect example of the latter. It’s designed and built by noted designer Theresa Contreras, who focused on creating a “modern classic” interpretation of Ford’s popular SUV. There’s a lot to like about the this tuned Expedition, particularly its impressive presentation. We’ll get to see it up close at the 2018 SEMA Auto Show in Las Vegas.
2018 Ford EcoSport Big Adventures by Tucci Designs
The Ford EcoSport’s standing as the Blue Oval’s smallest crossover isn’t stopping it from making a statement at the 2018 SEMA Auto Show. With assistance from aftermarket tuner, Tucci Designs, the EcoSport is showing off a more rugged “Big Adventures” personality that’s built for the outdoors. Bucci Design’s Ford EcoSport Big Adventures is one of five Ford crossovers and SUVs that’s appearing at SEMA when the world’s biggest aftermarket auto show opens its doors next month.
This Rendering of a Ford Mustang Raptor has Fast and Furious Written All Over It
X-Tomi Design has released another rendering, this time of a Ford Raptor wearing the face — and body — of a Ford Mustang. It’s not a vehicle you’ll probably see in the real world anytime soon, but it’s good to know that there’s a way to look at the Raptor if Ford decided to use the Mustang as the canvas. Don’t start getting any ideas, though. A Ford Raptor with the face of a Mustang is not a good idea. The rendering itself is jarring; imagine what it could look like if it turned into a real model. Can’t picture it? We can’t blame you.
2005 Ford GTX1 Roadster Will Be Auctioned in August at Monterey
A rare example of the Ford GTX1 Roadster is going to be auctioned off at the Mecum auction in Monterey, California next month. The GTX1 in question is the 24th of 30 units produced by the Gennadi Design Group in Green Bay, Wisconsin. More importantly, it’s the only GTX1 in the world that’s dressed in a black and gold color scheme and has signatures of some of the most important and significant people in the auto industry, including Carroll Shelby, Roger Penske, Henry Ford III, and Edsel Ford.
2018 Ford Mustang By Air Design
The Ford Mustang is going to be well-represented at the 2017 SEMA Auto Show as a total of seven different versions of the muscle car will be in attendance at the aftermarket show. The large volume isn’t a surprise to regular SEMA attendees. The ‘Stang, after all, is one of the most tuned cars in the business today and a show that celebrates that very sub-section of the industry is going to feature its share of Mustang models.
One of the versions we’ll see at this year’s show comes to us by way of Air Design, a tuning firm that has a long history of dynamic and easy-to-install accessories for models ranging from muscle cars like the Mustang all the way to massive pick-ups like the GMC Sierra. Air Design’s reputation for creating understated yet effective body kits has become its calling card, and we see it on full display with its latest custom creation for the iconic Ford muscle car. It is disappointing, however, that upgrades to the powertrain are limited compared to other Mustangs that we’ll see at the show. You can’t win them all, I guess, though I suppose that Air Design is more willing to show off its expertise than it is willing to try to dip its toes in unchartered waters.
Continue after the jump to read more about the Ford Mustang by Air Design