The Ford Focus Active is Suffering From an Identity Crisis
More than a few hearts were broken when Ford announced plans to dramatically scale back its non-crossover and non-SUV lineups in the U.S. One of the casualties of that downsizing is the Ford Focus. Unfortunately, all but one version of the Focus are expected to be eliminated from the company’s U.S. lineup. That means that there’s a good chance that we can say goodbye to hatchback and sedan versions of the Focus. It’s not likely, but the ST could also get the heave-ho as could the range-topping RS, which only arrived in the country in 2015. We barely knew it. The good news is that there is one version of the Focus that will, without a dout, remain in the U.S. It’s called the Focus Active, and it’s essentially a raised five-door hatchback with some semblance of a crossover.
2018 Ford Fiesta Active
After almost 10 years on the market, the sixth-generation Ford Fiesta was finally discontinued in 2017, making way for a brand-new model with a fresh and sportier design. The new Fiesta also brought new technology on the table, as well as revised engines and an ST model powered by a three-cylinder unit. Come 2018 and Ford added a new member to the Fiesta family, this time around in the form of a crossover-styled model called Active. The Fiesta Active joins the Ka+ Active, a similar version of the smaller Ka+ hatchback launched earlier in 2018.
Designed for a small niche that used to include the Volkswagen CrossPolo — a model that is no longer available — the Fiesta Active will share the market with the Hyundai i20 Active. Essentially a hatchback with increase ground clearance and crossover-style cladding, the Fiesta Active is aimed at customers who want the benefits of crossover but still need a compact car that’s easy to drive and park inside the city. A bit more rugged on the outside, the Fiesta Active shares its technology and drivetrains with the standard hatchback, although certain differences are noticeable in every department. But more about that in the review below.
Continue reading to learn more about the Ford Fiesta Active.
Ford Enters Guinness World Records with a Billboard
It’s probably not on top of Ford’s list as far as records go, but a record is still a record. That should explain why the Blue Oval is now taking claim of the record for the world’s largest billboard, which it erected in Madrid, Spain. The 5,265-square meter monstrosity can now be seen plastered on the side of the Edificio España, the eighth tallest building in the Spanish capital. Ironically, the massive display’s subject is the Ford Ecosport.
Ford Has A New Package For the Edge That’s Making a Chicago Debut
The new Ford Edge isn’t done making headlines. Fresh off of unveiling the 335-horsepower Edge ST at the Detroit Auto Show, the Blue Oval is following that up with the launch of a new trim package for the crossover. It’s called the Titanium Elite Package, and it’s scheduled to debut at the Chicago Auto Show this week.
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2019 Ford Edge
The Ford Edge has been around since 2007 and its current generation debuted in 2015. But the second-generation Edge was getting a little, well, dull, so Ford has given the mid-size crossover a sharpening. This mid-cycle refresh for the 2019 model year brings revamped aesthetics, few minor changes to the interior, and a slew of active safety equipment. In fact, Ford is claiming the 2019 Edge comes with more standard driver assist features than any of its competition.
So what makes the Edge so technologically adept? Well, the standard safety features list is long. It includes Forward Collision Warning and Dynamic Brake Support; Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection; Blind Spot Information with Cross-Traffic Alert; Lane-Keeping Alert; Lane-keeping Assist; Auto High Beams; and Hill-Start Assist. Basically, the 2019 Edge comes with all the latest (almost autonomous) driver aids without having to order an expensive option package. Here’s how the 2019 Ford Edge shapes up.
Continue reading for more on the 2019 Ford Edge.
Ford Teases Mach 1 Electric… SUV?
Ford is on a quest to have 40 electrified vehicles by 2022 to meet the demand for fuel efficiency and receded local emissions. One of these vehicles will be a crossover with a fully electric drivetrain. Sounds great, right? Well, not so fast. This crossover will be “Mustang inspired” and be named the Mach 1.
As you should know, the Mach 1 name dates back to 1969 as a performance package on the Mustang. The Mach 1 package added an upgraded suspension, several appearance upgrades, and several V-8 engine options. The package continued through 1978 until Ford resurrected the name in 2003 and 2004 as a send-off for the fourth-generation Mustang. But regardless of year or body style, the Mach 1 name was synonymous with performance.
As for the “Mustang Inspired” thing, Ford hasn’t divulged what this inspiration will look like. The crossover could have a similar face or taillight cues as the Mustang, or maybe even a similar dashboard design.
One thing is for sure; the Mach 1 will be built on a separate platform from the Mustang due to its electric drivetrain and battery pack. That confirmation comes from Ford Executive Vice President Raj Nair in a conversation with Jalopnik.
But regardless of how Mustang-inspired this crossover is, it will still be a high-riding wagon with five doors. Why Ford thinks it’s a smart idea to brand an all-new electric crossover with such an iconic name rich with muscle car heritage is beyond me. It would be like Chevrolet making a Camaro-inspired electric crossover and calling it the Z/28 or Dodge building one inspired by the Viper and naming it the SRT-10.
Names mean things; they carry weight and history. More importantly, vehicle names are engrained into customers’ psyche and elicit connotations of worth, performance, capability, and cultural significance. I’m all for Ford building an electric crossover. It would probably sell extremely well. But, Ford should reconsider slapping such an iconic nameplate onto an unrelated vehicle that doesn’t even hail from the same vehicle category.
2019 Ford Edge ST
Performance versions of SUVs and crossovers are just dumb. To put outlandish power in a top-heavy vehicle originally designed to haul people and cargo across foreboding terrain is simply asinine. In the last year, we’ve seen Chevrolet launch the Tahoe RST, Jeep launch the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, and Dodge debut the Durango SRT. Now Ford is getting into the game. Just a single day after teasing a new ST-badged model, Ford has debuted the Edge ST – yes, you read that right.
It’s a 2019 Edge crossover with a 2.7-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V-6 making 335 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque mates to an eight-speed automatic transmission and turning all four wheels. It rides on an ST-tuned suspension and offers optional performance braking package. How crazy is that?
But really, how crazy is that? In reality, it’s not. Think back to the late 1960s when muscle cars developed from ordinary sedans and coupes. Automakers like Ford (and all the various divisions under General Motors and Chrysler) stuffed increasingly powerful V-8s into cars that, just a few years prior, wouldn’t be out of place in your grandmother’s driveway. It seems the same is becoming true for SUVs. These mommy-mobiles are turning into the 21st century’s version of the Ford Torino, Dodge Dart, and Chevy Impala. And who doesn’t love a vehicle that can pull double duty doing family errands and tearing up the autocross course? Maybe performance SUVs aren’t so dumb after all.
Let’s see how the 2019 Ford Edge ST stacks up.
The Ford EcoSport is Finally Rolling into U.S. Dealers
The Ford EcoSport is now in the U.S. That’s probably not as big of a deal for some people, but it is important enough that Ford is actually bringing the small crossover to America after introducing it in other parts of the world. Kind of gives you an idea of how competitive the crossover and SUV markets are on our shores.
The EcoSport will be offered with either a 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine that delivers 123 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque. A bigger 2.0-liter four-cylinder is also available with 160 horses and 146 pound-feet of torque on tap. The model will also be available in four trim levels, beginning with the base S trim. The SE trim sits one rung above it, while the Titanium and SES trims make up the top-half of the EcoSport’s trim options.
Aesthetically, the U.S.-spec EcoSport is expected to carry a similar look compared to its counterpart on the global market. There are elements available on the Titanium and SES trims that aren’t available in the S and SE trims. That’s to be expected, considering that Ford would want these trim options to have unique touches and options that will separate them from the other.
Ford has also released pricing details on the EcoSport. The base S trim sells for $19,995 while the SE trim costs $22,095. Move up the chain of trim options and you can get the Titanium trim for $25,740. The SES trim rounds out the lot at $26,740.
2017 Ford Explorer – Driven
Okay, mom and dad – you need a vehicle that can carry six or seven people, but isn’t a minivan. What left on the menu? Three-row crossovers and SUVs, of course. And which SUV has been SUVing longer than most? Yep, the Ford Explorer. It debuted back in 1991 and has evolved from a utilitarian two-row brute to a plush, luxury-lined, power-everything family hauler. The current generation has been around since 2011 and received a mid-cycle refresh for 2016, which brought the high-end Platinum trim with Lincoln-like levels of refinement and the 365-horsepower 3.5-liter EcoBoost.
Nothing changes for 2017, but that didn’t stop me from spending a week with Ford’s grandest mid-size SUV. The Explorer is sandwiched between the smaller Ford Edge and the body-on-frame, F-150-based Ford Expedition. The Platinum trim comes equipped with nearly every major option as standard, only leaving customers to choose from the $695 second-row bucket seats, the accompanying $150 center console, and the $1,995 rear-seat entertainment package. Fitted with all but the rear TVs, my Ruby Red tester stickered at $55,420. That’s a sizable price for a family hauler, but few SUVs come packed with such utility mixed with luxury backed by a name with heritage.
Continue reading for the full driven review.
2018 Ford EcoSport
SUVs and crossovers are big business here in the U.S., which is why just about every automaker here has a handful of models that range from compact to excessively large. Ford currently has a total of six SUVs in its lineup if you count the Transit Connect, but that lineup is about to get a new, miniature addition to the family to the form of the Ford EcoSport. Offered with either a 1.0-liter three-cylinder or a 2.0-liter four-banger, this little SUV should have a fair amount of power to go with lots of optional features. There will be a total of four trim levels, all of which have a side-hinged rear hatch and can be had in no fewer than 10 exterior colors. When you add in things like the seven different ambient lighting choices, intelligent 4WD (on some models,) and the Sync 3 infotainment system into the mix, you get a pretty solid package for an SUV that’s small enough that it doesn’t look like it belongs in the fuel-hungry United States.
Something I really liked about Ford is that it didn’t buy into the subcompact SUV market, but it’s only fair to at least give EcoSport a chance. Maybe it will find itself right at home here in the U.S. After all, the subcompact SUV segment is really hopping these days with models like the Mazda CX-3, Honda HR-V, and the Buick Encore all being fan favorites. Then you’ve got the Jeep Renegade, Chevy Trax, Nissan Juke, Subaru Crosstrek, and even the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport all trying to get their fair share of the pie too. Even if the EcoSport doesn’t become a fan favorite, it sure will be fun to sit back and watch it duke it out in this overcrowded segment.
With that said, do you think the EcoSport has what it takes to stick it to all of the heavy competition and come out on top? Well, let’s take a good look at it and how it stacks up to see what it’s really working with.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 Ford EcoSport.
Ford Planning New Crossovers, Including Rugged Focus and Fiesta
Ford has recently announced plans to invest up to €200 million to manufacture the EcoSport crossover at its Craiova Assembly Plant in Romania starting in the autumn of 2017. Also, Ford made a commitment to launch five new SUVs and crossovers in Europe by 2019, the first of which will be the new Edge, which is set to debut in the second quarter of 2016. Now, the Blue Oval is looking to benefit from the boom of the crossover market by adding rugged version of its mainstream cars.
That’s the word from Barb Samardzich, Ford of Europe CEO, who told Automotive News that the strategy is similar to Audi’s Allroad range.
“We see a big growth area in vehicles that are a bit rugged. They are not SUVs but they still have a more active look to them," she said, adding that the look could be applied to several models, including smaller vehicles such as the Fiesta. "Put some black cladding in the right places, a roof-rack and you could get it looking a lot more active," she concluded.
Samardzich declined to confirm if these rugged-looking cars are part of the five new crossover/SUV bundle set to be launched over the next three years, but they are expected to hit the market in the near future alongside the redesigned Edge and facelifted Kuga. The most likely candidates for the rugged exterior package are the Focus Estate and the Fiesta, but the wagon version of the midsize Mondeo could also be in the books.
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2016 Ford Kuga Vignale Concept
Ford has seen a marked sales increase for its higher-trimmed model. With the Kuga, for instance, four out of five examples sold in 2015 were fitted in the range-topping Titanium trim. Seeing an opportunity, Ford has debuted a new high-end trim for the Kuga at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. Called the Vignale Concept, this Kuga features a unique paint and a more luxurious interior.
“Our Ford Kuga Vignale Concept speaks directly to the growing trend for luxury SUVs and represents the very best of Ford with premium design, materials and craftsmanship,” said Roelant de Waard, vice president of Marketing, Sales & Service, Ford of Europe. “We see great potential to extend the top end of our Ford product range and offer a special experience that meets the growing expectations of our customers.”
For those unaware, the Kuga is basically the European version of the Escape. It has slightly different looks and is offered with different powertrain options. Perhaps is Ford may introduce a similarly well-equipped trim level on the U.S.-based Escape, though nothing was mentioned that suggests it. If that does turn into a reality, expect Ford to call it like “Platinum” or “Limited.”
Ford is expecting the SUV market to grow in Europe by seven percent by 2020, so it seems rightfully smart to prepare a wide range of trim levels, including a high-end version like the Vignale Concept.
Continue reading for the full review