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2012 Ford Kuga

2012 Ford Kuga

The Ford Kuga has been trekking the globe since 2007 in markets from Europe and South Africa to South America and Japan. But for 2012, the second generation Kuga rolled out for the world market. If you’re reading this in the U.S., the Kuga should look very familiar. The 2013 to present Escape is based on the Kuga. Its underpinnings and design are identical, while things like powertrain and option packaging have some differences.

The Kuga shares many of the updates the U.S.-spec Escape enjoys, including the hands-free automatic tailgate, the Microsoft SYNC system, and a power-release feature on the folding second-row seats.

Ford knew in development the Kuga and Escape would be sold the world over, so special attention was paid to the styling. Chris Bird, Ford of Europe’s design director, said the Kuga was meant to appeal to the wide variety of markets it would be sold in. “Great design can turn an object that you need to have, into an object you love,” he said. “That is why we put so much thought and feeling into cars like Kuga, making them appealing and relevant no matter where our customers are.”

He goes on to say size perception differs from region to region. “More customers in Europe and Asia now choose compact SUVs as an alternative to conventional niche products like coupes. In North America there is a growing trend to downsize, but our customers there still want to combine style and space, so it’s important to get that balance.”

So let’s check out how the second-generation Kuga stacks up.

Continue reading to learn more about the Ford Kuga.

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Super Bowl XLVIII Ad: Rob Riggle Compares Ford Hybrids to a Griffin

Super Bowl XLVIII Ad: Rob Riggle Compares Ford Hybrids to a Griffin

Rob Riggle’s brand of humor can be a little over the top sometimes, but this new Ford commercial for the Super Bowl, doesn’t show that off.

Here we see a more subdued Riggle talking to a coffee-sipping Ford exec while describing the benefits of driving a Ford hybrid. At one point, Riggle even ventures into the world of mythology to make his point, comparing the hybrid to a griffin complete with a soliloquy about the griffin having the "head of an eagle, the body of a lion."

We don’t know if we can necessarily compare a Ford hybrid (maybe he was talking about a Fusion Hybrid?) to that mythic creature, but we do see the point of Riggle’s comparison. If anything, he does a good job of selling his spiel, even though it doesn’t make much sense at all.

Oh, well. Guess that’s how Ford is going to roll with its set of ads for the Super Bowl. Maybe it has more up its sleeve, but this one, while pretty funny in a Rob Riggle kind of way, misses on what the #nearlydouble hashtag is trying to get across.

Click past the jump to read about the 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid

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2014 Ford Fiesta

2014 Ford Fiesta

The Ford Fiesta sedan and hatch are fresh for 2014, with a nose restyle and additional interior features, like an optional touchscreen infotainment. The biggest mechanical news comes from the hot Fiesta ST performance model, but the humble four-door sedan and five-door hatchbacks are packing a new EcoBoost option as well.

Ford is bringing the award-winning EcoBoost 1.0-liter three-cylinder to the U.S.-market Fiesta for 2014, where the engine’s 148 pound-feet of torque will be the top offering. The in-line-three cylinder engine is a marvel of power and efficiency, with a predicted mpg score that is well above even the 41 highway rating of the Special Fuel Economy version of the sedan.

The Fiesta’s previous styling effort and lackluster engines have slowed the adoption of this compact car by most U.S. shoppers. 2014’s tasteful new nose helps bring the Fiesta’s appearance in line with the handsome new Fusion – with a sculpted trapezoidal grille with horizontal chrome slats. Paired with the Fiesta’s new bumpers and hood-mounted Blue Oval badge – the Fiesta is finally looking chic enough to be cross-shopped with the Fiat 500 and other fashion super-minis.

In reality, the bulk of the Fiesta’s market is also considering the Chevrolet Sonic and Dodge Dart – but benchmarking the Fiat 500 is important for the Ford to attract young city drivers. Among this ‘fashion compact’ segment, the Fiat’s quirky design and image helps make the car seem more like an accessory – a designer handbag of a car instead of just boring transport.

Click past the jump to see how the 2014 Ford Fiesta compares with rivals, plus detailed information on the new EcoBoost three-cylinder engine’s performance chops.

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Video: Chris Harris Puts the Fiesta ST Against the G63 AMG in a Weird Way

Video: Chris Harris Puts the Fiesta ST Against the G63 AMG in a Weird Way

In the latest episode of Drive, Chris Harris performed a rather interesting head-to-head comparison, putting a Mercedes G63 AMG against a Ford Fiesta ST. That may sound insane, given the ST hits 60 mph in around 7 seconds and the G63 AMG does the same in 5.3 seconds, but there is a twist. The twist is that Harris wanted to see if the G63 AMG could beat the Fiesta ST to 60 mph while towing, well... the Fiesta ST...

That’s right, Chris strapped 4 tons of trailer and car to the G63 AMG and put the pedal to the metal to see if monstrous Benz SUV can get to 60 mph in under 7 seconds. Quite an interesting and original comparison.

As a reminder, the G63 AMG is powered by a 5.5-liter V-8 biturbo engine that delivers a total of 544 horsepower and 560 pound-feet of torque. The Fiesta ST’s 1.6-liter turbocharged engine produces 197 horsepower and 214 pound of torque.

So, is the Fiesta ST faster under its own power or while strapped to the back of the Mercedes?

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Ford Working on Bringing Carbon Fiber Body Panels into Mass Production

Ford Working on Bringing Carbon Fiber Body Panels into Mass Production

In the world of supercars, carbon-fiber body panels are old news and now carbon-fiber tubs are the new rage. Within the average car-buyer’s reach, carbon fiber anything is just about out the window. Well, Ford may have something to say about that in the future.

Currently Ford is working with the folks at Hightech.NRW to develop a carbon-fiber body panel development process that could revolutionize the construction of every car on the road. See, the reason carbon fiber is so expensive is because it takes many labor hours to build even the smallest piece. What Ford is working on is developing pieces in just a fraction of the time it currently takes, starting with constructing a Ford Focus hood in less than 15 minutes.

The main goal of this project is to ultimately reduce the weight of these panels by about 50 percent in an effort to lift fuel economy. A cool side effect of this process could possibly be the use of these panels on more high-performance Ford products, like the Mustang GT and the Ford Focus ST.

Ford’s plan is to lower the weight of its cars by upwards of 340 kg (749 lbs) by 2020. This would take a car like the Focus ST and suddenly drop its curb weight to as low as 2,300 lbs. That would jump it to an impressive-for-its-class 9.12 pound per horsepower. To boot, it would sharply increase its already stout 23 mpg city and 32 mpg highway.

Now, are there really 700-plus pounds of weight to be dropped from the Focus ST’s body? Likely not, but that gives us an idea of the benefits that this fuel-saving measure can have on us performance junkies. Ford does not plan on these panels being ready for use any time in the near future, but eventually they should be a part of Ford’s complete lineup. With the automotive world being a copycat-heavy realm, all of the other manufacturers will likely follow suit quickly.

Click past the jump to read Ford’s press release.

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International Engine of the Year Awards are in and BMW Cleaned House

International Engine of the Year Awards are in and BMW Cleaned House

TV buffs get the Emmys, movie buffs get the Oscars, and music lovers get the Grammys; so, where does that leave us gearheads? Well, the International Engine of the Year Awards, of course, and the 2012 results are hot off the press!

Ford took home the top prize of International Engine of the Year, with its 999 cc engine found in the European Focus. This engine, despite its petite size, cranks out 125 PS (123 horsepower) and manages to squeeze out 56.5 mpg. The 1.0-liter engine didn’t win a close battle either, it took home top honors by a full 113 points. Points are accumulated based on fuel economy, smoothness, performance, noise and drivability and each engine can only receive 15 of each voter’s total 25 points to give. Needless to say, that was quite a landslide victory.

That’s not the biggest news though, as BMW brought home top honors in four different categories. Bimmer took home the 1.4- to 1.8-liter prize with its 181-horsepower, 1.6-liter engine found in the MINI Cooper S. In the 1.8- to 2.0-liter class, BMW took first prize with its 241-horsepower, 2.0-liter twin-turbocharged four-pot. In the 2.5-liter to 3.0-liter class, BMW wrapped up top honors with its bi-turbo 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine and its 335 horsepower. Last, but certainly not least, BMW took home 1st place in the 3.0- to 4.0-liter class with its 414-horsepower, 4.0-liter V-8 engine.

Despite all of the accolades, the highest mark that BMW achieved in the Engine of the Year award was 5th place, with its 2.0-liter twin-turbo four-banger.

Click past the jump to see all of the results of each class.

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Ford Fiesta RS Could Replace the Focus RS

Ford Fiesta RS Could Replace the Focus RS

When the head of Ford’s Special Vehicles Team (SVT) jetted for another opportunity at Volkswagen, Ford was left debating what to do with the popular RS line of vehicles, which we unfortunately have yet to see in the U.S. Up until recently, it has been pretty much a certainty that the Focus RS would simply carry on into its third generation, but according to Autocar, Ford is becoming a little indecisive since SVT’s recent shakeup.

Now Ford is starting to consider replacing the popular Focus RS with the Fiesta RS. The biggest reason for Ford’s reconsidering of the Focus RS is the fact that the newest generation of the Focus will not include a three-door hatchback, the staple body style for the RS line. The Fiesta, on the other hand, is available in a three-door hatchback in the European market, making it the obvious replacement.

It looks as if the RS might just make it to the U.S. market in this generation, as the other main part of the holdup on Ford’s decision is the fact that the U.S. market would likely prefer the larger and more powerful Focus RS over the compact Fiesta RS. That would give the U.S. market a nice group of performance compact Fords, regardless of the model it chooses. The Focus ST is already heading to the states and the Fiesta ST is in development, which will also likely come to the States. Add in the RS line and that gives us three hot Ford compacts to play around with.

We honestly think that given the recent market swing toward quick hatchback models, Ford would be best suited to get into that market early by handing the Fiesta the “RS” badge. If Ford manages to get into the hot-hatch market early enough with the Fiesta RS, it could benefit the entire Fiesta lineup in coming years.

We will continue to keep you updated on this growing story as more details emerge.

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2013 Ford Fiesta ECOnetic

2013 Ford Fiesta ECOnetic

With fuel economy in the forefront of most drivers’ minds, Ford has announced that a new fuel sipper has gone into production. Strangely enough, Ford’s newest fuel miser is not a hybrid car; it is a diesel-powered Ford Fiesta. This diesel engine, which Ford of Europe dubbed the Duratorq TDCi engine, uses ECOnetic Technology – a series of modifications to reduce both emissions and fuel consumption. These modifications allow this Fiesta to reach new heights as the most fuel-efficient Ford car ever built, getting 3.3 liters per 100km, which equals out to 86.5 mpg.

The driving force of the ECOnetic Fiesta is a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. It cranks out an acceptable 95ps (94 horsepower) and 205 Nm of torque (151 pound-feet). The Fiesta ECOnetic is definitely not a speed demon, but that is more than enough power to tinker around on any American road.

The 2013 Ford Fiesta ECOnetic is set to debut later this year, as Ford of Europe continues to lower CO2 production from its vehicles and increase fuel economy. Ford also states that about half of its European models will have ECOnetic Technology by year-end and they are committed to increasing that to two-thirds in 2013.

There is no anticipated release of ECOnetic technology in the U.S. to date, but we hope that it eventually makes its way across the pond. It’s safe to say that with the increasing price of gas, it is only a matter of time before Americans are clamoring for an 86.5 mpg Fiesta that does not have the future cost risks of a hybrid or electric car.

Click below to read more about the Fiesta’s ECOnetic Technology and Ford’s official press release.

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Ride and Drive Event: Ford and Chevy Vie For Your Business

Ride and Drive Event: Ford and Chevy Vie For Your Business

Ford and Chevrolet have been competing since the beginning and with today’s challenging economic times, the rivalry has grown even more fierce. It was not so long ago that car dealerships were selling hundreds of vehicles a day and running out of inventory. Ford and Chevrolet could produce any vehicle of any quality level and have it be a top seller. As the consumer has grown more conscious and more knowledgeable, the business of selling automobiles has grown more difficult.

It is hard to negate the fact that the American auto manufacturers have made leaps and bounds in terms of quality and sustainability for the vehicles they produce. These companies have begun to emerge from the financial crisis and are plotting their return to dominance. New marketing tactics have helped lead the charge and get the consumer thinking about their products. One of the best ways to do this is by having the consumer be able to test the vehicles in a non-sales environment.

At the Barrett Jackson auction in Orange County, both Ford and Chevrolet had ride and drive events set up to stimulate the car enthusiasts at the auction. Without paying any money or being hassled by a greasy car salesman, I was able to test drive the full range of new General Motors products as well as several different Ford rides. After completing some test drives, I was then whipped around the track by a professional driver in a Corvette ZR1 which left little doubt in my mind that these companies know how to show off their stuff.

Hit the jump for more details on the Ride and Drive experience.

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Review: 2011 Ford Fiesta

Review: 2011 Ford Fiesta

Welcome back to the era of the small car. With gas prices surely to be on the rise and a wave of environmentalism taking over the known world, the large SUV and sedan might be a thing of the past. So, welcome to the future and the 2011 Ford Fiesta.

Don’t let the name fool you; this Fiesta isn’t the old hatchback that everybody loved to hate. Instead, this Fiesta is a European designed two-door, four-door, or five-door vehicle that will be headed to showrooms this summer.

Ford offers three trim levels, the SE, SES and the SEL, making the new Fiesta perfect for everyone. Thanks to Ford for the chance to drive this car months before it hits the showrooms.

Like Kia is doing with the Soul and Mazda is doing with the upcoming Mazda2, Ford is hoping to capitalize on the higher gas prices and young adults that don’t find the Scion cool anymore. Designed to compete with the Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris, Scion xA, and the Nissan Versa, the little Ford manages to hold its own against its rivals.

Hit the jump for the full review of the 2011 Ford Fiesta.

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2010 Ford Focus ECOnetic

2010 Ford Focus ECOnetic

The blue oval has just unveiled the extremely efficient new for 2010 Ford Focus ECOnetic at the Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany without the use of any electric motors. The new more environmentally friendly Focus incorporates the American automaker’s new Ford Auto-Start-Stop system that eliminates wasteful emissions by brining the car’s engine to a halt when the Focus is at rest, this mild hybrid system was first previewed on the Ford iosis MAX Concept from the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year.

The 2010 Focus ECOnetic is powered by a 1.6 Liter Duratorq TDCi engine that makes a maximum output of only 109 HP because when you are looking for efficiency, power isn’t quite a priority when you are getting 74 MPG. The Duratorq four cylinder engine makes use of a standard coated Diesel Particulate Filter that reduces the vehicle’s harmful emissions to a road legal level. The Focus ECOnetic is also the first vehicle from the automaker to feature Ford’s new Eco Mode system standard, a software application that is integrated into the instrument cluster in order to give the Focus’s driver a more useful and realistic green driving experience.

According to Dr. Thilo Seibert, Manager of CO2 Technologies for Ford of Europe, "From the very beginning of Ford’s ECOnetic approach it has been our clear intention to offer customers affordable eco-technology, and to also pave the way for the possible integration of these technologies into the core vehicle programs,...with its new comprehensive set-up, the new Focus ECOnetic offers exactly what it takes: versatility, latest level technology and – regardless of version – excellent CO2 and fuel economy figures."

Press release after the jump.

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Five door Ford Fiesta Spied in the U.S.

Five door Ford Fiesta Spied in the U.S.

A very interesting little five door Ford Fiesta hatchback was spotted rolling around the U.S. wearing some familiar automotive camouflage. What makes this particular Fiesta so special is that unlike the Fiesta Movement cars, this appears to be a full fledged U.S. spec car. When we spoke with the Fiesta’s Brand Manager Sam de la Garza, who was extremely excited about the new car; he told us that the final production version will be very similar to what we drove, the only changes to the body will come from government mandated safety regulations. In the U.S. the importance is put on passengers surviving a crash while in Europe the magistrates are more concerned with how the unfortunate pedestrian will fair.

Nevertheless from the looks of things our money is on Ford adding the five door model to the Fiesta lineup when they go on sale next year. The only thing that we here at Top Speed are pleading for is some sort of a Ford Racing Parts catalog dedicated to the blue oval’s interpretation of the VW GTI. What we would really like to see is a few Fiestas to show up in showrooms wearing some iteration of the rally car’s boxed fenders and oversized rear wing, and if Ford’s engineers can give it even a quarter of the Pikes Peak Fiesta’s 800 HP output that would be fine by us as well.

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Video: Ford Fiesta, Will it blend?

Video: Ford Fiesta, Will it blend?


It turns out that a few key structural components of the new Ford Fiesta are made of the ultra high strength metal alloy, Boron due to its superior structural rigidity and safety applications, and Ford Fiesta Movement agent Ryan Dembroski decided to pay a visit to the king of high performance blenders, Tom Dickson.

If you have never seen one of the "Will it blend?" viral videos on youtube then you are missing out on one of the best collections of videos on the internet, they have blended everything from iPhones to diamonds. After all, Tom is a true car guy, he once put his Blendtec blender up against a Nissan GT-R. So the question of the day is, will it blend?

Our guess is no.

Press release after the jump.

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First impression of the Ford Fiesta

First impression of the Ford Fiesta

Aside from driving all of the high performance offerings at Ford’s Deaborne test facility, we thought it might be a good idea to familiarize ourselves with a product that we should be seeing a lot more of in the near future. This little green Ford Fiesta is not the production version that will be sold as a 2010 model, but instead a European spec Fiesta, complete with a speedometer that read in kilometers.

We weren’t provided with any official specs for the Fiesta because Ford is still finalizing the design in order to provide American consumers with the best Fiesta possible. When we spoke with the Fiesta’s Brand Manager Sam de la Garza, who was extremely excited about the new car; he told us that the final production version will be very similar to what we drove, the only changes to the body will come from government mandated safety regulations. In the U.S. the importance is put on passengers surviving a crash while in Europe the magistrates are more concerned with how the unfortunate pedestrian will fair.

The Fiesta felt just like an old GTI; it was nimble and quick thanks to its light weight. The engine is peppy, but it is clear that the blue oval engineers tuned the four cylinder lump for economy and not peak performance. The Fiesta feels comfortable at speed, however it takes a while to get up there. There is not a lot of acceleration under the hood, but whatever speed you are able to muster can easily be carried through any corner. We liked the Fiesta, however we are waiting for a WRC inspired model, or an appearance package based on the Pikes Peak cars, but our friend Sam let us know that Ford was first going to worry about getting the car into U.S. showrooms.

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2009 Ford Focus

2009 Ford Focus

The 2009 Ford Focus Coupe is an excellent economy car that features attractive fastback styling that will make you think twice about this car’s role as an econobox. Our Focus gives the impression of being a sports car with its Sangria Red metallic paint, large rear wing and rally inspired 17 inch premium dark painted wheels. However the exterior is only the beginning of the story, it was the interior of our $20,000 Ford Focus Coupe that made us fans of the well finished affordable method of transportation. It’s not the gauges or the synthetic door panels, but the Medium Stone leather seats and Ford’s voice commanded Sync audio system that earned our affection. These are two luxuries that you won’t find in many other $20,000 new cars.

Our Focus is powered by a 2.0 Liter Duratec 16 valve four cylinder engine that makes 143 HP when connected to a 5 speed manual transmission. The blue oval guys claim that the Coupe comes with a sport tuned exhaust as well as a sport tuned suspension, two things we thoroughly enjoyed listening to and putting through its paces. Despite the sporty nature of the Focus Coupe, Ford is already ready for the future CAFÉ standards because our car gets an EPA estimated 35 MPG.

However, no matter how good the Focus is, for some reason U.S. consumers have never been able to focus on the car’s highlights. You have to travel all of the way to Europe where the Ford Focus has earned multiple Car of the Year awards where these automobiles stand for value, sport and convenience. If only Ford could convince domestic consumers how good this car really is, perhaps next year wouldn’t be a Europe only model.

Continued after the jump.

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Initial thoughts: Ford Focus Coupe

Initial thoughts: Ford Focus Coupe

We have just received the all new 2009 Ford Focus Coupe in the Top Speed test fleet. The profile of the two-door Focus with its fastback styling immediately reminded us of the old Sierra Cosworth, with the modern day car’s long slanted C pillar and oversized rear wing. The Focus Coupe gives the impression of being a sports car, something that is only accentuated by its Sangria Red metallic paint and the rally inspired premium dark painted wheels.

The interior of our Focus Coupe comes with Medium Stone leather seats and Ford’s Sync audio system. These are two luxuries that you won’t find in many other $20,000 new cars. It looks like Ford is targeting the youth market with the Focus Coupe, aside from the sporty exterior styling; the gauges have a very tuner style look to them, they are bright, bold and in your face. Another interesting feature that we’ve noticed is the door chime, gone is the annoying monotonous “ding” and in its place is a sound that is more reminiscent of something coming from an Atari video game.

Our Focus is powered by a 2.0 Liter Duratec 16 valve four cylinder that makes 140 HP. The blue oval guys claim that the Coupe comes with a sport tuned exhaust as well as a sport tuned suspension, two things we are looking forward to listening to and trying out. Despite the sporty nature of the Focus Coupe, Ford is already ready for the future CAFÉ standards because our car get an EPA estimated 35 MPG.

For a 360 degree view of the Focus check out the video after the jump.

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2010 Ford Fusion qualifies for the highest available tax credit

2010 Ford Fusion qualifies for the highest available tax credit

The highest available U.S. tax credit to date now belongs to Ford. Consumers who purchase a 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid or 2010 Mercury Milan Hybrid will be eligible to receive a $3400 federal tax credit. Ford’s sedans get 41 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway, which Ford claims is 8 mpg more than the Toyota Camry Hybrid.

In order to qualify for the full amount you must purchase a Fusion Hybrid before April 1, 2009. After that date customers who purchase a hybrid will only be able to claim a partial tax credit. This is because Ford reached a 60,000 vehicle threshold in the 4th quarter of 2008. Now the tax credit amounts are reduced by 50 percent beginning in the second quarter of 2009 and by an additional 25 percent beginning in the fourth quarter of 2009. No tax credit amount is available for hybrids after March 31, 2010.

Press release after the jump

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2008 Ford Focus SES

2008 Ford Focus SES

When the Ford Focus first appeared in 2000, it was Ford’s modern attempt at a real “world car” (the mid-90s Contour/Mystique wasn’t built for the world, it was an attempt at getting the U.S. to buy the second generation Mondeo.) The Focus was a vast improvement over the Escort, but the problem was that since it was built for multiple continents, it had multiple compromises.

The original Focus needed to be both a full hatchback for Europe and a full sedan for North America. While the resulting car was successful, the look was somewhat odd. Now that Ford makes two separate Focus lines (one for U.S. and Canada as well as a separate one for the rest of the world,) Ford can now focus on a traditional shape for the sedan and for the first time offer a true coupe.

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