Archive for April, 2010

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Ken Block’s “Gymkhana Three” Ford Fiesta

April 28, 2010

Long associated with Subaru, DC Shoes co-founder and internet sensation Ken Block recently jumped ship to the Ford Motor Company. This move has been a tremendous success both on the racing front for Block and for the North American Launch of Ford’s foray into the subcompact market, with the new Ford Fiesta (stay tuned for a full review of the Fiesta on April 26th).  Fresh off a 36-hour journey from the World Rally Championship in Turkey, Block was in San Francisco to unveil his Gymkhana Three Fiesta, a beast of a custom-built Fiesta with a 650-horsepower engine with 660 pound-feet of torque. With help from the Swedish team at Olsbergs Motorsport Evolution, the Gymkhana Fiesta looks as fierce and aggressive as it will be driven in the upcoming video, set to be filmed and released this summer (though the location is a closely guarded secret).

Ford flew us down to San Francisco for the unveiling of Block’s new car, which I can honestly say is one of the most impressive vehicles I’ve seen in person. Maybe it’s just the realization of what will be done with it that makes it all the more special. An enthusiastic Block was most excited about designing a car “for tarmac that handles as if it’s on gravel”, something that’s key for pulling off the maneuvers featured in the Gymkhana videos. With its killer looks, comes massive power; its engine is actually capable of up to 850 brake-horsepower, but limited to 650 to get the torque Block needs, allowing for a 0 to 60 mph in a mere 2 seconds.

The vibe at the media unveiling was electric; fans lined the streets hoping for a glance at Block (who I should mention, was kind enough to go out and sign autographs, talk to people, even get a few of them in the event). Together with the Monster Girls and the flashes of the bulbs, the Gymkhana Three Fiesta was unveiled to cheers and excitement all around. While I didn’t get to take it for a spin around the proverbial block, the car was magnetic –you couldn’t take you eyes off it. Almost to the point of forgetting the 4 beautiful women smiling and posing around that brilliantly designed machine.

(from LimitedHype)

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First Drive: 2011 Ford Fiesta

April 26, 2010
2011 Ford Fiesta
2011 Ford Fiesta.


San Francisco, California – Home of the Giants and home for the North American launch of the new 2011 Ford Fiesta, San Francisco was the venue for what Ford hopes will be a giant hit and a big seller in North America, especially in Canada where the B-segment, better known as the subcompact car class, represents a significant portion of vehicle sales.

The much-previewed Fiesta is almost here and will be on sale at your local Ford dealership in June. Transplanted from Europe, the Fiesta will soon be followed by the new Focus. If the Fiesta is an example of what Ford is capable of, there will be good reason to get excited about the Focus as well.

The number-one selling car in Europe, and with over 750,000 Fiestas sold worldwide, the Fiesta has already proven itself in world markets and is now ready to prove itself in ours. Having had the chance to drive the European version of the Fiesta in August of last year I was pleased to learn first-hand that the North American version looks and drives almost identically to the European version. For once, a vehicle transplanted from Europe has not been “dumbed down” for our market.

2011 Ford Fiesta
2011 Ford Fiesta
2011 Ford Fiesta.

For the first time, the Fiesta will be available as both a four-door sedan and five-door hatch, and will be available in nine eye-popping colours. My personal favourite is Yellow Blaze, a striking tri-colour paint scheme.

Also available, for the first time in any Ford vehicle, is the company’s new six-speed Powershift automatic transmission, a dual-clutch gearbox that is a first for the class. This transmission can be compared to Volkswagen’s DSG, with lightning fast and smooth shifting. According to Ford, this transmission offers a nine per cent fuel consumption improvement over a classic torque converter automatic transmission.

Standard in the Fiesta is a 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine with Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing (Ti-VCT).  Ti-VCT gives variable — yet precise — control of valve overlap or the duration of time for which both intake and exhaust valves are simultaneously open.  This allows the engine to be downsized for fuel economy while continuously optimizing camshaft phasing for throttle response, performance and flexibility. The engine is rated at 120 horsepower and 112 lb.-ft. of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard and the optional six-speed Powershift automatic is available for $1,250.

2011 Ford Fiesta
2011 Ford Fiesta.

The Fiesta’s Canadian pricing is competitive with its import competitors, and its starting price is actually lower than that of the Fiesta south of the border, starting at $12,999 for the four-door S model. The S model is Canada’s “stripper” model and is expected to be a low-volume seller, but it still comes with an impressive list of standard features such as seven airbags, including a drivers knee airbag, anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control, and tilt and telescopic steering wheel.

The SE models – $16,099 (four-door) and $16,799 (five-door) – are where things get interesting, with standard features such as air conditioning, power mirrors and door locks with keyless entry, and exterior mirrors with turn signal repeaters. The SES model (five-door, $18,899) and SEL model (four-door, $18,199) add class-exclusive features such as push-button start, heated leather seats, Sync Bluetooth connectivity audio system and optional moonroof ($1,200).

2011 Ford Fiesta
2011 Ford Fiesta.

The Winter Package adds heated seats and heated mirrors for $350 and a block heater is another $80. Also available is a “Super Fuel Economy” model which adds side air deflectors, blockers on the lower grille, cruise control, and a steel spare for $500.

Having previously driven the Fiesta’s competitors, as well has having driven them back to back with the Fiesta during my stay in California, at the time of this writing I will make the bold statement that the Ford Fiesta will be the best subcompact vehicle available in Canada – Ford will not have a hard time moving these off of their lots.

2011 Ford Fiesta
2011 Ford Fiesta.

Attention to detail both inside and out is apparent, starting with the sweeping, elongated headlamps that frame and connect the hood to muscular, sculpted front fenders.

On the inside, material fit and finish is top notch and there is no difference here from the European model. The biggest change is on the front seats where the dial adjustment knobs have been replaced by pull-type levers for both recline and height adjustability.

The optional Sync voice-activated communications system comes with the new APP Sync feature which not only allows you to stream audio and make phone calls over Bluetooth, but allows you to read text messages, twitter streams and to stream Pandora from your Bluetooth-enabled device. The 2011 Ford Fiesta is certainly not a subcompact penalty box.

2011 Ford Fiesta
2011 Ford Fiesta.

The biggest surprise on the inside of the Fiesta cannot be truly appreciated until you pull away for the first time: quietness. According to Ford, highway wind noise at 130 km/h (80 mph) is ten per cent quieter than a Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris or Nissan Versa and is quieter than the compact Toyota Corolla sedan – and I believe it!

Not everything is rosy though: my only complaint is that there is no driver’s armrest. This would make the interior of the Ford Fiesta the most comfortable in the class, but unfortunately is not available.

When compared to the European model, the North American Fiesta receives an upgraded suspension with stiffer springs up front and quicker damping in the shocks for both rebound and compression. What does all this mean to you? It means you get a subcompact car that feels like it is on rails and has a sporty ride but is not harsh in any way – it truly is a marvel.

The Fiesta soaked up the Pacific Coast Highway, and the other roads that snake down California’s coast, like it was a nimble sports car. Its 120-hp engine was a bit disappointing at times as we climbed the coastal mountains, which proved to be more than it could chew beyond third gear.

2011 Ford Fiesta
2011 Ford Fiesta.

The six-speed Powershift automatic eliminates the need to be constantly on top of gear changes and would be my choice. The automatic wins the fuel economy battle as well: officially the Fiesta is rated at 7.1 L/100 km city and 5.3 L/100 km highway with the five-speed manual while the Powershift six-speed offers even better fuel economy, rated at 6.9 L/100 km city and an impressive 5.1 L/100 km highway.

On the open road, the Fiesta is quiet and comfortable and will surprise you. With very little cabin noise, it is easy to cruise on the highway and with its communicative, compliant suspension the Fiesta does not feel like a subcompact car over the road. Cruising at highway speeds, I noted an engine speed of around 3,000 rpm with the five-speed manual and very little engine noise.

Ford was confident enough to put the Fiesta up against its competitors head to head (Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit) in a controlled performance environment. Journalists took their turns pushing these little cars to their limit, and time and again the Fiesta came out on top with its excellent body control, minimal lean and poise over rough terrain.

With its competitive pricing, excellent fuel economy, quiet cabin, and fun-to-drive nature, the 2011 Fiesta is likely to be a home run for Ford in Canada.

(from James Bergeron, Canadian Driver)

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0% FINANCING!

April 23, 2010

I just wanted to let everyone know that we have 0% financing for up to 60 months available on most 2010 Ford Focus models, as well as most 2010 Ford Escape models.

This is a great incentive which definitely makes purchasing a new vehicle much easier on the wallet!

These great incentives are scheduled to end on April 30, so come in today to take advantage!

Contact me to set up a test drive:

dale@hallmarkford.ca

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Next-Gen Ford Explorer Getting Easy-to-Use “Trail Management System”

April 20, 2010

While Ford has made the decision to turn the Explorer from an SUV into a crossover, it seems committed to making that crossover as capable as possible. Ahead of its debut, Ford has announced the new Explorer will get a “terrain management system” to help owners get the most out of the 4WD system.

After market research, and knowing full well that as a crossover the new Explorer will be marketed to less off-road savvy individuals, Ford wisely decided to do away with having to make drivers choose from two-high, four-high or four-low depending on road or trail conditions.

Instead the next-gen Explorer will get a simple console mounted knob with clearly marked driving modes for normal, mud, sand or snow. Every mode will also be compatible with a new hill-decent feature, to navigate steep grades. Rather than use a traditional transfer case, Ford will use more advanced electronics to send power to each wheel.

This will also reduce the overall weight of the crossover and combined with a new V6 engine will see a reduction in fuel consumption by as much as 25 percent.

(from Autoguide)

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Ford MyTouch will coach fuel-efficient driving

April 16, 2010

Dearborn, Michigan – Ford has announced its new MyFord Touch technology, which will launch this summer on the 2011 Ford Edge and available globally on the 2012 Focus, and which coaches drivers to optimize fuel-efficient driving.

The similar MyLincoln Touch will be standard equipment on new Lincoln vehicles beginning with the 2011 MKX.

The MyFord Touch includes an Eco-Route option on navigation systems, which instantly calculates the most fuel-efficient route. Ford said that, in testing, Eco-Route can help achieve fuel economy gains of up to 15 per cent.

The system builds on the “coaching” concept pioneered on the SmartGauge with EcoGuide instrument cluster on the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid, which provides real-time fuel economy data and promotes fuel-efficient driving through a graphic of growing leaves.

“We have learned that when we provide drivers the information and tools in an interactive and entertaining way, they want to drive more fuel efficiently,” said Jim Buczkowski, director of global electric and electronics systems engineering. “MyFord Touch provides an unprecedented level of information and interaction so drivers can make the choice to be more fuel efficient.”

Eco-Route is not necessarily the fastest or shortest route, but the most fuel efficient. Typically, it charts a course that avoids congested freeways, and maximizes the use of major roads where the driver can maintain an efficient rate of speed.

(from Canadian Driver)

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Safety, convenience and driving features for 2010

April 14, 2010

Ford MyKey

I was almost 16 years old when my parents posted an article from the newspaper on the bulletin board in the kitchen. The headline read “Driving is a privilege, not a right.”

The message was clear from my parents: behave or we’ll take away access to the family vehicles. While living at home I received one speeding ticket for going 97km/h in a 90km/h zone, which I paid myself.

Had my parents had MyKey back in the mid-1990s I might have had some help avoiding that ticket. MyKey allows certain variables to be stored in the actual car key. It sets limits on the car’s top speed, prevents the traction control from being disabled, chimes warnings at pre-set speeds, encourages seat belt use and caps the volume on the audio system.

The speed alerts chime at 72, 88 and 105km/h (the 88km/h probably would have helped me), the volume for the stereo can be capped at 44 per cent and the top speed can be set to 129km/h.

These numbers weren’t set randomly by Ford, there are reasons behind them. Forty four per cent volume is still pretty loud, and Ford wants the driver to be able to hear important road sounds.

As for the speed settings, in some U.S. states the maximum posted speed is 80mph, or 129km/h. Ford decided MyKey needed to be useful across North America.

These settings are still more liberal than some parents might like, but will certainly keep drivers below the 50km/h over the posted speed limit law that results in an automatic impounding of the car in some provinces.


(from Backbone)

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Ford confirms F-150, Explorer to get EcoBoost

April 12, 2010

Ford said Monday it will add it’s popular turbocharging system — EcoBoost — to three more engines by the end of 2010, with the F-150 also getting the blower for its V6.

Ford also said that by 2013m it expects to be producing approximately 1.5 million EcoBoost engines globally, about 200,000 more than originally expected.

Plans call for an EcoBoost engine to be available in 80 per cent of the company’s global nameplates and 90 per cent of North American nameplates. About half of the 1.5 million EcoBoost engines are expected to be sold in North America, while the rest are to be sold in Europe, South America and Asia Pacific regions.

The next three EcoBoost engines include:

1.6-litre four-cylinder that will be offered in the European C-Max people mover.

2.0-litre four-cylinder for the next-generation Ford Explorer SUV and Edge CUV.

3.5-litre V-6 for the F-150. Ford engineers have upgraded the 3.5-litre V-6 for rear-wheel-drive applications. The EcoBoost F-150 is expected to deliver best-in-class fuel economy along with the power and towing capability of a V-8.

The three new engines will increase the number of global nameplates available with EcoBoost to 11. EcoBoost is available now in the Ford Flex and Taurus and Lincoln MKS and MKT.

EcoBoost technology combines direct fuel injection, variable cam timing and turbocharging to reduce fuel consumption, CO2 emissions and cut vehicle weight, while giving drivers the performance of a bigger engine.

(from Edmonton Journal)