Archive for August, 2010

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New Car Buyer’s Guide: 2011 Ford Edge

August 30, 2010

NEW FOR 2011:

– Redesigned model

For 2011, the Ford Edge is redesigned, with new engines, interior and exterior styling, improved suspension and noise reduction, and new technologies, including the debut of MyFord Touch, with driver-configurable LCD instrument cluster screens, eight-inch LCD touch screen, media hub and five-way steering wheel controls.

Like the 2010 Edge, the 2011 version uses a 3.5-litre V6, but it is a new engine with more power and improved fuel economy. Unlike in 2010, the Sport trim line now has a unique engine, a 3.7-litre V6 shared with the Mustang. A four-cylinder EcoBoost engine will eventually be added to the lineup.

New option packages include a Driver Entry Package of perimeter alarm, intelligent access with pushbutton start, power liftgate and remote starter; a Vision Package of Blind Spot Information System with Cross Traffic Alert and rain-sensing wipers; and a Canadian Touring Package of panoramic sunroof and voice-activated DVD-based navigation system. The Limited can be optioned with xenon headlamps.

The Edge, which is also the basis for the Lincoln MKX, uses a 3.5-litre V6 in the SE, SEL and Limited, and a 3.7-litre V6 in the Sport. Both engines use a six-speed transmission that includes manual shift mode in the SEL and Limited, and adds steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters in the Sport. The SE is front-wheel drive; the SEL and Limited come in front- or all-wheel drive; and the Sport is all-wheel drive only.

Features on the SE include 17-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, black power mirrors, black door handles, one-touch up/down windows, keyless entry, cruise control, roof rails, tilt and telescopic steering wheel with audio controls, vanity mirrors, cloth seats, split-folding rear seat, floor mats, CD/MP3 stereo, variable intermittent wipers, rear wiper, trip computer, and tire pressure monitoring system.

The SEL adds 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated body-colour mirrors, power liftgate, chrome door handles, lock keypad, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, heated seats, power-adjustable driver’s seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel, automatic headlamps, compass, illuminated vanity mirrors, reverse sensing system, and approach lighting.

The Limited adds body-colour door handles, chrome side window mouldings, leather seats with power passenger adjust and driver’s side memory, garage door opener, voice-activated radio with digital signal processor, and Ford SYNC.

The Sport adds 22-inch forged aluminum wheels, sport suspension, and steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, and does not have the garage door opener or chrome window moulding.

(from Canadian Driver)

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Ford Fiesta earns Top Safety Pick award

August 26, 2010

Dearborn, Michigan – The 2011 Ford Fiesta has become the first mini-car to earn a Top Safety Pick from the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) since the introduction of a new roof strength test. The award applies to Fiesta models built after July 2010.

The Fiesta is Ford’s eighth vehicle to earn the top designation, breaking a tie with Toyota for the most Top Safety Picks of any automaker, the company said.

To earn the Top Safety Pick designation, a vehicle must earn the highest rating of “Good” in front, side and rear crash tests, earn a “Good” score for roof strength, and be equipped with electronic stability control.

(from Canadian Driver)

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Ford Racing Releases Supercharger for 2011 Mustang GT’s 5.0-Liter V8

August 23, 2010

When it comes to Ford Mustang performance and forced induction, superchargers are definitely at the top of the list. There’s just nothing better than accentuating the natural torque of a V8 than pairing it up with a brilliantly designed supercharger. Ford Racing wasted no time on the 2011 Ford Mustangs 5.0L V8 TiVCT motor and has just announced a twin-screw supercharger setup for the vehicle.

The supercharger is a 2.3L twin-screw setup and helps the Mustang put down 624-hp and 536 ft-lbs of torque. That is a very nice increase from the factory 412-hp and 390 ft-lbs of torque. “Superchargers are the ultimate in power upgrades for Mustang enthusiasts,” George Goddu, Ford Racing Performance Group Manager said.

Those looking for a nice increase without the overpowering 600+ figure can opt for a 525-hp kit with a 12 month, 12,000 mile warranty. And in addition to the mid-level 624-hp kit is a tuner kit for racing and extreme enthusiasts. No horsepower figures were released for that kit, but we’re guessing it’s pretty extreme.

Costs range from $6,499 for black to $8,099 for polished chrome. Naturally Ford Racing didn’t release what the supercharger does in terms of hampering mpg, but they were nice enough to share that the kit adds 47 lbs to the car. We’re going to guess that’s not exactly noticeable with the globs of horsepower that comes with it.

(from Autoguide.com)

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Test Drive: 2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible

August 20, 2010
2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible
2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible.

Restyled only last year (as 2010 models), the Ford Mustang Coupe and Convertible models have been given further upgrades for 2011, most of them under the hood. While the new lightweight aluminum supercharged 5.4-litre V8 in the Shelby GT500 and the new 5.0-litre V8 in the Mustang GT have been getting most of the media’s attention, the new 3.7-litre V6 in the base Mustang is equally newsworthy. Replacing the previous 4.0-litre V6, the smaller 3.7-litre V6 has 45 per cent more horsepower and approximately seven per cent better fuel economy. It features dual overhead cams and four valves per cylinder instead of the 4.0 litre’s single overhead cams and two valves per cylinder, and a new variable valve timing system. The sportier 3.7-litre V6 makes 305 horsepower at 6,500 r.p.m. compared to 210 hp at 5,300 r.p.m. for the 4.0-litre V6. In addition, the new V6 engine has about 17 per cent more torque (from 240 lb.-ft. to 280 lb.-ft.)

As well, last year’s five-speed manual transmission has been replaced by a new six-speed manual, and the optional five-speed automatic has been replaced by a six-speed automatic.

New electric power-assisted steering replaces the previous hydraulic power steering, helping to improve fuel economy by eliminating the drag of the belt-driven power steering pump. The Mustang’s new electric power steering also includes “Pull-Drift Compensation” which automatically adjusts the steering during crosswinds and on high crowned roads to pull the car back into line; and (rather humorously) new “Active Nibble Control” that helps eliminate the shimmy when a wheel is slightly out of balance.

2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible
2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible.

All of these mechanical improvements have helped fuel consumption improve by about seven per cent, from 11.7/7.6 city/hwy to 11.1/6.9 city/hwy (according to Natural Resources Canada Energuide (L/100 km) figures).

As it was given a styling makeover for 2010, the 2011 Mustang coupe and convertible haven’t changed much, but to improve aerodynamics and fuel economy, there’s a new underbody shield, a new front fascia and bigger front air dam, wind deflectors near the rear wheels, and new rear trunk seal.

Ford has also been doing some work on the Mustang’s body structure. The company says the 2011 Coupe’s unit body is 31 per cent stiffer and the Convertible’s is more than twice as stiff as the 2010 model’s. Crashworthiness has been improved, they say, and the company expects the 2011 Mustang to be given the same NHTSA five-star crash rating as the 2010 Mustang.

Other changes for 2011 include a new limited slip differential to help improve traction when cornering and accelerating on slippery surfaces, and larger standard four-wheel disc brake rotors: 11.5 in. front and 11.8 inch rear. 2011 Mustang GTs get bigger 14-inch front brakes from the Shelby GT500.

2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible
2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible.

Inside, there is a new message/information display with info such as average fuel economy and distance to empty, and Ford’s MyKey system which allows the vehicle owner to program the ignition key to limit top vehicle speed and audio volume, prevent traction control deactivation, and program speed-limit chimes. To reduce noise in the cabin, there are new door seals and new rear wheel arch insulation. And the side mirrors now have small convex mirrors integrated into them to check your blind spots.

2011 pricing and standard equipment

According to the manufacturer’s price sticker on our test car, the base price of the 2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible is $31,399 (a $1,200 increase from its 2010 MSRP of $30,199.) However, a quick look at Ford of Canada’s web site this week reveals the base price of the 2011 Mustang V6 Convertible to be $28,965. As well, there is currently a $3,039 “Employee pricing discount” plus a $2,000 “Delivery Allowance”.

It’s probably not an exaggeration to say that Canadian vehicle prices are in a state of flux right now. With so much competition in the marketplace, many vehicle manufacturers have lowered their prices significantly, and prices are changing constantly depending on rebates and incentives. For the time being, it’s a buyer’s market.

Standard equipment on the 2011 Mustang V6 convertible includes the 305-hp 3.7-litre V6 engine, six-speed manual transmission, power convertible top with glass rear window and defroster, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, electronic stability control, all-speed traction control, P235/50R-18-inch all-season tires and alloy wheels, rear spoiler, dual exhausts, front fog lights, “Easy Fuel Fill” capless filler, air conditioning, power windows and door locks, keyless entry, cruise control, power driver’s seat, variable intermittent wipers, USB, auxiliary and 12-volt outlets.

2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible
2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible.

Our test car had $4,630 worth of options: black cloth convertible roof upgrade package $300; red candy metallic paint and tinted glass $300; leather seats $1,500 minus $500 leather discount; Interior Upgrade Package: Sync entertainment system with hands-free Bluetooth phone and audio functions, 911 Assist, USB capability, and steering wheel controls; Shaker 500 audio system with single CD/MP3 player and eight speakers, Sirius Satellite radio with six-month subscription, six-gauge instrument package, colour adjustable gauges, electrochromic rear-view mirror, compass, six-way power passenger seat, pleated seat inserts and door panels, heated seats, leather wrapped steering wheel, sport shift knob, metal pedals, message centre, black floor mats $1,500; engine block heater $80; Security Package: anti-theft system with interior motion sensor, incline sensor, intrusion sensor, and wheel locks $350; HID headlights $600; convertible boot cover $200; and rear video camera $300.

2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible
2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible
2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible
2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible
2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible
2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible.

Including a $1,350 Freight charge and $100 air conditioning levy, the price as tested on the Ford sticker came to $37,479. However, if we use the Ford web site’s base price of $28,965 plus $4,630 in options, $1,350 Freight, $100 a/c tax minus the $3,039 “Employee pricing discount” and the $2,000 “Delivery Allowance”, the as-tested price would come to $30,006 – a $7,473 difference!

Convertible top

Our test car had the optional black cloth convertible top, which for an extra $300, replaces the standard vinyl top. The cloth top looks and feels better to the touch, and seems to be a better quality material. Inside, it has a soft inner liner which helps insulate from cold and outside noise, and the top includes a glass rear window with electric defroster.

To lower the top, two swivelling latches at the top of the windshield are released manually, and a button near the centre of the windshield header activates the power top. The side windows, front and rear, lower automatically, as the top folds back and down into a cavity ahead of the trunk. The lowered cloth top sits almost flush with the rear deck, and an optional boot cover can be used to give it a more finished look and keep the dust and dirt from getting inside the top. However, the boot cover is a bit fiddly to put into place and must be stored in the small trunk when not in use. As well, the boot cover was made an extra cost option ($200) last year.

The cloth convertible top lowers and raises in just 12 seconds. Unlike hardtop convertibles, which because of their elaborate and complicated folding steel panels take about 20 seconds to raise and lower, the cloth top is much simpler and quicker. And to many eyes, a cloth top looks better. Even the Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead convertible has a cloth top.

My only complaint with the Mustang’s convertible top is that, while the four side windows lower automatically when the top is lowered, they don’t ascend automatically when the top is raised. The driver must activate the power window buttons to raise the front and rear side windows after the top is up.

Interior impressions
2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible
2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible.

The Mustang’s interior was revised for 2010 with a new one-piece instrument panel with softer materials, new centre stack and floor console, ice blue instrument lighting, more seat bolstering, and covered cupholders. For 2011, Ford has added a new “message centre” with useful information such as average fuel economy, instant fuel economy, distance to empty and a trip timer. Also new is Ford’s MyKey programmable vehicle key which can limit the car’s top speed, issue audible speed warnings, and prevent the traction control from being disabled – handy when lending your Mustang to excitable teenagers and valets. The 2011 Mustang interior also includes a new garage door opener and integrated blind spot mirrors in the side mirrors.

The four-passenger cabin includes two rear bucket seats with a raised centre divider and sufficient headroom (with the top up) but very little legroom unless the front seats are moved well forwards. The two rear head restraints can be lowered manually to improve the driver’s rear vision when there are no rear passengers.

2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible
2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible
2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible
2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible
2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible
2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible
2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible
2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible
2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible.

The seats and the instrument panel have a retro styling flair that harks back to classic Mustangs of the 60s and 70s, notably the twin dashtop design, the large speedo and tachometer with elongated numerals, and the ribbed seat inserts. I liked the look of the well bolstered front seats and sturdy (optional) leather upholstery with perforated seat inserts and prominent white stitching, the textured dash plastic, the silver dash trim and the titanium-coloured centre console, chrome rings around gauges, and the four small gauges for fuel, coolant, battery and oil. The background colour of the gauges can be changed – the ice blue colour is easiest on the eyes and makes the thin numerals easier to read.

The driver’s seat has a manual recliner, power height, fore-aft, lumbar, and tilting seat cushion. The steering wheel tilts up and down but does not pull in and out; still, I found the seat comfortable and the driving position good enough to see and reach all the controls, including the stubby gearshift lever. The optional seat heaters will make these leather chairs easier to sit down on a cold winter’s morning.

The centre stack includes a small blue-on-black LCD screen with info on audio, outside temperature and compass, but in rather small letters. Our car’s audio system was the optional Shaker 500 with in-dash six-CD/MP3 player, and Sirius satellite radio (first six-months free) and eight speakers. A strong stereo in a Ford Mustang seems like a necessity rather than an option – it kinda goes with the sporty exhaust note from the dual exhaust tips! Ford’s optional Sync communications and entertainment system allows the driver to operate their cell phone and music players hands-free by voice-activation, including activation of a removeable USB music storage device. Sync also includes a 911 Assist call feature and “SOS” automatic crash notification if the airbags deploy in a collision.

The Mustang’s thick, leather-wrapped, three double-spoke steering wheel includes controls for cruise control, phone and audio, and three buttons near the steering wheel labelled “Info”, “Setup”, and “Reset” which can be used to access vehicle information and features such as lighting preferences and warning chime preferences.

Interior storage in the Mustang is rather limited: there is a lockable storage bin behind the centre cupholders which includes USB, auxiliary and 12-volt outlets, a small glovebox on the passenger side, and small door pockets, but that’s about it. The Mustang convertible’s trunk volume of 272 litres (9.6 cu. ft.) compares to the Mustang Coupe’s 379 litres (13.4 cu. ft.) and it has a narrow opening through which large suitcases probably won’t fit. The rear seatbacks do not fold down and there is no folding pass-through in the centre rear armrest. That said, convertible always compromise trunk space in order to make room for the lowered convertible top, and the Mustang is no exception.

Standard safety features include two front dual-stage airbags and two side airbags in the front seats, as well as side-intrusion door beams, four three-point safety belts, tire pressure monitoring system, lower anchors and tethers for two rear child seats, and Ford’s SOS post-crash alert system.

Driving impressions

As mentioned, the 2011 Mustang’s new 3.7-litre DOHC 24-valve V6 has more horsepower and torque than last year’s 4.0-litre V6, but actually gets better fuel economy. There are a number of reasons for this, principally efficiency gains as a result of its new lightweight die-cast aluminum cylinder block, new four-valve per cylinder design for improved engine breathing, and “Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing” (Ti-VCT) that automatically adjusts the valvetrain at all engine speeds to improve fuel economy and performance.

Also contributing to improved efficiency are new lightweight composite (plastic) upper and lower intake manifolds with improved air delivery, and new dual exhausts for freer exhaling. As well, the retuned air intake system was also designed to make sportier noises when accelerating. Lastly, the 2011 Mustang’s new Getrag MT82 six-speed manual and Ford 6R60 automatic transmissions have higher top gear ratios to allow lower engine speeds at highway speeds.

2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible
2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible.

Though Ford advertises that the new V6 can achieve up to 6.9 L/100 km on the highway, I think this would only be achieved at a steady cruising speed under 100 km/h in top gear where the engine revs at less than 2,000 r.p.m. I drove my Mustang Convertible around town most of the week and my onboard fuel consumption gauge registered 14 L/100 km, quite a bit higher than the 11.7 L/100 km published by Energuide or the 12.4 L/100 km figure recorded by the U.S. EPA. Of course, this included a series of gas-gulping acceleration tests.

Enthusiast magazines and blogs have pegged the new Mustang V6’s zero to 100 km/h time in the five second range, which is very fast for a mid-size V6 convertible. But in terms of the driving experience, I found first gear geared a bit too low – the driver needs to shift into second quickly, and the engine seems to protest at being revved above 5,000 r.p.m. Still, the exhaust note is an aggressive snarl, though not overly loud, that sounds great, and acceleration is very quick on dry asphalt. I would reserve judgement for its performance on wet or snow covered roads where the Mustang’s rear-wheel drive layout, despite its standard traction and stability control, will offer less grip than front-wheel or all-wheel drive designs, particularly when starting off on an uphill slope. However, its new limited slip differential is likely to improve rear grip when cornering by sending torque to the rear wheel with the most traction when needed.

The Mustang’s new Getrag six-speed manual transmission has surprisingly short, notchy shifts which are pleasure to operate, and the medium-weight clutch pedal effort is only spoiled by a take-up point that seems a bit too far back.

2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible
2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible.

With a new rear lower control arm and stiffer rear stabilizer bar and the new limited slip rear differential, the 2011 Mustang provides slightly quicker cornering response and improved handling, particularly as it’s shod with grippy Pirelli P Zero Nero P235/50ZR-18-inch performance all-season tires. The Mustang’s suspension remains independent in front with a solid rear axle and coil springs, which can contribute to some wheel hop when cornering on rough surfaces. But thanks to some new shock tuning and coil spring rates, the Mustang’s highway ride is very smooth and comfortable, and it absorbs uneven pavement well.

The new electric power steering offers quick turn-in response at speed but feels a bit firm at slower speeds, in my opinion.

With the top up, there is a blind spot at the right-rear, but the 2011 Mustang’s standard “blind-spot” mirrors help when changing lanes. As well, there is an optional rear-view camera which appears in the rear-view mirror when the transmission is put into Reverse gear, very handy for reversing into a tight parking space.

With the top down and the side windows up, wind buffeting is well contained in the front seats and two people can carry on a conversation at 100 km/h.

2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible
2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible.

For the price, the V6 Mustang convertible seems a good value. I’d argue that with 305 horsepower, most people won’t need to spend extra money for the V8 version. The V6 has all the power you need and better fuel economy.

Competitors for the Mustang convertible are few until a new Camaro convertible or Challenger convertible comes along. Even then, it will be hard to beat the Mustang’s combination of classic styling, performance and low price-tag.

Verdict

A stylish, four-passenger convertible, the 2011 Mustang V6 Convertible offers a big increase in horsepower and an improvement in fuel economy when driven economically. Aggressive pricing discounts mean the price is lower than last year.

Pricing: 2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible
  • Base price: $31,399
  • Options: $4,630 (red candy metallic paint, tinting $300; black cloth convertible roof upgrade package $1,500; Interior Upgrade Package, Sync, Shaker 500 audio system, Sirius Satellite radio with 6 month subscription $1,500; IUP and leather discount -$500; engine block heater $80; Security Package: anti-theft system, wheel locks $350; HID headlights $600; convertible boot cover $200; rear video camera $300; turned mini pref seats $1,500).
  • A/C tax: $100
  • Freight: $1,350
  • Price as tested: $37,479
  • (from Greg Wilson, Canadian Driver)

    2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible
    2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible.

    Restyled only last year (as 2010 models), the Ford Mustang Coupe and Convertible models have been given further upgrades for 2011, most of them under the hood. While the new lightweight aluminum supercharged 5.4-litre V8 in the Shelby GT500 and the new 5.0-litre V8 in the Mustang GT have been getting most of the media’s attention, the new 3.7-litre V6 in the base Mustang is equally newsworthy. Replacing the previous 4.0-litre V6, the smaller 3.7-litre V6 has 45 per cent more horsepower and approximately seven per cent better fuel economy. It features dual overhead cams and four valves per cylinder instead of the 4.0 litre’s single overhead cams and two valves per cylinder, and a new variable valve timing system. The sportier 3.7-litre V6 makes 305 horsepower at 6,500 r.p.m. compared to 210 hp at 5,300 r.p.m. for the 4.0-litre V6. In addition, the new V6 engine has about 17 per cent more torque (from 240 lb.-ft. to 280 lb.-ft.)

    As well, last year’s five-speed manual transmission has been replaced by a new six-speed manual, and the optional five-speed automatic has been replaced by a six-speed automatic.

    New electric power-assisted steering replaces the previous hydraulic power steering, helping to improve fuel economy by eliminating the drag of the belt-driven power steering pump. The Mustang’s new electric power steering also includes “Pull-Drift Compensation” which automatically adjusts the steering during crosswinds and on high crowned roads to pull the car back into line; and (rather humorously) new “Active Nibble Control” that helps eliminate the shimmy when a wheel is slightly out of balance.

    2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible
    2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible.

    All of these mechanical improvements have helped fuel consumption improve by about seven per cent, from 11.7/7.6 city/hwy to 11.1/6.9 city/hwy (according to Natural Resources Canada Energuide (L/100 km) figures).

    As it was given a styling makeover for 2010, the 2011 Mustang coupe and convertible haven’t changed much, but to improve aerodynamics and fuel economy, there’s a new underbody shield, a new front fascia and bigger front air dam, wind deflectors near the rear wheels, and new rear trunk seal.

    Ford has also been doing some work on the Mustang’s body structure. The company says the 2011 Coupe’s unit body is 31 per cent stiffer and the Convertible’s is more than twice as stiff as the 2010 model’s. Crashworthiness has been improved, they say, and the company expects the 2011 Mustang to be given the same NHTSA five-star crash rating as the 2010 Mustang.

    Other changes for 2011 include a new limited slip differential to help improve traction when cornering and accelerating on slippery surfaces, and larger standard four-wheel disc brake rotors: 11.5 in. front and 11.8 inch rear. 2011 Mustang GTs get bigger 14-inch front brakes from the Shelby GT500.

    2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible
    2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible.

    Inside, there is a new message/information display with info such as average fuel economy and distance to empty, and Ford’s MyKey system which allows the vehicle owner to program the ignition key to limit top vehicle speed and audio volume, prevent traction control deactivation, and program speed-limit chimes. To reduce noise in the cabin, there are new door seals and new rear wheel arch insulation. And the side mirrors now have small convex mirrors integrated into them to check your blind spots.

    2011 pricing and standard equipment

    According to the manufacturer’s price sticker on our test car, the base price of the 2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible is $31,399 (a $1,200 increase from its 2010 MSRP of $30,199.) However, a quick look at Ford of Canada’s web site this week reveals the base price of the 2011 Mustang V6 Convertible to be $28,965. As well, there is currently a $3,039 “Employee pricing discount” plus a $2,000 “Delivery Allowance”.

    It’s probably not an exaggeration to say that Canadian vehicle prices are in a state of flux right now. With so much competition in the marketplace, many vehicle manufacturers have lowered their prices significantly, and prices are changing constantly depending on rebates and incentives. For the time being, it’s a buyer’s market.

    Standard equipment on the 2011 Mustang V6 convertible includes the 305-hp 3.7-litre V6 engine, six-speed manual transmission, power convertible top with glass rear window and defroster, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, electronic stability control, all-speed traction control, P235/50R-18-inch all-season tires and alloy wheels, rear spoiler, dual exhausts, front fog lights, “Easy Fuel Fill” capless filler, air conditioning, power windows and door locks, keyless entry, cruise control, power driver’s seat, variable intermittent wipers, USB, auxiliary and 12-volt outlets.

    2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible
    2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible.

    Our test car had $4,630 worth of options: black cloth convertible roof upgrade package $300; red candy metallic paint and tinted glass $300; leather seats $1,500 minus $500 leather discount; Interior Upgrade Package: Sync entertainment system with hands-free Bluetooth phone and audio functions, 911 Assist, USB capability, and steering wheel controls; Shaker 500 audio system with single CD/MP3 player and eight speakers, Sirius Satellite radio with six-month subscription, six-gauge instrument package, colour adjustable gauges, electrochromic rear-view mirror, compass, six-way power passenger seat, pleated seat inserts and door panels, heated seats, leather wrapped steering wheel, sport shift knob, metal pedals, message centre, black floor mats $1,500; engine block heater $80; Security Package: anti-theft system with interior motion sensor, incline sensor, intrusion sensor, and wheel locks $350; HID headlights $600; convertible boot cover $200; and rear video camera $300.

    2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible
    2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible
    2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible
    2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible
    2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible
    2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible.

    Including a $1,350 Freight charge and $100 air conditioning levy, the price as tested on the Ford sticker came to $37,479. However, if we use the Ford web site’s base price of $28,965 plus $4,630 in options, $1,350 Freight, $100 a/c tax minus the $3,039 “Employee pricing discount” and the $2,000 “Delivery Allowance”, the as-tested price would come to $30,006 – a $7,473 difference!

    Convertible top

    Our test car had the optional black cloth convertible top, which for an extra $300, replaces the standard vinyl top. The cloth top looks and feels better to the touch, and seems to be a better quality material. Inside, it has a soft inner liner which helps insulate from cold and outside noise, and the top includes a glass rear window with electric defroster.

    To lower the top, two swivelling latches at the top of the windshield are released manually, and a button near the centre of the windshield header activates the power top. The side windows, front and rear, lower automatically, as the top folds back and down into a cavity ahead of the trunk. The lowered cloth top sits almost flush with the rear deck, and an optional boot cover can be used to give it a more finished look and keep the dust and dirt from getting inside the top. However, the boot cover is a bit fiddly to put into place and must be stored in the small trunk when not in use. As well, the boot cover was made an extra cost option ($200) last year.

    The cloth convertible top lowers and raises in just 12 seconds. Unlike hardtop convertibles, which because of their elaborate and complicated folding steel panels take about 20 seconds to raise and lower, the cloth top is much simpler and quicker. And to many eyes, a cloth top looks better. Even the Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead convertible has a cloth top.

    My only complaint with the Mustang’s convertible top is that, while the four side windows lower automatically when the top is lowered, they don’t ascend automatically when the top is raised. The driver must activate the power window buttons to raise the front and rear side windows after the top is up.

    Interior impressions

    2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible
    2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible.

    The Mustang’s interior was revised for 2010 with a new one-piece instrument panel with softer materials, new centre stack and floor console, ice blue instrument lighting, more seat bolstering, and covered cupholders. For 2011, Ford has added a new “message centre” with useful information such as average fuel economy, instant fuel economy, distance to empty and a trip timer. Also new is Ford’s MyKey programmable vehicle key which can limit the car’s top speed, issue audible speed warnings, and prevent the traction control from being disabled – handy when lending your Mustang to excitable teenagers and valets. The 2011 Mustang interior also includes a new garage door opener and integrated blind spot mirrors in the side mirrors.

    The four-passenger cabin includes two rear bucket seats with a raised centre divider and sufficient headroom (with the top up) but very little legroom unless the front seats are moved well forwards. The two rear head restraints can be lowered manually to improve the driver’s rear vision when there are no rear passengers.

    2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible
    2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible
    2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible
    2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible
    2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible
    2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible
    2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible
    2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible
    2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible.

    The seats and the instrument panel have a retro styling flair that harks back to classic Mustangs of the 60s and 70s, notably the twin dashtop design, the large speedo and tachometer with elongated numerals, and the ribbed seat inserts. I liked the look of the well bolstered front seats and sturdy (optional) leather upholstery with perforated seat inserts and prominent white stitching, the textured dash plastic, the silver dash trim and the titanium-coloured centre console, chrome rings around gauges, and the four small gauges for fuel, coolant, battery and oil. The background colour of the gauges can be changed – the ice blue colour is easiest on the eyes and makes the thin numerals easier to read.

    The driver’s seat has a manual recliner, power height, fore-aft, lumbar, and tilting seat cushion. The steering wheel tilts up and down but does not pull in and out; still, I found the seat comfortable and the driving position good enough to see and reach all the controls, including the stubby gearshift lever. The optional seat heaters will make these leather chairs easier to sit down on a cold winter’s morning.

    The centre stack includes a small blue-on-black LCD screen with info on audio, outside temperature and compass, but in rather small letters. Our car’s audio system was the optional Shaker 500 with in-dash six-CD/MP3 player, and Sirius satellite radio (first six-months free) and eight speakers. A strong stereo in a Ford Mustang seems like a necessity rather than an option – it kinda goes with the sporty exhaust note from the dual exhaust tips! Ford’s optional Sync communications and entertainment system allows the driver to operate their cell phone and music players hands-free by voice-activation, including activation of a removeable USB music storage device. Sync also includes a 911 Assist call feature and “SOS” automatic crash notification if the airbags deploy in a collision.

    The Mustang’s thick, leather-wrapped, three double-spoke steering wheel includes controls for cruise control, phone and audio, and three buttons near the steering wheel labelled “Info”, “Setup”, and “Reset” which can be used to access vehicle information and features such as lighting preferences and warning chime preferences.

    Interior storage in the Mustang is rather limited: there is a lockable storage bin behind the centre cupholders which includes USB, auxiliary and 12-volt outlets, a small glovebox on the passenger side, and small door pockets, but that’s about it. The Mustang convertible’s trunk volume of 272 litres (9.6 cu. ft.) compares to the Mustang Coupe’s 379 litres (13.4 cu. ft.) and it has a narrow opening through which large suitcases probably won’t fit. The rear seatbacks do not fold down and there is no folding pass-through in the centre rear armrest. That said, convertible always compromise trunk space in order to make room for the lowered convertible top, and the Mustang is no exception.

    Standard safety features include two front dual-stage airbags and two side airbags in the front seats, as well as side-intrusion door beams, four three-point safety belts, tire pressure monitoring system, lower anchors and tethers for two rear child seats, and Ford’s SOS post-crash alert system.

    Driving impressions

    As mentioned, the 2011 Mustang’s new 3.7-litre DOHC 24-valve V6 has more horsepower and torque than last year’s 4.0-litre V6, but actually gets better fuel economy. There are a number of reasons for this, principally efficiency gains as a result of its new lightweight die-cast aluminum cylinder block, new four-valve per cylinder design for improved engine breathing, and “Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing” (Ti-VCT) that automatically adjusts the valvetrain at all engine speeds to improve fuel economy and performance.

    Also contributing to improved efficiency are new lightweight composite (plastic) upper and lower intake manifolds with improved air delivery, and new dual exhausts for freer exhaling. As well, the retuned air intake system was also designed to make sportier noises when accelerating. Lastly, the 2011 Mustang’s new Getrag MT82 six-speed manual and Ford 6R60 automatic transmissions have higher top gear ratios to allow lower engine speeds at highway speeds.

    2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible
    2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible.

    Though Ford advertises that the new V6 can achieve up to 6.9 L/100 km on the highway, I think this would only be achieved at a steady cruising speed under 100 km/h in top gear where the engine revs at less than 2,000 r.p.m. I drove my Mustang Convertible around town most of the week and my onboard fuel consumption gauge registered 14 L/100 km, quite a bit higher than the 11.7 L/100 km published by Energuide or the 12.4 L/100 km figure recorded by the U.S. EPA. Of course, this included a series of gas-gulping acceleration tests.

    Enthusiast magazines and blogs have pegged the new Mustang V6’s zero to 100 km/h time in the five second range, which is very fast for a mid-size V6 convertible. But in terms of the driving experience, I found first gear geared a bit too low – the driver needs to shift into second quickly, and the engine seems to protest at being revved above 5,000 r.p.m. Still, the exhaust note is an aggressive snarl, though not overly loud, that sounds great, and acceleration is very quick on dry asphalt. I would reserve judgement for its performance on wet or snow covered roads where the Mustang’s rear-wheel drive layout, despite its standard traction and stability control, will offer less grip than front-wheel or all-wheel drive designs, particularly when starting off on an uphill slope. However, its new limited slip differential is likely to improve rear grip when cornering by sending torque to the rear wheel with the most traction when needed.

    The Mustang’s new Getrag six-speed manual transmission has surprisingly short, notchy shifts which are pleasure to operate, and the medium-weight clutch pedal effort is only spoiled by a take-up point that seems a bit too far back.

    2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible
    2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible.

    With a new rear lower control arm and stiffer rear stabilizer bar and the new limited slip rear differential, the 2011 Mustang provides slightly quicker cornering response and improved handling, particularly as it’s shod with grippy Pirelli P Zero Nero P235/50ZR-18-inch performance all-season tires. The Mustang’s suspension remains independent in front with a solid rear axle and coil springs, which can contribute to some wheel hop when cornering on rough surfaces. But thanks to some new shock tuning and coil spring rates, the Mustang’s highway ride is very smooth and comfortable, and it absorbs uneven pavement well.

    The new electric power steering offers quick turn-in response at speed but feels a bit firm at slower speeds, in my opinion.

    With the top up, there is a blind spot at the right-rear, but the 2011 Mustang’s standard “blind-spot” mirrors help when changing lanes. As well, there is an optional rear-view camera which appears in the rear-view mirror when the transmission is put into Reverse gear, very handy for reversing into a tight parking space.

    With the top down and the side windows up, wind buffeting is well contained in the front seats and two people can carry on a conversation at 100 km/h.

    2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible
    2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible.

    For the price, the V6 Mustang convertible seems a good value. I’d argue that with 305 horsepower, most people won’t need to spend extra money for the V8 version. The V6 has all the power you need and better fuel economy.

    Competitors for the Mustang convertible are few until a new Camaro convertible or Challenger convertible comes along. Even then, it will be hard to beat the Mustang’s combination of classic styling, performance and low price-tag.

    Verdict

    A stylish, four-passenger convertible, the 2011 Mustang V6 Convertible offers a big increase in horsepower and an improvement in fuel economy when driven economically. Aggressive pricing discounts mean the price is lower than last year.

    Pricing: 2011 Ford Mustang V6 convertible

    · Base price: $31,399

    · Options: $4,630 (red candy metallic paint, tinting $300; black cloth convertible roof upgrade package $1,500; Interior Upgrade Package, Sync, Shaker 500 audio system, Sirius Satellite radio with 6 month subscription $1,500; IUP and leather discount -$500; engine block heater $80; Security Package: anti-theft system, wheel locks $350; HID headlights $600; convertible boot cover $200; rear video camera $300; turned mini pref seats $1,500).

    · A/C tax: $100

    · Freight: $1,350

    · Price as tested: $37,479

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    2011 Ford Fiesta – video

    August 18, 2010

    http://www.driving.ca/windsor/videos/index.html?releasePID=9vsBjM1da1tp33nTJ7xOAwYzTfDtUa1L

    (from Zack Spencer, Driving.ca)

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    Engine plant gets F-150 work; City to power top-selling pickup truck

    August 17, 2010

    Windsor-built engines will power the best-selling truck in North America, Ford said Wednesday.

    The company said the 5.0-litre V-8 produced at the Essex Engine Plant for the Mustang will be tweaked to suit the needs of the 2011 F-150 lineup.

    Ford did not release production details, though one insider suggested production of the made-in-Windsor 5.0-litre V-8 could reach 250,000 a year.

    “We know customers want more fuel economy, but we also know that capability is incredibly important, because it is a tool,” said Doug Scott, group marketing manager for Ford trucks. “So we’re giving more power and better fuel economy.”

    Ford’s F-Series features nine F-150 models, plus six heavy-duty versions called Super Duty.

    At a news conference at its Dynamometer Laboratory, where engines are tested, Ford announced four new engines and a new six-speed transmission that will power the vehicles.

    Debuting later this year are: a 3.7-litre V-6 engine, with 300 horsepower and 6,100 pounds of towing capacity; and a 6.2-liter V-8 engine, with 411 horsepower and 11,300 pounds of towing capacity.

    Ford will also offer a turbocharged EcoBoost 3.5-litre V-6 by early next year.

    But Ford said that the star of the new lineup in terms of sales will be the Windsor-built 5.0-litre V-8, with 360 horsepower and 9,800 pounds of towing capacity.

    “It will be huge,” said Scott. “It will be the workhorse engine.

    “It will be the volume engine in the lineup.”

    Mike Harrison, manager of the V-8 engine program, said there are no plans to build the 5.0-litre V-8 anywhere other than at the Essex Engine Plant, and that the F-150 will “certainly” require higher volume than the Mustang.

    He said the F-150 engine will provide more torque at the low end than the Mustang engine.

    “It allows customers to tow freely at low speeds without having to rev the engine up,” Harrison said. “So it gives a more enjoyable experience for the customer.”

    Providing the main engine for the Ford F-150, North America’s favourite truck for 33 years, bodes well for the future, said Marc Renaud, vice-president of CAW Local 200, which represents Windsor Ford workers.

    “We’re pleased that Ford has chosen the five-litre out of Essex to be an integral part of the all-new F-150 lineup,” Renaud said.

    Ford had previously announced plans to eliminate a shift at its Windsor Engine Plant on Nov. 1, putting almost 400 people out of work.

    The plant, which assembles the 5.4- and 6.2-litre Triton engines for current F-150 series pickup trucks, is slated for permanent closure in 2014.

    But Renaud said 140 workers will be added at the Essex Engine Plant on Nov. 1, to accommodate ramping-up production of the new truck engine.

    “We have a long history of making world-class products in Windsor,” said Renaud. “And we’re going to continue to push forward to bring additional work to Windsor.”

    As of May, Ford had sold 193,843 F-Series vehicles this year in the US compared to 143,717 in 2009.

    (from Craig Pearson, The Windsor Star)

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    Ford brings back the Mustang Boss 302

    August 16, 2010

    Dearborn, Michigan – Ford is reviving the legendary Mustang Boss 302 for 2012, along with a limited-production, track-oriented Boss 302 Laguna Seca model. Only once before has the model been offered, in 1969.

    Based on the 2011 Mustang GT, the Boss 302 offers upgraded engine output, brakes, suspension, interior and exterior, optimizing weight, aerodynamics and track performance. It will be engineered and available only from the factory, and will not be a package that can be added to an existing car, or achieved through tuning or aftermarket parts.

    The Laguna Seca model is based on the Boss 302, but deletes the rear seat, and adds race-ready suspension and aerodynamic treatments.

    “The decision to build a modern Boss was not entered into lightly,” said Derrick Kuzak, group vice-president of global product development. “The entire team at Ford felt the time was right and with the right ingredients, the world-class 2011 Mustang could support a successful, race-bred, worthy successor to the original Boss 302. For us that meant a production Mustang that could top one of the world’s best, the 2010 BMW M3, in lap times at Laguna Seca. We met our expectations.”

    The Boss 302 will offer 440 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque, and use a short-throw, close-ratio six-speed manual transmission with race-inspired clutch and 3.73 rear axle. A Torsen limited-slip differential will be available as an option.

    Exterior colours will be Competition Orange, Performance White, Kona Blue Metallic, Yellow Blaze Tri-Coat Metallic or Race Red, with either a black or white roof panel coordinated to the colour of the side stripe.

    (from Canadian Driver)