Saturday, April 30, 2005
The Mazda6 range, sedan, 5 door and wagon, with cross over coming soon. This is the platform that Ford is counting on for quite a few Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles. Didn't we used to make fun of GM when they did this? Don't get me wrong, the Mazda6 is a great car and some of these future models have inspired styling, but is that enough to satisfy the American market? I guess if it works for GM, but aren't they in deep water?
The new entry level Lincoln, named after the classic Lincoln of the 30's, not to be confused with the bland Mercury Zephyr of the 70's and 80's. Based on the Mazda6 and rumored to have 250 hp. I guess they didn't want to brush off the Versailles name. I actually like the styling of this car. Time will tell
This Taurus sits in the Henry Ford Museum, an example of forward thinking cars that changed the industry. And while now people may not remember, the Taurus did that in a big way. The Aero styling was a breakthrough for a US model and while GM was selling front wheel drive mid-size cars like the Celebrity, the Taurus was a milestone car. I remember driving one in 1987 and being very impressedwith the quality and performance. Now you may smirk when I say performance, but at the time GM and Chrysler had nothing comporable and to tell the truth the 3.0 V-6 was very good.
Ford Fivehundred, based on Volvo mechanicals, available either as front or all wheel driven. This is a nice car, the interior is a big step up from Taurus. This and it's Freestyle sibling could go a long way to bolster Ford's sales, but they need just a little boost in the power. Although several car magazine have put the Freestyle and Chrysler's Pacifica head to head and despite the Chrysler's almost 50 hp advantage, the Freestyle is quicker and gets better fuel economy.
Ford Freestyle, based on Volvo S-80/XC90 platform, with either front wheel or all wheel drive is a great "Crossover" vehicle. I prefer Station Wagon, but you call it what you want. I first layed eyes on this in Nashville last year at the Mustang 40th celebration. I was able to sit in it and check out everything. The only thing I couldn't do then was drive it. Not many people were paying attention to this or the 500, because there were Mustangs as far as the eye could see and a Ford GT. Not to mention all the celebrities.
The Freestyle is often compared to Minvans in magazine, and it's cargo carrying capacity is good, but this is not a minivan. I don't much like the Freestyle name, I think they could have done better than that, but it goes to that hole F and E naming scheme at Ford. I think they should have called it either Country Sedan or Cuontry Squire with some wood on the side.
While the sedan Fivehundred is flying off dealer lots, the Freestyle is not selling quite as well.
But this is a great wagon.
With all the seats folded, you have enough room for any home project. But with them up, you have room for the whole family. You can't judge well from the picture, but the Freestyle has a wonderful interior that is very flexible. I would not opt for the second row console though. There are enough cup holders without it and it gets in the way of cargo.
Fortynine concept from Ford, based on the Thunderbird/Lincoln LS platform. Maybe a little too retro for mass apeal, but I would have loved this car. There was also a cranberry colored convertible version of the concept. I can understand why Ford didn't build this, but would have lined up for one if they did.
Just approved for production the European Ford Focus Vignale Coupe Convertible. Retractable hard top convertible. I could see these in Scarsdale or the Hamptons. Why wouldn't Ford want to import this to the US? Ford should have brought the European Focus over here, the Mazda 3 and Volvo S40 are based on the new Focus platform.
Friday, April 29, 2005
Noble M12 from the UK, powered by Ford's 3.0 Duratec V-6, that's been heavilly fortified and with dual turbos to put out 350-425 hp depending on trim (GTO 3.0 or M400.) These cars cannot be imported into the US as turn key cars, only as kits, because of emissions and safety regulations. I've read reviews and seen tests on TV of this nimble british small s supercar. Unfortunately I don't have a website for this car yet, but will add the link when I do.
Kamala Futuro, from the UK is a sporty car, offered with various powerplants including the Ford 2.0 Zetec I-4 from the Focus and the 3.0 Duratec V-6. Either powerplant comes with a Ford warranty. I don't have information on availability, but check their website. I actually found this by accident while looking for info on the Noble.
Before building the Pantera, DeTomaso built the Mangusta also with Ford V-8 power. Only 400 or so of these exotic Italians were built in contrast to the almost 12,000 Panteras built between 1971 and 1996. In the the late 90's the Mangusta name was revived by DeTomaso, but sold here as the Qvale Mangusta. Mangusta is Italian for Mongoose, I wonder if he had his sites on Shelby's Cobra?