Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Never too much Reflex talk

My new obsession from Ford is the Reflex concept, if you hadn't been able to figure that out. Ever since seeing pictures of this concept, I've been wanting one. Now I don't necessarily want the exact concept, I'm not too thrilled with the solar panels in the roof, and I'm kind of cool on the Diesel/Electric Hybrid powerplant. But the styling is dead on and the idea of a sporty 3 door hatch with 2 seats (forget the stupid 3rd seat) really gets me wanting one. I usually hate silver cars, too bland for my taste, but this looks good.
A few commentors have said that they would like to see something like this built on the MX5 chassis, with rear wheel drive and the 2.3L Direct Injected Turbo from MazdaSpeed. Well, that would be a pipedream in my view. I know you're supposed to dream big, but Ford doesn't need a reboddied and hot rodded MX5. Ford needs something that will have innovation written all over it and that can be a long term player. I see the Reflex as an entry level sporty coupe, not a mini Jaguar or Aston Martin. Keep it small and somewhat economical, aim it at the youth market. Make it somewhat practical too. So that means a usable hatch, options for ski or bike racks on the back and front wheel drive to get to those ski slopes as well as to work in the winter. An MX5 chassis, would leave this strictly as a seasonal second car, or the necessary traction and stability control would drive the price up too far.
Here's the way I see it, take some of the technology from the MazdaSpeed and apply it to a smaller engine, say a 1.6 L or at most a 2.0 L engine. Give it the direct injection and turbo, making around 175 hp, but keeping fuel economy above 35 mpg on the highway. If I could get 175 hp and over 40 mpg that would be the best. Front wheel drive, with a 5 or 6 speed manual available, a CVT automatic optional. Give me the option of a moonroof or even T-tops or Targa roof. 17 inch wheels will make more sense than those huge dubs, maybe even 16 inchers depending on production.

I know some are going to disagree, wanting more power or rear wheel drive. And others may disagree with the abandoning of the Diesel/Hybrid powertrain. But this is a package that I see as coming in at the mid $20k range and appealing to a wide range of people. I don't see it being a huge seller like a Mustang, so keeping it front wheel drive, allows it to be built off a new B segment Fiesta/Mazda2 platform in a flexible plant. Dreams are nice, but I want to see this car produced, and then buy one.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

rwd works well now b/c we have well balanced cars, and b/c with the mx-5 platform volume would be increased and components could be shared, (engine, suspension geometry,steering etc...) the cost could be brought down, make the standard engine a 200 hp NA i4,around 2.4L Ford can do that easy w/ vvt, or some stuff like that, or just drop a modified version of that miata engine in there, tune it to be a little torquier (thus more AMERICAN), and keep the manual tranny from it as well, then they could easily add mazdas turbo DIG engine fromt he CX-7 in-only 244 hp, so that keeps the price down and the economy up-as well as the CX-7 will sell more volume than the miata-so keeps price down more, and they could put the mazdaspeed 6 version int here as well, or the mazda three engine, as that should fit in there, and they could add awd, and that version of the car could sell for 25/26 grand, while the rwd version w/ the turbo would sell for 23/24, and the base w/ the 200 hp engine would sell for around 18/19, Mazda will likely build the kabura concept as the new mx-3 so the two could share the same chassis/platform (mazda wants it on the miata platform), but mazda might give the kabura a rotary. the added rigidity of a roof it should be pretty damn good. Make it more euro than the 'stang...more emphasis on handling, than pure muscle. but maybe like american 'euro, handles w/ a little more brute force thant he euro stuff....i want this bad, too bad they're not coming out with it now, perfect sixteenth b-day present

Ben K said...

Interesting.

How is your idea for the Reflex different to the UK-market Puma?

Big Ford Fan said...

Anonymous poster, since I believe this is your first visit, I'll give you a pass, but future comments should be signed with initials or nickname.

Your ideas for the Reflex are interesting and very much the kind of thing I expected. But there are several flaws in your plan. Prices could not be kept down using the Miata platform and it would have to be built in Japan. There is no 2.4L I4 Ford powerplant, but there is a 2.3 that is shared with Mazda and available in the Focus, Mazda3 and in HiPo version the MazdaSpeed 3&6. Ford doesn't have VVT, and just dropping in "stuff like that" isn't realistic. To build this car for the propper price point, it needs to be built on common components with a higher volume vehicle, like the new B segment Fiesta/Mazda 2. Hey if they do it your way, I'd be just as happy, but I never see an $18k version with 200 hp from Ford. Dreaming is free, but if Ford is going to build it, then we have to look at reality. But happy 16th. Any future anonymous posts will not be allowed. Just add your initials at the end of comment, no need to register.

Ben, there's little difference between my version of the Reflex and the Euro Puma. That's the point, we didn't get that car, and it's a shame. But if Ford sells a new B segment car like the Fiesta/Mazda2 here, the same components could make it possible, like the Puma was in Europe (based on Fiesta mechanicals) That's what makes it a feasable project.