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.