Tag Archives: MyFord

Review – 2011 Ford Edge SEL: One Sharp Edge

2011 Ford Edge SELWhen you have a vehicle that sells well, a redesign can keep product planners up at night. The Ford Edge is just such a vehicle. So is the second generation a sharpened Edge, or did Ford mess with a good thing?

I recently spent a week with the second generation Ford Edge SEL to see if it is even better than the first generation.
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Major Reveals from the Detroit Auto Show

Aveo RS Concept

The current Aveo is pretty much less then competitive. Seen as the joke of the line up, no one really wants to like the current Aveo, which it is not hard to fault them. GM is serious about the next generation Aveo, and the Aveo RS concept gives a glimpse of what we will be getting. Of course the show car stuff, neon lights, center exhaust, huge wheels and brembo brakes probably will not make production.  I suppose the center exhaust on the Cadillac CTS Coupe concept made it to production, so who really knows. Hopefully an Aveo RS model will come along with the normal, “plain Jane” model. This is something a “tuner” could enjoy and maybe even have it be fun to drive.

I had the opportunity to look at the concept Aveo RS on stage up close. I was somewhat impressed with the details. The interior did have a “leather covered” dash though we will all be realistic knowing that it definitely will not make production. The seats were very well bolstered, and I am not sure that those particular seats will make production either. The gauge cluster will definitely make production and the center stack is more then likely the real deal. I actually had the opportunity to see the production exterior at the product technology event last August. The front facia on the Aveo RS Concept is very close. The exposed headlight bezels, dual port grill and sharp front clip are all there. The neon lights and other extras are more show than go and probably will not be in the production model. I will note, when we spoke with Ed Welburn it was asked if the RS model would get the show cars neon halo’s around the headlights. It would make sense for them to make it to production on the RS model due to the Camaro RS model having neon halo’s. It was suggested to Ed Welburn that all RS models should have the halos. I personally think this would be a great idea. We will see as the production Aveo should hit the sales floors in late 2010.

Buick Regal GS

The new Regal is not even on sale yet but Buick knows it needs to be a ringer. The LaCrosse started bringing in lower age customers and GM is hoping the new Regal for Buick will continue that trend to an even further extent. The new Regal will be hitting show rooms this spring, and this is certainly a preview of a production Regal GS to come. This is merely a rebadged Opel Insignia OPC, but with a different engine (according to the paperwork). I got some seat time in the Regal GS concept and the Recaro seats were phenomenal. The back seat was not quite as spacious as I thought it might be. I was comfortable in the car, but getting in and out was not an amazing experience. The C-pillar in the rear was quite close to my head, and I would have easily whacked my head upon exiting the rear had I not been paying attention. The rear has just enough head room with a fast roof line that cuts it close. The interior roof is sculpted out so you are not hitting your head. The front was very nice with the aforementioned seats, a flat bottom steering whee, and the six speed manual transmission, which felt like short throws.

GM is saying the GS model of the Regal would come with the optional 2.0 liter engine from the CXS trim variant but with more boost going through the turbo. GM is pegging the numbers at 250 hp and 295 ft-lb. This is all very interesting because the Opel Insignia OPC has a 2.8l turbo charge V6 putting out over 300 hp and 300 ft-lb. The problem with that engine is it is thirsty for gas. I think GM is trying to gauge the publics reaction to maybe a I4 instead of a V6 in the Regal GS variant. I asked if I could open the hood and was instantly told no! The press photos of this car showed a V6 engine cover which was the same engine cover in the Opel Insignia OPC. My guess is this was an Insignia OPC with swapped out badges, so the V6 was still under the hood. While we really do not know what engine will come, one thing is for sure, the Regal GS variant will probably be coming sooner then later. I for one am definitely ready to see if this can be a budget Audi S4 because that would really help stick Buick on the map. Afterall, that is what the Regal GS is supposed to do anyways.

2012 Ford Focus

The embargo was up and the pictures/specifications were, for the most part, out in the public view. That did not stop Ford from throwing one heck of a reveal for the upcoming 2012 Focus. Coming in both hatchback and sedan form, the new Focus gives us style and class, things the current Focus is sorely lacking. Let us not forget the awesome technology that will be available in the new Focus. That latest generation of Microsoft powered SYNC will be onboard and the new MyFord interface will of course be an option. Ford had one sedan and one hatch on display. I was given the opportunity to see the interior of the sedan up close. The quality of materials was terrific, though I was told this was a hand built one off vehicle. They are not even in preproduction, so I was not allowed to sit in it. The hatchback was off limits, so I was not able to touch that either. The wheels on these two at the show were 19 inches, but I would be surprised to see something that large even as an option. Interesting note about the gas cap on the hatch back, it is well integrated with cut lines and it somewhat blends in. That is just one example of how Ford stressed about the small stuff on this car. The new Focus will go into production late this year and hit dealerships in early 2011.

2011 Lincoln MKX

The refreshed 2011 Lincoln MKX made its debut at the Detroit Auto Show and it was truly a great spectacle. Ford had the woman who sings the song in one of the most recent Lincoln commercials on stage signing as the MKX came on stage. Of course the rest of the current Lincoln line up rolled onto stage with the exception of the Town Car. That was not a real shock, but notably absent nonetheless. The updated MKX gains the split wing grill that is quickly becoming Lincoln’s signature mark again. The rear has new tail lights and finally a back up camera is along for the ride. I note the back up camera because on the last generation it was not even an option! The interior materials get a major upgrade as does the design. The technology is all new with this being the first vehicle to get the now standard MyLincoln. This is the same thing as MyFord with the dual 4.1 inch screens on either side of the speedometer and an 8 inch touch screen on the center stack. The luxury crossover market is heating up and this is just another player that is helping to change the game.

Cadillac XTS Concept

Cadillac rolled out a concept they are calling the XTS. This vehicle foreshadows what we will see from GM as a replacement for the aging (not gracefully I might add) Cadillac STS and DTS. Riding on a stretched Buick LaCrosse platform, the XTS would come in both front wheel drive and all wheel drive. The concept is a dual mode plug-in hybrid featuring a direct injection V6 and an electric motor. It is supposedly putting out 350 hp and 295 ft-lb. There is definitely a good chance this powertrain, along with a regular gasoline engine, will make production for this vehicle. Technology is a high point for this car and it is very well connected. The center stack is essentially void of most buttons and mostly touch. The gauges are all virtual and everything is “connected.” The interior was gorgeous, and I am definitely interested to see what details from the concept make it to production. Speaking of production, we should see the XTS in showrooms for 2012/2013.

Honda CR-Z

Honda released the first hybrid in America to have a manual transmission. Many were hoping for a remake of the CRX, and to be frank, many have said they are disappointed. I think the main thing people are not happy about seems to be the lack of rear seats. The car itself does not even post amazing mileage numbers. The power will be provided by a 1.5 liter making 122 horsepower while estimated to get 36/38 mpg. This is all mated to the CVT (continuously variable transmission). The manual transmission seriously kills the gas mileage, taking it down to an estimated 31/37 mpg. The CR-Z will come in two trim levels and will probably have a base price around $18,000 when sales start later this summer.

Tesla Model S

The Tesla Model S was there along with two Roadster Sports. The Roadster Sports start their lives as a Lotus and get gutted by Tesla to receive the battery pack and electric drivetrain. The Model S is the next production vehicle we will see from Tesla. This four door “sedan,” the Model S, has a rear hatch instead of a traditional trunk which allows room for the optional jump seat. This would make it so the sedan can seat seven, though the extra two in the jump seats will be small children only. The interior has almost no buttons or switches. The center stack is one large touch screen with virtual switches to flick and swipe. The door handles are flush with the car and slide out when you touch them. The whole thing is quite impressive. Some call this car vaporware, meaning it will never see production or be on sale. The honest truth is those same people said that the Tesla Roadster was vaporware and that car has been on sale and is already in the hands of many happy owners. Tesla says the Model S should see production in the next few years.


Full Disclosure- My NAIAS travel and accommodations were provided by General Motors

AutoBird Podcast Episode 10

Episode 10 starts by discussing the past week on both of our respective blogs, AutoBird Blog and AccelerateMpls. The week in review included 2009 sales numbers, and my post about why strippers are important.  We move along to talk about NAIAS (the Detroit Auto Show) and the things we will be seeing.  That list includes the next generation Ford Focus, the Chevrolet Aveo RS concept, Ford’s MyFord, and the Buick Regal GS concept.  Next we discuss the new Dodge naming scheme and announced Chrysler powertrain updates.  The last topic continues to be the Saab story that continues to unfold.


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Next Generation Ford Focus Revealed!

2012 Ford Focus Sedan

The Focus has been a staple in the Ford line up since 1998. Originally available as both a sedan and a hatch, the car was versatile and overall a great value. Things have changed in recent years and the Focus is currently only available in sedan form. Further along those lines of change, the car is no longer the game changer it once was. Ford is looking to change all that with this next generation Focus.

2012 Ford Focus Sedan

The new Focus will be the car that truly launches and embodies the “ONE Ford” strategy. That is one car sold globally. Focus will share over 80% of its parts with the European version. Even further, the European model and U.S. model will launch at the same time. Production will start simultaneously in Europe and North America in late 2010 with sales beginning in early 2011. The platform will be used for 10 global C-class cars. This will amount to almost two million units in annual production by 2012.

2012 Focus 5 Door Hatchback

Arriving both in sedan and hatchback form the Focus will target exceptional fuel economy while advancing the level of technology and quality in a C-segment vehicle. The Focus will feature kinetic design language recently seen on the new Fiesta. “The all-new Focus is at the center of convergence for automotive trends,” said J Mays, Ford group vice president of Design and chief creative officer. “We’ve designed it with an acute understanding of global customers, yet it’s tailored for each individual region. Focus combines the best from Europe, North America and Asia to deliver a level of emotional driving enjoyment never before experienced in a car this size.”

2012 Ford Focus 5 Door Hatchback

Ford is promising new levels of agility and responsiveness being brought to the C-segment with the new Focus. Utilizing multilink rear suspension and semi-isolated front and rear subframes, Ford is saying this will help achieve the desired driving characteristics. Complimenting all this is a all new electric power steering system. This system has been tuned for responsiveness at highway speeds while still remaining light for parking lot speeds.

2012 Ford Focus Sedan

The global powertrain line up in the new Focus will have everything from an EcoBoost four cylinder to a Duratorq TDCi common rail diesel. The North American Focus will launch with a all new DOHC 2.0 liter gasoline engine featuring both DI (Direct Injection) and Ti-VCT (Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing). This 2.0 liter is estimated to put out 155 hp and 145 ft-lb through a six speed PowerShift transmission. PowerShift is Ford’s new dual clutch transmission that is also being used in the new 2011 Fiesta. The new 2.0 liter will be E85 capable unlike most engines with DI.

PowerShift 6 speed transmission

2012 Focus Interior

The PowerShift dual dry clutch transmission is sealed. The transmission is said to be maintenance free. The removal of pumps and hoses not only saves weight but helps achieve better fuel economy. Additionally, the new Focus will feature a Hill Start Assist function. This system is sensor based and will activate when an incline is greater then 3 percent. The system will “hold” the brakes for an “instant” (2.5 seconds) which will prevent rollback when stopping or starting on an incline.

The innovative MyFord system announced last week at CES will be available on the new Focus. This will compliment the latest generation Microsoft SYNC system which includes a sophisticated voice control system, bluetooth, and satellite navigation.

2012 Focus Interior

“When the new Focus launches in late 2010, it will be among the global leaders in fuel economy and CO2 emissions,” said Kuzak. “We will continue to pioneer new technologies beyond launch, including a true zero-emission model launching in North America in 2011. Throughout its life cycle, Focus in all forms, in all regions, will demonstrate the Ford commitment to deliver unsurpassed fuel economy on a truly global scale.”

High strength steel is used heavily in the next generation Focus especially in the body shell. The high strength steel comprises 55 percent of the body shell. More then 26 percent of the vehicles overall structure is ultra high strength steel and Boron Steel. This is more then any other Ford product to date. This helps with safety and weight. Due to the extensive use of these materials, the next generation Focus has 25 percent greater torsion rigidity.

“We believe the new Ford Focus will provide consumers with an unmatched driving experience, together with an unrivaled ownership experience,” said Jim Farley, Ford group vice president, Global Marketing. “The Focus brand always has been very special to Ford, and this new global model shows our commitment to developing another generation of exciting and appealing cars.”

The Focus promising to be a lot of things. On paper it sounds great. It even has room for growth with future engines like a sport EcoBoost model in North America perhaps, or possibly a SVT version. The fact remains, we as Americans have been asking for the Focus that Europe has had for years. It seems we will be receiving a car that is in large part just that.  The new Focus should have Honda and Toyota up at night.

MyFord Touch – The iPhone of Car Technology

MyFord Touch

The concept behind MyFord is driver connect technology that will redesign the driver’s interface and how they interact with the car.  This is fusing together consumer electronics ease of use and the rich graphics interfaces used in them.

MyFord Touch Climate Control Screen

“MyFord Touch, combined with new SYNC functionality, creates an experience that will cause people to fall in love with their vehicles again,” said Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development. “It’s not just a technology; it’s an experience – one we hope will have people across the globe looking forward to spending time behind the wheel of their vehicle.”

MyLincoln Touch

MyFord will be branded MyLincoln and MyMercury in the respective brands.  This will not be brand exclusive rather just exclusive to the Ford brands.

MyFord Touch 3D Navigation

The MyFord Touch system will be used with an available 8-inch touch screen LCD at the top of the center stack.  Also information will be displayed using two 4.2-inch on both sides of the speedometer.  Five way switches will be on each side of the steering wheel controlling the corresponding 4.2-inch screens.

“The steering wheel has all the necessary functions available in a very compact area, right where your hand falls as you grab the wheel,” said Johnson. “The five-way buttons will feel familiar to anyone who has used a mobile phone or MP3 player. Drivers aren’t forced to use a quirky or unfamiliar interface like a joystick or rotary knob.”

The left 4.2-inch display will feature information and settings for the vehicle, fuel economy, mechanical status and safety features.  The right 4.2-inch display will feature infotainment information, audio settings, climate control, phone communications and navigation menus.  The features in the right hand display will also be available in the 8-inch center stack display.  This display will replace many traditional buttons.  The MyLincoln will take the 8-inch display a step further by providing fingertip slider controls on the touch screen.  These sliders will control the audio volume and or fan speed.  When using your finger on the slider a LED chaser will give visual representation as to the changes being made.

The 8-inch touchscreen in the center stack is the key to this interface Utilizing a “four-corner” solution to the layout design.  The four corners are phone, navigation, climate and audio/entertainment functions.  Touching the desired corner will always bring up the corresponding application no matter what screen you are currently in.  Voice commands can be used to adjust most controls.

The next generation of Microsoft’s SYNC system is behind the scenes running the show.  This is no longer a add on black box.  SYNC is now a fully integrated part of the car.  MyLincoln will be standard in all future Lincoln’s beginning with the 2011 Lincoln MKX.  MyFord technology will be available in all future Ford products.  Ford pretty much just announced the iPhone of car technology.

Features available through MyFord Touch, powered by SYNC include:

Media Hub
  • Additional USB port for a total of two USB 2.0 inputs
  • SD Card slot
  • RCA A/V input jacks
Internet Connectivity
  • Full WiFi capability including Internet “hot spot” connectivity and a built-in browser for use while in “Park” (late availability)
  • Integrated browser supports tabbed page navigation, “drag” to pan and scroll and a provides a 3-D carousel for bookmark browsing
  • Support for on-screen and USB-connected keyboards
  • RSS feed aggregator and text-to-voice reader
  • Mobile in-car WiFi “hot spot” capability through USB-installed air card or USB mobile broadband modem
Phone
  • Phone book contact photo download and 3-D carousel browsing
  • Birthday reminders
  • Enhanced error correction and reporting
Voice Recognition
  • Direct speech commands and “flattened structure” for quicker, more responsive voice control
  • Voice-command activation of selected climate control functions
    Voice commands will be available for most radio functions, including AM/FM, HD Radio and SIRIUS/XM® Satellite Radio
  • SIRIUS Game Finder application will facilitate automatic voice tuning for desired sporting events using commands such as “Tune to Detroit Lions game” or “Show NBA games”
Navigation
  • Improved visual presentation of SYNC Traffic, Directions & Information app including directional arrows, street names, and distance markers
  • Map-based navigation app provided via an optional SD Card
  • SD Card navigation includes SIRIUS Travel LinkTM services such as weather maps, movie listings, gas prices, and sports scores
  • SD Card navigation also adds cities point-of-interest information including ratings and amenities
  • Map data includes 3-D visual landmarks
Climate Control
  • MyTemp personalization allows the driver to store a preferred temperature, which is then accessible with a single touch of the MyTemp button
  • Different MyTemp settings can be programmed to different keys; multiple drivers in a household can each have unique MyTemp settings
Audio
  • AM/FM/CD, SIRIUS/XM satellite radio, USB-connected MP3 players and memory sticks
  • New HD Radio capability
  • Song tagging capability via HD Radio, allowing listeners to identify song information and store it for later use
  • Browse tracks by artist, scan lists of tracks with identical names, and browse through devices without having to change audio sources
  • 3-D carousel album cover art and photo viewing displays allow easy scanning of available material, especially combined with Gracenote Media Management
  • Media player equipped with new “Podcast” source category
  • Enhanced Bluetooth® audio support including metadata, which allows additional command and control functions for capable mobile devices
Vehicle Setting Personalization
  • Ambient lighting color control using a 3-D carousel browser
  • Custom welcome messages
  • Saved and transferrable user profiles that can be ported between Ford vehicles equipped with MyFord
  • Door keypad code control using on-screen menus
  • Where available, Active Park Assist and Rear View Camera displays
  • Image and video uploading via SD card slot or USB 2.0 ports