Apr 15

Refreshed 2015 Ford Focus Sedan Revealed Ahead of Its New York Debut

2015 Ford FocusRecently declared the world’s best-selling nameplate once again based on IHS Automotive/Polk vehicle-registration data from 2013, the compact Ford Focus is receiving a significant refresh for the 2015 model year, and the sedan version has now been revealed. Set to make its public debut at the New York International Auto Show later this week, the 2015 Ford Focus sedan dons a more aggressive front end reminiscent of the popular Ford Fusion while offering an efficient new 1.0-liter EcoBoost three-cylinder engine.

Outside, the 2015 Ford Focus sedan sports a new hexagonal grille, a redesigned hood and trunk lid, and sleek LED headlights and taillights. Drivers and passengers will be treated to new seat trims and controls, satin-chrome detailing, a new center console with adjustable cupholders and an optional heated steering wheel. When it goes on sale early next year, the 2015 Focus is expected to lead all non-hybrid compacts in fuel efficiency with its newly available 1.0-liter EcoBoost, which also happens to produce more horsepower per liter than the Lamborghini Aventador.

“Drivers have always been drawn to compact cars for their fuel efficiency, but the new three-cylinder EcoBoost in the Focus is going to raise expectations of what’s possible for gas mileage in the segment while still giving owners a responsive ride,” said Jim McGovern, general manager of Ford of Londonderry, a New Hampshire Ford dealer near Manchester. “Buyers of compacts are also starting to expect more advanced features, and the 2015 Focus will offer in-car technologies that are typically reserved for larger, more expensive models.”

When it comes to preventing fender-benders and more serious accidents, the 2015 Ford Focus sedan will come standard with a rearview camera and will be available with a Blind Spot Information System and a lane-keeping system. Drivers will also be able to stay better connected with an enhanced SYNC AppLink system that is now compatible with more than 60 smartphone apps from the Apple App Store and Android market. Users of the updated technology will be able to say the same voice commands they use for a certain app when it is not connected to SYNC AppLink, as well as have app notifications read aloud as they enter their Focus without having to touch their phone.

Mar 03

2015 Ford Expedition to Be Powered Exclusively by EcoBoost V6 Engine

2015 Ford ExpeditionIn 2011, Ford introduced its 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 powerplant into its F-150 pickup truck and quickly converted many diehard V8 fans, and soon another of the automaker’s large and rugged offerings, the Ford Expedition, will be powered exclusively by that popular engine. Revealed at the DFW Auto Show in Dallas earlier this month, the refreshed 2015 Ford Expedition will ditch the V8 of its predecessor for improved fuel efficiency, but Ford promises its direct-injected twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 won’t disappoint in the performance department when the updated SUV goes on sale later this year.

Though its official performance specs have yet to be announced, the standard 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 in the 2015 Expedition is expected to offer more horsepower, torque and miles per gallon than the outgoing 5.4-liter V8. Helping drivers control all that output will be a six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission with a manual mode, electric power-assisted steering and Ford’s first implementation of continuously controlled damping, which tailors the suspension to selectable comfort, normal and sport driving modes. Inside the cabin, Expedition owners will benefit from the latest technologies, including the Blind Spot Information System with cross-traffic alert and the SYNC with MyFord Touch infotainment system featuring a new eight-inch touchscreen.

“More than any other automaker, Ford has proven that you don’t need a V8 engine to get the best performance out of larger vehicles, and now every Expedition buyer is going to receive the outstanding capability and fuel savings that EcoBoost technology provides,” said Jim McGovern, general manager of Ford of Londonderry, a New Hampshire Ford dealer near Manchester. “Inside and out, the 2015 Expedition will be more modern and refined than past models, but it will still produce the high performance that made the vehicle so popular when it debuted 18 years ago.”

Ford has also updated the styling of the 2015 Expedition to reflect its progress in performance and technology. The SUV has received a more aggressive front end with optional LED fog lamps, newly available 22-inch wheels, a redesigned rear hatch and chrome-tipped exhaust pipes. Meanwhile, buyers who want a more luxurious interior will be able to opt for the new top-trim Platinum-series Expedition, which will be available with either black-leather seats with Agate Gray accents or new red-wine-colored Brunello leather seats featuring French-seamed stitching and tuxedo-stripe accents.

Dec 18

Ford Fiesta’s 1.0-Liter EcoBoost Lands on Ward’s 10 Best Engines List

Ford of Londonderry Fiesta picFord launched its EcoBoost engines a few years ago with the intent of getting more power and efficiency out of each cylinder, but the stateside arrival of its new three-cylinder variant represents some of the automaker’s most ambitious engineering yet. Currently rolling out to dealerships as an option on the 2014 Ford Fiesta, the 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine has already impressed the staff at WardsAuto, which recently named the unit to its 10 Best Engines list for 2014.

Forty-four new or significantly improved powertrains were evaluated for the 2014 Ward’s 10 Best Engines list, with every unit set to be available by the first quarter of 2014 in a vehicle costing $60,000 or less. As the first three-cylinder to earn a Ward’s 10 Best Engines award, the 1.0-liter EcoBoost was lauded by editors for its smart engineering, including its ability to run with limited vibrations without a heavy balance shaft.

“It’s amazing that Ford was able to create an engine that is as small and light as the 1.0-liter EcoBoost without sacrificing responsiveness or smoothness of operation,” said Jim McGovern, general manager of Ford of Londonderry, a New Hampshire Ford dealer near Manchester. “There was a reason that a three-cylinder hadn’t been named to the Ward’s 10 Best Engines list before, but Ford worked with the weighting of the EcoBoost’s pulley and flywheel to counteract the shaking that usually plagues engines with an odd number of cylinders.”

That reduced vibration also helps Ford’s new three-cylinder achieve its highly efficient performance. Packing in 123 horsepower, the 1.0-liter EcoBoost boasts more output per liter than a Lamborghini Aventador while returning up to 45 mpg on the highway in the 2014 Ford Fiesta, making the subcompact the most efficient non-hybrid, gas-powered car in the United States. By comparison, Fiesta competitors like the Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris net highway fuel-economy ratings of 33 mpg and 37 mpg, respectively.

Nov 04

2014 Ford Mustang GT Convertible to Gain Supercar Status at SEMA Show

2014 Ford Mustang GT Convertible

While no one would accuse the production 2014 Ford Mustang GT convertible of lacking in power, Ford has teamed up with custom tuners Hollywood Hot Rods to give the model the performance of supercars that can cost several times as much. Created for the SEMA Show running from Nov. 5 through Nov. 8 in Las Vegas, the Hollywood Hot Rods Mustang GT convertible incorporates a Ford Racing Whipple supercharger and a Banks Power water-methanol injection system into its 5.0-liter V8 engine to generate an estimated 750 horsepower.

Hollywood Hot Rods ensured all that power can be properly harnessed on the road by outfitting the special Mustang GT convertible with a Cortex Racing X-treme grip track suspension that features a rear Watts linkage and torque arm. Meanwhile, the use of StopTech six-piston brakes and JRI coilover dampers at all four corners helps keep the tires under control at high speeds.

“The Hollywood Hot Rods model slated for SEMA shows that the Mustang GT convertible is capable of handling extreme performance that might be lost on some of its competitors,” said Jim McGovern, general manager of Ford of Londonderry, a New Hampshire Ford dealer near Manchester. “Not to mention, the custom tuners spent a lot of time massaging the Mustang’s iconic design to highlight the car’s endless potential in the aftermarket.”

Hand-crafted during 250 hours of labor, an all-aluminum lift-off roof adorns the black Hollywood Hot Rods Mustang GT convertible, complementing a completely reshaped tail section. In fact, every custom body modification is made of aluminum, including the front splitter, side scoops, skirts and diffuser.

Though drivers won’t be able to take home the Hollywood Hot Rods model, the production 2014 Mustang GT convertible offers a more-than-sufficient mix of performance and style. The 5.0-liter V8 engine churns out 420 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque while still netting up to 26 mpg on the highway. Outside, buyers get a GT-exclusive grille and splitter, HID headlamps, LED sequential rear taillights and a dual stainless-steel exhaust with bright rolled tips.

“With its Mustang GT models, Ford has done an excellent job of retaining massive V8 power for muscle-car purists while modernizing them with sleeker styling and more miles per gallon,” added McGovern. “That means that new generations of driving enthusiasts will get to fall in love with the Mustang just like their parents and grandparents did.”

Aug 30

Fueled by the Fiesta, Ford Makes Big Gains Among Millennials

2014 Ford Fiesta

As the youngest generation of drivers on the road, millennials are currently forming brand allegiances that could impact vehicle sales for decades to come. Fueled by its Ford Fiesta subcompact, Ford has gained the most traction in that crucial demographic during the past four years, besting all auto brands in retail-share growth among buyers 18 to 34 years old.

Polk retail-registration data shows that Ford increased its share of the millennial market by 80 percent from the first half of 2009 to the first half of 2013, far outpacing the industry average of 35 percent. The Ford Fiesta has been the brand’s biggest asset in winning over younger drivers, with 46 percent of the model’s buyers coming from Generation Y or Generation X. By comparison, Toyota and Scion’s three subcompact models are drawing just 36 percent of their buyers from the same generations, and the Fiesta outsold all of those vehicles combined in the first half of this year.

“The Fiesta attracts young drivers with its affordability and fuel efficiency, but the car’s technology might be even more important because it fulfills the desire of millennials to stay connected out on the road,” said Jim McGovern, general manager of Ford of Londonderry, a New Hampshire Ford dealer near Manchester. “More than half of all Fiesta buyers cite the voice-activated Ford SYNC feature as an important factor in their purchase, and they can now opt for the more comprehensive SYNC with MyFord Touch technology for the 2014 model year.”

Allowing drivers to initiate hands-free phone calls, receive audible text messages and stream Pandora Internet radio, the optional SYNC with MyFord Touch infotainment system in the 2014 Ford Fiesta features enhanced voice commands and a 6.5-inch touchscreen. Advanced technology also extends to the subcompact’s drivetrain, as the Fiesta SE with the Super Fuel Economy package incorporates a new dual-clutch PowerShift automatic transmission and aerodynamic parts to return a class-leading 41 mpg on the highway.

The 2014 Ford Fiesta should extend its fuel-economy lead further when it receives a new 1.0-liter EcoBoost three-cylinder engine as an option later this year. In the meantime, the new performance-focused Fiesta ST is about to roll out to dealerships with a 1.6-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder producing 197 horsepower. That impressive output will be complemented by aggressive touches inside and out, including a unique black-mesh grille, a high-mounted body-color rear spoiler and optional RECARO bolstered sports seats in Molten Orange or Smoke Storm.

“We expect that the new ST model and the 1.0-liter EcoBoost will only serve to expand the Fiesta’s share of millennial buyers,” added McGovern. “The Fiesta ST will cater to a smaller but passionate group of young driving enthusiasts, while the three-cylinder EcoBoost will provide millennials with incredible gas mileage without sacrificing responsiveness.”

Jun 19

Ford F-150 Reclaims Title of Most American-Made Vehicle from Cars.com

2013 Ford F-150

With more foreign automakers producing vehicles within the United States, the term “American made” has taken on a more nuanced meaning in recent years. In fact, for the last four years, the Camry from Japanese company Toyota had led the Cars.com American-Made Index (AMI). This year, however, an iconic American vehicle returned to the top of the list: the Ford F-150 pickup truck.

The Cars.com AMI looks at vehicles that are built and bought stateside, rating them based on their percentage of domestic parts and the strength of their U.S. sales. Produced in Dearborn, Mich., and Claycomo, Mo., the Ford F-150 grabbed the No. 1 spot on the AMI for the first time since 2008, boosted by its 75 percent domestic-parts content and its popularity at dealerships. This year, sales of the F-Series are up by 22 percent through May compared to the same period in 2012.

“The Ford F-150 is not only America’s best-selling vehicle, but also a perfect embodiment of our country’s work-hard-play-hard philosophy, so it’s a natural fit at the top of the Cars.com AMI,” said Jim McGovern, general manager of Ford of Londonderry, a New Hampshire Ford dealer. “Everywhere you turn this Fourth of July, you’ll see F-150s hauling the essentials to the cookouts and fireworks displays, and when the holiday has passed, they’ll be found on virtually every worksite throughout America.”

The 2013 Ford F-150 recently proved that it can lead in substance just as well as it does in sales, winning the 2013 Light-Duty Challenge from PickupTrucks.com and Popular Mechanics magazine. Editors at both publications gathered the six light-duty pickup trucks currently on the market and evaluated their performance, as well as their exterior and interior quality.

Though the offerings from Chevy, GMC and Ram all had the advantage of being newly redesigned, Ford’s F-150 still dominated when it came to capability, finishing in first or second place in 11 out of the 13 performance tests in the Light-Duty Challenge. Housing a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine, the 2013 Ford F-150 XLT SuperCrew led its competitors with 420 pound-feet of torque while boasting the highest maximum payload and towing figures of 1,630 pounds and 11,080 pounds, respectively. The model also achieved the fastest 0 – 60 mph time when hauling 1,200 pounds, as well as when towing an 8,500-pound trailer. Not to mention, it also had the shortest 60 – 0 mph braking distance when unloaded.

“The recently redesigned models in the light-duty pickup segment have shown a lot of flash, but when it comes down to it, they still trail well behind the Ford F-150 when they’re judged on the rugged capabilities that drivers really want from a truck,” added McGovern. “On top of that, F-150 buyers can opt for Ford’s EcoBoost technology to enjoy all that performance without paying an arm and a leg for it at the gas pump.”

May 31

Ford Fusion Earns Pair of Awards for Quality and Family Friendliness

Ford Fusion exterior

The Ford Fusion continues to impress critics and customers alike following its redesign for the 2013 model year, recently earning a fresh pair of awards from Strategic Vision and Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com. Strategic Vision presented the 2013 Fusion with a Total Quality Award in the Mid-Size Car category, while KBB.com named the sedan one of its 10 Best Family Cars of 2013.

Strategic Vision’s Total Quality Index (TQI) is distinguished from other automotive quality studies because it not only factors in the problems that a vehicle experiences, but also customers’ perceptions and how passionate they feel about their ride. The TQI study covers 155 specific aspects of a vehicle’s quality, rating participants’ responses on a scale that ranges from “I Love It” to “A Failure.” Measured within a 1,000-point system, the 2013 Ford Fusion scored 908 points, beating out the Chevy Volt and the Kia Optima. Ford’s F-250 and F-350 also topped the Heavy-Duty Pickup segment in the study.

“Strategic Vision’s TQI study really gets to the heart of why the 2013 Fusion has been so popular, because it is not only engineered to be extremely reliable, but designed to get an emotional response from drivers as well,” said Peter King, general manager of Watertown Ford, a Massachusetts Ford dealership. “The new Fusion is one of the most boldly styled midsize sedans on the market with its hexagonal grille, slanted headlights and sharp creases, but it also has all the practicality of a traditional family car.”

The Fusion’s mix of exotic styling and child-friendly credentials helped the model earn its place on the 10 Best Family Cars of 2013 list from KBB.com. Editors also lauded the sedan’s wide variety of powertrain choices, including two responsive-yet-efficient EcoBoost gas engines and two gas-electric options: the Fusion Hybrid and Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid. Inside the cabin, the new Fusion was praised for its geek-worthy helping of technology, like its available voice-activated SYNC with MyFord Touch infotainment system and its SmartGauge with EcoGuide, which helps drivers optimize fuel efficiency in real time.

While industry accolades from the likes of Strategic Vision and KBB.com are an added bonus, a vehicle’s performance in the showroom is the ultimate measure of success, and the Ford Fusion is proving it can move models at dealerships. Through April of this year, sales of the Fusion are up by 25 percent compared to the same period last year. Meanwhile, Ford’s midsize offering has gained more than 2 percent of market share in its segment to close in on competitors like the Toyota Camry, which has seen its market share fall by about 1 percent.

“The Fusion’s standout styling and its five powertrain options have attracted a wide range of buyers, from the performance junkies to the eco-conscious and everyone in between,” King noted. “The car could be a game-changer because it is finally putting real pressure on sedans like the Camry, which have stood at the top of the sales charts for a long time but have failed to truly innovate in recent years.”

Apr 01

Vehicle Shoppers on KBB.com Choose Ford as Best Car Styling Brand

While auto journalists and other industry experts are often the deciders of car-of-the-year awards and the like, it is ultimately the car shopper who determines the long-term success of an automaker’s lineup. To that effect, Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com recently released its 2013 Brand Image Awards, which were decided by thousands of prospective buyers who visited the auto researcher’s site. After opinions were analyzed, Ford emerged as the Best Car Styling Brand among non-luxury contenders, marking the third straight year that KBB.com has recognized the marque for its exterior designs.

Determined by the feedback of more than 12,000 KBB.com visitors, the Brand Image Awards measure an auto brand’s ability to maintain certain attributes that create enthusiasm among buyers. KBB.com editors cited Ford’s attractive new design language when dishing out its Best Car Styling Brand award, including its application on the Ford Fusion midsize sedan and Ford Escape compact SUV, both of which received redesigns for the 2013 model year.

“Since the middle of the last decade, Ford has invested a lot into its lineup to create models that manage to be edgy and exciting, but also extremely fuel efficient,” said Peter King, general manager of Watertown Ford, a Massachusetts Ford dealership. “The redesigned Ford Fusion is the latest and perhaps best example because it has the boldest design in the midsize segment, yet it is available with a variety of efficient-yet-responsive drivetrains.”

In December, KBB.com named the Ford Fusion its 2013 Best Redesigned Vehicle, calling the model the “hottest-looking” car in its crowded class. Ford’s new midsize sedan is set apart by a prominent hexagonal grille, laser-cut headlights and sharp creases on its front fascia and flanks. KBB.com editors also praised the impressive fuel efficiency of the car’s five available drivetrains, which include a standard 2.5-liter engine, two EcoBoost powerplants and two gas-electric options: the Fusion Hybrid and Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid.

Despite its sleek exterior, the 2013 Ford Fusion was designed to be just as functional as it is fashionable. As allergy season arrives this spring, Fusion owners will benefit from interior materials that were chosen to limit allergic reactions and prevent the irritation of existing allergies. Ford engineers tested more than 100 materials and components of the Fusion to eliminate or reduce the use of potential irritants like natural latex, nickel and hexavalent chromium.

“Whether it is style, safety, sustainability or just a case of the sniffles, Ford thought of everything when designing the new Fusion,” King noted. “Allergies can be an unwanted driving distraction when the pollen count is high, but the Fusion was outfitted with advanced air filters to keep most of those particles outside where they belong.”

 

Feb 28

Ford Dominates in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Cars for the Money Awards

Car buyers are often forced to choose between a model that is enjoyable to drive or one that is easy on the wallet, but U.S. News & World Report recently honored a group of vehicles that offer the best of both worlds. The news publication’s 2013 Best Cars for the Money Awards feature more Ford models than any other auto brand, with the 2013 Ford Focus, Fusion, Fusion Hybrid, Taurus, Edge and Escape all leading their segments.

The U.S. News Best Cars for the Money Awards are not determined only by the opinions of the automotive press, but also by a wealth of industry data. Editors factor in average price paid and five-year total cost of ownership from TrueCar.com, reliability information from J.D. Power and Associates and crash testing from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. After all was said and done, Ford landed six models on the 2013 list, with the Taurus topping the Large Cars segment for the fourth year in a row and the Edge emerging victorious in the Midsize SUVs with 2 Rows category for the second straight year.

“Whether you’re looking for a compact car, a midsize hybrid or a crossover, the U.S. News awards show that you’re going to get a great deal with a Ford and, perhaps more importantly, that you won’t regret your decision once you put the vehicle through its paces,” said Jim McGovern, general manager of Ford of Londonderry, a New Hampshire Ford dealer. “Ford has worked feverishly in recent years to simultaneously improve reliability, safety and fuel efficiency, and its entire lineup is benefiting from those efforts.”

A significant factor in Ford’s push for greater fuel economy has been the success of its new EcoBoost engines, which combine direct injection, turbocharging and variable valve timing to improve gas mileage without diminishing performance. In response to increased consumer demand, the automaker recently announced that it will bring production of its 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine from Valencia, Spain, to its Cleveland Engine Plant for North American models in late 2014, a nearly $200 million move that will create 450 new jobs at the Ohio facility.

The 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine is available on four of Ford’s Best Cars for the Money award winners, including the Edge, Escape, Fusion and Taurus, as well as on the Focus ST performance trim and the Explorer SUV. In the all-new 2013 Ford Fusion, the unit churns out 240 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque, yet it still returns up to 33 mpg on the highway. Ford predicts that it will sell more than 500,000 EcoBoost-powered vehicles in the United States this year, a big jump over the 334,364 units sold stateside in 2012.

“Fuel efficiency can have a lasting impact on a car’s value, but a lot of that appeal gets lost if the engine can’t produce responsive performance at the same time,” added McGovern. “Ford’s EcoBoost powerplants address that issue by ensuring that your commute is not only less costly, but also more fun, and that is proving to be a very compelling thought for buyers.”

Feb 04

New Ford Fusion Adds to Safety Credentials with NHTSA Five-Star Rating

In December the redesigned 2013 Ford Fusion received the exclusive new Top Safety Pick+ designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Now the sleek midsize sedan has added another bullet point to its safety resume, earning a five-star Overall Vehicle Score in the New Car Assessment Program from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Like the IIHS, the NHTSA recently upped the standards of its crash-protection tests, expanding its injury criteria, incorporating broader data from dummies and introducing more tests starting with 2011-model-year vehicles. The new Ford Fusion proved it had all the angles covered in the stringent frontal, side-impact and rollover evaluations, thanks to a new Personal Safety System featuring advanced front crash sensors and a chassis composed of 10 percent more high-strength steel than its predecessor.

“The Fusion has been making waves for its bold new styling and impressive fuel economy, but it has quickly proven that it is built to protect its most precious cargo as well,” said Peter King, general manager of Watertown Ford, a Greater Boston Ford dealership. “With available active safety technologies like a Blind Spot Information System and Lane Keeping Assist, the Fusion can help prevent accidents from happening in the first place, but buyers should take comfort in knowing that it provides optimum protection should the worst happen.”

The Fusion family is expanding to include an all-new model, the 2013 Ford Fusion Energi. An advanced plug-in hybrid, the Fusion Energi was recently rated by the EPA to have a total range of 620 miles, which is enough to travel from Boston to Virginia Beach without stopping for gas. For shorter trips in and around the city, the vehicle can drive up to 21 miles on electricity alone, nearly three times as long as the all-electric range of the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid.

Returning up to 108 MPGe in the city, the Fusion Energi is the most fuel-efficient sedan on sale in the United States, combining a 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle engine and an electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery pack. Meanwhile, drivers can optimize all that efficiency using the Smart Gauge with EcoGuide cluster, which communicates detailed real-time information about fuel economy through two 4.2-inch LCD screens.

“You wouldn’t think that the Fusion Energi is America’s most fuel-efficient sedan by looking at it, because the Fusion is one of the more aggressively designed models in the midsize segment,” King noted. “However, when you start to use all the intuitive technology that Ford has included inside, you begin to realize that its engineers have designed everything with smarter driving in mind.”