It drives like a hybrid - with a whiny CVT transmission and more leisurely acceleration than some might like - but at heart Ford's 2017 Fusion hybrid is a very nice car. And if you don't want a hybrid, they make enough other models to satisfy nearly everyone.
Those "other models" include a plug in hybrid and a Fusion Sport that sounds really fun and interesting (more on that in a future column) - and there's also a Platinum trim level now that tosses about every creature comfort and technological gewgaw you could think of into the mix.
But this column is about my week in the Fusion hybrid, in its Titanium trim level. And if you take it out of eco mode and ignore the CVT's whine, you might find it a very nice choice in the mid-size sedan niche. more...
There are many reasons why Ford's F-150 truck is the biggest selling vehicle in North America, and has been for decades. It's rugged, hauls a lot of stuff, and with every generation it gets more advanced and sophisticated.
The current generation, for those who've missed the many, many commercials for the F-150, even switched from a steel-intensive body structure to one made of "military grade" (whatever that means) aluminum. That decreases the vehicle's weight, which can increase its payload capacity and/or reduce fuel consumption, both of which can be handy features in a large utility vehicle such as this.
It's near the end of the model year, but Ford of Canada sent me a 2016 Limited trim level of the F-150 to drive anyway and, truck person that I am not, I wasn't really looking forward to it. But - alert the media - I really liked driving it, its size and utility notwithstanding. more...
In the tradition of the little engine that could, Ford really could call its Flex crossover the minivan that isn't.
That's because it isn't a minivan, but it might as well be. Even better, it isn't an SUV either, as compared with most "other" SUV's on the market. And it's a station wagon, too! Really, the Flex is one of the few true "crossovers" I can think of, a vehicle that transcends the niches between the various and supposedly "soccer mom movers" that make up a so much of the marketplace.
Ford could be accused of trying to maximize sales by straddling the line between two or three, niches, but that would only be fair if the company had come out with some mishmash that didn't do any job adequately. Fortunately, the Flex is, if not formidable, at least very good - and surprisingly driveable as long as you keep its turning circle in mind when you're angle parking. more...
It wasn't exactly a mid-life crisis, but it sure may have looked like it to people not inside the car.
I'm referring to my recent week in the 2016 Ford Mustang GT convertible, which just happened to coincide with my 64th birthday and came at a time when the weather cried out for a ragtop.
Mustang has always been my favourite muscle car, sometimes called Pony car - but only because the Mustang is the original pony car, appearing first in 1964 and changing the fun car market ever since then. Well, mostly. There were some Mustangs during the 1970's that weren't fit to carry the horse logo and, I have to admit, none of the Mustangs really turned my crank between 1970 and the car's reboot in the early 2000's.
But that's just me. The Mustang has cantered on all through those years regardless of what I thought of it and now the car exists with its most attractive styling ever; it's also full of modern electronics and gewgaws, yet it retains its pony car demeanour and heart - an interesting balancing act Ford seems to have pulled off with aplomb. more...
Ford's top selling Fusion has a new look and new capabilities for 2017, and if my all-too-brief experience with the car on its introduction in British Columbia last week is any indication, it should continue to be a popular choice with consumers.
Ford of Canada invited me, and a gaggle of other car writers, to sample the 2017 Fusion, which isn't a complete redesign but is still a major rethink of what was a pretty decent car already. Ford has made a number of tweaks they think - and they're probably right - will help keep the car competitive in this bread-and-butter market niche that also features such great vehicles as the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Mazda6, VW Passat, Kia Optima, Hyundai Sonata etc. etc. etc. more...
Talk about having a backup plan!
Whether you're towing a boat trailer, a camper - or a howitzer - one of the biggest challenges is backing the thing up without your little train skewing off in the wrong direction. But Ford thinks it has the solution, with a nifty wrinkle it's making available on some of its new pickup trucks.
Called "Pro Trailer Backup Assist," the thing is kind of analogous to the self-parking feature Ford and others have introduced over the past several years, except that instead of being designed for cars driven by the parking-challenged and aimed mostly at parallel parking, it's meant to help truck drivers back their trailers into spaces - boat launch ramps, loading docks, driveways, whatever - easily and reasonably quickly.
The company demoed the feature at a recent event on the eve of the Calgary Auto Show, an event at which they also introduced their new Super Duty and Raptor pickups, a couple of workhorses (well, one could be thought of as a "funhorse") that look extremely capable. more...
Ford's supposedly mid-sized SUV/Crossover has been redone for the 2015 model year, but fans of the old Edge won't find themselves left out in the cold by the redesign. The question is whether people who hadn't fallen for the Edge already will notice the differences.
By writing that, I don't mean to damn the Edge with faint praise, because it's a decent vehicle. But I wonder if it's enough to stand out in a very crowded market niche - and I guess only time will tell. The new Edge, like the old one, is modern and handsome, if a tad bland, and if Ford has corrected the electrical gremlins that plagued the last Edge I drove (and there was no sign of them during my review) it should serve its customers well. more...
What do you do for an encore when your F-150 pickup has been the best-selling vehicle in Canada for nearly 50 years, especially when it faces absolutely furious competition?
It appears you up the ante by lowering the weight, then sweeten the deal by cramming the truck full of modern amenities, from LED lighting to handy steps to the box – and a lot more.
Ford of Canada invited me to join a gaggle of auto journalists as it put on a wintery demonstration of the new model that started in Quebec City and ended in a rock quarry in the Charlevoix area a couple of hours away. It was very cold and humid, and snowy as heck – a real shock to a guy whose home town of Calgary experienced record-breaking high temperatures about a week before. more...
It may look like a James Bond-mobile when you first see it coming at you on the road, but don't confuse Ford's Fusion with high end sports cars. Fusion, in all of its guises, is a decidedly mainstream vehicle - almost pedestrian, if you can say that about a car.
And in its hybrid suit of clothes it's even less sporty, but could save you some money at the gas pump.
That saving, of course, is after you pay the initial "hybrid tax" in the way of a higher sticker price than its gas siblings, but it may pay for itself if you keep the Fusion long enough. more...
This "bread and butter car" competes in a very crowded market niche - everything but the kitchen sink, including the VW Jetta, the Hyundai Elantra, Kia Forte, Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic and many more - and it goes head to head with some pretty fine vehicles. Obviously, Ford's work is cut out for it to get this car noticed in such as rapidly improving throng.
Fortunately, Ford seems to be up to the task because the 2014 Focus SE Ford of Canada supplied as a test vehicle was a nice car to drive, handsome, equipped well, and priced competitively. Sounds like a winner - and from the number of Foci I see on the streets wherever I go, people must be noticing. more...
Small cars are practical and efficient, usually, but many people like a sense of fun in their wheels as well. This led to the "hot hatch" category, as well as a number of sporty cars that weld shut the rear doors in the hope of adding some of that elusive fun.
So we have the subjects of this piece, Ford's little hot hatch Fiesta ST and Honda's reasonably fun little two door Civic - one coupe and one sedan - and despite two doors sometimes translating into more fun than four, it's the most-portaled car that's the hotter of the two. More doors to adore, as it were! more...
How does your car get its "energi?" Is it solar, nuclear, coal-fired, wind, natural gas?
However it gets its power, chances are you aren't really helping Person Earth unless your car is solar powered - in which case it isn't much practical use considering the state of the art today. If your raison d'être for going electric is gladdening Gaia, have fun explaining how mining the material for, transporting, building and eventually disposing of all those batteries helps the environment. Not only that but, since weight is the enemy of efficiency, how exactly do those extra kilos of batteries help?
Inconvenient truths, eh?
On the other hand, if you just don't like spending more money on gasoline than you have to, the lack of electric-powered range doesn't bother you, you don't mind the cash premium for electrification (despite government grants that force your neighbors to help pay for your car) or you simply must have the latest whiz bang technology (let alone great torque!), an argument can be made for electric vehicles. more...
Drumheller, Alberta – When your bread and butter truck, the F-150, has led the market in sales for years and years, what's left to do to stay ahead?
Well, if you're Ford, you stay on top of the issues, of what consumers want, of what technology allows that it wouldn't before. So it is that Ford, in its 2013 F-150 line, is tweaking its already winning inventory in hopes that its existing customer base will like it, and that maybe some people who prefered other brands may be convinced to switch.
Ford chose the Alberta Badlands – home of the world famous Royal Tyrrell Museum and enough dinosaur remains to create the biggest prehistoric epic movie you could imagine – to introduce the 2013 models to a bunch of fossils they invited for their show. Fossils, as in writers (though there were quite a few youngsters there as well, damn their eyes), who were invited to drive a plethora of different F-150's around the starkly beautiful Drumheller area. more...
Ford puts the "sport" into its Explorer sport ute
Ford's big Explorer "crossover" has taken a decidedly sporty turn, with a hot engine that ups the power ante substantially.
Sport, of course, is subjective, and it's hard to take a vehicle as big as the Explorer seriously as a sports car. On the other hand, since it is a so-called "Sport Utility Vehicle," maybe it's only appropriate that Ford has finally dropped its marvelous twin turbo V6 EcoBoost engine into it. And what a difference it makes! more...
Ford C-MAX a surprisingly interesting drive
Hold on, Prius owner wannabes. Ford has a new kid in the hybrid game and they think it'll make you think twice about jumping into a Prius.
It's the C-MAX, available in two versions, and it's a pretty neat vehicle as far as hybrids are concerned.
I first heard the C-MAX mentioned on the radio, so perhaps I can be forgiven for believing that the "sea max" was a new amphibious vehicle – a car with which you can "Ford" every stream, as it were.
Of course when I saw the spelling, I thought about Einstein – in that the C-MAX was really, really fast ("C", in Einstein speak, being the speed of light).
The reality of course is somewhat different. The C-MAX isn't going to break speed, nor will it let you drive to your Hawaiian vacation. But it will let you zip around your home area smartly and efficiently, and with a tad more panache than you might expect from some of its competitors such as the Prius. more...
Ford Sharpens its Focus for 2012
Ford's newly designed Focus takes a previously dumpy-looking but otherwise good car and brings it more in line with the competitive models the company hopes buyers won't choose.
And judging by the number of new Foci I've seen on my local roads already, in the short time it's been available, the new model appears to be doing the job. Why not? It's a good car, modern, equipped very well and – as a bonus – it's even fun to drive. more...
Ford Hones its Edge for 2011
Talk about living on the Edge!
Ford's popular midsize SUV enters the 2011 model year with upgraded features and technology, including enough high tech gewgaws to be the stuff of geek dreams. As with so many things technological, however, the gadgetry proved it could be a tad problematic.
The front Edge, er, end of the vehicle also sports a new nose, one that gives it a more aggressive look than before. I don't like it as much as the old one, but no one asked me. more...
Ford Fusion Hybrid Seductive Temptation for the Hybrid-averse
Ford's Fusion Hybrid manages to toe the line between green and "GO!" extremely well. It's a high mileage-achieving mid-size sedan that still manages to be a compelling vehicle to drive, something that can't be said for most hybrids I've driven.
All of which led me to be very pleasantly surprised by the 2011 Ford Fusion Hybrid with which I spent a week recently. Not only is it a very nice car to be in, and to drive, I even got what I would consider excellent gas mileage considering my lead footed driving style. more...
TechnoFile updates the Ford Explorer
I also got to spend a week in the new Ford Explorer, a welcome test since I'd driven it at the Canadian model introduction a month or so earlier and was looking forward to some quality seat time on my own.
The new Explorer takes the vehicle's traditional body-on-frame construction – which means it was basically truck-like but with no bed – and replaces it with the unibody construction that's become so popular with cars and crossovers in today's marketplace. I never drove the old version, but I liked the new one a lot.
My sample wore the Limited trim, which included three rows of seats and plenty of technology. That technology included the MyFord Touch interface the company ballyhoos so much, which gave me a second look at the system. more...
New Engines Power Ford's Line of F-150 Trucks
Calgary, Alberta - Ford's iconic F-150 pickup truck enters the second decade of the second millennium bristling with new power choices and features the company hopes will keep it at the top end of the best selling truck list.
And if the demonstration they set up for us holds true in the real world, they probably will.
We gathered at Race City Motorsports Park in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, on a chilly and snowy supposedly-spring day to put the F-150 and two of its chief competitors through their paces under a variety of conditions, from heavy (well, heavy to me!) hauling to acceleration and handling tests on a tight, twisty road course. more...
Explorer Covers New Territory for Ford
Quebec, Canada – It bristles with high tech new features, and Ford is hoping its new Explorer will be discovered by armies of consumers searching for just the right big SUV.
Ford introduced the all-new 2011 Explorer to a group of media folk at a "Winter Adventure" in the ultra-frosty climes of Quebec City and environs, an event that also proved the value of a good heating system for that time of year when the temperature drops to near Absolute Zero.
Fortunately, the Explorer's heater works well! Even better, there's a lot more about it that works well, including the MyFord Touch interface and a bunch of safety and driving aid features that can help keep the Explorer planted wheels down regardless of the terrain. more...
Ford Mustang V6 Convertible – Ponying Up Topless Fun
When it comes to having fun in a Mustang, you don't absolutely need a V8 engine.
Okay, an "eight banger" does up the oomph ante substantially, but with today's six cylinder engines now putting out power that was once reserved for eight or more cylinders, it's amazing to see just how quickly you can go from zero to "Oops, sorry Officer" in a V6.
Six cylinders also offer the advantage of generally using less gasoline than eight, so there's not only the initial savings you can achieve by buying the more "entry level" engine, but the ongoing costs at the pump. more...
Ford Fiesta Meets Scion xD
One's a Canadian Car of the Year contender, the other's a boxy hauler. But which one's a better car?
Well, if you believe the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada members, it would have to be the Ford Fiesta, the company's new-to-North-America entry level car that scored top marks in its class at the recent Canadian Car of the Year TestFest. Fiesta bested the Scion xD compared here, as well as three other entrants for the title of Best Small Car under $21,000 (Canadian dollars). But it really depends on what you need. more...
Ford Transit Connect Delivers
Ford's new little delivery van really does "deliver the goods", as it were.
Depending on the type of business you own, the Transit Connect might be just what the doctor ordered. It's small for such a vehicle and the fact that it doesn't offer a huge amount of power may limit its practicality, but for what it is, it's very good. more...
Ford Flex Gets an Eco-Boost for 2010
Ford's Flex has a new heart this year, new motivation for both the vehicle and perhaps for those interested in buying it.
It's Ford's Ecoboost technology, which includes the company's new twin turbo 3.5 liter V6 that Ford says delivers V8 power with V6 fuel economy. It's a peach of a system and it produces 355 horsepower, which Ford says is 35 percent more than that of the base Flex's V6, and 350 ft.-lb. of torque, up 41 percent.
The engine is connected to a six speed "SelectShift" automatic transmission with a manual mode that includes paddle shifters that let you take control over the shifting, even to it providing rev-matching downshifts – which comes in handy, both when the open road beckons and in more mundane circumstances such as going down hills where you want to take advantage of engine braking. more...
Ford F-150 Raptor a Real Attention Getter
Judging by the reception I got during my week with Ford's outrageous SVT pickup truck, the company is causing much lust among truckophiles.
I kid you not; of all the vehicles I've driven over the past decade or so, none got as much attention from neighbors, strangers and passersby as the Molten Orange (which looks like red to me) Raptor. Not Porsche, not Mercedes Benz, not Lexus; none of them had people gather in front of my house or in parking lots or on the streets, peeking into the Raptor like kids pressing their faces against a candy store window.
I have to hand it to Ford. They've certainly created a show stopper. more...
Ford's Hot Taurus Sedan – It's SHO Time!
Ford's new Taurus SHO is another welcome sign the company may be making a comeback, product-wise at least, avoiding the government takeover to which its domestic competitors succumbed.
It deserves to sell. I spent a week in a loaded SHO (as opposed to "loaded in an SHO") and liked it a lot – much more than I thought I would. Even its exterior, which had seemed bland, even frumpy, in my brief glances previously, grew on me.
While the exterior may be the car's weakest link, the interior is top notch and, at least in its upgraded SHO configuration, the car's performance is exhilarating. more...
Ford Previews Small Car at Vancouver Fiesta
Europe has it already, and now Ford's terrific little Fiesta subcompact is getting ready to tackle the North American market.
The Fiesta is meant to go head to head with competitors such as the Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris and Nissan Versa, and Ford is so excited about its potential that it flew a group of writers to Vancouver, British Columbia, to sample the version on sale currently in Europe and, undoubtedly, whet our appetites for the car. And whet it they did. more...
2010 Mustang Freshened, but Still Packs Muscle
The original muscle car finds itself facing serious competition from the government-controlled domestic car industry as the Dodge Challenger and Chevy Camaro vie for a slice of the Pony car market the Mustang once had to itself.
Perhaps that's why, for 2010, the Mustang has been freshened somewhat, though not enough to be considered a major redesign. more...
Lincoln MKZ and Ford Fusion – Variations on a Theme
Whether you want your car luxurious or mainstream, the Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ sedans are nice pieces of work.
I spent nearly back-to-back weeks with the four cylinder Fusion and the V6 MKZ, both of which were new 2010 models, and came away more impressed than I had expected to be. more...
Focusing on a Ford and a Honda you Really "Odyssey"
"Fun to drive" may not be everyone's priority, but if an everyday vehicle also has some of that factor built in it can certainly make life with it more pleasant. Such is the case with a couple of 2009 vehicles I drove recently that, while nowhere near "all new" or "all fun" are still worth a look if you're shopping for a compact sedan or minivan.
The sedan, the Ford Focus, is a pleasant and well-equipped, if "style-challenged" vehicle that performs better than you might expect considering its niche near the lower end of the market. And the minivan, the 2009 Honda Odyssey, is about as nice a way to haul people and their stuff as you can get. more....
Ford F-150 Vs. Dodge Ram – Head to Head Haulers
Big and brawny, with plenty of towing and hauling capability, the latest generations of full size pickup trucks are the most capable and sophisticated yet. But what are they like to drive?
That's the question I asked when going into back-to-back weeks with the 2009 Dodge Ram and Ford F-150, two of the most popular examples of the big beasties. more....
Ford Flexes its Marketing Muscles with New Crossover
It's big, it's boxy, it's flexible! It's the new Flex, Ford's latest entry into the increasingly crowded crossover market
I took a brand new Flex on a trip across Vancouver Island and the lower mainland of British Columbia, Canada, and it performed well, better, in fact, than I thought it would. more....
Pickin' and Grinnin'? How about Truckin' and Vannin'
There are utility vehicles and there are utility vehicles. Some, like the Ford Explorer Sport Trac are part pickup truck and part SUV. Others, like Ford's Taurus X, are part SUV and part minivan.
Such vehicles are called crossovers today for the most part, undoubtedly because SUV's and pickup trucks have been deemed evil by a gang of vocal busybodies who'd rather see us walk than transport our families and stuff in the manner of our own choosing. But while the term "Crossover" fits well with the Taurus X, the Explorer Sport Trac is at heart an SUV converted into a pickup truck, and it looks and acts like one, too. more....
Car Enthusiasts Converge for Classic Ford Fiesta
They called it a "T Party," and that description suited the event to, well, a T.
It was the celebration of the Ford Model T's 100th anniversary, a week-long bash in and around Richmond, Indiana put on by the Model T Ford Club of America, with Ford offering support. The event saw literally hundreds of Ford Model T's of varying age, state of restoration, and configuration take over the Wayne County Fairgrounds for a gigantic group hug and hat tip to the vehicle that sold more than 15 million copies during its reign and helped change the world as we know it. more....
Ford Sharpens its Focus
Ford's Focus isn't all new, but it's freshened and, according to Ford, features an all-new interior and improved driving dynamics.
Updating the car is probably a good idea, because it sits in one of the most competitive niches in the marketplace, going head to head with vehicles such as the Toyota Corolla, Volkswagen Jetta, Hyundai Elantra, Honda Civic and others. more....
Ford Escape Hybrid – Cheap on Gas, With Room to Haul
The test unit may have been a pretty "Light Ice Blue Metallic" color, but to Ford the Escape Hybrid is all green.
And why not? Ford claims the Escape Hybrid is "the cleanest and most fuel-efficient SUV in the world," getting up to 41 U.S. mpg (5.7 liters/100 km in Canadian parlance) in city driving, which they say is 14 per cent better than the 2007 model and 80 per cent better in city driving than the V6 gasoline burning Escape. That's pretty good no matter how you slice it, especially in a time of high gas prices. more....
Ford Taurus is no Bull...
Ford says there have been more than 500 changes made to the Taurus (not including the names), to make it "more distinctive, quieter, faster and safer." Highlights include "new exterior styling, a new powertrain, a new all-wheel-drive system, more standard safety features and structural upgrades to further enhance crash protection." more....
Ford unveils plug-in hybrid vehicle (AP)
Ford Motor Co. is joining the list of automakers working on a plug-in
hybrid - with a twist. It combines the convenience of plugging in
your car with a zero-emissions hydrogen fuel cell. more....
Let there be no confusion: Ford is hoping
for a profusion of its new Fusion on roads around North America,
and judging by the Fusions that are starting to appear on
the roads in my neck of the woods they may not be wishing
The Fusion, new for 2006 and the replacement for the aged
Taurus, shares the same basic platform as the terrific Mazda
6 sedan, a car I like a lot. But it doesn't look much like
a 6 inside or out; instead, it sports its own skin and demeanor
and that's not a bad thing. more...
Ford Escape Vs. Toyota Highlander Hybrids
It’s the battle of the hybrid SUV’s!
In the green corner, the Ford Escape, a nice if somewhat
bland vehicle that’s pretty good for hauling, if pretty
boring to drive. In the other green corner, the Toyota Highlander,
a Camry-based SUV that feels more like a car than a truck,
and which is not quite as boring to drive.
So which is the winner? more...
Ford Ponies Up the Fun in Retro Mustang
It was just like having a midlife crisis, then being able
to get back to reality again without having ruined my life
in the meantime.
“It” was a week with Ford’s new Mustang
GT, the latest and possibly greatest version (not including
the various Shelbys, Machs and the like, perhaps) of the
car that changed the business back in the 1960’s.
I took my Drivers’ Ed (kind of like Mister Ed, but
featuring horsepower instead of a horse) in a 1969 Mustang
convertible back longer ago than I’d care to admit,
though as a hint I’ll admit that the car was new at
the time. Three students and one instructor poured ourselves
into the pony during the dead of winter and learned our stuff,
including such cold weather exercises as parking lot donuts,
though I’m not sure that was really part of the curriculum.
When you think tough, and you think wheels, you think truck.
Trucks are vehicles for when you have things to do, stuff
to haul, lousy terrain to cover. A full size truck is big,
brawny and loaded for bear. And theyre extremely popular,
for the above reasons and others.
Alas, Im more of a SNAG (sensitive new age guy, though
Im sure my wife disagrees about the sensitive and new
age parts) with a healthier dose of couch potatoness than
optimal. So a lot of the benefits of a serious truck are
lost on me, at least until its time to get firewood.
That doesnt mean I dont want to drive one if
the opportunity comes along, though; the broader cross section
of vehicles I experience the better my perspective about
things automotive and, hopefully, the more relevant these
ramblings are. more...