The 2013 Ford C-Max has become one of the country’s favorite hybrid vehicles by showing off impressive fuel-economy figures, nimble proportions and a surprisingly spacious cabin. That customer demand has now extended to a new kind of customer: Ford reports that more and more taxi fleet operators are turning to the 2013 Ford C-Max. Ford’s high-efficiency hybrid is already on the job in cities like San Francisco and New York, backed by an EPA-certified rating of 43 mpg in combined driving and a 522-mile overall range. That gives the 2013 Ford C-Max a major advantage over its competition in terms of helping taxi drivers save on fuel costs, while offering nearly 100 cubic feet of passenger space. Then there’s the new 2014 Ford Transit Connect Taxi. Building on the next-gen Transit Connect that will go on sale in the U.S. early next year, the vehicle provides cab owners with advantages like: Seating for five, plus 60.5 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row A lowered floor for easy passenger ingress/egress Eligibility for wheel-chair accessibility package from Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifiers A lowered overall vehicle height, allowing owners more rooftop clearance for advertising Standard motivation for the 2014 Transit Connect Taxi is a new powertrain that combines a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with an advanced six-speed automatic transmission, which results in quick response during city driving and particularly high fuel-economy marks when cruising the highway. But there’s a greener option, too, since Ford partners can reconfigure the vehicle to run on inexpensive, clean-burning compressed natural gas. “Ford Transit Connect Taxi has proven itself in taxi fleets across the U.S.,” said Raj Nair, group vice president, global product development. “Now, we are building on that success, offering the vehicle for sale in even more markets, including global cities like Hong Kong.” Source: https://media.ford.com/content/fordmedia/fna/us/en/news/2013/10/21/new-ford-transit-connect-taxi-ready-for-service-from-new-york-ci.html Written by Charles Krome. Photo courtesy of Ford.
When it comes to sustainability, even details as small as a grain of rice can make a difference. In fact, for the 2014 Ford F-150, it will be actual rice that’s adding to the truck’s green reputation. Hulls from the grain are being mixed with plastic to create a more environmentally friendly material for use with the pickup’s electrical harnesses. “We developed this resin specifically for Ford over the last three years, working with the automaker closely, including in all phases of material qualification,” said David Preston, director of business development for RheTech, the Michigan-based firm that will supply the material. “The whole process has been a rewarding success for both Ford and RheTech.” It should be rewarding for Arkansas rice farmers, too, since Ford will be counting on them for some 45,000 lbs. of rice hulls in the first year of production alone. This is just the latest example of the Blue Oval going green with the Ford F-150. Each new pickup is packed with recycled and sustainable materials, including: Recycled cotton for sound insulation and carpeting Soybeans for seat cushions, seat backs and head restraints Recycled tires for protective shielding and underbody covers Recycled plastic beverage bottles for wheel liners and shield A variety of recycled, post-industrial plastics also go into the interior finish panels in the Ford F-150, and some of the trucks boast cylinder-head covers made from post-consumer recycled carpet fibers. “The 2014 F-Series exemplifies our continued efforts to use recycled content in our vehicles,” said John Viera, Ford global director of sustainability and vehicle environmental matters. “We can have greater impact in this case because of the size and sales volume of this product.” Source: https://media.ford.com/content/fordmedia/fna/us/en/news/2013/08/06/built-ford-green–sustainable-materials-make-americas-best-selli.html Written by Charles Krome. Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Co.
We’re Americans, and (most of us) want it all. Take a look at cars, for example. Many of us don’t want to compromise great horsepower and torque for better fuel economy and vice versa. Instead, we want plenty of power and great gas mileage, preferably with little change to the price tag. Ford aims to satisfy this seeming conundrum with Ecoboost, its line of gas-turbo direct injection engines. The turbo, which stands for turbocharging, uses the vehicle’s exhaust to spin a turbine system which compresses incoming air to mix with fuel, increasing its potency. Direct injection squirts highly pressurized fuel into the combustion chamber of each engine cylinder. This system, according to Ford, derives greater power while reducing exhaust pollutants. In Ecoboost, direct injection also helps reduce knock and turbo lag, traditional issues with turbocharged engines. Ford offers two Ecoboost engines for its Escape crossover, which is all-new for the 2013 model year. Our first test vehicle came equipped with a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with the second vehicle powered by a more powerful 2.0-liter version. Both are optional; the standard Escape engine is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder power plant which generates 168 horsepower and 170 lb.-ft. of torque. Our Escape with the 1.6-liter Ecoboost engine proved more nimble than expected for a vehicle in this segment, which includes well-known stalwarts like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. During the hour-long drive, we found it easy to slip the crossover into that one open spot in fast-moving traffic or squirt in front of the eighteen-wheeler hogging up the passing lane. The engine gets similar fuel economy figures as the standard 2.5-liter four, but delivers 178 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque. The crossover gets an EPA-estimated 23 mpg city, 33 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined to the front wheels, dropping a tick or two when equipped with available all-wheel-drive (AWD). The Ford Escape with the 2.0-liter Ecoboost engine proved almost to be a different beast. The crossover felt solid, purposeful and controlled as we stepped on the gas pedal and put down all 240 horsepower and 270 lb.-ft. of torque into the wheels. Getting up to freeway speeds was nearly effortless and we startled more than a few tailgaters trying to keep up with the Escape’s backside. Any nascent car enthusiast in the family will thrill to this engine which, at full throttle, sounds like something cribbed from a sports car. We genuinely found the crossover engaging to drive. Otherwise, engine noise fades to virtually nil during normal driving. Note fuel economy with the 2.0-liter engine is barely affected by the increase in power: Escape crossovers with FWD receiving 22 mpg city, 30 mpg and 25 mpg combined from the EPA. Again, those figures drop slightly with AWD. Both crossovers’ steering is firm and responsive, making them maneuverable at highway speeds and when backing into that tight parking spot. Suspension felt tuned just enough to dampen most road imperfections like potholes and expansion joints for a comfortable ride. (We wouldn’t want to wake up the little ones in back.) The interior of the Ford Escape, regardless of model, is a cozy place, with an expansive dash and wide center console. Taller members of our staff, though, had no problem finding plenty of head and leg room in both the front and rear rows. We found the cargo space plentiful even with the rear seats row up; the Escape comes with 60/40 fold-flat rear seats to offer even more room. We also found the interior a quiet place, as well (when we weren’t revving the engines); we had no problem conversing in normal tones. Both our Escapes came well-equipped with features, especially with the optional Titanium trim. While enjoying light music from the Sony audio system, we fiddled a little with the MyFord Touch controls and Sync system and found them useable. Both our Escape crossovers came equipped with Ford’s newest tech toy: the hands-free liftgate. The available system allows the owner, or whoever has the key fob, to raise the liftgate open with a simple “kick” under the rear bumper. Another kick closes it. Overall, we found Ford’s Ecoboost in the Escape a satisfactory answer for Americans’ wish for both power and high mileage. Not surprising, the tech increases the price, with the question if it’s worth it up to the buyer. For the 2013 model year, the base Ford Escape crossover starts at $23,295. FWD Escape models with the 1.6-liter Ecoboost engine start at $25,895 while those with the 2.0-liter version break $31,000. These figures do not include $825 in destination and delivery. Written by Joel Arellano . Photography courtesy of Ford
To many consumers, the Toyota Prius is synonymous with the words, “hybrid vehicle.” Ford aims to challenge that status quo with its compact C-Max. Sourced from the Blue Oval’s overseas offerings, the 2013 Ford C-Max is a four-door hatch available either as a hybrid or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). Recently, we spent a couple of hours driving the C-Max Energi, Ford’s brand name for its PHEV. One feature that immediately caught our eye is the three electric modes found standard on all Energi vehicles: EV Auto, EV Now and EV Later. EV Auto mode allows the C-Max Energi to be powered strictly by its four-cylinder gas engine, the electric motor or a combo of both. We found the transition to be smooth and virtually seamless. In EV Now, the compact runs on its batteries, saving on fuel. According to Ford, the C-Max Energi can go up to 85 mph and travel up to 21 miles while in this mode. We covered 15 miles in EV Now mode, using roughly half the battery charge and found plenty of power in both street and freeway driving. Finally, EV Later mode allows the hatchback to store power for use at a later date. Ford explained the C-Max Energi, in this mode, could charge up the battery via regenerative braking in stop-and-go traffic. Drivers would later switch to EV Now mode and use the freshly charged battery. The 2013 Ford C-Max Energi, like its hybrid-only sibling, is powered by a four-cylinder engine and electric motor combo, mated to a CVT. Power is identical in both vehicles: 141 horsepower and 129 lb.-ft. of torque. When in EV Now mode, the hatch gets an EPA-estimated 100 miles-per-gallon equivalent. When the gas engine is running, fuel figures include 44 mpg in city driving, 41 mpg during highway cruising and 43 mpg combined. (The C-Max Hybrid is rated 47 mpg in all three categories.) Range of the C-Max Energi is 600 miles between refills. We hope to secure a C-Max Energi in the future to gauge it in our long-distance trips. Driving the C-Max Energi itself is a quiet experience, with limited road and wind noise. Not surprisingly, engine sound was virtually non-existent during EV Now. The crossover’s suspension dampened road imperfections like potholes and expansion joints for a comfortable ride for both driver and passengers. The electric steering is on the softer side, which made it easy to maneuver into tight parking spots. Outward visibility of the C-Max Energi is expansive, like driving a minivan (albeit a short one.) We found interior room far more spacious than the exterior suggests, with our 6-ft. tall staff members finding plenty of headroom in both front and rear rows. The minivan comparison failed when we raised the C-Max’s liftgate. The Energi’s batteries and plug-in system carve out a goodly amount of floor space normally reserved for cargo. Fortunately, the rear-row seats fold down to create additional room. We opine that the C-Max Energi works best for either four adults with a small amount of luggage or for two individuals using the backseats primarily as a cargo hold. Overall, we like the 2013 Ford C-Max Energi. The three EV modes give tremendously flexibility to car owners in fuel saving especially in urban areas. Written by Joel Arellano . Photography courtesy of Ford
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Lincoln is coming to China, bringing its rich heritage and a unique alternative to the evolving luxury car customers in one of the world’s most important auto markets.
The all-new 2013 Ford Fusion Titanium, which will serve as official pace car of Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, will drive off the race track and into the driveway of one lucky fan thanks to a combined effort between Ford and Sprint.