Ford reveals five-door Fiesta ST concept

November 4th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Ford first previewed its upcoming Fiesta ST in concept form at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show with a three-door version of the hatch.

Now, Ford has a more production-ready model for the upcoming Los Angeles Auto Show, it’s a hatchback-variant and will give Ford fans a better taste of the hot hatch.

In Ford’s official press release it states that “The five-door Fiesta ST Concept shows the promise for a globally available performance model.”and goes on to say, “The Fiesta ST Concept shows in the most dramatic way possible that the qualities that define an ST are not limited to one model [the Focus ST]. The potential for delivering the ST experience to an even wider audience is laid bare by this exciting new concept,” he added.

Despite these near-assurances Ford hasn’t officially confirmed production for the Fiesta ST.

Like it’s three-door stablemate the five-door concept gets the same styling treatment with a bespoke front end, aerodynamic bodykit, lowered suspension and flared wheel arches with 17-inch alloy wheels. Continue reading “Ford reveals five-door Fiesta ST concept” »

New Ford Ranger is first ute to earn 5-Star safety

October 28th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The latest round of Euro NCAP safety testing has revealed that Ford’s new Ranger is the first pickup to achieve the organisation’s highest five-star rating. The 2012 Ranger finished with an overall score of 89%, which is the best ever recorded by a pickup truck in the European testing.

To break it down, the Ranger scored 96 percent for adult occupant safety, 86 percent for child occupant safety and 81 percent for pedestrian safety. The pickup’s “safety assist” systems also achieved a 71 percent score. The most impressive figure here is the 81 percent for pedestrian safety, this is the best rating ever for pedestrian protection among the cars tested by the Euro NCAP since it was established in 1997. A surprising result for a high-riding ute.

Euro NCAP secretary general Michiel van Ratingen, said: “With such good pedestrian protection, the Ford Ranger is undoubtedly raising the bar of safety in the category of pickup trucks, which had until now not proven to be the safest.” Continue reading “New Ford Ranger is first ute to earn 5-Star safety” »

Ford Territory Titanium 2011 Review

October 7th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Since its release in 2004 the Ford Territory has become one of the success stories of the Australian car manufacturing industry. It’s found a home in the garages of many families here in NZ as well as across the ditch and has even performed duties as an emergency response vehicle. But after seven years cruising the streets how can the Territory stay desirable in a SUV market that’s packed with machinery from Japan and Europe? By offering a diesel engine option for the first time for starters, backed up by a modernising facelift, equipment upgrades and a greater emphasis on refinement. Has Ford’s $230 million dollar investment in the new Territory paid off? Car and SUV was certainly impressed by the 2011 Territory at its launch event earlier this year and got some more seat time to take a closer look.

Looks are a good place to start because in terms of styling the Territory has really shifted up a gear. The familiar proportions remain but there are now some calculated injections of Ford’s current kinetic design language. At the front there’s an all-new face with new upper and lower grilles, the headlights, bonnet and front bumper have also been replaced. These fresh touches give a wider and more muscular frontal appearance. At the rear Ford has deftly wrapped the three quarter glass around to the rear windscreen, hiding the D-pillar and giving it a slick look. New horizontal taillights replace the previous vertical design and also wrap into the rear guards. There are some more subtle general tweaks as well, like vents on the front fenders and indicator repeaters in the wing mirrors. Our tested top-spec Titanium model was dressed up further with chrome trim on the front grille, LED front lights, tinted glass and 18-inch Y-Spoke alloy wheels. In terms of design it’s a very successful facelift, the 2011 Territory looks ‘right now’ modern and dynamic while retaining its same staunch road presence. Continue reading “Ford Territory Titanium 2011 Review” »

2013 Ford Escape to receive four-cylinder engines only

October 7th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The upcoming 2013 Ford Escape is set for its official reveal at next month’s Los Angeles Auto Show, but details on engine options have already leaked out. According to unconfirmed reports the next Escape will be fitted with three four-cylinder engine options for global markets and two of those engines will use turbocharging.

The base model Escape will be fitted with the 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine already working in the current model Escape but its the two new EcoBoost motors that will be of more interest. The turbocharged 1.6-litre unit is already making waves in Europe and will motivate the mid-spec Escape. This fuel-efficient mill outputs around 135kW of power. Continue reading “2013 Ford Escape to receive four-cylinder engines only” »

Ford NZ announces range and pricing for new 2012 Ford Ranger ute

October 5th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Ford New Zealand has just announced the available range and pricing for the all-new 2012 Ford Ranger ute.

Using a more powerful diesel engine the new Ranger features fresh brawny styling and a broad range of equipment. It will be available in 2WD and 4WD forms with three cab variants – Single Cab, Super Cab and Double Cab. There are three trim levels on offer, the entry spec XL, mid-range XLT and top-dog Wildtrack model. The Ranger is available in a wide range of configurations and pricing varies from $34,690 for the base model manual 2WD model all the way to $66,290 for the Wildtrack 4WD double cab with 6-speed automatic transmission.

“Designed from the ground up, the highly anticipated all-new Ranger, available in both two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive, has been comprehensively developed to meet the needs of New Zealand ute and light truck customers,” said Neale Hill, Managing Director of Ford New Zealand. “The creation and design of the all new Ranger involved an Australian-based, four-year development programme, involving almost 500 engineers from around the Ford world. Continue reading “Ford NZ announces range and pricing for new 2012 Ford Ranger ute” »

2012 Ford F-150 truck receives updates (+video)

October 4th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The volume-selling Ford F-150 truck has been updated for 2012 with various mechanical and equipment updates in preparation for its next assault on the U.S market.

As Ford’s most popular truck, the F-150 has been subtly revised with styling updates that include a flashy new FX Appearance Package. This cosmetic upgrade is available on both FX4 and FX2 models and includes tinted headlights, graphics on the body, special badging, smoked lights and flat-black 20-inch alloy wheels. Inside, the FX model receives black leather seating surfaces with red piping, black-painted dash accents, brushed metal surfaces and a satin gear stick.

Mechanically, Ford has replaced its electronic shift-on-the-fly system with an enhanced two-speed automatic 4×4 set up that has an automatic mode for Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum trim levels. A Hill Start Assist feature has also been added across the range to help prevent the heavy truck from rolling backwards.

The SVT F-150 Raptor also gets some treatment with restyled wheels, revised graphics and a new Torsen front differential. There’s also a clever front camera system that allows drivers to view obstacles through the eight-inch cabin mounted screen. It can display at speeds up to 25 km/h and has a dedicated washer system to keep it clean. Continue reading “2012 Ford F-150 truck receives updates (+video)” »

2012 Ford Focus – NZ pricing announced

September 22nd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Ford NZ has just released the recommended retail pricing for the all-new 2012 Focus. The first variants of the all-new Ford Focus arrive at dealers in late October the Focus wagon arrives in March 2012 and the Focus ST hot hatch is due in the second half of 2012.

The new Focus is a key model in the Ford range and has been expanded to include a new high-series Titanium variant, offering a more luxury-focused trim level.

“The all-new Focus raises the bar for expressive design, affordable innovation, superior quality, responsive performance and exceptional fuel economy,” said Chris Masterson, Marketing Manager, Ford New Zealand.

New Zealand Focus line up and RRPs are as follows (all models are fitted with a Powershift six-speed auto transmission): Continue reading “2012 Ford Focus – NZ pricing announced” »

New Ford Focus ST backed up with ST-R track variant

September 21st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The latest hot hatch offering from Ford, the Focus ST was recently revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show and now has a hardcore racing variant – the Focus ST-R.

The track ready ST-R was developed by the Ford Racing Team in collaboration with the firm’s Global Performance Vehicles group. It’s designed to be a jack-of-all-trades style race car with strong appeal from amateur racers and track day heroes. Ford is also hoping that some buyers will take the ST-R to more professional events as well, like the 24 Hours of Nürburgring.

Like its road-going sibling the ST-R makes use of Ford’s new 2.0-litre turbocharged EcoBoost unit. It does, however, feature new track-tuned suspension, Sparco racing seat, larger brakes and a FIA-spec roll cage. Continue reading “New Ford Focus ST backed up with ST-R track variant” »