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” »

Ford’s next-gen Mustang to be less retro

September 20th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The year 2014 will be a big one for the Ford Mustang. The iconic sports car will celebrate its 50th anniversary and a new production model will be released. The announcement came last week from Ford’s design chief, J Mays, who spoke to the press at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

According to Mays, the design of the next-generation Mustang has already been completed – three years ahead of its launch. But what’s even more interesting is Mays statement that the new version of Ford’s pony car will be more future focused than retro styled.

“Both redesigns introduced in 2005 and 2010 are retro vehicles,” Mays said at the Frankfurt Motor Show. “The challenge with the 50th anniversary car is to not just look back over your shoulder, but to try to win all of the Mustang faithful yet bring the brand forward as well.”

It sounds like a tough task and if there’s anything that really angers badge fans it’s poorly considered exterior styling. However, Mays is confident that, even though the new Mustang will be different, it will still keep the famous models character. Continue reading “Ford’s next-gen Mustang to be less retro” »

Upper Class Act Isn’t Working

September 16th, 2011 by Tim Grimley

Anyone who has ever been to a trade show will be aware of what monumentally dull affairs they are. Exhibition halls bigger than American fridges are filled to bursting point with stand after stand of besuited bores eulogising about their particular bit of technology and its role in industries so dull that if you ever discussed them in real life it would result in instant social castration.

Show me someone who could get excited about attending events such as The Cleaning Show, Subpostmaster Show or The International Brazing and Soldering Conference and I’ll show you someone who I really don’t want to get trapped in a lift with.

Thankfully, when it comes to putting on an expo, the automotive industry manages to buck the trend. Take motor sport exhibitions, where the vehicles vie for attention with svelte young ladies wearing attire that their mothers may struggle to approve of. The trucking community is also not averse to having a little fleshy exposure in proceedings and distinguishing between a gathering of motor cycle manufacturers and soft-core pornographers is nigh on impossible.

Main stream motor vehicle manufacturers by and large do not resort to quite such base tactics, but thanks to glamorous product launches still manage to pull off an air of excitement. The largest of the breed – the Frankfurt Motor Show – kicked off this week and has already proved to be an extravaganza of exciting new metal as manufacturer’s battle to produce the star turn. Continue reading “Upper Class Act Isn’t Working” »

Ford drops details and photos of Falcon FG MkII

September 16th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Ford has revealed the first photos and details of its upcoming FG Falcon MkII range this week ahead of it reaching NZ showrooms late this year.

The updated Falcon brings new technologies, an enhanced safety package, new exterior design appointments  and the first global application of EcoBoost engine technology in a rear-wheel drive vehicle. It also heralds in the debut of Ford’s global 2.0-litre four-cylinder Ecoboost petrol engine which will be offered in the FG Falcon from next year.

The MkII Falcon will showcase some of Ford’s latest tech like a new 8.0-inch colour touch screen and integrated audio, phone and navigation functions and a more comprehensive occupant protection package.

“The improvements made to the award-winning Falcon range with the introduction of FG Falcon MkII have made a great car even better,” Ford New Zealand Marketing Manager, Chris Masterson said. “FG Falcon MkII builds on the success of the FG Falcon program, as well as the recently released new Territory range, by offering New Zealanders more equipment and the latest technology innovations, while continuing to deliver outstanding performance, fuel efficiency, refinement and safety.” Continue reading “Ford drops details and photos of Falcon FG MkII” »

Fresh-faced Ford Fiesta ST concept revealed

September 15th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Following on from the reveal of the new Focus ST (read news), Ford has backed it up by showing off its new Fiesta ST concept.

The younger brother to the sporty Focus has been unveiled at this week’s Frankfurt Motor Show and shares much of the character of its larger sibling. The Fiesta ST has been revealed with a production-ready look and Ford is “seriously looking” at putting it into full production.

As a hotter version of current Fiesta the ST concept gives Ford fans a glimpse of the new styling direction for the entire Fiesta model range. Under the bonnet there’s Ford’s 1.6-litre turbocharged EcoBoost four-clinder engine sending power to the front wheels. Output is a healthy 135kW with 240Nm of torque. Shifting the gears is a six-speed manual box and 0-100km/h sprint time is expected to be less than seven seconds. Continue reading “Fresh-faced Ford Fiesta ST concept revealed” »

2012 Ford Focus ST hot hatch unveiled in production form

September 13th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Fans of Ford’s performance offerings have something to celebrate this week with the official reveal of the new Focus ST. Known in NZ as the Focus XR5 Turbo, the new ST will debut in production guise at this week’s 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show and in the lead up, details and images have reached the web.

While the production hot hatch isn’t a significant departure from its concept predecessor, what’s really interesting is the inclusion of a station wagon body in the Focus ST range. Sadly, this performance wagon won’t reach as many global markets as the hatch and will likely be a European only offering, so don’t expect to see any down here in NZ.

Both the hatch and wagon feature the same 2.0-litre EcoBoost four-cylinder under the bonnet with a power output of 186kW and a healthy 360Nm of max torque. The high-tech engine comes mated to a 6-speed manual that pushes grunt to the front wheels only. That’s a lot of power for the front treads to handle so Ford has worked hard to avoid torque-steer issues with its electronic power assisted steering and torque steer compensation system. Both systems work together to minimize the wheel-tugging effects often associated with high power front-wheel drivers. Continue reading “2012 Ford Focus ST hot hatch unveiled in production form” »