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” »

Ford Mondeo Titanium Hatch 2011 Review

September 9th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The Mondeo needs little introduction. Since it took over Ford’s medium size sedan duties from the Telstar in the mid nineties it’s become a popular fixture on NZ roads. With strong four- and six-cylinder engines and broadly appealing styling the Mondeo has clocked up impressive sales through the years. But at times during its four generations, the Mondeo has taken criticism for being dull, vanilla and a bland sales rep’s car. When the current model Mondeo was released in 2007 it neutralized these complaints with fresh dynamic design and new technologies scored during Ford’s ownership of premium brands Volvo and Jaguar. For 2011 Ford has pushed the Mondeo a step further into the fun zone with tweaked ‘kinetic’ styling a twin-clutch transmission and more equipment than the NASA space program. So will the facelifted Mondeo spin sales reps and private owners into a frenzy? Car and SUV saddled up a top dog Mondeo Titanium hatch to find out.

When it comes to exterior styling the fourth-gen Mondeo was already a looker, so Ford has understandably played it safe with the cosmetic updates. Changes on the Titanium include new front and rear bumpers, a new bonnet and grille, revised taillights and modernizing LED daytime running lights at the front. The result? It’s the meanest looking Mondeo yet. The front aesthetic is particularly aggressive with its bulging bonnet line, wide-mouthed air dam and thin, blackened-out grille. At the rear, jeweled two-piece tail lamps and a low air diffuser extend the kinetic design. Continue reading “Ford Mondeo Titanium Hatch 2011 Review” »

Ford Evos Concept heralds future design language

August 31st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

After plenty of speculation, Ford has shown the special concept it will debut at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show. Named the Evos Concept, Ford has released images and details on this fastback coupe.

At this stage the Evos Concept is a design study but shows the aesthetic influences that Ford will take into its next-generation of products. Expect to see Ford’s headlights go smaller and more discreet, the grille become more vertical and body shapes to be even more raked back and sleek. The concept uses four gull wing doors to get access to the four-seat cabin.

“We wanted the Ford Evos Concept to give a clear message about where Ford design is heading – shaping vehicles that are fun to drive, have a strong premium visual appeal, and above all, are stunningly beautiful,” said J Mays, group vice president, Design and chief creative officer.

Inside, the concept there are hints at Ford’s upcoming interior design with a driver-oriented instrument panel and an inverted ‘L’ climate system. It’s more of a cockpit feel than previous Ford vehicles with touch-screen displays and individually adjustable sports seats. Continue reading “Ford Evos Concept heralds future design language” »

Ken Block releases Gymkhana Four: The Hollywood Megamercial (+video)

August 17th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Ken Block is back once more and this time around he’s gone bigger, longer, louder and more ridiculous than ever before. Block’s Gymkhana 4: The Hollywood Megamercial video was released on YouTube last night and comes packing a whole range of different scenes, stunts and crowd-pleasing antics.

In this latest installment the DC Shoes front man takes his hard-tuned Ford Fiesta hoon vehicle to the Universal Studios film lot in the States. This sees him with a varied background of classic movie props and a Hollywood blockbuster theme to the new clip.

Watch sharply and you’ll see props and backgrounds from flicks like Back to the Future, Jaws, Zombieland and Slumdog Millionaire. But the madness doesn’t end there, you’ll see gorillas, Bollywood dancing, a rocket-powered Segway and those nutters from Epic Meal Time. But if you’re like us and you want to see some slick driving, there’s plenty of that in the nine minute clip. Block slides his Fiesta through various obstacles, pulls donuts, crashes through stuff and leaves black tyre marks everywhere he goes.

Check out Block and his Ford Fiesta Hybrid Function Hoon Vehicle in the new clip below. Continue reading “Ken Block releases Gymkhana Four: The Hollywood Megamercial (+video)” »

Ford Kuga Titanium coming to NZ – November arrival

August 16th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Ford New Zealand has just announced that it will be putting the Ford Kuga small SUV on sale in NZ. The European-built Ford Kuga, will be available in top-spec Titanium trim and is expected to arrive at Ford dealers from November to join the already launched Mondeo, Territory and Focus Titanium models. Pricing for the Kuga Titanium is $53,990.

“This is big news for us and we’re very excited,” said Chris Masterson, Marketing Manager, Ford New Zealand. “The Kuga has done very well in Europe since its introduction in 2008, often topping sales charts. Locally, the small SUV market has seen substantial growth in the last few years and now with a European-proven design we have a highly compelling offer for customers in this market. As an attractive, well-designed and fully-capable crossover vehicle, the Kuga Titanium will be hard to beat. Customers will be impressed, as will our competition.”

The Ford Kuga is based on Ford’s acclaimed C-car architecture which it shares with the Ford Focus. Standard specification includes a full-time AWD system and safety tech like an Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) that combines Anti Rollover Mitigation (ARM) and ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD). Continue reading “Ford Kuga Titanium coming to NZ – November arrival” »