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” »

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” »