The Ford Edge

By Graeme Fletcher

 Ford pulled the wraps off its 2015 Edge in an auto show-like setting at the automaker’s world head office. At the same time, it was being shown in Europe — this will be the first time the Edge has been sold there, which makes the latest model truly global in nature. The current model units sold in China roll off the Oakville, Ont., assembly line beside the units destined for North America. In preparation for the new model, Ford invested $700 million to upgrade the assembly plant.

The latest Edge is all-new from the rubber up. It will be offered in usual models (SE and SEL) along with the jazzed-up Sport and new top-of-the-line Titanium model. The latter is full-zoot all the way — the display model had leather seating, a full-on navigation system and a panoramic moonroof along with a Sony sound system and an eight-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system. It was impeccably attired with impressive fit and finish.

In all cases, the Edge’s look is crisper and it has better overall proportions than the outgoing model — in some regards the faster look reminded me of the Range Rover Evoque. In the case of the Sport, it has a much bolder facade and the underpinnings to back up its bolder look and 21-inch wheels.

The new model now rides on a derivative of the Fusion platform. In this case, it means the Edge is 100-millimetres longer overall and the wheelbase has grown by 25-mm. This brings more interior space and an increase in cargo capacity (198 litres more behind the second row). More importantly, the new platform is 26% stiffer in bending and 16% better torsionally. This brings a much better base for the completely reworked suspension. The Edge adopts a multi-link design at both ends of the vehicle. Ford says the new set up brings better comfort and, more importantly, a more uniform tire contact patch over a broader range of driving conditions, which improves the handling.

The steering has also been changed to an electric-assist type. Of more significance is the new adaptive steering system found in the Sport. Ford’s take on adaptive puts an electric motor between the steering wheel and the steering shaft. Rather than the driver physically turning the front wheels, it is the motor that determines the amount of movement based on driver’s input. This gives it a variable ratio that brings better on-centre feel at speed and few turns lock-to-lock in a parking maneuver. It is a novel approach that can be likened to a steer-by-wire set up. In the event of a glitch the system automatically locks the steering wheel to the shaft, which brings normal steering with power assist.

The Edge will also be the first of Ford’s products to launch with an all EcoBoost engine line up. All models except the Titanium and Sport arrive with a totally new 2.0-litre EcoBoost engine. It has a new block, higher comp ratio and redesigned head with larger exhaust valves. It also gets new fuel injectors and an active oil control system along with idle start/stop.

The bigger news is it now uses a twin-scroll turbocharger. The advantage is the twin scrolls keep the turbo’s boost pressure uniform. One scroll gets its exhaust energy from cylinders two and three; one and four cylinders feed the other scroll. In simple terms, the twin scroll design delivers the advantages of two turbochargers in a single unit. While Ford said it will have at least 245 horsepower, better fuel economy and a 1,591-kilogram towing capacity.

As a side benefit, this engine can now be teamed with the available all-wheel-drive system (the outgoing 2.0L EcoBoost engine was not offered with AWD). This is a big deal because 75% of the Edges sold in Canada drive all four wheels. For those that want a traditional normally-aspirated engine, there will be a 3.5L V6 available as an option. The Sport and Titanium both use an equally new 2.7L EcoBoost V6 with twin turbochargers. It will put out a generous 300+ horsepower.

All engines will be teamed with a six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. The paddles are now active in drive — the driver can downshift if the need arises, but when left alone for a short period the box reverts to it automatic operation. There is also a sport mode, where the paddles remain in the manual mode until the driver shifts back to drive.

Finally, the new Edge debuts a host of new technology. First, there is a new forward facing camera that gives a 180-degree view of area ahead. The neat part is that when the driver uses the washer/wiper to clean the windshield, a separate nozzle pops out and gives the camera a hose down to keep it clean as well.

The Edge also features a new glove box airbag. Yes, you read that right. When the situation dictates, the face of the glove box moves forward (powered by the airbag). The passenger’s knees do hit the glove box’s plastic face, but as the impact is cushioned by the airbag it is not as nasty as it sounds given the forces at play in a crash. Or that’s what the engineers said. I am not willing to test the theory.

Another improvement is found in the “enhanced” Active Parking system — it not only parallel parks, it can now park perpendicular to the curb between two cars and it features a new pull out system that gets the car out of the space. The demonstration was impressive. Many of these self-park systems require the driver to maintain a snail-like pace or the system shuts down — Ford’s system is Usain Bolt-like by comparison. It is new for the Edge and the first application in a Ford.

Other safety features include AdvanceTrac along with roll-stability control and curve control. The latter recognizes when the car is going into a corner too hot and backs out of the throttle and uses all four brakes to get the speed down in a controlled manner. It also features a brake-based torque vectoring system. Lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning will also be available.

 

The Ford Fiesta ST

 

By Mike Goetz

2015 Ford Fiesta ST

• Type. Five-door, front-wheel-drive subcompact hatchback
• Engines (hp). 1.6-litre inline four-cylinder (197)
• Transmission. Six-speed manual
• Base price.$26,064

The Ford Fiesta ST is a great “hot hatch” in the European tradition.

 

But while Europe has had a Fiesta ST since 2005, this 2014 model is the first for North America.

Unlike Europe, our Fiesta only comes in four-door sedans and five-door hatches, so our new five-door ST doesn’t look quite as cool as Europe’s new three-door ST coupe, or for that matter, the three-door factory Fiesta rally car, which is piloted by racer and YouTube stunt driver sensation Ken Bock.

But four doors or not, this thing rocks.

The exterior bits that make ST more visually sporting — one-of-a-kind grille and chin spoiler, rear diffuser and spoiler, dual exhaust tips, and unique 17-inch wheels — are agreeably understated.

It feels more racy on the inside, primarily because our tester was flaunting the optional leather-trimmed RECARO seats — in “hurt your eyes” red. These seats are super firm and have huge side bolsters.

The ST is the most expensive Fiesta you can buy, so the rest of the inside is packed with stuff, like SYNC with MyFord Touch, a 6.5-inch LCD screen and the 80-watt stereo.

But ST is all about the driving experience. First thing you notice is how much torque this thing has, and how easily it launches. Ford says 177 lb-ft is available from just 1,600 rpm and that maximum torque (214 lb-ft) can be had by 3,500 rpm — and you can believe it.

The engine is exclusively mated to a slick-shifting six-speed manual transmission. No automatic. Rowing through the gears is a motivational and audible treat. Powertrain sounds are actually fed directly into the cabin to enhance the sporty experience. ST features upgraded braking and suspension and steering, compared to regular Fiesta models. It also features electronic Torque Vectoring Control, to reduce understeer during hard cornering, and a three-mode stability system (off, standard, sport).

This translates to a very entertaining experience through traffic and in twisty bits along your journey. It has virtually no body lean and can change lanes with a flick of the steering wheel. The stiff “summer” performance tires can’t help smooth out the bumps very much, but that would be one of the few caveats of this very engaging little beast.

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Thor Motors in Orillia offers both new and used cars and trucks, reliable service, and low interest financing. Visit us today!

2015 Ford Expedition – Review

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Meaningful change is coming to the Ford Expedition lineup for 2015. Just when it almost looked like Ford had written off its full-size truck-based SUV completely—it’s been carried over mostly unchanged for many model years—the Expedition has been brought fully up to the expectations of a new decade of SUV shoppers with a higher-mileage turbo V-6. a new continuous-damping suspension system for more comfort and quiet, and cosmetic improvements all around.

And looking at the Expedition’s competitive set, it’s rising to the challenge just in the nick of time—to meet redesigned full-size GM SUVs (the Chevrolet Tahoe and Silverado, and the GMC Yukon and Yukon XL), which have been given quieter, more stylish interiors, more features, and a fuel-saving engine lineup.

The 2015 Ford Expedition remains based on the Ford F-150; although with the 2015 F-150 going in a radical new direction, with a lightweight aluminum construction, there’s no longer going to be such a direct connection. And we feel like some of the Expedition’s changes on the outside go toward distancing it from the ever-bolder F-Series. Visually, the new Expedition has a somewhat chunkier yet softer and streamlined look—within the confines of its carry-over profile. There’s a thick new chrome strip across the back that, from pictures, looks to visually lower this big ute, while wheel sizes now range up to 22 inches and exhaust pipes are now chrome-tipped. Inside, plush new upholsteries have been added, and the Platinum model’s trim has been upgraded for more contrast. And yes, there is indeed a plush King Ranch model on the way.

From a design and functionality standpoint, the biggest news is front and center, where the MyFord Touch infotainment system has been installed here, with an eight-inch screen, two new, smaller full-color 4.2-inch screens flanking the steering wheel, and clean new center-stack design to accommodate it (and fit in with current Ford models). Based on early pictures, we still see the instrument-panel design, outside of those improvements, to be from another era, although the look is pretty cohesive—and a lot more convincing.

The big news, however, is that Ford is forgetting about the V-8 and instead installing its EcoBoost V-6 in the 2015 Explorer—which should bring gains of around 2 mpg (over the current 2014 ratings of 13 mpg city, 18 highway with 4WD, or 14/20 with 2WD) while maintaining the current towing ratings of up to 9,200 pounds. Although Ford hasn’t officially released specs for the Expedition, the same engine makes 365 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque installed in the current F-150. It should make the Expedition quicker and less cumbersome to drive.

Powertrain is only part of it, though. Ford has also added a continuously damping system to the Expedition—for the first time ever on a Ford-brand vehicle. In the 2015 Expedition it will offer three modes—comfort, normal, and sport—and draw from 46 different sensors/inputs to make a split-second change according to the road surface, loading, or even steering inputs, for instance. The system is indeed paired with a version of Ford’s electric power steering—also new to the Expedition. We already thought that the outgoing Expedition rode and handled better than most vehicles in its class, so we’re eager to spend some time in this improved model.

We expect the two lengths of the Expedition—standard and EL—to carry over for 2015. With the Expedition EL you gain 14.8 inches longer overall, with longer rear fenders and glass. It’s one of the biggest SUVs on the planet, frankly, and its wheelbase of 131 inches is longer than the full length of either a Smart fortwo or Mitsubishi i-MiEV. With either version you get an almost van-like interior and loads of passenger space in the first two rows, but cargo space is more abundant and third-row access is much easier in the EL. Just beware that you’ll pay the price in maneuverability and parking ease.

The Expedition hasn’t been crash-tested in many years; and we’re not yet sure how much its structure has changed for 2015; yet in past model years it’s maintained a good safety reputation. For 2015, Ford is adding a radar-based Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with cross-traffic alert. A rearview camera system is also included.

Very little has been detailed yet about feature content or trim levels (although a new Platinum series will bring top-of-the-line features plus wine-color Brunello leather with tuxedo stripes and French seams. Some other additions to the lineup, according to Ford, include seven-color LED ambient lighting, Ford truck apps, for towing, and a ten-speaker, 700-watt Sony sound system.

The 2015 Ford Expedition goes on sale later in the year.

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Thor Motors, your Ford Dealer in Orillia. We are a full service dealer and offer new and used vehicles, service and low interest financing. Visit us today!

Ford Fusion Hybrid looks sharp while sipping gas

As a general rule, gas-electric hybrid cars and trucks are not fun; their very nature precludes it. Hybrids are made to maximize conservation at the expense of stimulation. The thrill of driving one is seeing the mpg indicator creep higher, rather than the speedometer.

But a fuel-sipper doesn’t have to look ugly to be efficient; you could opt for the 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid.

Seriously. Take a good look. I’ll wait.

See what I mean? It’s so beautiful you’d never guess that it’s a hybrid.

Redesigned last year, the Fusion’s face wears a grille that bears more than a passing resemblance to the one used by Aston Martin. It fronts a sleek, athletic body that’s a bit more distinctive. Taken together, the car is about as fetching as you can expect a mainstream midsize sedan to be.

Perhaps its most beautiful feature is its EPA rating: 47 mpg city, 47 mpg highway. My 310-mile test drive yielded a very respectable 43 mpg, which is better than most conventional compact cars.

As you may know, a gas-electric hybrid pairs a gas engine with one or more electric motors. By having electricity do some of the chores, the car or truck burns less gas. As a concept, it’s more than 100 years old. As a realistic transportation solution, it’s about 15 years old. And it works seamlessly in the Fusion Hybrid.

Ford combines a 141-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with a 118-horsepower electric motor and funnels the power through a continuously variable automatic transmission to the front wheels. Horsepower is rated at 188. That’s not enough to make the Fusion a speed demon, but the car proves lively enough to slug it out in the worst suburban street warfare.

That said, you’ll notice a hum from the gas engine when it comes on; it’s just enough to let you know what’s happening under the hood. And, as with other Ford hybrid models, you’ll be coached into driving conservatively. A screen to the right of the speedometer displays a diagram of a plant. The more leaves appear, the more efficiently you’re driving.

But efficiency has not changed the Fusion’s impressive agility. The Hybrid’s handling is every bit as good as the standard Fusion. The car has a solid feel, and the steering seems perfectly weighted. Body roll is kept to a minimum when tackling corners, and braking isn’t as grabby as with other hybrids. It is a very willing dance partner, even for car enthusiasts.

While dancing, you’ll find the cabin’s decor is starkly modern, with a good quality feel that will satisfy most shoppers. Offered in S, SE and Titanium trim levels, the Fusion’s interior is fairly roomy, with good room up front and adequate room in the rear. But the car’s arched roof line, which does much for its sporty looks, compromises rear seat headroom. It also requires care when entering or exiting the rear or else you’ll knock your noggin.

Opting for the Hybrid also means living with an oddly shaped trunk that’s noticeably smaller than that of the standard Fusion. Much of the missing space is taken up by the hybrid’s battery pack.

But none of this is enough to rob the car of its basic goodness.

There’s little doubt that the Ford Fusion Hybrid is the perfect, um, fusion of fuel economy, enjoyable handling and striking looks.

It makes saving fuel easy on the eyes as well as the wallet. Conserving fuel rarely looks this beautiful.

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The Fusion Hybrid, available at Thor Motors. We offer both new and used vehicles, service and financing. Visit us today.

The 2014 Ford Fiesta

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Whether it’s through diligent online research or waiting patiently for the object of your affection to go on sale, we’re always on the hunt for ways to save money. Now there’s a car that can help you do this! With the 2014 Ford Fiesta equipped with the award-winning 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine, you’ll get more power from less gas, which means more money to spend on the other things you love in life.

Fiesta’s modern and aerodynamic design will help you glide down the road in style, and the sporty yet sophisticated interior makes you feel like royalty behind the wheel. Under the hood, EcoBoost technology combines a smaller-displacement engine with turbocharging, direct injection, variable valve timing, and proprietary Ford software to deliver an incredible performance that you’ll be thrilled to welcome into your life.

But the great news doesn’t stop there – the impressively well-appointed interior of the new 2014 Fiesta is designed to give you a personalized driving experience that combines comfort, convenience, and fun. From heated leather seats to unique colour choices, it’s a vehicle that appreciates the importance of offering options to suit your needs and match your style. The technically advanced centre console keeps you connected to your world with smart, powerful, and user-friendly features, including an available rear-view camera, navigation system, and voice-activated technology that allows you to access your phone and music library, and even have text messages read to you while you drive!

Smart and good looking, contemporary and comfortable, EcoBoost-powered Fiesta takes you everywhere you want to go and helps you save money for those other things you want. So keep searching for that trip you want to take or that perfect pair of shoes – the 2014 EcoBoost-powered Fiesta understands what you’re looking for. There are already 2 million cars with EcoBoost technology on the road today, so join the party and experience what it’s all about.

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2014 Ford Fiesta

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The 2014 Ford Fiesta, available at Thor Motors in Orillia. Visit us now! At Thor Motors we have a full line-up of new vehicles, quality used, car financing, and fast reliable auto service.