Will the new Ford F-150 Aluminum Design Carry Over to Global Ranger?

Will the new Ford F-150 Aluminum Design Carry Over to Global Ranger?

At the 2014 North American International Auto Show, we saw the future of Ford’s pickup design – aluminum and a lot of it. Through various displays, Ford showed how the truck could handle a beating and still deliver great fuel economy. One question that didn’t get addressed is: what about the Global Ford Ranger? Wouldn’t it benefit from the weight savings and improved fuel economy of aluminum design?

Ford launched the Global Ranger in 2011 as a compact, diesel-powered truck that left many then- U.S. Ranger owners salivating. The truck is being offered in more than 180 countries and is not available in the U.S. Basically, Ford figured that many U.S. Ranger customers would simply step up to the F-150. That hasn’t exactly happened and Ford has taken its share of criticism from automotive writers/experts and its own fans for not offering the Ranger in the U.S.

With the new F-150 being launched with a smaller Ecoboost engine it is mostly assured that Ford is still not considering bringing back the Ranger. (It may consider offering a small F-100 variant although that remains to seen). Ford says that the mid-size truck market in North America doesn’t make sense for them and don’t see a feasible way to build a Ford Ranger that would fit into its product portfolio.

In other countries like Australia, the “ute” pickups are quite popular. In fact, the used car market in Australia for the Global Ranger is quite strong . These utilitarian pickups don’t have the full-size competitors that are made in North America and thus, the business plan to build them for those markets is much stronger.

This begs the question though, if the aluminum-based design of the new F-150 is so superior, could it benefit the Global Ranger? The answer is undoubtedly yes. Will Ford build it? Most likely not.

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The 2013 Ford Focus Hatchback – A Wise Choice

The 2013 Ford Focus Hatchback – A Wise Choice

Ford is a brand name with a very long history in the automotive industry and their years of experience truly show in versatile and cost-effective models like the Ford Focus. The Focus has had a redesign in 2012 and subsequent version have some improved characteristics, in addition to looking a bit more modern and, dare I say it, pretty darn cool. The new Focus is available in seven different versions, and although the Titanium Sedan model supposedly offers great functionality and comfort, I am more of a hatchback fan. Hatchbacks are where Ford excels - they look better, they are more maneuverable and easier to park and they still have plenty of room.

The Focus boasts a modest, yet pretty versatile 2 liter, inline-four engine, although there is also a quite pricey electric model with a 107 kW motor. Out of the three hatchback versions, the SE is the one that will be easiest on your wallet, while the ST and the Titanium will cost about the same (depending on the bells and whistles you wish to add), but are substantially different in nature – the former is all about performance and a sport feel, while the latter is more about comfort and accessories.

The new Titanium standard features include stability control, automatic temperature control, Sony audio, 6-speed Power Shift dual-clutch automatic transmission, push-button start and a rear-view camera, while the ST boasts superior suspension, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes, a 6-speed manual transmission and 18 inch aluminum wheels as well as optional Recaro seats. If you have the money and enjoy having a bit of fun, the ST is the way to go as it allows for very smooth driving and will go through corners with ease and balance as the front sport-tuned suspension and excellent breaks allow it to grip the road firmly.

The Focus is famous for its high degree of safety, scoring a perfect five star NCAP rating, and the new models feature dual-stage airbags and side airbags for the front seat, as well as side-curtain airbags. Some additional cool features include a My-Key feature, which allows you to switch between different settings by simply inserting a different key – which is supposed to allow, say a husband and wife to have their own settings available to them when they start the car that they share, without going through all the little adjustments manually. However, trying to do too much customization is something I wouldn’t recommend as it is easy to mess up the cars performance if you don’t know what you are doing, particularly on the ST model which allows you to fumble with driving characteristics like steering.

Even with a basic Ford Focus package, like an SE Hatchback, you get a very reliable, safe car that is fuel-efficient and won’t set you back a fortune, especially if you buy a good used Focus 2013 model. The Focus is noticeably faster and more fun to drive than the competitive offerings like the small Honda and Peugeot hatchbacks, and is a great option for either a small family car or even as a sporty ride for the trendy young adult. 

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