Monday, May 30, 2016

2017 Ford Edge Sport

Dang...this is a fun Cross Over/SUV.  Refined from the first generation this Sport has all the right stuff added in to truly make it a "sport" and not just a trim package.  Stem to stern suspension upgrade, 2.7L Ecoboost cranking out 315hp on premium fuel are just the start of what sets this apart from the Edges in the line up.

Walking up to it you notice right away this isn't a regular Edge.  There are visual cues, gone is the chrome grill replaced with one in a magnetic paint.  Gone are the regular wheels supplanted with low gloss magnetic painted 20...yes TWENTY inch wheels.

Opening the door you are welcomed to the smell of leather and alcantara trimmed seats that are heated and cooled.  The latter appreciated in this hot climate where nothing is worse than sitting on a hot seat on a hot day.  Settling in you notice a nice simply designed dash full of user programmable options in the information portion of the speedometer housing.  Center console is equally clean and houses the new Sync3 infotainment center that is so much faster and intuitive than the last version.

An interesting feature that I really like on the Edge Sport is the standard adaptive steering wheel.   The system controls the relationship between how much the driver turns the steering wheel and how much the front wheels turn. Low-speed steering – such as pulling into a parking space – requires much less turning of the wheel. On the road it doesn't seem to be any different than the traditional steering wheel, just when you a manually parking do you appreciate the reduced effort to simply turn into your space.

That 2.7; Ecoboost in the version I drove was every bit as powerful and sport as the nomenclature on the rear of the hatch implies.  Tip in the throttle and its near instant power and torque propel you forward.  Step on it a little harder and it will down shift quickly and push you into the seat back while it runs up to freeway cruising speed with the rest of the traffic.  This is the most powerful engine available in its class and it shows.

Fuel economy isn't the concern it was with regular well under $3/gallon and premium hovering around $3/gallon here in Los Angeles but that won't last forever.  Over my 20 mile loop from Carson to Signal Hill and back with a mix of fast flowing freeway, bump and go freeway and urban stop-n-go this Edge Sport returned a very respectable 21.7mpg,  This compares favorably to the EPA estimates of 17 city/24 highway which is pretty dang good for a midsized SUV with this kind of power and all wheel drive.

As with most Ford products the last few years this Edge has a decidedly premium feel to it.  A soft spoken luxury feel that makes one really appreciate the efforts the designers put into the product.  Thoughtful touches like real brushed aluminum, soft to the touch leathers where you touch, Delightfully firm yet soft to the touch knows and controls. Non-plastic looking vinyl and plastic where you aren't touching but looking.  I really like this generation Ford much so I may let into my wife's wishes and let this be what replaces our aging Focus.

Friday, May 27, 2016

2017 Ford Fusion and Fusion Platinum

Introducing the first ever Fusion Platinum

I first saw the new Fusion Platinum trim package this past January at NAIAS in Detroit and I was impressed.  From its unique mesh grill to the all premium leather interior I knew this car was going to be special.  Flash forward to this past week and I got to drive this new car and marvel at the leap forward this redesign has for the car in terms of driving experience and pure luxury that the Platinum Trim delivers.

First up walking towards the new Fusion and Fusion Platinum you notice that it has an all new grill and headlamp fascia.  Sleeker and more refined with the iconic trapezoidal grill opening intact and as fashion forward shark-like as ever.

Opening the door is where you know that this is going to be a much different car than even the now mid-level Titanium.  Rich quilted Venetian leathers with beautiful real satin finished wood trim welcome you on first sight.  Everything, door panels, dash, steering wheel, and rear shelf are trimmed out in a rich cocoa leather that contrasts with the beige leather seats.  Its taking the Fusion which is a nicely equipped in its own right to the entry level luxury category.  Truly the most luxurious, tastefully done interior for has ever put in one of its cars.  None of its competitors offer a trim as nice and luxurious.

Slipping into the seats its possible to dial in the perfect position with the 8 way power seats.  Too hot or cold for you...they're heated and cooled in the Platinum.  Even the gear shift is missing this year in the Fusion, its a decidedly luxurious rotary dial for gear selection now with standard paddle shifters on the leather wrapped steering wheel.

Driving the new Fusion and Fusion Platinum is comfortingly familiar yet quieter than the outgoing generation.  Especially so in the Fusion Platinum where even wheel thump is deeply muted. The standard 2.0l Ecoboost of the Platinum makes it a quick performer that still yielded 25.6 mpg over the 20 mile loop that consisted of free flowing freeway, jammed crawling freeway, and urban driving.  This compares favorably to the EPA estimate of 21 City, 31 highway and 25 combined.

Handling is noticeably tighter and crisper with the Fusion Platinum and its standard 19" wheels compared to the base Fusions 17 inchers.  

I also drove the new Fusion Platinum Energi version.  This plug-in hybrid was nothing short of amazing compared to the last version of the Energi I drove a couple of years ago.  The off throttle regenerative capture is much more aggressive than in the past.  Driving the car its definitely noticeable that you aren't just coasting when you lift your foot from the throttle and the live driving coach even notes for you the increased electricity returned to the battery.  I left for my 20 mile loop with an indicated range of 16 miles and figured I would have to switch from EV mode to hybrid before I got back to my starting point.  I was wrong.  Between understanding how to brake to recoup lost energy via the regenerative braking coach and using the same on a long downhill grade I ended back with an indicated 2 miles range left. Add in the new all electric top speed of 85 its possible to do more in all electric mode than in the prior generation.

Worth noting is that this new generation Fusion has available Sync 3.  I really liked it and it is a noteworthy advance over the outgoing MyFord Touch system.  Getting around the screens is faster and easier than before.  The touch screen isn't as picky on precision pokes and reacts fast to your manual commands.  Even voice commands seems to be much more intuitive and fast reacting.   I really liked this new version of Sync.

Lastly, not available at last weeks Open House at Motor City hosted by Ford was the new Fusion Sport.  That should be available next fall and will be a leap ahead of its competition as well.  It will be equipped with a twin turbo 2.7l Ecoboost pumping out around 325 horsepower through all wheel drive and a specific sport tuned suspension.  Can't wait to drive that one!

Overall I have to admit I am totally smitten with the new Fusion and Fusion Platinum in particular.  That high end trim is understated pure luxury, and the standard 2.0L Ecoboost making 245 horsepower has ample power and a cheaper alternative than the Audi A4 I looked at recently.

For the Press release form NAIAS on the new for 2017 Fusion on sale now make the jump!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Car seats out of thin air? Ford says yes.

Say what...this is enough to make a Renaissance alchemist head spin, to think you can make seats out of thin air.  Ford says with the over abundance of CO2 causing problems in the atmosphere it makes sense to pull it out, polymerize it then turn it into useful plastics like car seats.  How cool is that?  One idea further into the sustainable automobile.

If you think its far fetched...its really not.  Ford already with the F150, Focus and a few other cars is pulling millions of water bottles out of the waste cycle and recycling into fabric for car seats.  To remove excess CO2 from the air and put it to use in plastic car parts really isn't that much of a stretch.