Displaying items by tag: Ford

They say to understand where you’re going you need to know where you came from, but so stark is the contrast between this third-generation Ford Kuga and the Blue Oval’s first European mid-sized SUV – the developed-with-Nissan Maverick of 1993 – that the scholastic learning is worthy of a Masters dissertation in crossover evolution.

In fact, it’s quite the leap from its immediate eight-year-old predecessor, having grown (89mm longer, 44mm wider), yet become more lithe (6mm lower, up to 80kg lighter) in the process.

Doesn’t it look, you know, very Focusy?
As with both previous iterations of Kuga, the Mk3 shares its platform componentry with the contemporary Focus, but this time around the styling closely apes its hatchback sibling. Perhaps too much so.

Lucid Red 2020 Ford Kuga ST-Line First Edition PHEV side elevation driving

It looks softer, less aggressive, with a lower window and bonnet line than before, giving the impression that it is a Focus that’s been stretched vertically – there’s a fine amount of headroom, incidentally.

Plus, if you opt for an ST-Line or Vignale trim level – this is an ST-Line First Edition in the pictures – there’s so much colour-coding going on that the Kuga loses some of the visual toughness associated with unpainted plastic bumper mouldings and wheelarches. You’ll have to stick to the lower end of the range if you favour those cues. Or buy a Focus Active…

How’re those Focus underpinnings working out?
Very nicely. We’ve previously lauded Kugas for their handling prowess among others in a segment where it’s previously been high on the R&D wish list. Certainly, while the competition’s caught up considerably, the latest Kuga still noses ahead.

It’s not quite the zesty class leader the latest Ford Puma is in the category below, but we’d go as far as to say that the Mk3 Kuga is a better drive than many Focus hatchback derivatives.

Sorry, I nearly sprayed my tea everywhere – better than a Focus?
Absolutely – don’t forget the majority of the Focus line-up makes do with a less-sophisticated torsion beam arrangement out back, whereas all Kugas benefit from all-round independent suspension.

Lucid Red 2020 Ford Kuga ST-Line First Edition PHEV front three-quarter driving

In short, not only does the Kuga feel superbly composed when tackling a series of sweeping bends – aided and abetted by feelsome, if a tad light, steering – body control is well-contained, too, ensuring it doesn’t list around corners like a vessel on the Solent.

Ride quality is the other beneficiary of the trick suspension, although it’s slightly compromised by the firmer damping arrangement on ST-Line models with their Sports set-ups. Still, the 60-profile rubber further irons-out the sharpness of most road surface imperfections.

What’s new on the engine front, then?
It’s a blend of EcoBoost petrol and EcoBlue diesel powerplants familiar from across the Ford line-up, with all but the pokiest 188bhp oil burner available solely with front-wheel drive. If you’re considering using a Kuga where the asphalt runs out, you’re off-roading wrong.

More importantly, Ford’s finally getting its act together in terms of electrification: there’s an EcoBlue mild-hybrid with a 48-volt system, plus the plug-in hybrid range-topper tested here. There’s also a non-plug-in version of the same package.

Unlike rivals’ PHEV offerings where a tiny turbo petrol motor’s used, Ford’s plumped for a 2.5-litre four-pot operating on the more efficient Atkinson cycle. Rather than the electrical powertrain components simply being added to the engine as a bolt-on, here the two work as a package: the electrical energy is used to compensate for the lack of a forced induction system at lower revs, with the engine joining in when it can do so efficiently.

Together the power units produce 222bhp, with the electric motor accounting for 108bhp of that, confirming the unstressed nature of the engine. Ford claims over 200mpg under the latest, more rigorous WLTP testing regime, but once you’ve sapped the batteries, a figure closer to 40mpg is more likely in the real world.

Various driving models are on offer, as well as the ability to store electrical energy ready for driving in a ULEZ area. Officially, the 14.4kWh battery pack will serve up to 35 miles of zero-emissions driving and should only take around three hours to charge on a dedicated wallbox.

It’s brisk, rather than quick – the 188bhp diesel Kuga’s faster, stat fans – but at 32g/km of CO2 this one’s going to have user choosers drooling in a way Mitsubishi’s Outlander PHEV simply doesn’t.

Channelling that grunt to the forward axle is a Ford-developed CVT transmission, with artificial ratios within its software to mimic a more conventional automatic. It works to a degree, but it still causes the engine to work harder at lower speeds, which sounds loud and gruff in the process.

How easy is the Kuga to live with?
In typical Ford fashion: very. That it’s a Focus facsimile inside – albeit roomier – is not a shock, so it’s very easy to use, if not the most exciting dashboard to look at. Acres of black plastic and fabric doesn’t help give it much sparkle, either.

More importantly, it’s riddled with cubbies and sensibly shaped mouldings to keep all manner of cabin detritus located securely. Plus, there’s a smattering of USB points, an optional three-pin domestic plug socket and an available smartphone wireless charging plate with its own rubberised well.

Lucid Red 2020 Ford Kuga ST-Line First Edition PHEV dashboard viewed from passenger side

Back seat occupants are especially well catered for in what Ford claims to be the roomiest C-segment SUV for those in the rear. It feels spacious, even on models without a glazed roof, a feat improved further by a sliding 60:40 split rear bench that also reclines.

Boot space is also generous, but the flimsy, fabric loadspace cover – which completely lifts out of the way when the tailgate’s open – smacks of requiring a Heath-Robinson trademark label.

Packed with tech
Whether it’s technology to keep you safer on the roads, such as the various driver-assistance systems that contributed to the Kuga’s five-star EuroNCAP rating, or it’s a slicker, higher resolution edition of the Sync 3 multimedia touchscreen with colours that at last don’t look like they’ve been through a boil wash, most versions are well kitted-out.

Titanium versions upwards feature a generous equipment roster, but we’d especially pick out the quad-projector LED headlamps as an extra worthy of serious consideration.

ST-Line models and higher also have a very slick 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster that’s configurable and changes colour depending on the driving mode. Most also include an icon of the rear of a Mondeo – well, Fusion, really – but Sport is illustrated by a Mustang GT and Sand/Snow with an F-150 pick-up. Neat touch.

Don't forget the mild hybrid!
As Ford ups its electric game – even unveiling an EV version of its F-150 pick-up in the US – it’s easy to overlook the modest-sounding mild-hybrid version of the Kuga. Especially as it’s a diesel – yes, those old things.

Lurking in the middle of a line-up that also includes petrol, diesel, ‘self-charging’ hybrid and plug-in hybrid, the EcoBlue Hybrid version of the Kuga works extremely well on the road, and for many it could also be the version that consistently delivers true economy and efficiency.

It’s based on Ford’s 148bhp four-cylinder turbodiesel. The alternator is replaced by a multi-tasking belt-driven integrated starter-generator. It captures energy from braking and coasting, storing it in a 48-volt battery. That energy makes the automatic stop-start system more effective; it can be used to support the engine; and it helps run various electrical ancillaries.

The BISG works as a motor, but takes up little space and adds little weight. Similarly, the 48V battery has a modest capacity – it doesn’t allow electric-only driving – but it’s enough to help ease the load on the engine, reducing emissions and improving fuel consumption. And it does that throughout every journey, unlike a PHEV, which only works at its best if charged frequently.

On our brief test drive, we couldn’t match the official 55.4mpg, but we did manage figures in the high 40s, which is impressive considering that we were gettting a move on, and enjoying the EcoBlue unit’s hearty pulling power. On the move it’s smooth and quiet, and married to a six-speed manual gearbox that’s slick enough to encourage frequent shifting, so you keep the engine in its sweet spot.

Ford Kuga: verdict
So, how much is all this going to set you back? The Kuga line-up starts at £26,445, and carries on almost as far as £40k. So it's not the cheapest of relatively compact mainstream crossovers. But why should it be? It drives well, it's well equipped and has an all-round air of quality about it.

It’s going to have user choosers reaching the end of their Outlander PHEV leases clambering for a more satisfying SUV to drive.

In benefit-in-kind terms, a 20% rate taxpayer’s only going to be looking at a £60 monthly bill to run one as a company car. Expect to see a lot of these on the road, and know that the drivers are enjoying more than just good real-world value – it's also good to drive.


Published in Ford

How the average "redneck" will react to the fact that Ford's largest, most sought-after and loudest pick-up model F-150 will no longer make noise, we can only imagine. Despite that, the best-selling vehicle in the United States received an electric edition for the first time this year, called Lightning. It will have 563 hp, 4WD drive, it will arrive on the market next year, and its main rivals will be the electric Hummer and Tesla Cybertruck. Its trump card is the price, which is not significantly higher than standard models.

Ford's F Series has been made since 1948, and the 14th generation of the legendary model is currently in use. The best-selling vehicle in the United States was bought by as many as 730,000 people during the last extremely difficult year alone. Now, for the first time, this legendary "worker" received an electric version, which was presented last night.

The Ford F-150 Lightning will have all-wheel drive, two electric motors with a total power of 563 hp and 1,050 Nm, which is also the highest torque ever offered in this pick-up model.

The huge truck will reach 100 km / h in just 4 seconds. It will be offered in two options when it comes to the battery, so the more powerful version will have a range of 480 km, and the weaker one 370 km. Charging on a fast charger will take about 40 minutes.

The largest load capacity will be 907 kg, and towing up to 4,536 kg. New technologies will also enable the F-150 to immediately calculate the electric range with the help of a scale for measuring the weight of cargo.

Since the electric motors are smaller than the conventional ones that powered the large pick-up, the Lightning version will also provide luggage space under the hood with a volume of 400 liters.

The new electric version retained the chassis of the classic F-150 (which is also offered as a hybrid), and an independent rear suspension.

The new F-150 will also debut Ford's new and huge 15.5-inch Sync 4A infotainment system, while the driver will have a 12-inch digital instrument panel in front of the driver.

The starting price with the electric pick-up will be 32,972 dollars, which is not much different from the versions with SUS engines.

Watch the video where Ford shows that the new F-150 Lightning can power even a house, as well as a number of electrical appliances.

Published in Blog/News
Tagged under
Friday, 19 March 2021 07:40

Ford Puma review

The Ford Puma is back - the small, sporty coupe is now a stylish, practical compact SUV that’s good to drive, but lacks cabin space.

We’ve waited a while for Ford to give us a proper compact SUV based on the Fiesta. Until now, the firm’s sole offering in the B-SUV market - the EcoSport - has not been good enough. The new Ford Puma hits the right notes and is precisely what you’d expect of the brand, blending practicality and affordability into a package that’s good to drive.

The Puma’s looks won’t appeal to everyone, but few rivals can better it for boot-space and virtually none can outshine the Puma from behind the wheel - equipment levels are strong too. However, there are more upmarket-feeling and spacious rivals out there for this sort of cash.

About the Ford Puma
Cast your memory back to 1997, and you may remember Ford launched a fun, small, front-wheel-drive coupe based on what was then the fourth-generation Fiesta. It added a bit of richly needed desirability at the smaller end of the brand’s British line-up. It was a hit - the Ford Puma had landed.

Now, the Puma name is back, and it’s an extremely similar story save for one very important detail; the new Ford Puma is not a small coupe, but a small five-door SUV. It’s based on the current, seventh-generation Fiesta supermini, sharing its chassis and its engines, as it enters a market that’s overflowing with choice at the minute.

Chief rivals include the Renault Captur, the Peugeot 2008, Skoda Kamiq and SEAT Arona, while the handsome Mazda CX-3 and spacious Volkswagen T-Cross offer further possibilities for customers considering a small family SUV. Left-field alternatives include cars like the design-led Nissan Juke, chunky Jeep Renegade and the retro Fiat 500 X.

The Puma line-up isn’t quite as expansive as the Fiesta’s, but there are still plenty of models to choose from and even more engine options will be available soon. The trim structure is very straightforward too, with four core versions: Titanium, ST-Line, ST-Line X and luxury ST-Line Vignale. The Puma ST performance model sits at the top of the range.

The Titanium is the entry-level trim for the Puma range, but it’s still well equipped and finished with flair, including 17-inch alloy wheels, a leather steering wheel, power folding mirrors, navigation via an eight-inch central touchscreen display, cruise control, rear parking sensors and even a wireless charging pad. The other side to this is that the Puma’s starting price is relatively high compared with rivals, many of which start from below £20,000.

ST-Line models add a bit more standard equipment such as a widescreen 12.3-inch digital instrument display and automatic headlamps. But these cars major on sporty touches including a body-kit, different alloy wheels, sports seats and pedals and a sports suspension setup that helps the Puma to shine as one of the best crossovers to drive.

ST-Line X builds on this with luxury features such as partial leather upholstery, privacy glass in the windows and a 10-speaker audio setup from Bang & Olufsen, while the Vignale upgrade brings heated front seats, front parking sensors, keyless entry and Windsor premium leather upholstery.

The Puma is front-wheel-drive only and buyers are offered three engine options. The EcoBoost 125 uses a 123bhp 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine as found in the Fiesta, while a 48-volt mild-hybrid version of this engine is also available. It doesn’t bring any additional power, although there is a slight increase in torque, and it introduces marginal reductions in CO2 emissions and gains in fuel economy, too. The third option is another 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol with the same mild-hybrid system, but power is pushed up to 153bhp.

Mild-hybrid versions of the Puma use a six-speed manual gearbox for now, with a seven-speed automatic available with the 123bhp non-hybrid variant, although Ford has plans to introduce the auto transmission throughout the Puma range.

For the performance enthusiast, the Puma ST is arguably the best-handling compact SUV on sale, powered by the Fiesta ST’s 1.5-litre engine for a total of 197bhp.

 Ford Puma review - Engines, performance and drive

The Puma’s proven 1.0-litre EcoBoost units are a known quantity, but the mild-hybrid system isn’t flawless.

Ford’s reputation for fun family cars has been sealed with models like the Focus and Fiesta, while the original Puma - though short lived - is another prime example of the Blue Oval’s proficiency in chassis development.

Much the same can be said of this Puma, thanks in the main to the Fiesta chassis that sits beneath it. It links up with a solid 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine to deliver a family crossover that’s good to drive.

When we pitted the Puma up against the Renault Captur and Peugeot 2008, we hailed the Ford as being “easily the best to drive.” The driving position is fundamentally sound, and once you’re settled in, you’ll quickly see why the Puma has won plaudits.

Get on the move and the steering feels light - even if you put the Puma into the Sport mode using the drive mode selector. But, it’s well resolved for a car like this, accurate, keen to re-centre and with a great steering ratio. There’s a good level of grip too, so immediately the Puma feels like a crossover that you can flick through corners nicely. The six-speed gearbox is lovely, too, while Ford’s engineers have also done a good job with the Puma’s suspension.

Even with the sports suspension on the ST-Line model, the damping is very well set up and it has a decent level of compliance. It all comes together to mean that the Puma has brilliant composure and the ability to offer an engaging drive.

The Puma ST is based on the sublime Fiesta ST hot hatchback, which means a 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbocharged engine under the bonnet, making the same 197bhp and 320Nm of torque.

Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed
All three engines are based on the same 1.0-litre engine block, but there’s quite a difference between them, owing to the Puma’s various drivetrain technologies and power outputs.

The 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine has been a really strong contender in its various applications over the last few years, and the Puma is another vehicle where this small engine shines. It may no longer be the outright best three-cylinder engine on the market and some engines - such as the TSI units used in the Volkswagen Group cars - may be more refined these days, but you shouldn’t be disappointed.

The 123bhp and 170Nm torque served up by the base model is enough for most family motoring, propelling the Puma to 62mph in 10.0 seconds and on to a top speed of 119mph.

Hybrid badge
What is a hybrid car? Mild hybrids, full hybrids and plug-in hybrids explained

Pick the mild-hybrid version and the power stays at 123bhp, but torque improves to 210Nm thanks to the small amount of electrical assistance. Top speed is still 119mph, but the 0-62mph time falls a little to 9.8 seconds. The real benefit is lower CO2 emissions from the exhaust pipe and better running costs from improved fuel economy, which we’ll come to on the next page.

The only downside to the mild-hybrid system is that to fill the small battery pack with energy, the Puma features a very minor amount of brake energy regeneration. It’s set at a constant, unchangeable level, that’s just about detectable when you lift off the throttle and feel the car slow more quickly than it otherwise would, and takes a little getting used to.

If you need more power, the 153bhp car has you covered. It also has braking recuperation that cannot be altered in strength, but it takes 8.9 seconds to reach 62mph from standstill and goes on to a top speed of 124mph.

The 197bhp ST performance model dispatches the same sprint in 6.7 seconds, with a 137mph maximum.

 Ford Puma review - MPG, CO2 and running costs

Ford uses proven 1.0-litre petrol engines for the Puma, with mild-hybrid technology helping to improve economy and emissions.

Ford’s 1.0-litre three-cylinder EcoBoost unit has received much praise for its versatility and ability to blend decent power with good returns from a tank of fuel. So, it’s probably no great surprise that the engine is at the core of the Puma range.

The flexible 1.0-litre powerplant comes in three guises for Puma customers. The base 123bhp version returns a maximum 46.3mpg, with 138g/km of CO2, while the same unit with 48-volt mild-hybrid assistance is able to improve on these figures a little by delivering a claimed 50.4mpg and CO2 levels of 127g/km.

The 153bhp variant produces the same economy and CO2 figures as its lower-powered sibling, while the 197bhp Puma ST still performs pretty well with 41.5mpg on the combined cycle and 155g/km of CO2.

Most economical SUVs, 4x4s and crossovers 2021
The mild-hybrid system captures kinetic energy naturally lost while driving, particularly during braking, before storing it as electricity in a small battery. This electrical energy is then used to assist the engine during acceleration, reducing the amount of petrol needed to make decent progress.

Drivers can view a display on the digital instrument panel to see exactly when the system is in action. Alongside it, cylinder deactivation means the engine can run on two cylinders where driving conditions allow, to save more fuel.

Insurance groups
Insurance premiums for the Puma range should be competitive with those of rivals. The base 123bhp Titanium model comes in at group 11, while the ST-Line Vignale cars with 153bhp occupy group 15. The 197bhp ST variant is in group 22.

Competitors such as the Renault Captur start at group 8 for an entry-level 99bhp version and move through to group 21 for a top-of-the range model with 152bhp.

Our experts predict the Ford Puma will retain a healthy 51% of its original value over 3 years and 36,000 miles, whereas the Renault Captur keeps an average of 43% over the same period.

 Ford Puma review - Interior, design and technology

The Ford Puma has a familiar cabin design and good levels of standard kit, but overall quality can’t match rivals.

Ford’s new small SUV is based on the best-selling Fiesta, which is no bad thing. Despite being one of the smaller B-segment models, the Puma has ensured it stands out from competitors with a distinctive design and impressive levels of standard equipment.

In the cabin, the dash and centre console will be familiar to those who’ve peered inside a recent Focus or Fiesta, although the visible plastics aren’t the Puma’s greatest quality. There’s far too much hard black stuff to be found, while other small SUVs are available with nicer interiors, and for similar money.

Ford offers four individual trim levels for the Puma. The entry-level Titanium is still very well equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels, LED rear lights and daytime running lights, body-coloured exterior trim, power-folding heated mirrors, rear parking sensors and selectable drive modes.

ST-Line models include a muscular body-kit, sports suspension, a leather sports steering wheel and alloy pedals, although the ST-Line X car adds stylish 18-inch wheels, partial leather seat trim, privacy glass and carbon-effect interior accents.

The luxury Vignale version ups the luxury count with heated seats, Windsor premium leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel, front parking sensors and keyless entry, while the ST car features 19-inch alloy wheels and a body styling kit.

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment
All Puma models come with Ford’s SYNC 3 infotainment system, including navigation, Bluetooth, a DAB radio and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality. There’s also a wireless charging pad as standard. Bearing in mind the high list prices as you climb the range, the Titanium trim offers a sweet spot in terms of equipment and on-board tech.

ST-Line cars feature a 12.3-inch digital instrument display which, along with the central touchscreen, is sharp and easy to navigate. And, if you feel the need for better quality audio while on the move, the ST-Line X models add a B&O Premium stereo with 10 speakers.

 Ford Puma review - Practicality, comfort and boot space

Although smaller than most rivals, the Ford Puma remains practical for family use and offers clever storage solutions.

Ford has worked hard to ensure the compact Puma combines its athletic low stance with plenty of practicality and comfort. From the driver’s seat, the links to the Fiesta’s chassis are clear, with ability to tackle the twisty stuff with vigour as well as being a solid, quiet performer at motorway speeds.

ST-Line cars get sports suspension, and while on the firmer end of the spectrum for SUVs of this size, it’s not overly harsh. The driving position definitely feels sportier while there’s a great level of adjustment in the seat and steering wheel, a typical Ford trait.

The Puma is one of the smaller options in the supermini sized SUV class. It measures 4,207mm in length, 1,805mm wide and stands 1,537 tall. By comparison, the Peugeot 2008 and Mazda CX-3 are 93mm and 68mm longer, respectively.

Leg room, head room & passenger space
The Puma manages to maintain decent passenger space, despite its sloping roofline. Room up front is very good, while the rear bench is an acceptable size.

Passenger space in the rear is compromised when compared with a Renault Captur. Passengers in the back sit higher up, which brings your legs back towards the seat base, so although there’s enough space overall, the seating position might not be as comfortable.

A boot of 456 litres is on-par with competitors in this class, and there’s virtually no lip to get over, so awkward items shouldn’t be too tricky to load. In comparison, the Peugeot 2008 offers 434 litres of boot space and the Renault Captur 12 litres less than that, although the Captur has an ace up its sleeve in the form of a sliding rear bench seat. When the bench is pushed all the way forward it frees up a 536-litre capacity.

One area where Ford has been rather clever is in the Puma‘s adjustable boot floor with the so-called ‘Megabox’ hidden storage area beneath. This is a 68-litre plastic compartment that you can use to store muddy boots or wet clothes, for example. It also has a drain plug so you can hose it out. Plus, Ford claims that using the MegaBox allows you to stand a golf bag upright in the Puma’s boot.

 Ford Puma review - Reliability and safety

Ford has a lot riding on the success of the Puma. It’s previous effort at a small SUV, the EcoSport, was a poor one, so the brand has to get this right. Fortunately, the Puma arrives with proven engines, a chassis based on the best-selling Fiesta and interior tech already in use across other model ranges. We’d expect the Puma to be a car you can rely on, and also one that keeps the driver, passengers and other road users as safe as possible.

All models include cruise control, a lane keeping aid with departure warning, Pre-Collision Assist with Autonomous Emergency Braking, Pedestrian/Cyclist Detection and Post-Collision Braking. Other useful features include auto headlights, rain-sensing wipers and a tyre pressure monitoring system.

Those wishing to upgrade further can opt for the Driver Assistance pack (£900), which adds a blind spot warning, adaptive cruise control and a rear view camera among other features.

The Puma was tested by Euro NCAP in 2019 and achieved a full five-star rating. Adult and child protection was rated at 94% and 84%, respectively, while the car scored 77% for pedestrian safety.

Although Ford finished a disappointing 24th out of 30 manufacturers in our 2020 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, it’ll be looking towards cars like the new Puma to guide it to improved results next time.

Every new Ford car comes with a 3-year/60,000 mile warranty. There’s also the benefit of Ford Assistance for 1 year, providing roadside cover in the UK and throughout Europe.

If you plan on keeping your car for longer than three years or are a high mileage driver, you can extend the standard warranty to either 4 years/80,000 miles or 5 years/100,000 miles.

Ford offers the Ford Protect Service Plan giving you the option of scheduled services and extended Ford Assistance. It covers scheduled servicing including associated parts and labour, and vehicle hire for up to 7 days. The Ford Protect Service Plan can be purchased any time before the first service is due.


Published in Ford
Tagged under

Ford has announced that it will build a new electric car in Europe using Volkswagen's mechanical frame - a platform for battery-powered vehicles, and that it will spend $ 1 billion on rebuilding a factory in Germany to produce zero-emission cars.

Ford of Europe President Stuart Rowley told reporters that the factory in Cologne will build one model of electric passenger vehicle, which would enter the market in the middle of 2023, and it is possible that another model will be produced there.

He said it was part of Ford’s efforts to offer fully electric or gas-electric versions of all passenger vehicles in Europe by 2024, and all will be fully electric by 2030. The company predicts that by 2030, two-thirds of its commercial vehicle sales will be vehicles in Europe be electric or hybrid.

The agreement with Volkswagen, which allows the use of the mechanical framework of that German electric car company, known by the German abbreviation MEB (modular electric tool set), allows Ford to take advantage of Volkswagen's huge investments in electric cars, while the entire industry is shifting to zero-emission vehicles. pollution.

The Volkswagen platform uses standard mechanical bases such as the battery, wheels and axles, which can be adapted to produce different vehicle models.

Carmakers in Europe must sell more electric vehicles to meet new, lower emission limits for carbon dioxide, the main gas that causes global warming. If manufacturers do not keep the average emissions of their entire fleet below the limit, they will pay large fines. Rowley said Ford can avoid fines.

The company said that commercial vehicles are the key to growth and profitability in Europe, with new products and services through an alliance with Volkswagen and a joint venture between Ford and Otosan in Turkey.

The announced investment, which will be made by 2025, is among Ford's most significant for more than a generation and "underscores our commitment to Europe and the modern future," Rowley said.

Ford said that the investment in the factory in Cologne, with more than 4,000 workers, is starting after Ford's European operations returned to profit in the fourth quarter of 2020.

That investment is part of Ford’s goal to spend at least $ 22 billion on electric vehicles from 2016 to 2025.

Published in Blog/News

The acceleration has begun and from now on we will hear almost daily news about which car brand is becoming fully electric in the period ahead. After Mercedes, Jaguar Land Rover, Bentley and many others, Ford has now stated that from 2030 it will offer exclusively electric models in Europe, as well as that the first European Ford on electricity will be made on the VW platform.

According to the promise from Ford, by the middle of 2026, every model on the European market will be available as a plug-in hybrid or electric, and by 2030, this company will switch exclusively to electricity.

Full electrification refers to passenger models, while commercial vehicles will have zero emissions by 2024.

All this fits in with the announcements from numerous European countries that they will ban the sale of gasoline and diesel engines by 2030, among which the United Kingdom is in the lead.

That is why Honda, Volvo, Nissan and others have announced that they will not even offer models with conventional drive in Europe. Honda will start implementing this plan as early as next year.

As for Ford, they are investing a billion dollars in the renovation of the factory in Cologne, where the production of the first European fully electric model will begin in 2023.

It will use Volkswagen's MEB platform on which the ID.3 and ID.4 models are created, and the first EV model from Ford made in Europe will be produced in parallel with the Fiesta. More information will be revealed in the coming period.

Published in Blog/News
Sunday, 14 February 2021 09:28

What connects Ferrari, Ford and Citroën?

In short, a cat. A solid, black cat, so dark that it is almost invisible when in the dark and closes its eyes. But when he opens his eyes, he gives a light and a reflection that he can rarely copy and project accurately.

Although we all take for granted the name "cat's eyes" for reflective plates located on the pedals of bicycles or among the spokes of the wheels, it is a newer and younger "invention" than the original black cat and has been used for only forty years.

At the very beginning of the 20th century, Pierre Marchal, then in his twenties in the army and with a newly issued car license, met Renault Louis. With it, he explores the mechanics and possibilities of introducing electronics in vehicles, and also somewhat into functional things for life.
Thus began his many years of learning, research, and progress that would completely reverse the view of racing from Le Mans to Monte Carlo in the 1950s and 1960s.

A few years after the First World War, Marchal, with a few friends and colleagues, opened a company in the suburbs of Paris. More precisely a garage.
In that garage, with joint efforts and intelligence, they created and produced things like projectors, dynamos, starters, headlights and some other things. The vast majority of French manufacturers relied on their products and increasingly used them in their factories.

According to the original story, Pierre Marchal was a big fan of his black cat who was a regular guest in the garage. Returning home late at night, he saw in the headlights the glare of the said cat and outlined an idea that would completely change the course of his business. It is written in history as a black cat - a lucky cat under the slogan "I lend my eyes only to Marchal" or in the original form "Je ne prête mes yeux qu'à Marchal". And this is not surprising because the French adore cats - as animals, in art form and in the world-famous illustration Le Chat Noir. This story is also connected with the belief in the matagot - a spirit in the shape of a black cat that is waiting for you at the crossroads between this and that world, and if you feed it well, it will provide you with almost infinite wealth.
Basically, a typical cat - give good food and everything will be as it should be.

The first major successes were achieved three years later. Ie. when Marchal became a sponsor of the Monte-Carlo Rally and participated in the victory at Le Mans. Drivers Robert Bloch and Andre Rossignol as the first two-time winner of the Le Mans race, drove the likable Lorraine-Dietrich B3-6 with Marchal headlights. The fact that they were the first to make fog lights for race cars only contributed to the company’s business rise.

Until the early 1930s, Marchal used his headlights to adorn models from Hispano-Suiza, Delahaye, Talbot and others. And according to the James Bond novels, the first official car "007" was the so-called Blower Bentley from 1931, which is also illuminated by a "cat".
It is worth mentioning that this Bentley was produced in only 55 copies between 1929 and 1931, and that the current price of the surviving Blowers ranges from 400 thousand to almost 5 million dollars. It would be a small price packed with "cat's eyes".

The rise in production and popularity took a break during World War II, after which the branding of the “black cat” took off. In this new era for Marchal, the cat on the advertising poster begins to juggle car parts, wears lamps in his paws, drives a car with a helmet on his head and waves the target flag. And that attracted the Ferrari 375 Plus in 1954, which won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the hands of drivers Gonzalez and Trintigant and also did fantastic marketing.

Immediately after that, Lancia took Marchal as the official supplier instead of the previous headlights and earned a victory at the Monte Carlo Rally. This makes the "black cat" even more popular.

In order to promote the diversity of the vehicles on which their headlights were worn, the company redesigned Citroën’s H-Van.
They mounted on it almost everything they produced at the time. That is, all types and sizes of lights, trumpets, car parts, and the roof was adorned with a huge S.E.V. Marchal inscription.
If you find yourself near the 24 Hours of Le Mans Museum, you can watch this decades-old installation live.

In the early 1960s, a logo made up of a cat and a black-and-white flag “cemented” Marchal as instantly recognizable and closely tied to motorsport. And the list of cars with which Marchal lends "eyes" also includes the retro racer Ferrari 330, which in 1962 was driven by driver Phil Hill to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It was a particularly notable victory, as it was the first to be achieved with so-called iodine projectors. That is, the headlights that are in it road use has just been tested in Marchal.

With a solid foundation and success to date, Marchal's "eyes" were also found on the Porsche racing derivatives of the 911 and the legendary 917. In addition to the famous racers from Zuffenhausen, Marchal has installed its headlights on another legend, the Ford GT40. On that Ford racer, Marchal contributed to winning several victories in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the late 1960s. And then Renault Gordini and BMW Alpina also fell in love with the "black cat".

Since the founder and originator of the whole idea, Pierre Marchal, passed away at that time, there has been a slight slowdown in success and a change in business. As a result, the competition is a little free of the road to the title of winner. In the early 1970s, Ferodo took over Marchal's business and led it in a slightly different direction. This reduces the emphasis on headlight production, but improves the production of the remaining parts.
A few years later, Cibie, as the biggest competitor, joins forces with Marchal and becomes something that is known to this day as the Valeo Group.

In addition to Cibie, PIAA was also the main competitor in rival circles. Although it was founded a decade before Marchal, it was still not as successful as the "black cat". But it is still active with a huge opus of headlights that could be needed in the market.

When it comes to competition, at the very mention of the name Bosch the first association will rarely be light. But even that company has found its sun in the domain of lighting parts on cars. One of the specifics of this company were asymmetrical lights, ie headlights with which the driver's side gave more illumination than the passenger's side. Due to this asymmetry of the headlights, the glare in traffic was reduced.

The Italian company Carello was also founded before the First World War. And it has earned its success in the domestic market by producing fog lights. After all, how can you even imagine an Alfa or a Lancia without an Italian fog light on it?

In the Balkans in the 1970s, there was also the company Saturnus. This company is still present and today it acts as the main sponsor of the Slovenian race called Saturnus.
In the early 1990s, this company replaced the metallized substrate with heat-resistant plastic in all its lights and thus made a huge step forward. It is still present on the market today and, in addition to continuous development, is also engaged in the production of fog lights, daytime running lights and multifunctional lamps.

As developments in production intertwined the ups and downs of all companies, Marchal continued to make its way through factories as a classic that simply had to be found on even more different car models. Thus, on the one hand we have the Citroën DS, or the legendary "Frog" with "cat's eyes" that the headlights of this company drive on European roads, and on the other hand we have almost every Mustang GT that was produced in the first half of the eighties.

Although Marchal has been going through various combinations and partnerships throughout its glorious history, in the 1980s this company became part of the Valeo Group, of which it is still a part together with Cibie. Looking through history, it is clear that in his time Pierre Marchal with his “black cat” provides very good visibility for some of the fantastic car models. Throughout its rich history, this company has been ubiquitous and esteemed during the so-called "vintage motorsport" and legendary races such as 24 Hours of Le Mans, which new generations could witness through the recent film adaptation of "Ford vs Ferrari".

The name of the company Marchal, according to some allegations, was bought in 2009 by a Japanese company that manufactures headlights for cars. But with all the modifications and differences, car enthusiasts have a hard time agreeing to call something like that a last name that meant the best of the best in the 1950s and 1960s.

Who would have thought that an ordinary, happy black cat helped in something like that.


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Monday, 08 February 2021 06:55

Top 5: road cars signed by Cosworth

Often in the world of cars, a story is repeated that begins something like this: "When you and those characters started this or that year, they didn't even know that…".
Well, this story won't start like that, because the brilliant minds in front of Cosworth foresaw the future very well and knew even better what they were doing. And this thesis is shown by these road cars with their signatures.
So here is a brief cross-section of the best that this ingenious duo has offered for road use…

There is no doubt that Mike Costlin and Keith Duckworth have become immortal since 1958. There is also no doubt that the engines and other components of this ingenious duo have been revered by millions of Ford fans and beyond over the years. Because what Cosworth has achieved in the world of engine optimization, refinement, performance increase and construction of legendary race cars, practically no one has ever managed to achieve.

Having Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and even a Cosworth-signed Subaru in my possession has always been something special. And the owners of various Sierra, Escort and other other cars were rightly proud of their cars.
Because Cosworth, despite all its flaws (and there were some), has always fascinated with its ingenious solutions, crazy ideas and revolutionary machines that power some of the most respected cars of all time.
Both on the street and on the track.

True car enthusiasts, whose coexistence with cars does not come down to blind worship of one brand or worse, one model of one brand, know very well what this legendary company has signed from 1958 until today.
But some of you esteemed readers might be surprised with our selection as part of Cosworth’s list of the best road races.

So there is no choice but to start with this short and sweet list of really special road races with Cosworth's signature…

Number 5: Ford Escort RS Cosworth

"Cossie"… "Cossack"… "Escort on steroids"… Indeed, this car has certainly been called by car enthusiasts over the years.
But all these names, adjectives, suffixes and slang names have one common denominator. And that comes down to one of the most special angry compacts of all time.

For many, this car marked an entire era of racing on the dirty and dusty tracks of the World Rally Championship.
For many, the RS Cosworth was the "car" that made them indulge in the world of cars in their entirety.
Many also swear by the absolute superiority of this Escort compared to the competition from that wonderful time.

And maybe all those many are right, but Ford with this car in its road edition did not intend to break any records, nor was it expected that this icon from the nineties and a few decades later would be adored by a huge amount of people.

The idea was to accomplish the series needed to comply with the homologation rules and that’s usually it.
But despite this, the Escort RS Cosworth still stands on the pedestal of the most special cars of all time - although through some figures, the wickedly high price and often questionable durability may not deserve it.

The Cossie, with its body just like an ordinary Escort, looked like a neighborhood hooligan.
His character was like the once famous movie diva whose alcohol drank his brain and reflexes, while due to frequent breakdowns, this Ford fell out of the car, which caused its owners to go bald unplanned.
But the two-liter engine with its 227 horsepower and all-wheel drive was absolutely fascinating even with a Turbo-hole the size of a Marianas furrow.
And then there’s that ingenious and equally oversized spoiler on which laundry could be dried.

Basically, if there is an icon on four wheels in the world that can be recognized from any angle, then it is precisely the Escort RS Cosworth.

Number 4: Subaru Impreza WRX STi CS400

Yes… Cosworth had his fingers in this legendary Japanese car as well. And you may not have known it, but it still doesn’t negate that fact, because this car really did carry Cosworth’s signature.

The idea was simple: to produce something really special and thus at least partially try to annul all the negative reactions that Impreza GR was collecting even in its strongest version.
Because the Impreza has always been a sedan, while the third generation of this model is presented in the form of a compact with five doors.

And yes… This Impreza was as disgusting to watch as it was shocking to comprehend. Therefore, Subaru struggled in all possible and impossible ways with various variations on the special editions of this body version for the Impreza, before the definitive capitulation and the release of the sedan (GV) version on the market.
But before that happened, for many the ultimate Impreza of the time

the woman was created in collaboration with Cosworth.

Basically, the ugly compact still wore vulgar spoilers and a design signed by the correctional team from the subject "design and engineering". I guess that’s why the focus this time was definitely shifted under the hood under which Subaru’s heart was pounding with Cosworth’s pacemaker.

The four-cylinder, 2.5-liter engine at Cosworth is disassembled into "simple factors" and then rearranged from start to finish. And the resulting condition was shaped into an EJ257 engine with almost 400 horsepower.

With those 400 horsepower combined with a billion minor and minor minor revisions to the chassis, suspension, and powertrain and braking system, the Impreza WRX STi CS400 accelerated to 100 km / h in 3.7 seconds. That is, in translation more convincing than some five times more expensive super-cars of that time.
But despite this, this very interesting project was very quickly doomed. Because the price of £ 50,000 in the UK was simply exorbitant.

Either way, Cosworth has turned this Impreza from an ugly duckling into a dark object of desire for many.
And that’s actually quite enough to say as a conclusion about this car.

Number 3: Audi RS4 (B5)

Admit that you had no idea that Cosworth was also fiddling with this mobile box from Ingolstadt.
But admit it or not, history confirms that Audi without Cosworth would never have presented the successor to the legendary RS2 - at least not in the form in which we know it and with which we are fascinated.

Now… You must be wondering how this somewhat obscure collaboration actually came about.
So here is the answer to that question…

Namely, as Cosworth as a company was on the verge of bankruptcy in the late 1990s, at one point the idea was born to split the company into two parts. The newly formed divisions were oriented separately towards road cars and those with which the team raced along the track.
In those years, Audi persistently tried to create a successor to the legendary RS2, so instead of cooperating with Cosworth, it simply decided to buy the road division of that company and throw the employees into the fire. And look at the miracles - it turned out great.
Because on the one hand Cosworth did not put the key in the lock forever, while on the other hand Audi produced one of the most special models of all time. And a model with a coat of arms.

Many swear that the first RS4 is also the last real Audi with the correct pedigree and without unnecessary marketing nonsense. Because this caravan already looked serious with its appearance, while driving it was able to embarrass many times more expensive, nominally faster and much more famous super-sports cars on the planet - by driving kids to school and Labradors to the toilet.
The 2.7-liter V6 engine was already a respectable force on the road. And after Cosworth's interventions on the engine in question (especially on the pistons and the exhaust system) with its 380 horses, this really became one of those cars that made the "haters" of the caravan want to have one in the yard.

acceleration to 100 km / h took less than 4 seconds, while top speed was limited to the agreed 250 kilometers per hour in Germany.
So even though I guess megalomaniacs and number addicts will say the proverbial "meh" and wave their hands, the Audi RS4 still remains one of the most brutal family cars the world has ever seen.
And without Cosworth, all this would not be possible.

Number 2: Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16

That by any chance AMG was an official part of Mercedes' three-spoke empire, and that in 1983 the company's employees had the time, will and desire, who knows what the story of this car would look like.
But as AMG was not part of Mercedes' three-legged empire at the time, and as the company's employees were on a cigarette-two break just then, Mercedes-Benz dared to start a partnership with Cosworth.

And the result state was shaped into one title title as part of the DTM competition from the early 1990s, and countless victories during the seasons that preceded that success.
But before that, this seemingly ridiculous fruit of collaboration between crazy Englishmen and anal-precise Germans also set several world records, including the one of 50,000 kilometers traveled in one piece and at a (combined) speed of almost 250 kilometers per hour. And without any malfunctions, without a general breakdown of the system and without any service interventions.

So, here is an example that confirms that Cosworth can really put his signature on something permanent and high quality, so the critics of this Mercedes derivative of the 190 and the collaboration with Cosworth were soon (and forever) gagged.

Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3-16 nowadays has a cult status. And deservedly so. Because from those times until today, it is not a common case for a company to present a car that is so close to the "ordinary" version, and at the same time stands fourteen light years away from it.
Because despite the fact that the 190 with its 185 horses and Cosworth's signature is not even the fastest limousine of its time, at the same time it clearly showed that it is one of the most special limousines of all time.

And by all accounts, it will remain so.
And rightly so.

Number 1: Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworth

"As it was in the beginning, so it is now."

Because Sierra in this version with Cosworth’s signature literally kicked her ass wherever she appeared.

Europe has submitted to this Sierra several times and in several different domains of motorsport.
Australia too, and in the US and Japan this Sierra has earned an extremely high rating.
In a world of dust and dirt, Sierra has raised some of the best drivers of all time, of whom perhaps best to highlight is the legendary aggressor named Colin McRae.

The pedigree itself was present from some already past times in which Cosworth together with Ford played with several generations of Escort RS, so Sierra "only" continued that story. But the most special part of the "story" about the Sierra RS500 Cosworth was recorded on the street, ie among the "ordinary" people. Because it is in this segment that this car, despite a kind of handicap compared to competitors such as the BMW M3 (E30) and Audi UrQuattro, turned out to be a moral winner.

Namely, while Audi sold its UrQuattro in micron series and at the prices of preserved kidneys on the black market, and BMW moved the produced copies from garage to garage due to the lack of produced M-three models, Ford provided a larger production series for the Sierra RS Cosworth.
And with that, the Sierra took over the roads because of its accessibility, so it soon gained the status of a national hero in England. And that status holds to this day, when some of the preserved specimens at auctions record six-digit figures. And the version marked RS500 with its 500 produced copies only added that obligatory factor of exclusivity for this already loved and desired car.

The body extensions and the oversized rear spoiler from this uncompromising car certainly made a different beast than the ones moms, dads and taxi drivers rode on a daily basis. Although some still resent that the two-liter engine never got more than 227 horsepower, this is still the Sierra, which to this day is the alpha and omega for all those for whom the "fast Ford" is the ideal in the world of cars.

Ford produced a legend with this car, while Cosworth gave that legend a truly special beast with the character of an absolute savage. Ie. one of those cars that only the most capable behind the wheel could deal with in the right way.

And that’s why it’s the best road car Cosworth has ever put its signature on.

Do you agree?

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