Road Test – Hills Social http://social.hillsford.co.uk Mon, 10 Sep 2018 12:31:05 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 Ford S-MAX Road Test http://social.hillsford.co.uk/ford-s-max-road-test/ http://social.hillsford.co.uk/ford-s-max-road-test/#respond Wed, 17 Aug 2016 13:34:08 +0000 http://www.momizat.com/theme/goodnews/?p=32 Ford’s improved Ranger really has gone large in its appeal as a competitive proposition against tough rivals in the pick-up segment. The idea is to tempt everyone from builders to surf-boarding, mountain-biking families with what is now a very complete product indeed. It took Ford a long time to create a pick-up tailored to the

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Ford’s improved Ranger really has gone large in its appeal as a competitive proposition against tough rivals in the pick-up segment. The idea is to tempt everyone from builders to surf-boarding, mountain-biking families with what is now a very complete product indeed.

It took Ford a long time to create a pick-up tailored to the needs of European customers but the brand finally managed it with the third generation Ranger model it launched in 2012. With this line-up, the marque at last had a product to properly compete with the tough Japanese triumvirate that rule this market segment this side of the Atlantic, Mitsubishi’s L200, Toyota’s Hilux and Nissan’s Navara. All three are good vehicles but very obviously commercial in feel. This Ranger claims to offer something more, if not a road car with a pick-up deck, then the closest thing to that we’ve yet seen, with a design versatile enough for export to over 180 countries. Since this vehicle’s original launch though, pick-up buyers have become more demanding, especially in terms of the efficiency they expect and the technology they want. This heavily revised Ranger line-up represents Ford’s answer to that need.

Driving Experience

There aren’t many pick-ups developed first and foremost to prioritise driving dynamics, but this is one of them. So what’s it like? Well, really, it depends upon your expectations. Does it ride and handle like a Discovery? Well of course it doesn’t. A Discovery isn’t built to take a 1.3-tonne payload. But does it set handling standards for the pick-up segment? Very definitely yes, more agile, stable, precise and comfortable than any vehicle of its kind we’ve seen to date. There’s decent steering feel for a pick-up too, despite the introduction of electrical assistance for the helm of this revised model. Under the bonnet, most models will be sold with the 160PS 2.2-litre four cylinder TDCi turbo diesel that Ford uses in its passenger car line-up. For really effortless towing though, you’ll need the flagship Ranger engine, a purpose-designed 3.2-litre five cylinder TDCi diesel with 200PS on tap and 470NM of torque, most of which you can access from as low in the rev range as 1,750rpm. Of course, if you’re a typical Ranger owner, you’ll want to be putting its all-terrain capability to the test on a pretty regular basis. Which is why, though there’s a two-wheel drive entry-level model for those that want it, most of the range is built around 4WD variants. As usual with vehicles of this type, this one runs in 2WD unless you rotate this controller to its ‘4H’ ‘4×4 High’ setting, something that can be done on the move. That’ll be fine for slippery tarmac and grassy fields, but for anything more serious than that, you’ll want to switch further into the ‘4L’ ‘4×4 Low range’ mode that’ll give you a seriously go-anywhere set of off road ratios.

Design and Build

Almost the only global market in which you won’t find this Ranger is that of the US. Apparently, it’s not big enough. Seems pretty large to us, nearly five and a half metres long and with a bulk quite intimidating enough to frighten away fast lane dawdlers. This revised version gets a smarter look with a more aggressive front end featuring a bold traezoidal front grille. And inside? Well, if you go for the four-door Double Cab, there’s plenty of space in the back: two six-footers can certainly sit one behind the other with ease. Under the rear seat, you’ve hidden storage bins to keep tools and valuables away from prying eyes. Or, if the rear bench isn’t in use, you can fold down the backrest for packages you may not want to consign to the rear loadbay. And up-front? Well, you climb up high to perch behind the wheel of any pick-up and this Ranger is no exception, with an airy, commanding cab offering great all-round visibility and class-leading front seat headroom. The instrument cluster with its central LED display was apparently inspired by the design of a G-Shock watch, precision workings protected by a robust casing. And plusher models get an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen on the dash, via which owners can use the latest ‘SYNC 2’ media connectivity system that Ford now offers in this vehicle.

Market and Model

There are three Ranger bodystyles – ‘Regular’ single cab, ‘Super’ (which has occasional rear seats) and ‘Double Cab’ with proper rear seats. The ‘Regular’ bodystyle is only available with base ‘XL’ trim, while the ‘Super’ option only comes with the mid-range ‘XLT’ and ‘Limited’ trim levels. At the top of the line-up is the high-spec ‘Wildtrak’ variant, offered only in Double Cab form and only available with the 3.2-litre TDCi engine. A single 2WD model is offered at the foot of the range (a ‘Super’ cab variant) but otherwise, 4WD is fitted to all derivatives. Prices start at around the £18,500, excluding the VAT that most business buyers will be able to claim back. For the Double Cab bodystyle most customers will want, you’ll need to be budgeting in the £20,000 to £25,000 bracket excl. VAT. For a top 3.2-litre ‘Wildtrak’ variant, you’ll be looking at paying £26,000 to £27,000 excl. VAT. Still, you get a pretty unique pick-up in return, with colour-coded bodywork, a unique sports hoop, machined 18-inch alloy wheels and special graphics. Inside, there are plush eight-way power-adjustable seats in an orange-trimmed interior that includes an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen. Across the range, this improved Ranger line-up benefits from fresh technological additions and options. Things like Ford’s clever ‘SYNC 2’ media connectivity, plus safety items like a Lane Keeping Aid and Adaptve Cruise Control.

Cost of Ownership

Potential business owners may well be approaching this Ranger thinking that sleek looks, a smarter more spacious cabin and class-leading driving dynamics are all very well but that they’d trade all of them for the practicality out back that this vehicle will need to earn its keep. They don’t have to, for thanks to big dimensions and a high beltline, this Ford’s load-lugging stats are as good, if not better, than any other vehicle in its segment. The ‘Regular Cab’ and ‘Super Cab’ models offer, respectively, 1.82 and 1.45 cubic metres, while the Double Cab version is also more than competitive with 1.21 cubic metres. And running costs? Well the switch to electric power steering and a single 160PS 2.2-litre TDCi diesel for mainstream versions of this Ranger has done wonders for running costs, these now improved by 17%. So whereas the previous pre-facelifted four cylinder Ranger model only managed 36.2mpg on the combined cyce and 206g/km of CO2, this 160PS 2.2 TDCi model manages 43.5mpg and 171g/km. Much more like it. Running costs for the Ranger are helped by the 4WD/2WD system that allows off road users, once back on tarmac, to switch to two wheel drive – obviously the more fuel efficient option. The 3.2-litre engine with four-wheel drive and manual transmission delivers 28.3mpg on the combined cycle and slightly better (28.7mpg) if you opt for the automatic ‘box. Pick-ups like this are never going to offer a slippery shape but even so, Ford have engineered a large car able to carry five adults and serious amounts of luggage, equipment or other heavy loads, that is relatively aerodynamic.

Summary

You can’t deny that this revised Ranger is a thoroughly engineered product. But is it the first Ford pick-up to truly approach market leadership? We think it might be. It’s safe, spacious, clever, able to carry large loads and, in four cylinder guise, finally has an engine efficient enough to match or beat the competition. Whether the need is for active family weekends, or simply to carry workmates with their kit and tools, this rugged do-almost-anything automotive swiss army knife seems to have it covered. From the back streets of Bangkok to the logging trails of Liberia, you’ll find Rangers earning their keep, but the key thing here isn’t really this product’s ruggedness: this Ford was always tough to break. It’s the driving dynamics on offer. Maybe these aren’t as car-like as the Blue Oval would like us to think, but they’re very good for a vehicle of this kind, aided by technology that’ll see Japanese competitors having to play catch-up. When it all comes down to it, the right tool can make child’s play of men’s work. And if you’re looking for one of the best all-round contenders in the pick-up sector right now, then this is the right tool. Job done.

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Ford S-MAX
Combined mpg 34 – 54.3
CO2 (g/km) 139
Extra urban mpg 43.5 – 60.1
Insurance group 16 – 27
Urban mpg 24.6 – 47.9
Weight (kg) 1602 – 1734

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Ford Galaxy Road Test http://social.hillsford.co.uk/ford-galaxy-road-test/ http://social.hillsford.co.uk/ford-galaxy-road-test/#respond Wed, 10 Aug 2016 14:26:45 +0000 http://www.momizat.com/theme/goodnews/?p=395 Ford brings us a fourth-generation version of its Galaxy seven-seater and this model boosts safety, is more efficient and brings an innovative third seat folding system. With a wide range of engines and improved interior quality, this one’s going to be at the top of quite a few family shortlists. Background On the face of

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Ford brings us a fourth-generation version of its Galaxy seven-seater and this model boosts safety, is more efficient and brings an innovative third seat folding system. With a wide range of engines and improved interior quality, this one’s going to be at the top of quite a few family shortlists.

Background

On the face of it, building a large MPV ought to be easy. After all, isn’t something like this just a big box on wheels? It always used to be. Not so long ago, all you really needed with a car like this was a set of fancy flippy-folding seats and a few clever interior storage solutions. That and the ability for the model in question not to fall over when presented with a corner. These days, things are a lot tougher for those brands looking to create a design of this kind. Buyers are more demanding. They want the interior build quality of a luxury saloon. They want exciting styling. And the last thing they’re looking for is the kind of handling you’d expect from a big box on wheels. The game has changed. These objectives are inevitably difficult to achieve. It’s hard to give an MPV sharp handling and even more difficult to make such a car grab your attention from a visual perspective. Still, Ford managed to do both of these things with the first generation version of their sporty S-MAX People Carrier. Buoyed by the success of that vehicle, the Blue Oval brand has carried forward what it learnt from that project into the S-MAX’s squarer showroom stablemate, this fourth generation Galaxy.

Driving Experience

Ford is offering this car with a 2.0-litre TDCi diesel engine in various forms. At the top of the range, there’s twin-turbo 210PS putting out a lusty 450Nm of torque, but most versions of this car will be sold in single-turbo form where there are more modest outputs of 120, 150 and 180PS on offer. There’s also the option of the brand’s ‘Intelligent All-Wheel Drive’ system – which will be a welcome boon for towers who in this form can pull up to 2,000kgs. Petrol options include Ford’s 160PS 1.5-litre EcoBoost engine and a 2.0-litre EcoBoost petrol unit offering 240PS. Self-levelling rear suspension is also available, while the optional ‘Continuous Control Damping System’ delivers a choice between Comfort, Normal or Sport driving modes. Adaptive electronic steering is also a standard fitment and includes the intriguingly-named ‘Active Nibble Compensation’ system that cancels out unwanted feedback, forces and vibration at the helm. The rear suspension is the same integral link set-up as seen on the latest Mondeo. It’s good, in other words.

Design and Build

Ford has endowed the Galaxy with a very S-MAX-style front end, so you get that car’s Aston Martin-style front grille, along with plenty of shape in the flanks to avoid that slab-sided look that makes so many large MPVs look like panel vans with windows. The old MK3 model wasn’t a bad looking thing, but Ford has clearly decided to give the shape a little extra edge. As with previous Galaxy models, you don’t get sliding side doors, but then that helps keep the side profile clean. The interior takes a step up in terms of perceived quality, with Ford offering a big 10-inch digital display and the excellent Sync2 infotainment system. There’s certainly no shortage of space inside, with 40mm more headroom in the third row. A lot of thought has clearly gone into making the third row of seats something other than the most obvious short straw and they now get their own armrest storage and cup holders. You won’t have to wrestle the seats up and down either. They can be raised from the boot floor at the touch of a button and both second and third rows can also be dropped flat from the front by using a console-mounted button. There’s an additional 20-litres of stowage beneath the flat boot floor and the door bins are significantly bigger too.

Market and Model

Prices start at around £26,500, with around £1,000 more if you want the least expensive diesel. There are three main trim levels – Zetec, Titanium and Titanium X. AWD is an option with the 150 and 180PS 2.0 TDCi engines. Those kinds of figures continue to pitch this car directly against two key rivals, SEAT’s Alhambra and Volkswagen’s Sharan. It’s interesting that the styling of this fourth generation Galaxy borrows so much from the Blue Oval brand’s S-MAX large MPV (which costs slightly less). Previously, Ford had tried to position these two People carriers quite differently, giving the Galaxy a more practically-orientated family feel. All Galaxy models now get second-row seat side airbags, in addition to twin front, driver knee, and full-length curtain airbags. Second-row seatbelt pre-tensioners with load limiters enhance rear passenger safety. There are also seatbelt minders for all three rows. The MyKey technology you also get included helps with safety, allowing owners to programme a key that can inhibit incoming phone calls, restrict top speed, prevent deactivation of driver assistance and safety features, reduce audio system maximum volume and disable the audio system altogether if occupants are not using safety belts. Vehicle stability is enhanced with Curve Control and Roll Stability Control systems that adjust engine torque and braking to help drivers maintain control. Pedestrian safety is further enhanced with concealed wipers designed to limit injuries from head impacts.

Cost of Ownership

The entire of the Galaxy range meets stringent Euo6 emissions regulations and Ford claims to have improved the fuel economy of every version across the range. Expect mainstream models to give you well over 50 miles from a gallon of diesel and dip well under the 150g/km of CO2 barrier. In addition, buyers should get healthier residual values that they might expect from a Ford. Low-ish depreciation has long been a Galaxy staple, used buyers recognising its safety, durability and low ongoing running costs.

Summary

This model’s always been one of the very strongest contenders in the large MPV segment and early signs here suggest that this MK4 version still is. All of the key areas for improvement that were identified with the previous version seem to have been given a good ticking, with a sharper look, better interior quality, slicker technological integration and a richer array of high-tech safety features. All of these things are present and correct. Under the skin too, this fourth generation model seems to have been made from the good stuff, its extended platform and clever rear suspension teaming with a broad range of engines to offer drivers something a bit different to usual dull MPV driving experience. Building a big MPV is all about managing compromises without taking your eye off the prime consideration, that of safe and spacious family transportation. Ford has, down the years, been a bit cleverer at figuring out those compromises than most of its rivals. In short, the Galaxy looks as if it’s setting a very high bar.

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Ford Galaxy
0-62mph (secs) 10.4 (Titanium 2.0 TDCi 163 Powershift 5dr) – 9.9 (Titanium 1.6 EcoBoost SCTi 160 Start/Stop 5dr)
Braked Tow Weight (kg) 1400 (Titanium 1.6 TDCi 115 Start/Stop 5dr) – 2000 (Titanium 2.2 TDCi 200 Automatic 5dr)
CO2 (g/km) 139 (Titanium 1.6 TDCi 115 Start/Stop 5dr) – 189 (Titanium 2.0 EcoBoost SCTi 203 5dr)
Combined MPG 34.9 (Titanium 2.0 EcoBoost SCTi 203 5dr) – 54.3 (Titanium 1.6 TDCi 115 Start/Stop 5dr)
Cruise Control (Option cost £) 325
Cylinders 4
Doors 5
Emissions 5
Engine Power (ps) 115 (Titanium 1.6 TDCi 115 Start/Stop 5dr) – 203 (Titanium 2.0 EcoBoost SCTi 203 5dr)
Engine Power (rpm) 3500 (Titanium 2.2 TDCi 200 5dr) – 6000 (Titanium 2.0 EcoBoost SCTi 203 5dr)
Engine Size (cc) 1560 (Titanium 1.6 TDCi 115 Start/Stop 5dr) – 2179 (Titanium 2.2 TDCi 200 5dr)
Engine Torque (nm) 240 (Titanium 1.6 EcoBoost SCTi 160 Start/Stop 5dr) – 420 (Titanium 2.2 TDCi 200 5dr)
Engine Torque (rpm) 1600 (Titanium 1.6 EcoBoost SCTi 160 Start/Stop 5dr) – 2000 (Titanium 2.0 TDCi 163 5dr)
Extra urban mpg 44.1 (Titanium 2.0 EcoBoost SCTi 203 5dr) – 60.1 (Titanium 2.0 TDCi 140 5dr)
Fuel Tank Capacity (l) 70
Gears 6
GVW (kg) 2450 (Titanium 2.0 EcoBoost SCTi 203 5dr) – 2505 (Titanium 2.0 TDCi 140 5dr)
Height (mm) 1764
Insurance group 16 (Zetec 1.6 TDCi 115 Start/Stop 5dr) – 27 (Titanium X 2.2 TDCi 200 5dr)
Kerb weight (kg) 1727 (Titanium 2.0 EcoBoost SCTi 203 5dr) – 1841 (Titanium 2.2 TDCi 200 Automatic 5dr)
Leather Capacity – Seats Down (l) 2325
Leather Capacity – Seats Up (l) 308
Leather Seats (Option cost £) 1600
Length (mm) 4820
Metallic Paint (Option cost £) 545
Number of Seats 7
Satnav (Option cost £) 1400
Service Interval (miles) 12500
Top Speed (mph) 111 (Titanium 1.6 TDCi 115 Start/Stop 5dr) – 135 (Titanium 2.0 EcoBoost SCTi 203 5dr)
Unbraked Tow Weight 750
Urban mpg 25.7 (Titanium 2.0 EcoBoost SCTi 203 5dr) – 47.9 (Titanium 1.6 TDCi 115 Start/Stop 5dr)
Valves 8 (Titanium 1.6 TDCi 115 Start/Stop 5dr) – 16 (Titanium 1.6 EcoBoost SCTi 160 Start/Stop 5dr)
Warranty (miles) 60000
Warranty (years) 3
Wheelbase (mm) 2850
Width Excluding Mirrors (mm) 1760
Width Excluding Mirrors (mm) 1884

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Ford Mondeo Road Test http://social.hillsford.co.uk/ford-mondeo-road-test/ http://social.hillsford.co.uk/ford-mondeo-road-test/#respond Tue, 21 Jul 2015 11:58:27 +0000 http://www.momizat.com/theme/goodnews/?p=391 The Ford Mondeo pulls out all the stops in a bid to convince British buyers that the medium-range family hatch isn’t a thing of the past. With excellent economy from a range of downsized engines, the sort of cabin tech you thought was the preserve of the premium German marques and a box-fresh chassis with

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The Ford Mondeo pulls out all the stops in a bid to convince British buyers that the medium-range family hatch isn’t a thing of the past. With excellent economy from a range of downsized engines, the sort of cabin tech you thought was the preserve of the premium German marques and a box-fresh chassis with an all-wheel drive option, there looks to be life in the Mondeo yet.

Background

A lesser manufacturer than Ford might well have given up. After all, sales of mainstream medium range family saloons and hatches have collapsed in recent years, falling to around a third what they once were as recently as ten years ago. The Mondeo had the unfortunate distinction of being a car that got markedly better with every consecutive generation but which was rewarded with progressively worse sales. Can this latest model turn things around? It has market conditions on its side. The economy has improved and the love affair with premium badges couldn’t last forever. As the used market became flooded with BMWs and Audis, resale values crumbled. If Ford could step in with a genuinely convincing reason to buy something bigger and more luxurious, buyers might return to the fold. To that end, the Blue Oval has pulled out all the stops with the fifth generation model.

Driving Experience

Ford’s gone big on engine choices. It had to really or risk falling behind the curve. The headline powerplant is the 210PS twin sequential turbocharged 2.0-litre diesel, but that’s backed up by a more affordable revised 2.0-litre TDCi diesel engine with single variable geometry turbocharger technology good for either 150PS or 180PS. All three 2.0-litre TDCi variants feature a revised engine block, cylinder-head and fuel injection designs and Ford’s lean NOX trap exhaust after-treatment system for even cleaner emissions. It doesn’t stop there. Not even close. There is a 1.0-litre petrol engine. Yes, really. This one develops 125PS and is much the same as that found in the Fiesta, although specialised engine calibration takes into account the greater weight of the Mondeo. There is also a 160PS 1.5-litre EcoBoost unit, while a 2.0-litre EcoBoost powerplant has been developed in 240PS form. Buyers can even opt for a Mondeo Hybrid. It uses a specially-developed 2.0-litre petrol engine combined with two electric motors – one to drive the wheels and another to supply regenerative charging – and 1.4kWh lithium-ion battery. The 150PS and 180PS diesels are available with Ford’s Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system, which offers a seamless transition between front-wheel drive and all-wheel-drive performance to automatically enhance traction and road-holding when needed. The Mondeo’s also the first model for Europe to be built on Ford’s global CD-segment platform, which debuts Ford’s integral link rear suspension. The all-new platform and body structure combination delivers 10 per cent more torsional stiffness than the outgoing model and the Mondeo also gets electrically-assisted power steering for the first time with variable weighting. More importantly, road noise reductions of around three decibels in the rear and two decibels in the front have been achieved.

Design and Build

If there’s one thing that’s defined the Mondeo’s design, it’s that it’s become bigger and more expensive-looking with each passing generation. This one doesn’t divert from that precedent. The front gets Ford’s Aston Martin lookalike grille with laser-cut headlamps and a power dome bonnet, while the fuselage is far more sculptured and sophisticated in its design than its immediate predecessor. Ford calls the roofline ‘a sports coupe profile’ which might be pushing it a bit, but it’s a handsome thing. The estate version incorporates a retractable panoramic glass roof for the wagon bodystyle. Inside, Mondeo drivers are met with a digital analogue instrument cluster, while a wrap-around centre console design delivers a cockpit-like feel. Materials quality has stepped up a notch again, with a soft-touch instrument panel and flock-lined central front storage area and glovebox. Smart-design front seats feature a thinner seat back – enabling rear seat passengers to enjoy additional legroom without sacrificing space for driver and front passenger.

Market and Model

Trim levels run from Style to Zetec, then to Titanium and on to a range-topping Vignale line. Ford has opened the goodie bag on some of the Mondeo’s more interesting equipment though. The key technology to be introduced is Pedestrian Detection, which identifies people and reduces the severity of collisions at speeds of up to 50mph. If a pedestrian is detected in front of the car and a collision becomes imminent, the driver will first receive an audible and visual warning. Should the driver not respond, the system then shortens the time required to apply the brakes by reducing the gap between brake pads and discs. If there is still no response from the driver, the brakes are applied autonomously and the vehicle speed is reduced. Active City Stop, a spin-off of this technology, operates at speeds of up to 25mph and aims to prevent you rear-ending the car in front in stop/start traffic. A radar system also drives the Distance Indication feature and Adaptive Cruise Control technology. Cameras support a Lane Keeping Aid and Traffic Sign Recognition, which provides the driver with the speed limit, cancellation signs and overtaking regulations flashed up on the instrument cluster display. There are also full adaptive LED headlights on offer, as well as Active Park Assist featuring Perpendicular Parking.

Cost of Ownership

The Mondeo can’t succeed in its particular sector with off-pace economy and emissions. Despite fleet sales falling as a proportion of total Mondeo registrations, Ford cannot afford to overlook this target market segment, especially if it wants to resurrect its company car client base. Fleet managers will like the look of what they’re seeing here though. The diesels have followed the downsizing trend of the petrol engines, delivering better fuel efficiency and emissions at the same time as power has increased thanks to advanced technology. The 1.0-litre petrol engine shows how it’s done, recording emissions of just 119g/km. The 1.5-litre EcoBoost unit packs 160PS but still emits just 134g/km. Even that’s overshadowed by the ECOnetic Technology 1.6-litre diesel engine that looks set to hit its target figure of 94g/km. The hybrid model also dips under the critical 100g/km barrier, registering a saintly 99g/km, which is some going for such a sizeable vehicle.

Summary

Building one car for a number of markets was the original idea behind the Ford Mondeo and while this has clear cost-saving advantages for its maker, its also tended to mean that the Mondeo lagged behind many of the cars in its class when it came to technology. The development cycles on the car were just too long for it to be cutting edge. That’s something that Ford is increasingly aware of and the latest version of this model has been engineered with a certain amount of future-proofing in mind. That said, it’s been fully fifteen years since Honda launched the Insight in the UK, and Ford has only just got on board with the hybrid concept. That’s some way behind the eight ball and the Blue Oval needs to rely on other clever engine and cabin tech to sell the Mondeo. Perhaps it’s time that UK customers rediscovered the charms of this most honest of family vehicles. Ford’s betting the house on it.

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Ford Mondeo
0-62mph (secs) 12.1 (Style 1.6 Duratorq TDCi 115 ECOnectic 5dr) – 9.9 (Titanium 2.0 Duratorq TDCi 150 Powershift Auto 5dr)
Braked Tow Weight (kg) 1250 (Titanium 1.5 EcoBoost 160 5dr) – 400 (Style 1.6 Duratorq TDCi 115 ECOnectic 5dr)
CO2 (g/km) 94 (Style 1.6 Duratorq TDCi 115 ECOnectic 5dr) – 169 (Titanium 2.0 EcoBoost 240 5dr)
Combined MPG 38.7 (Titanium 2.0 EcoBoost 240 5dr) – 78.5 (Style 1.6 Duratorq TDCi 115 ECOnectic 5dr)
Doors 4 (Titanium 2.0 TIVCT HYBRID Electric Vehicle 187 4dr) – 5 (Style 1.6 Duratorq TDCi 115 ECOnectic 5dr)
Electric Sunroof (Option cost £) 600
Emissions 5 (Style 1.6 Duratorq TDCi 115 ECOnectic 5dr) – 6 (Style 2.0 Duratorq TDCi 150 ECOnectic 5dr)
Engine Power (ps) 115 (Style 1.6 Duratorq TDCi 115 ECOnectic 5dr) – 240 (Titanium 2.0 EcoBoost 240 5dr)
Engine Size (cc) 1499 (Titanium 1.5 EcoBoost 160 5dr) – 1999 (Titanium 2.0 EcoBoost 240 5dr)
Engine Torque (nm) 175 (Titanium 2.0 TIVCT HYBRID Electric Vehicle 187 4dr) – 400 (Titanium 2.0 Duratorq TDCi 180 5dr)
Extra urban mpg 50.4 (Titanium 2.0 EcoBoost 240 5dr) – 85.6 (Style 1.6 Duratorq TDCi 115 ECOnectic 5dr)
Fuel Tank Capacity (l) 62.5
Gears 6
GVW (kg) 2160 (Titanium 1.5 EcoBoost 160 5dr) – 2270 (Titanium 2.0 Duratorq TDCi 150 Powershift Auto 5dr)
Height (mm) 1482
Kerb weight (kg) 1485 (Titanium 1.5 EcoBoost 160 5dr) – 1589 (Titanium 2.0 Duratorq TDCi 180 Powershift Auto 5dr)
Leather Capacity – Seats Down (l) 1356
Leather Capacity – Seats Up (l) 429 (Titanium 2.0 TIVCT HYBRID Electric Vehicle 187 4dr) – 458 (Style 1.6 Duratorq TDCi 115 ECOnectic 5dr)
Leather Seats (Option cost £) 2000
Length (mm) 4871
Metallic Paint (Option cost £) 545
NCAP Overall Rating 5
Number of Seats 5
Rear Parking Sensors (Option cost £) 450
Satnav (Option cost £) 300
Top Speed (mph) 116 (Titanium 2.0 TIVCT HYBRID Electric Vehicle 187 4dr) – 149 (Titanium 2.0 EcoBoost 240 5dr)
Turning Circle (m) 11.6
Unbraked Tow Weight 400 (Style 1.6 Duratorq TDCi 115 ECOnectic 5dr) – 750 (Style 2.0 Duratorq TDCi 150 ECOnectic 5dr)
Urban mpg 27.7 (Titanium 2.0 EcoBoost 240 5dr) – 100.9 (Titanium 2.0 TIVCT HYBRID Electric Vehicle 187 4dr)
Warranty (miles) 60000
Warranty (years) 3
Wheelbase (mm) 2850
Width Excluding Mirrors (mm) 1732
Width Excluding Mirrors (mm) 1852

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Ford C-MAX Road Test http://social.hillsford.co.uk/ford-c-max-road-test/ http://social.hillsford.co.uk/ford-c-max-road-test/#respond Wed, 20 May 2015 04:54:57 +0000 http://www.momizat.com/theme/goodnews/?p=359 The Ford C-MAX compact MPV has been treated to a wash and brush up. Cleaner styling and engines are a big draw, with the introduction of a Focus-style dashboard and a 1.5-litre diesel powerplant that’ll be the big seller here in the UK. Refinement has been improved and there are a stack of high-tech options

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The Ford C-MAX compact MPV has been treated to a wash and brush up. Cleaner styling and engines are a big draw, with the introduction of a Focus-style dashboard and a 1.5-litre diesel powerplant that’ll be the big seller here in the UK. Refinement has been improved and there are a stack of high-tech options to consider.

Compromise doesn’t have to be a dirty word. In fact, intelligent compromise is exactly what underpins the design of Ford’s C-MAX compact MPV. Here’s a car that needs to be big enough to fit family and luggage but not so big that it’s too hard to pilot around town or park. It requires an engine with the torque to move a fully loaded car but not one that’s so thirsty that the family purse strings are going to be stretched to breaking point. It would need all the modern safety and convenience features that buyers demand, but pricing that isn’t out of reach of wage packets that already have school uniforms to buy and hungry mouths to feed. Hitting the sweet spot in all of those decisions and many others beside is where the expertise lies and is the reason why the C-MAX is one of the biggest selling cars in its class. Ford first introduced this compact MPV model in 2003 and since then has sold more than 1.2 million in Europe and currently holds a 12% market share. This heavily revised second generation model looks to make further inroads into the shares of rivals like the Citroen C4 Picasso, the Volkswagen Golf SV, the Renault Scenic and the Peugeot 3008.

Driving Experience

The C-MAX was always an easy pick for anyone who enjoyed driving. It was by far the best car in its class when showed a B-road. Now that the Golf SV is around, that superiority is no longer quite so cut and dried, but it’s still a class act. Particular attention this time round has been paid to improving refinement. Noise, vibration and harshness have been improved through the use of thicker side glass and more absorbent seals around the tailgate and rear view mirror. The engine bay heat shield has been filled with acoustic damping material to reduce powertrain noise and diesel variants are equipped with extra acoustic seals to further reduce noise intrusion. A re-tuned dual mass flywheel helps to reduce shaking forces when the engine is under load, while revised engine mounts offer improved refinement during Auto-Start-Stop operation. The star of the engine line-up is the 120PS 1.5-litre TDCi diesel engine, seen for the first time in the C-MAX, replacing the old 1.6-litre unit. Power goes up by five per cent while emissions drop by six points. There are also the multi-award winning 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engines, offered once again in 100 and 125PS outputs. The big capacity diesel in the range is a revised 150PS 2.0-litre unit.

Design and Build

The design of this C-MAX is evolutionary, with many of the details being brought up to date to reflect contemporary Ford thinking. The dynamic styling delivers a stronger, sleeker front end, featuring Ford’s distinctive inverted trapezoidal grille. The washer jets have been hidden underneath the windscreen to give a cleaner look while the tailgate has been given a smoother and more sophisticated one-piece appearance. Inside, you’ll find a dash that’s a lot less fussy than the previous model, reflecting the customer-led design refinements that have already been executed on the Focus. There are fewer controls and switches, while the new black satin trim and chrome detailing contributes to a cleaner look. Functions are simpler to use, such as the air-conditioning controls that now feature buttons that are easier to recognise and distinguish from each other. Practicality improves too, with a redesigned centre storage console. The seats still tumble down individually in one motion to create a flat floor, with over 470-litres of space with all five seats in place.

Market and Model

Prices start at just over £18,000 and range up to just over £26,000, so there’s a model-for-model saving of around £1,600 over the larger Grand C-MAX model if you don’t need that version’s 7-seat capacity. Ford has gone quite big on electronic gizmos in this latest iteration of the C-MAX. The last model also had a lot of smart tech features and Ford rightly left most of them on the options list, giving customers the choice of whether they wanted to pay extra or not for these nice-to-haves. You can now get one of those tailgate openers which operate when you wave your foot under the bumper. These have always struck us as a little strange because if you’re so laden down that you can’t open the boot, are you really going to stand there doing one-legged manoeuvres? Anyway, there’s also a perpendicular parking system and Active City Stop collision avoidance that operates at up to 31mph. Ford’s latest Sync2 voice-activated connectivity system is also on offer, delivering smartphone sync and the chance to control some of the car’s minor functions by voice command. The clearer eight-inch colour touchscreen is a welcome addition. Ford also bring us MyKey technology, which lets parents set a top speed and limit stereo volume in advance to prevent the young ‘uns getting a bit overexcited.

Cost of Ownership

The diesel models really come into their own when you’re willing to put some miles on the clock. If you want the C-MAX as a mere school run and shopping vehicle, you’d actually be better advised going for one of the economical 1.0-litre petrol models as they’re priced so cheaply as to be a more cost-effective purchase. The 1.0-litre variants return 117g/km of CO2. Really leverage the economy benefits of the diesel engine though and you’ll save big. The 1.5-litre TDCI diesel returns a combined fuel economy figure of better than 65mpg with 105g/km of CO2, which is excellent for a car of this size and with this much torque. Go for the 2.0-litre and it will also get around 60mpg. Insurance reflects the C-MAX’s family owner profile, excellent safety and security record and low cost of repairs. The 1.6-litre model is expected to be rated at just Group 16E. Compare that to Group 19E for a 110PS diesel Renault Scenic.

Summary

In truth, Ford didn’t need to do a whole lot to the C-MAX to keep it right at the head of the pack. The improvements to the interior and the big efficiency gains leveraged by the 2.0-litre diesel, as well as the introduction of the 1.5-litre diesel, are all worthy updates but the overall look, feel and appeal of the C-MAX hasn’t been markedly altered. Still, the arrival of new entrants into this market, most notably the Volkswagen Golf SV, means that if Ford had been content to rest on its laurels it could well have seen the C-MAX rapidly slip from grace. As it stands, this much improved second generation car looks to have what it takes to keep its rivals on its toes for some time yet. The more some things change, the more they stay the same.

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Ford C-MAX
0-62mph (secs) 10.1 (Titanium 2.0 TDCi 140 S5 Powershift 5dr) – 9.6 (Titanium 2.0 TDCi 140 S5 5dr)
Braked Tow Weight (kg) 1200 (Titanium 1.0T EcoBoost 100 S5 S/S 5dr) – 800 (Zetec 1.6 105 S5 5dr)
CO2 (g/km) 117 (Titanium 1.0T EcoBoost 100 S5 S/S 5dr) – 149 (Zetec 1.6 105 S5 5dr)
Combined MPG 44.1 (Zetec 1.6 105 S5 5dr) – 62.8 (Titanium 1.6 TDCi 115 S5 5dr)
Cruise Control (Option cost £) 250
Cylinders 3 (Titanium 1.0T EcoBoost 100 S5 S/S 5dr) – 4 (Titanium 1.6 TDCi 115 S5 5dr)
Doors 5
Electric Rear Windows (Option cost £) 425
Emissions 5
Engine Power (ps) 100 (Titanium 1.0T EcoBoost 100 S5 S/S 5dr) – 182 (Titanium X 1.6T Ecoboost 182 S5 S/S 5dr)
Engine Power (rpm) 3600 (Titanium 1.6 TDCi 115 S5 5dr) – 6000 (Titanium 1.0T EcoBoost 100 S5 S/S 5dr)
Engine Size (cc) 1560 (Titanium 1.6 TDCi 115 S5 5dr) – 999 (Titanium 1.0T EcoBoost 100 S5 S/S 5dr)
Engine Torque (nm) 150 (Zetec 1.6 105 S5 5dr) – 340 (Titanium X 2.0 TDCi 163 S5 5dr)
Engine Torque (rpm) 1400 (Titanium 1.0T EcoBoost 100 S5 S/S 5dr) – 4000 (Zetec 1.6 105 S5 5dr)
Extra urban mpg 53.3 (Titanium 1.6T Ecoboost 150 S5 S/S 5dr) – 70.6 (Titanium 1.6 TDCi 115 S5 5dr)
Fuel Tank Capacity (l) 53 (Titanium 1.6 TDCi 115 S5 5dr) – 60 (Titanium 2.0 TDCi 140 S5 5dr)
Gears 5 (Zetec 1.6 105 S5 5dr) – 6 (Titanium 1.0T EcoBoost 100 S5 S/S 5dr)
GVW (kg) 1860 (Zetec 1.6 105 S5 5dr) – 2050 (Titanium 2.0 TDCi 140 S5 5dr)
Height (mm) 1626
Insurance group 10 (Titanium 1.0T EcoBoost 100 S5 S/S 5dr) – 22 (Titanium X 1.6T Ecoboost 182 S5 S/S 5dr)
Kerb weight (kg) 1374 (Zetec 1.6 105 S5 5dr) – 1550 (Titanium 2.0 TDCi 140 S5 Powershift 5dr)
Leather Capacity – Seats Down (l) 1723
Leather Capacity – Seats Up (l) 471
Length (mm) 4380
Metallic Paint (Option cost £) 525
NCAP Overall Rating 5
Number of Seats 5
Rear Parking Sensors (Option cost £) 225
Satnav (Option cost £) 750
Service Interval (miles) 12500
Spare Wheel (Option cost £) 100
Top Speed (mph) 108 (Titanium 1.0T EcoBoost 100 S5 S/S 5dr) – 135 (Titanium X 1.6T Ecoboost 182 S5 S/S 5dr)
Turning Circle (m) 10.9
Unbraked Tow Weight 685 (Zetec 1.6 105 S5 5dr) – 750 (Titanium 2.0 TDCi 140 S5 Powershift 5dr)
Urban mpg 33.6 (Zetec 1.6 105 S5 5dr) – 53.3 (Titanium 1.6 TDCi 115 S5 5dr)
Valves 8 (Titanium 1.6 TDCi 115 S5 5dr) – 16 (Titanium 1.6T Ecoboost 150 S5 S/S 5dr)
Warranty (miles) 60000
Warranty (years) 3
Wheelbase (mm) 2648
Width Excluding Mirrors (mm) 1858
Width Including Mirrors (mm) 2081 (640d M Sport 313 2dr) – 2106 (M6 560 2dr)

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Ford Focus Road Test http://social.hillsford.co.uk/ford-focus-road-test/ http://social.hillsford.co.uk/ford-focus-road-test/#respond Sun, 17 May 2015 07:43:45 +0000 http://www.momizat.com/theme/goodnews/?p=103 The Ford Focus has evolved, this improved MK3 version offering slicker looks, higher interior quality and extra technology. There’s also greater efficiency beneath the bonnet thanks to the addition of a hi-tech range of 1.5-litre petrol and diesel engines. The best part though, is that this car still remains as rewarding to drive as it’s

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The Ford Focus has evolved, this improved MK3 version offering slicker looks, higher interior quality and extra technology. There’s also greater efficiency beneath the bonnet thanks to the addition of a hi-tech range of 1.5-litre petrol and diesel engines. The best part though, is that this car still remains as rewarding to drive as it’s always been. The Focus might have grown up but it certainly hasn’t lost its spark.

Background

Every once in a while, a car is launched that instantly makes all of its rivals look stupid and old. Ford pulled that particular trick back in 1998, when it launched the Mk 1 Focus. The way it drove was a revelation. Volkswagen had launched its fourth generation Golf the year before and realised that compared to the lithe Focus, here was a car that rode and handled like a supermarket trolley with a caster on the fritz. Volkswagen promptly hired many of the staff who designed the Focus suspension and put a barely disguised copy under its fifth generation car in 2004. Since then, Ford launched a second generation Focus in 2005 and a third generation car in 2011. Revenge must have felt sweet for Volkswagen when it launched the Golf Mk 7 in 2013, for here was a car that turned the tables on the Ford, offering sharper dynamics and a classier interior. Ford’s response? You’re looking at it here.

Driving Experience

Ford has subtly tweaked the handling of this car, making changes to the suspension to improve the ride and slightly lightening the steering. As a result, it’s a better long distance travelling companion, though some may feel tha the car now lacks a little of its earlier sharpness. It’s still a much better drive than most of its competitors though. The engine range has also been much revised. Let’s start with petrol power. Though at the foot of the range, it’s still possible to get the old-tech 1.6-litre Ti-VCT unit in 85, 105 and 125PS guises, the mainstream petrol line-up is these days primarily based around the brand’s clever 1.0-litre three cylinder turbo EcoBoost unit, offered with either 100 or 125PS. Above that now sits a 1.5-litre EcoBoost unit, offered with either 150 or 182PS. EcoBoost technology is also used in the hot hatch models, with a 2.0-litre 250PS unit used in the Focus ST and a 2.3-litre 320PS powerplant used in the top Focus RS. Those in search of a diesel have a choice between the old-tech 1.6-litre TDCi units, offering either 95 or 115PS. Or new-tech 1.5-litre TDCi engines offering either 95 or 120PS. Make sure you know what you’re getting. Above these, there’s an uprated 150PS 2.0-litre TDCi unit, also offered in 185PS guise to Focus ST buyers. Otherwise, the only other option is the intriguing Focus Electric model which uses a combination of a 107KW electric motor and a 23kWh lithium-ion battery to deliver a useful 142PS and 250Nm of torque. Many will baulk at the restricted 100 mile driving range though.

Design and Build

It’s only when you put this improved Focus next to the original third generation version that you realise just how much more expensive this model looks. Ford’s objective was to take this car closer to its arch-rival Volkswagen’s Golf in terms of visual sophistication and make switching into a Focus a little easier for those afflicted with any degree of badge snobbery. The most obvious change is the addition of an Aston Martin-style trapezoidal front grille, there to give the front end a more distinctive look also emphasised by subtle chrome detailing and these slimmer, smarter front headlights and re-styled foglamps. The interior has also been given a serious once-over. The fascia design is more intuitive, that button-strewn centre stack and steering wheel being tidied up considerably. The black satin trim and chrome detailing contribute to a cleaner aesthetic too. Many of the controls are now marshalled by the SYNC 2 high-resolution, 8-inch colour touch screen system. This includes voice control for ‘easier’ access to audio, navigation, climate control and compatible mobile phones. One thing that’s undoubtedly an improvement is practicality. The centre storage console offers more space as well as a new sliding, integrated armrest, accommodating a variety of bottles and cups with the capacity to simultaneously hold a litre water bottle and a 400ml cup.

Market and Model

It’s actually quite hard to know where to start when trying to explain the Focus model range to an unfamiliar buyer. It is, after all, so vast. Still, we’ll do our best. The simplest aspect is the availability of just two bodystyles, a five-door hatch or, for a model-for-model premium of around £1,100, a smartly-styled estate option. Most of the mainstream petrol variants offer the option of automatic transmission too. It’s the under-the-bonnet issues though, that require Focus buyers to really know the ropes when it comes to the selection process. Let me explain why. Ford’s approach with new generation engine technology is to gradually introduce it, keeping older-tech powerplants in the range as price-leading models there to generate showroom footfall. So, even though this improved third generation model was launched to showcase the freshly-developed 1.5-litre petrol and diesel engines that have slotted into the range above the sophisticated 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol unit most choose, the old-tech 1.6-litre petrol and diesel powerplants from the previous line-up were still very much a part of this updated Focus range at its launch in late 2014. That approach allows customers to get themselves into this car at list pricing which can begin from as low as around £14,000, provided they can be satisfied with a hatch bodystyle and the feeblest 85PS version of the old 1.6 Ti-VCT petrol engine. You get a choice of hatch or estate if you opt for this unit in pokier 105PS guise, but by that point, you’d be up towards the £17,000 list pricing point that really represents the proper starting point of the range. All the main modern era Focus engine choices sit in the £17,000 to £21,000 bracket where most family hatchback segment sales are made. To be honest, buying this car with anything less is a bit like buying an ultra-high def LED TV and then using it to watch VHS videos on.

Cost of Ownership

It’s obviously crucial for Ford to get its cost of ownership sums right, hence the changes made to this updated third generation Focus that see improvements of up to 15% in fuel efficiency and a significant reduction in CO2 emissions across the range. This is down to various fuel-saving technologies. Take the Active Grille Shutter system. At a standstill and at start-off, this keeps the grille vent open to cool the engine but when you pick up speed, the vent automatically closes, improving aerodynamics and helping to save fuel. Then there’s Smart Regenerative Charging, which only charges the battery when required, and, whenever possible, avoids doing so when you’re pressing the accelerator. Plus as you’d expect, on nearly all models an Auto-Start-Stop system is included that cuts the engine when you don’t need it, stuck in traffic or waiting at the lights. As a result of these improvements, the Euro 6-compatible 1.5-litre TDCi engines this improved third generation range showcases are about 10% more frugal than the continuing 1.6-litre TDCi units they effectively replace. To be specific, in both 95 and 120PS guises, a 1.5-litre TDCi Focus will return 74.3mpg on the combined cycle and 98g/km of CO2. All of which means that compared to a 1.6-litre TDCi model, a Focus with this 1.5-litre engine will take you about 7 miles further on every gallon and can reduce emissions by as much as 22g/km. Quite a saving.The bigger 2.0-litre TDCi engine that’s traditionally powered pokier diesel Focus models is now also much more efficient too, offering a 15% fuel economy improvement, despite an output increase from 140 to 150PS. That means 70.6mpg on the combined cycle and 105g/km of CO2. On to petrol power. We’d recommend that you side-step the older 1.6-litre Ti-VCT engines and concentrate on the far more modern 1.0-litre EcoBoost powerplant. This can be tuned to put out as little as 99g/km of CO2 and in the standard model we tried, the combined cycle return was rated at 61.4mpg. The 1.5-litre EcoBoost variant delivers 51.4mpg on the combined cycle and 127g/km of CO2.

Summary

‘Focus’ is the world’s best selling global nameplate – with good reason. Has any car had more of an impact on modern era motoring than the Ford Focus? With over 12 million global sales on the board, it’s hard to argue the point. What I like most about it is that despite the drive towards better efficiency, improved safety, greater practicality and beefier build quality, it remains, underneath it all, the rewarding steer it’s always been – an entertainer at heart. True, this car is still far from perfect. There are cheaper rivals – and there are certainly more spacious ones. As an overall package though, it remains hard to beat, these days not only a fine thing to drive but, perhaps more importantly, also now a fine thing to ride in. And to own. And to avoid a crash in. In short, if you can afford the asking prices, you’ll find that here’s a family hatchback that has its priorities right, a car that’s grown up, but one that still knows how to enjoy itself. I wonder just how many owners will ever discover that? Perhaps it doesn’t matter. This car after all, no longer depends solely on handling supremacy to justify its position at the top of the sales charts. Smarter and more sensible, it is, more than ever, number one for a reason.

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Ford Focus
0-62mph (secs) 10.5 (Style 1.5 TDCi 120 S6 5dr) – 8.9 (Titanium 1.5T Ecoboost 150 S6 5dr)
CO2 (g/km) 98 (Style 1.5 TDCi 120 S6 5dr) – 159 (ST-1 2.0 EcoBoost 250 S6 5dr)
Combined MPG 41.5 (ST-1 2.0 EcoBoost 250 S6 5dr) – 74.3 (Style 1.5 TDCi 120 S6 5dr)
Cruise Control (Option cost £) 250
Doors 5
Electric Rear Windows (Option cost £) 525
Electric Sunroof (Option cost £) 575
Engine Power (ps) 100 (Style 1.0T EcoBoost 100 S6 5dr) – 95 (Style 1.5 TDCi 95 S6 5dr)
Engine Power (rpm) 1496 (Titanium 1.5T Ecoboost 150 S6 5dr) – 999 (Titanium 1.0T EcoBoost 100 S6 5dr)
Engine Size (cc) 1496 (Titanium 1.5T Ecoboost 150 S6 5dr) – 999 (Style 1.0T EcoBoost 100 S6 5dr)
Engine Torque (nm) 141 (Studio 1.6 85 S6 5dr) – 400 (ST-1 2.0 TDCI 185 S6 5dr)
Extra urban mpg 49.6 (ST-1 2.0 EcoBoost 250 S6 5dr) – 83.1 (Style 1.5 TDCi 120 S6 5dr)
Gears 5 (Studio 1.6 85 S6 5dr) – 6 (ST-1 2.0 EcoBoost 250 S6 5dr)
Leather Seats (Option cost £) 1150
Metallic Paint (Option cost £) 525
Number of Seats 5
Rear Parking Sensors (Option cost £) 225
Satnav (Option cost £) 250 (ST-3 2.0 EcoBoost 250 S6 5dr) – 500 (ST-2 2.0 EcoBoost 250 S6 5dr)
Top Speed (mph) 106 (Studio 1.6 85 S6 5dr) – 154 (ST-1 2.0 EcoBoost 250 S6 5dr)
Urban mpg 32.1 (ST-1 2.0 EcoBoost 250 S6 5dr) – 65.7 (Style 1.5 TDCi 120 S6 5dr)
Warranty (miles) 60000
Width Including Mirrors (mm) 1865

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Ford KA Road Test http://social.hillsford.co.uk/ford-ka-road-test/ http://social.hillsford.co.uk/ford-ka-road-test/#respond Wed, 18 Jun 2014 08:38:48 +0000 http://themes.momizat.com/multinews/?p=1523 Bigger but not too big, faster but not too fast, plusher but not too plush, Ford’s Ka city car treads a fine line in second generation guise. Fortunately, it has a huge bank of customers loyal from the first generation version to fall back on if all else fails. There’s a more efficient petrol engine

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Bigger but not too big, faster but not too fast, plusher but not too plush, Ford’s Ka city car treads a fine line in second generation guise. Fortunately, it has a huge bank of customers loyal from the first generation version to fall back on if all else fails. There’s a more efficient petrol engine on offer, plus a diesel for the first time, both now fitted with eco-friendly Start-Stop technology.

Background

The Ka was a car that Ford was very hesitant to replace – and you can see why. This citycar has the highest loyalty levels of any product thanks to a 12 year production run for the first generation model and an iconic shape that if you loved, you really loved. Nearly one and a half million examples have been sold, half a million of those in the UK, where the car has been the citycar segment leader since 2000. The MK2 model doesn’t really have its predecessor’s love-it-or-hate-it Marmite appeal, but it’s unquestionable a better car. Ford have developed it as a joint venture with Fiat, so this model rolls off the same production lines in Tychy, Poland as the more daringly-styled Fiat 500, sharing its engines and the same platform design.

Driving Experience

The original Ka was renowned for its go-kart like handling and its replacement has been designed to be just as fun and rewarding to drive, with what Ford claim are the most exciting driving dynamics of any small car. The company’s chassis engineering experts have tuned the suspension, steering, and chassis with their usual meticulous attention to detail and final testing was conducted using a combination of public roads, proving grounds and race tracks – including the legendary N??rburgring in Germany.

During the engineering process, information was exchanged with the team developing the larger Fiesta, and certain components, such as the tyres, were jointly developed for both models. The 1.2-litre 69PS Duratec petrol engine is a huge improvement on the wheezy old petrol 1.3 used in the old Ka, while the 75PS 1.3-litre Duratorq TDCi turbodiesel is a good option for those likely to cover larger mileages. Both engines now meet Euro V emission levels and feature Auto-Start-Stop technology to cut the engine in traffic or when you’re waiting at the lights. That’s important in a city car where frequent stop-start motoring is the norm.

Design and Build

You might mistake this Ka as a shrunken version of the Fiesta supermini from the outside but inside, it’s very much its own car – and much more avant garde, with what Ford like to call a ‘kinetic’ design philosophy. Bold contrasts and expressive colours have been deliberately chosen to reflect the more adventurous tastes of the typical Ka customer. These are combined with some imaginative design details to give the interior a fashionable and fun personality which, Fiat 500 apart, is pretty unique in the citycar segment.

One thing that the old Ka wasn’t was roomy and practical. The second generation car isn’t huge of course (there’s only so much you can do with a bodyshell this small) but it is a huge improvement. There’s surprisingly generous interior space and comfortable accommodation for four adults and their belongings, though acceptable rear seat legroom will depend on the front seat passengers not resembling basketball players. The high seating position, carefully placed controls and excellent visibility should make this Ka easy to drive for owners of all ages.

And safety? Well, at the heart of the vehicle is a tough bodyshell, which has been developed to provide a strong, stable crash structure to protect passengers in case of an accident. This has been combined with an Intelligent Protection System (IPS), which integrates airbags, restraint systems and seating technologies to provide what Ford claims is a highly effective occupant safety system.

Market and Model

Buyers choose between four different trim levels – Studio, Edge, Zetec and Titanium – plus there are various option packs to consider. Specify the Bluetooth-enabled Connectivity Kit, and the Ka comes equipped with Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity, a USB port to play music files through the sound system and steering wheel controls. Combine this with the six-speaker CD sound systems on offer and owners should have all the necessary equipment to keep passengers connected and entertained. Unique among vehicles in the small-car segment, this Ka also offers heated windscreen and heated seats, invaluable for safe and comfortable driving in cold winter conditions.

Cost of Ownership

A citycar like this has to be both cheap to run and kind to the environment and of course, Ford loudly proclaims this Ka to be both. The addition of the Auto-Stop-Start system has improved both fuel economy and CO2 emissions by 3% for both engines, the 1.2 litre Duratec petrol unit delivering a combined fuel consumption return of 57.6 mpg and averaging 115g/km of CO2, while the 1.3-litre TDCi diesel achieves an impressive 68.8 mpg by the same measure and CO2 emissions of only 109g/km. In order to help the driver to reduce the real world fuel consumption as far as possible, the Ka’s instrument cluster also features a shift indicator light.

Summary

This Ka may not quite have the cheeky spirit of the original version but with fuel-saving Start-Stop technology now a standard feature, it does have all the tools necessary to retain Ford’s leadership in the UK citycar segment. Some previous owners would doubtless have preferred it if this model, like its predecessor, had been more of its own car and less of a shrunken Fiesta. Yet, for many others, a shrunken, more affordable Fiesta with a dash of extra flair inside is exactly what they’re looking for. Both however, may be satisfied as Ford gradually develops the Ka model range. It will be interesting to see what’s in store.

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[table]

Min Max
0-62mph (secs): 13.4
CO2 (g/km): 115
Combined MPG: 57.7
Cylinders: 4
Doors: 3
Emissions: 6
Engine Power (ps): 69
Engine Size (cc): 1,242
Engine Torque (lb/ft): 102
Extra urban mpg: 64.2
Fuel Tank (l): 35
Gears: 5
Weight (kg): 1,350
Insurance group: 3 [Edge 1.2 69 3dr] 4 [Studio Connect 1.2 69 3dr]
Kerb weight (kg): 940
Number of Seats: 4
Price: £8,945 [Studio 1.2 69 3dr] £11,445 [Grand Prix 1.2 69 3dr]
Service Interval (miles): 12,500
Top Speed (mph): 99
Urban mpg: 48.7
Valves: 8
Warranty (years): 3
Warranty (miles): 60,000
Wheelbase (mm): 2,300

[/table]

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Ford Fiesta Van Road Test http://social.hillsford.co.uk/ford-fiesta-van-road-test/ http://social.hillsford.co.uk/ford-fiesta-van-road-test/#respond Tue, 20 May 2014 04:00:27 +0000 http://www.momizat.com/theme/goodnews/?p=355 Ford’s Fiesta van gets off to a great start in life in being based on their Fiesta supermini. The carrying capacity isn’t huge but its driving experience, design and build quality set new standards for the sector. Background By far and away the simplest route to creating a class leading small car-derived van is to

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Ford’s Fiesta van gets off to a great start in life in being based on their Fiesta supermini. The carrying capacity isn’t huge but its driving experience, design and build quality set new standards for the sector.

Background

By far and away the simplest route to creating a class leading small car-derived van is to start with a class leading small car. Which in the seventh generation Fiesta is exactly what Ford have. Having done the hard work in creating it, the boys at the Blue Oval weren’t above tearing out the back seats to bring us the Fiesta van.

This variant competes in the supermini-derived van market where Ford has traditionally taken 25% of sales and goes head to head with van versions of many of the same models its passenger car sibling must battle. So the Fiesta van follows the same basic recipe as the Corsavan from Vauxhall and the 207 van from Peugeot in that it sacrifices its rear seats and windows in favour of a flat load bay in which businesses with minimal load carrying requirements can stow their wares.

Once upon a time, the small van market was completely made up of supermini-derived models like this one but in recent times, most buyers have been drawn towards purpose-designed small vans that aren’t constricted by passenger car styling and so can offer much larger carrying capacities without taking up any more roadspace. Renault’s Kangoo is a good example and it competes against models like Citroen’s Nemo, Peugeot’s Bipper and Fiat’s Fiorino. If you really need carrying capacity, models like these are a better bet – but then, if you really need that, should you really be considering a very small van in the first place? If having considered that, you conclude that your needs are less cubic capacity-orientated, then this Fiesta van might prove to be a very effective choice.

Driving Experience

On the road, if you’re familiar with the previous generation Fiesta van, your experience should be that this model has a more solid feel, despite the fact that it’s 40kgs lighter. Electrically assisted power steering made its debut on this generation model, technology that has come on leaps and bounds in the last few years, the feeling no longer being as if you were at the wheel of a PlayStation. I particularly like the ‘Stall Prevention’ feature, designed to help in low speed manoeuvres by altering the engine’s ignition profile and preventing that embarrassing stalling moment when there’s a queue of traffic behind you.

With most vans, operators will choose diesel power without even thinking about it but with one this small likely to cover very restricted mileages, petrol might still be a viable option, so it’s just as well that the 82PS 1.25-litre unit on offer is a pleasant one – and much quieter than the 1.4 and 1.6-litre Dagenham-built common rail injection TDCi diesel options. A key component of the Fiesta passenger car’s makeup is its enjoyable driving dynamics and the van version inherits these. Expect lively handling and first rate manoeuvrability married to a more comfortable ride than owners of the previous generation Fiesta van will have experienced.

Design and Build

A payload range from 490kg to 515kg (significantly more than a Peugeot 207 van but a little less than a Vauxhall Corsavan) gives customers a competitive option for transporting their products. The rear side windows are replaced by body-coloured solid panels, and the rear passenger seats have been removed to provide a load box area of 1,000 cubic litres, with a maximum useable load length of 1,296mm, as well as a maximum load box width of 1,278mm (1,000mm between the wheel arches) and a height of up to 806mm.

The styling of the Fiesta will win it many admirers and operators looking for a compact van that will cut a dash on the city streets will like the wedge-shaped front end as well as the curvy rear. The cabin is similarly avant-garde in its design, with a dashboard control interface based around that of a mobile phone and a clever choice of quality materials.

Market and Model

Prices are comparable, of course, with obvious competitors like Vauxhall’s corsavan and Peugeot’s 207 van. This Ford is available with a choice of Euro5-compatible engines: most will choose between a 1.25-litre 82PS Duratec 16 valve petrol unit and a frugal 1.4-litre 70PS Duratorq TDCi turbo diesel. At the top-of-the-range, the 1.6-litre 95PS Duratorq TDCi turbo diesel has a closed-loop coated DPF diesel particulate filter.

All models come with a body-colour roof spoiler, electric door mirrors and front windows, a trip computer, an adjustable steering column, plus a stereo radio CD player with MP3 connection, four front speakers and steering wheel mounted controls. All models have ABS brakes with brakeforce distribution and ESP stability control. One innovation that will appeal in the commercial world is Ford’s Easy Fuel capless refuelling system. This prevents ‘mis-fueling’, or the costly practice of putting diesel in a petrol powered vehicle and visa versa, by preventing the wrong type of fuel pump nozzle from fitting down the filler neck.

Practicalities & Costs

In terms of practicality, as we’ve said, you won’t be buying a supermini-derived small van if interior space is everything. That point made, it’s also worth saying that this Ford does at least enable its owner to make good use of the space that is on offer. DIN-compliant tie-down hooks are standard but if you forget to use them – or simply can’t – then a half-height composite bulkhead is standard to prevent loose items from sliding forward and joining you in the front.

A 12-year anti-perforation guarantee goes a long way to reassure buyers of Ford’s faith in their product’s capacity not to fall foul of Mr rust and if all goes to plan, the 1-year breakdown cover will be surplus to requirements. When it comes to insurance, the Fiesta van performs admirably: its 1E grouping is about as low as you can go. As for running costs, well to prioritise these, you need the 1.6 TDCi diesel of the ECOnetic version which returns 85.6mpg on the combined cycle and 87g/km of CO2.

Summary

Ford knows exactly how to build a class-leading supermini-derived van – but then, with a passenger car product as good as the Fiesta to base it on, you’d think that the van version’s designers had very little to do to complete an excellent product.

Perhaps the best part about this commercial vehicle is that it doesn’t look like one. All the style that marks out the Fiesta car has been transferred over intact – and that should make it a good advert for the kind of small businesses (florists, gardeners and so on) likely to want a vehicle of this kind. Imagining your company logo on the doors? Then you’ll know what to do….

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