Fiesta SVT & Focus SVT
After largely ignoring america for the last four years, Ford's global performance team will make up for it with a pair of hot hatches that will arrive in quick succession. Although the desert-runner Raptor pickup is plenty cool, the upcoming models based on Ford's new compact cars have broader and more practical appeal. Not that practicality matters. We're excited for cheap speed.
First up is the Fiesta SVT, which won't arrive until well into 2011 but was recently spotted in Dearborn by spy photographers. Although the magenta hatchback is clearly a European-spec car, the alignment of Ford's global performance program means that the mechanicals will make it here even if the two-door hatchback body and the particular styling tweaks seen here won't. Notice the intercooler tucked behind the gloss-black grille. Adding a turbocharger and direct injection to the 1.6-liter base engine should bump output from 120 hp to about 180 hp. Although SVT cars have traditionally been manual-transmission-only models, there's a good chance that you'll be able to purchase the performance Fiesta with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic as well.
The sorely missed SVT Focus is the team's other project. As with the Fiesta, the performance Focus will use a blown version of its 155-hp base powerplant. The boosted 2.0-liter engine will make as much as 275 hp in crossovers like the Edge and the Explorer, but in the new Focus SVT, it will likely produce closer to 250 hp. That will leave more room above the SVT for a second-generation, limited-production Focus RS similar to the 305-hp car currently sold in Europe. Such a project is really just speculation at this point, but if Europe gets a new RS, expect the U.S. to get one, too.
What: The classic SUV softened for the fuel-economy age.
When: Late 2010
A New Era Emerges: The first good spy shots reveal that, as expected, the 2011 Explorer will be more of a crossover than a traditional SUV. Switching to unibody construction drops weight, while a turbocharged four-cylinder engine could push highway fuel economy above 25 mpg. It's a big shift in the direction of the Flex, but the Explorer will maintain its distance with more ground clearance and stouter hauling capabilities. Seven-passenger seating continues.
Expanding Its Focus
Ford is planning at least ten different vehicles on its revised C1 architecture. Over the next couple years, more details will emerge, but here's a preview of what we expect:
Focus sedan, 2011: The sedan, which goes on sale early next year, is the volume seller for the Focus here in America. The new generation will bring more technology and luxury features.
Focus hatchback, 2011: As with the Fiesta, expect Ford to position the hatchback as the sporty, premium Focus.
Focus wagon, Europe only: It's hard to justify selling the wagon and the four-door hatchback side-by-side in america. Ford knows, because it tried unsuccessfully with the first-gen Focus.
Electric Focus, 2011: Ford admits that the electric Focus is a low-volume product.
C-Max, Europe only: Most Americans (us included) have trouble seeing it as something different from the four-door Focus hatchback.
Grand C-Max, 2011: A mini minivan for seven, similar in concept to the Mazda 5. It's called the Grand C-Max in Europe, but it will likely be named Focus C-Max in the States.
Mercury Tracer, 2011: The Tracer follows Mercury's standard formula: share the ford mechanicals and basic shape while tweaking the fascias and adding content.
Kuga/Escape, 2012: The Ford Escape merges with an updated European Kuga (current model pictured) packing new engines, more space, and fresh styling.
Lincoln MKC, 2012: The Lincoln C concept from 2009 previews wholly original bodywork on shared mechanicals, much like the Lincoln MKT is to Ford's Flex.
Tenth model: Your guess is as good as ours, but we hear it won't be a two-door hatchback. A Focus coupe or a hardtop coupe/cabriolet as currently sold in Europe are possibilities.