Just like you, we always want to know what’s coming next from Detroit, Tokyo, Stuttgart, Munich, Los Angeles, and all the other places where automotive engineers and designers dream and scheme on our behalf. Car companies, of course, are loath to share information on new products lest their competitors try to copy them–or you decide not to buy the cars they already have on dealer lots. Car companies, though, are simply groups of people, and some of them have a hard time keeping secrets. So, we poke, we prod, we cajole, and we uncover information that becomes the basis for our annual Sneak Preview issue. As always, some of our information is educated guesswork based on hints, insinuations, hunches. Make no mistake, though, these cars are on their way, even though details may change. Ladies and gentlemen: our list of 136 cars coming over the next few years…
2010 Ford F-150 Raptor
Big, butch, and badly timed.
It’s not often that a lifted pickup designed for off-roading is described as nimble, but that’s exactly the word that comes to mind as the 2010 Ford F-150 Raptor blasts through the landscape near Borrego Springs, California, racing through desert washes at 95 mph in total comfort. Amazingly, Ford’s Special Vehicle Team (SVT), which developed the Raptor, doesn’t have any real experience with off-road trucks, and tuning a truck for high performance is quite different once you leave the pavement. Instead of absolute power (the familiar, 310-hp, 5.4-liter V-8 is standard, although a new 6.2-liter V-8 will be available in a few months), the Raptor is all about confidence, whether for 50-mph jumps off-road or 80-mph highway blasts.
BUT WHO’S GONNA BUY IT? Sadly, the Raptor makes no sense outside of the desert racing world, what with the economic collapse and political pressure to stop building gas guzzlers. But you’ll forget that as you hit a trail at speed. The Raptor needs to be experienced first-hand, because there’s simply nothing else like it on the market-and there may never be again.
– Phil Floraday
After years of living separate lives, the European and North American Focuses will finally become one. For 2011, we, too, get a Focus based on the European C1 platform. The Iosis Max concept from this year’s Geneva motor show might have been a funky people mover, but Ford says that much of its design language will appear in the production Focus. The engine underneath the “kinetic” skin is also likely to reach the showroom. The direct-injection 1.6-liter turbocharged four not only fits into Ford’s growing range of EcoBoost engines, but it also appeared in the Lincoln C concept shown earlier this year at the Detroit auto show. Both concepts also sported six-speed dual-clutch transmissions, which already are offered across Ford’s European portfolio.
2011 Ford Mustang GT An all-new, 5.0-liter V-8 for 2011 should exceed 400 hp and 400 lb-ft. It’s mated to a six-speed stick.
2010 Ford Transit Connect The Turkish-built van is practical, versatile, and compact-ideal for commercial use. With a 2.0-liter four and an automatic, expect 22/25 mpg. An electric version arrives later in 2010.