- The Washington Times - Friday, January 30, 2009

FORD ESCAPE

A new powertrain lineup with a more powerful and fuel-efficient 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a new six-speed automatic transmission, leads the list of enhancements for the 2009 Ford Escape.

The new 171-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with intake variable cam timing is expected to gain 1 mpg in both city and highway fuel economy when equipped with the new six-speed transmission.

Beyond technology upgrades, the 2009 Escape development team focused on key details such as tire technology and aerodynamic efficiency. Escape features new low-rolling-resistance tires, developed in cooperation with Michelin. The 16-inch Michelin Latitude Tour design features a unique mold design, reduced weight and a new-generation tread pattern optimized for reduced fuel consumption.

Aerodynamic refinements that account for increased fuel efficiency include a redesigned front bumper spoiler and new rear tire spoilers, the first application on a Ford sport utility vehicle.

Escape’s new 3.0-liter V-6 engine also improves for 2009. The 240-horsepower V-6 is equipped with i-VCT and ETC along with new cylinder heads, intake and exhaust cams, injectors, intake and exhaust manifolds, and pistons.

Base model estimated mpg: 20 city/28 highway

Estimated starting price: $20,100

FORD EXPLORER

Ford bolsters the 2009 Explorer by enhancing its proven stability control system with the addition of trailer sway control. Trailer sway control works in conjunction with AdvanceTrac with roll stability control to determine from the yaw motion of the vehicle if the trailer is swaying and take measures such as applying precise braking or reduced engine torque to bring both vehicle and trailer under control.

The 2009 Explorer features the XLT sport package. The interior has charcoal black cloth seats, a white instrument cluster and all-weather floor mats. Black-accented wheel lops, exterior step bar and fascia show off the sporty side of Explorer.

The Explorer is outfitted standard with the 4.0-liter V-6 engine and five-speed automatic transmission.

Base model estimated mpg: 14 city/20 highway

Estimated starting price: $26,995

FORD F-150

The 2009 Ford F-150 is the new benchmark in the full-size pickup segment from the industry’s truck leader, which has built more than 33 million F-Series pickups since 1948.

Beneath the sheet metal, the improvements are dramatic. A new high-strength, lighter-weight chassis is the backbone that allows this tough truck to deliver more horsepower, better fuel economy and safety, and additional towing and payload capacity.

Improvement starts with the 2009 F-150’s fully boxed frame constructed with hydro-formed and high strength steel side rails. The lightweight frame delivers 10 percent more torsional rigidity, which delivers increased durability and safety. The sturdy chassis also paved the way for the new 2009 F-150 to improve upon the current model’s class-leading towing and hauling capability across all cab configurations.

With three cab styles, four box options and seven trim levels, the F-150 comes in 35 configurations to meet the widest range of customer needs and wants.

Under the hood, the new F-150 is powered by three modern V-8 engines, mated to either a four-speed or a new fuel-efficient six-speed automatic transmission. The engines include: 5.4-liter Triton V-8; 4.6-liter three-valve V-8, which is new for F-150; and 4.6-liter, two-valve V-8.

Base model estimated mpg: 14 city/19 highway

Estimated starting price: $21,095

FORD FLEX

With its signature side grooves, all-black greenhouse and distinct roof, the new 2009 Ford Flex is like no other vehicle on the road. Surprising space and comfort, upscale details and features, and clever flexibility combine to give Flex a contemporary seven-passenger interior environment with the multipanel Vista Roof.

Flex is full of class-leading technologies, including the latest Ford SYNC, voice-activated navigation with Sirius Travel Link, new premium sound from Sony and innovative features such as EasyFuel capless refueling and an exclusive refrigerated console.

Flex’s prominent stance is a key design element setting it apart. Flex owners can program any of seven interior lighting colors to fit their mood. With this feature, owners can change the lighting on two light-emitting diodes mounted on the front console, footwells and around the two front cup holders.

Flex is powered by Ford’s award-winning 3.5-liter V-6 engine delivering 262 horsepower and 248 foot-pounds of torque mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission.

Estimated fuel economy: 17 city/24 highway mpg

Starting price: $28,295

FORD MUSTANG

Ford Mustang, the country’s best-selling sports car for 22 consecutive years and one of the auto industry’s most successful nameplates ever, enters 2009 with a new panoramic glass roof option that opens the world to pony-car enthusiasts.

While allowing occupants an unrestricted view of the world above and around them, the special tinted, reflective glass reduces energy used by the vehicle’s air conditioning system by 20 percent and also protects the interior fabric from fading and deteriorating. A manually operated roller blind allows owners to block the light on bright days.

Noise, vibration and harshness are controlled in the cabin with a layer of sound-absorbent vinyl sandwiched within the special glass. The glass-roof Mustang is built like the coupe and has been developed to maintain the structural integrity of the car.

For 2009, Ford has also added more standard equipment to the popular “Premium” arrays offered on both the Mustang V-6 and GT, including Sirius Satellite Radio, ambient lighting, satin aluminum instrument panel trim and upgraded interior trim.

The Mustang V-6 coupe and convertible are equipped with a 210-horsepower, 4.0-liter six-cylinder engine that is mated to a five-speed manual transmission or an optional five-speed automatic. The Mustang GT coupe and convertible are powered by a 300-horsepower, 4.6-liter V-8 engine. The standard gearbox is five-speed manual, with an available five-speed automatic.

Base model estimated mpg: 16 city/24 highway

Estimated starting price: $19,995

FORD SHELBY GT500

Mustang heritage abounds on the Ford Shelby GT500 with an aggressive muscular front-end, Le Mans overbody racing stripes, Cobra logo and Shelby nameplate. The Ford Shelby GT500’s supercharged 5.4-liter V-8’s output is a brawny 500 horsepower.

Engineers employed some of the biggest brakes for the GT500. Four-piston Brembo calipers are fitted to 14-inch Brembo vented rotors up front, and 11.8-inch vented discs in the rear continue SVT’s tradition of great-braking Mustangs.

A sinister-looking front-end design includes wide upper and lower fascia openings with a functional lower air splitter. The upper grille opening sports the famous Cobra logo, floating off-center in place of the centered galloping pony found on other Mustangs.

The design team drew inspiration from classic 1967-68 Mustangs, the models that transformed the mild-mannered pony car into a true muscle car. The GT500 coupe is punctuated by the classic Le Mans-style white overbody stripes that race along the top from nose to tail. The stripes recall the Shelby Mustangs that marked the important 1960s Mustang transition, when Ford put it on track to becoming a racing legend.

Base model estimated mpg: 14 city/20 highway

Estimated starting price: $42,685

FORD TAURUS

Rated America’s safest full-size car, the Ford Taurus adds even more safety technology for 2009 with standard AdvanceTrac electronic stability control and a new SOS post-crash alert system.

Taurus has been rated the safest full-size car in North America and is a segment leader for safety, capable of achieving five-star ratings in all four categories of the U.S. government’s crash tests. It also has been named a top safety pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

AdvanceTrac and SOS post-crash alert are standard equipment across the Taurus model range, which includes a new base series for 2009. The post-crash alert system activates if the air bags are deployed or the safety belt pretensioner activates. The alert system unlocks the doors and activates the horn and emergency flashers.

The new member of the Taurus family is the Taurus SE, which joins the Taurus SEL, SEL AWD, Limited and Limited AWD to bring the array of Taurus series choices to five.

Taurus SE’s standard equipment includes the proven Duratec 3.5-liter V-6 engine, a six-speed automatic transmission, AM/FM/CD audio with an integrated MP3 input jack, climate control with ducts for rear-seat passengers, six-way power driver’s seat and two-way power, fold-flat front passenger seat, premium sound insulation, halogen headlamps, 17-inch bright machined aluminum wheels with silver painted accents and an array of safety equipment and technologies.

Base model estimated mpg: 18 city/28 highway

Estimated starting price: $24,125

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