2017 Ford Focus RS: Going Above 350hp On RS500

Ford Performance is on a serious roll right now. The global Ford Mustang is a massive hit, the Ford F-150 Raptor has been turning heads, the Ford GT is shaking up the super car market, and the Ford Focus RS is coming to the US for the first time.

Rated at a revised output of 350hp and 350lb-ft torque, the hot hatch is a waste without sharp corners.

Since its power has already been revised once, it seems that not much more can be squeezed out of the Mustang-derived 2.3L EcoBoost that’s under its hood.
According to the latest rumor, that ceiling can be raised higher. If the whisper turns out to be true, then we’ll be getting a variant of the Focus RS called the RS500 that would be able to deliver close to 400hp, or maybe even more.
There existed an more powerful top-trim Focus with the same name before, so this rumor isn’t too much of a stretch. In order to amplify and accommodate the increase in power, we can expect a lighter but equally rigid body on top of a redesign of the front fascia to boost aerodynamics.
Whereas the current Focus RS is a purist wet dream that comes only with stick shift, Blue Oval could equip the hotter RS500 with a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
What would you hope to see in the RS500 if it actually happens?

Mickey Thompson, ROUSH Performance Partner on 2016 Ford F-150

Mickey Thompson, ROUSH Performance Partner on 2016 Ford F-150 | Off-Road.com Blog

Mickey Thompson Performance Tires & Wheels has collaborated with ROUSH Performance once again to create a one-of-a-kind 2016 Ford F-150.


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The 2016 ROUSH F-150 features a set of unique ROUSH-M/T Metal Series 20-inch wheels and Mickey Thompson Baja ATZP3 all-terrain tires. This addition to the ROUSH lineup takes Ford’s new aluminum-bodied F-150 truck, and enhances it with a host of body components, ROUSH graphics, interior components and performance upgrades.

“Teaming up with ROUSH to design the new 20-inch co-branded ROUSH-M/T Metal Series wheels wrapped with the popular Baja ATZP3’s for this F-150 has been a great experience,” stated Ken Warner, Vice President of Marketing for Mickey Thompson. “The F-150 retains its place as the most popular pickup with more than 250,000 sold by the end of April this year. We’ve worked with ROUSH to create a show-stopping performance F-150 with impressive off-road capability.”

The specially designed Baja ATZP3 combines Mickey Thompson’s T4 chip-resistant tread compound with PowerPly sidewall construction, beefy tread blocks and an extra-wide footprint to create a tough all-terrain tire that’s perfect for off-road use. It also delivers a smooth ride on the street.

The unique ROUSH-M/T Metal Series wheels feature an eight-spoke, matte black design with a milled lip and branded pop-top center cap for great style, durability and easy care.

In addition to a host of body components and graphics, the F-150 includes a ROUSH side-exit exhaust system and a FOX 2.0 Performance Series suspension system, as well as molded front and rear floor liners from WeatherTech, a three-year/36,000-mile warranty and more. For details, visit ROUSHperformance.com.

Uber Jumps Into the Self-Driving Wars With a Ford Fusion

The ride-hailing giant is about to start testing its own self-driving technology, with a Ford Fusion test car. How does Uber’s effort stack up to rivals’?

It’s been known for a while that the most valuable of Silicon Valley’s “unicorn” companies has been working on developing its own self-driving technology. But for the most part, the program has been shrouded in secrecy.

Here’s what we know about a potential dark horse in the race to fully self-driving cars.

A visible sign of Uber’s push toward self-driving technology

Here’s the background: Last year, Uber announced the creation of what it called an “Advanced Technologies Center” (ATC) in Pittsburgh. The center, described as part of a “strategic partnership” with Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), was said at the time to be focused on “research and development, primarily in the areas of mapping and vehicle safety and autonomy technology.” Uber chose to partner with CMU because of the latter’s expertise with robotics and related technologies.

Review: Luxury name of game in Ford Explorer Platinum model

BASE PRICE: $31,050 for base model; $33,050 for base model with 4WD; $33,400 for XLT; $35,400 for XLT 4WD; $41,300 for Limited; $43,300 for Limited 4WD; $43,500 for Sport; $52,970 for Platinum.
Ford’s long-running Explorer SUV goes upscale in a big way with the new-for-2016 Platinum model that rivals traditional luxury SUVs with its numerous high-tech features, quilted-stitched leather seats and exclusive sound system.  
The Platinum model, which comes with standard front and rear cameras, automatic parking system for parallel and perpendicular parking maneuvers, 20-inch wheels and a Sony 500-watt audio system, is accompanied by a luxury-like starting retail price of $53,915, making it the most expensive Explorer. A base, front-wheel drive model is $31,995.

The 2016 Platinum model also has standard four-wheel drive and the most powerful engine offering for the 2016 Explorer — a twin-turbocharged, EcoBoost V-6 that generates 365 horsepower and 350 foot-pounds of torque. Until this model, that engine had been reserved for the Explorer Sport, which, as its name implies, is designed with a firm suspension and quick steering response. The Explorer Platinum offers a still-controlled but less firm ride and its steering feels more mainstream.

Like all 2016 Explorers, the Platinum model has fresh exterior styling, including a grille that reminds some people of a Range Rover.

But it’s the interior styling, breadth of features and unique touches that sticks with a driver. In the test vehicle, the leather, multi-contour front seats, which are new and wide, had quilted stitching that is reminiscent of an Audi; there was even leather and stitching on the dashboard. The side pillars at the windshield are covered in fabric, too, and real aluminum and ash wood, not plastic, are used to accent the interior doors and dashboard. Details include a wood- and leather-wrapped heated steering wheel with stitching that matches that found elsewhere in this Explorer. A  large dual-pane moonroof provides natural light and airiness to the front two rows of seats. A good amount of seat movement fore and aft makes it easy to apportion comfortable legroom in these two rows.

The driver’s seat comes with power-adjustable pedals that move up and down to help every driver get comfortable. Everyone in the vehicle sits up high and has good views out, though the thick pillars at the sides of the windshield obscure views when making turns. But the Explorer Platinum’s 180-degree front camera — located below the grille and comes with a washer to keep it clean — can help when pulling out of a driveway or parking lot. The camera is in addition to ultrasonic sensors on the bumper that alert a driver when the vehicle is getting too close to an object in front.

The Explorer Platinum impresses with its hushed interior. But the sound system’s Live Acoustics and Clear Phase technology bring concert-quality audio to life.

The 3.5-liter, double-overhead cam, turbocharged, Ecoboost V-6 gives this vehicle spirited power, even while delivering more than 18 miles per gallon in combined city/highway travel. The only transmission is a six speed automatic.

Reliability of the Ford Explorer is rated at just above average by Consumer Reports, and the federal government said the 2016 Explorer earned five out of five stars in frontal and side crash tests.

There have been three U.S. safety recalls of the 2016 Explorer. They involved a parking brake that may not fully engage, fuel tank straps that may not have been properly bolted on and engine block heaters that may overheat and increase the risk of a fire.

TYPE: Front-engine, four-wheel drive, six-passenger, large sport utility vehicle.

ENGINE: 3.5-liter, double overhead cam, twin-turbocharged and intercooled, EcoBoost V-6.

MILEAGE: 16 mpg (city), 22 mpg (highway).

TOP SPEED: 123 mph.

LENGTH: 198.3 inches.

WHEELBASE: 112.8 inches.

CURB WEIGHT: 4,890 pounds.

OPTIONS: Second-row bucket seats $695; Ruby Red metallic paint $395; second-row middle console $150.

Ford Focus Electric – A good buy if your know what to expect ahead of time

It has been three years and 60,000 plus miles behind the wheel of this couple’s Ford Focus Electric and the car has performed well. In the battery only segment, the car still compares well to its main competitor, the Nissan LEAF.
At this juncture, it is clear the Focus Electric is a compliance car, sold only to meet zero emission requirements (check previous monthly US sales for the Ford here). For those who lease, this may not be an issue, but for those like me who endure two decades of prodding from a spouse before parting ways with their beloved 92 Nissan Pick Up, Ford’s lack of commitment to the vehicle is a concern. Since the chassis parts are shared with the gasoline version less so there, but the electric drivetrain components may be an issue down the road.

In 2015 the Focus Electric (top) was slightly refreshed
Likes and Kudos:

Liquid thermal control of battery temperature

Tight, precise steering and handling

Chassis parts shared with gas version

Display is very advanced and can be customized

Good phone/app integration

Logical layout and grouping of controls

Ability to see actual real time energy usage

Little or no observed decrease in range

Ford Focus Mileage Estimater Found Competent

For me this mental calculus is now second nature and I have yet to miscalculate, but yes, life does throw you some curveballs that require more driving than you planned. Nail biting moments ensued, but in every case the car did make it without me having to go Fred Flintstone on it. Drive at 30 mph in a 45mph zone? Yes. Actually push? No. The car’s range estimator does a very good job in this regard.

The problem is that these are calculations that neither my wife nor freshly minted license bearing daughter are willing to make. If it is a round trip of 30 miles or less, they’ll use it. Otherwise, Dad can just shut his face about how many times he has driven the car to point x and back with plenty of range left.

Ford Focus Battery Depleted Warning

Ford Focus Electric – A good buy if your know what to expect ahead of time

Ford F-150 Raptor vs Nissan Titan Warrior: Looking Into A Mirror

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2016-nissan-titan-xd-2017-ford-raptorsssdLet’s face it, the Raptor is sexy in a way that the handsome, but comparatively staid Titan just can’t quite match.

It did felt like we were looking into the mirror when both these models were on display at the Detroit Auto Show. Both Ford and Nissan decided to show off their Ford F-150 Raptor and Nissan Titan Warrior at the same time.



Both models came in with the same exterior color. The tires, and design also matched leaving many to wonder if one of them copied the other. While they might look the same on the outside, the engine under the hood is not the same at all.

The Ford F-150 Raptor was running on a 3.5 liter turbocharged engine that will be pushing out about 450hp and was mated to a 10 speed auto transmission. The Nissan Titan Warrior, on the other hand, will come in with a 5.0 liter Cummins turbodiesel engine that will be mated to a seven-speed auto transmission.

Which model do you think won at the show? Let’s face it, the Raptor is sexy in a way that the handsome, but comparatively staid Titan just can’t quite match.

At any rate, the new Raptor promises to be more agile than ever with its lighter weight overall as well as the better balance with the boat anchor of the old 6.2 liter V8 big-block replaced with the EcoBoost V6.


In fairness, this isn’t an apples to apples face off because the Raptor is a production intent vehicle that lands on dealership lots this fall. It’s the real deal, not faking, you can buy one. Nissan on the other hand shows they’ve got some serious bones to work with if they press the start button to compete.

The bottom line is that it’s a good to see the automakers showing some balls in the face of ever tightening CAFE standards which are out to kill all the fun. Hopefully Nissan joins in with something like the Warrior, but even if they don’t, the Raptor ain’t a bad way to spend an afternoon at all.

Despite the Titan XD out-pacing the Raptor by a nearly four-to-one margin in terms of page views on our website, we would probably say the Raptor has a broader appeal to a general audience than the somewhat niche Titan XD. Although we expect initial demand and sales to be strong for the Titan XD, when the new Raptor starts rolling off the line, we anticipate months-long waiting lists, five-figure dealer markups, and plenty of action-packed photos of it kicking up sand, blasting across lake beds, and jumping whoops online and in magazines. Let’s face it, the Raptor is sexy in a way that the handsome, but comparatively staid Titan just can’t quite match.


2018 Ford Expedition / Lincoln Navigator: Staying Large while Slimming Down

What It Is: A Ford F-series with a longer roof, three rows of seats, and a whiff of Queen Family Truckster.
Why It Matters: People still buy personal-use minibuses and will continue to, even if gas rises back above $3 a gallon.
Platform: Although body stamping likely will be different, the Expedition/Navigator will follow the same steel-frame, aluminum-body approach as the F-150. Aluminum saved several hundred pounds on the F-150; the SUVs will see a similarly significant mass savings. As with current versions, the new SUVs will surely ride on independent rear suspensions.

Powertrain: These body-on-frame twins will carry on with their current powertrain strategy of offering only twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V-6s. It’s likely that the 2.7-liter will share the roster with the 3.5.
Competition: GM’s Suburban-based Cadillac, Chevy, and GMC triplets outsell the Ford/Lincoln duo by more than four to one. And somehow the Infiniti QX80, the soon-to-be-replaced Nissan Armada, and the Toyota Sequoia all outsell the aged Navigator.

Estimated Arrival and Price: Late 2017 as a 2018 model, with prices mirroring today’s: from about $47,000 for a base Expedition to beyond $80,000 for a loaded Navigator L.