beijing, China — Ford strides boldly into the heart of the rapidly expanding sport utility vehicle (SUV) market in China with a complete family of four new global SUVs that deliver superior fuel efficiency, class-leading safety and cutting edge technologies.
Unveiled and on display at 2012 Auto China, the all-new Ford EcoSport, the all-new Ford Kuga, the Ford Edge, and the Ford Explorer showcase the breadth of the line-up – from a small SUV that is just the right size for city-driving to a full-size seven-passenger SUV. All four SUVs offer passenger car-like comfort and SUV versatility.
These new SUVs are part of Ford’s promise to bring 15 global vehicles to China by mid-decade as Ford accelerates its expansion plan in one of the world’s fastest-growing auto market. China’s SUV sector is also quickly developing – the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers reported that 1.59 million SUVs were sold in the country last year, a jump of more than 20 per cent from the previous year, far outstripping industry growth.
Ford aims to capture this burgeoning segment with four members of its extended family of SUVs, which interestingly dates back to the “first SUV” or camper derived from a modified Model T by Henry Ford. With 62 years of designing SUVs and 46 years of building and selling them, Ford today has a strong heritage in SUVs that is recognised and trusted worldwide, making it a global leader in this area.
“Ford’s passion and ingenuity for designing and building SUVs have won us proud customers for generations and we believe the EcoSport, Kuga, Edge and Explorer will also win the hearts of customers in China too,” said Dave Schoch, chairman and CEO, Ford Motor China.
“Staying a step ahead of customer aspirations, Ford has reinvented its traditionally practical, versatile and muscular SUVs to become more fuel-efficient, smart, agile and intuitive while preserving their core personality.”
Powered on less fuel
Using the latest powertrain technologies such as EcoBoost™ and twin independent camshaft variable timing (Ti-VCT), Ford has given its SUVs a wide range of engines that are capable of high power and high torque while consuming less fuel.
The global EcoBoost technology features turbocharging and direct injection so that the downsized EcoBoost engines can rival the power and performance of a larger engine – but at a fraction of the fuel consumption.
The 1.0-litre EcoBoost three-cylinder engine in the all-new EcoSport delivers 88 kW of power and 170 Nm of torque, boasting power and performance comparable to a traditional 1.6-litre petrol engine. The two four-cylinder EcoBoost engines in the all-new Kuga also serve up big power for their economical size. The 1.6-litre EcoBoost engine delivers 132 kW of power and 240 Nm of torque while the 2.0-litre EcoBoost engine produces 176 kW and 340 Nm of torque.
Ford has also employed Ti-VCT technology across the EcoSport, Kuga, Edge and Explorer to deliver even better fuel efficiency and save customers money. The technology allows for precise and variable control over the valve timing for optimum performance which improves fuel economy and reduces part-throttle emissions.
These fuel-efficient engines are mated to advanced six-speed automatic transmissions which optimise gearing to further shave off fuel consumption. Complementing all these efforts, Ford designers gave the SUVs a sleeker shape as well as added aerodynamic details which reduce drag.
Advanced safety technologies
The EcoSport, Kuga, Edge and Explorer have all been designed to exceed the strictest global safety standards. Their class-leading protection for occupants begins in the stiff unibody structure that is made up of high levels of high-strength and ultra-high-strength steel. In the event of a crash, the driver and passengers are protected inside a safety cage of strength.
All four SUVs come with a full array of airbags – driver and front passenger airbags, side front airbags and side curtain airbags for front- and rear-seat occupants. The Kuga has an additional driver’s knee airbag.
The advanced airbag restraint system incorporates new technologies which are able to vary the pressure based on the size of the occupant, hence lessening the impact of the airbags on the occupants during deployment.
The Explorer also boasts the world’s first second-row inflatable rear belts. These unique belts spread impact forces across more than five times the area of conventional seat belts, reducing pressure on the chest while helping to control head and neck motion.
Additionally, the SUVs are equipped with state-of-the-art active safety technologies which help the driver keep the vehicle in control at all times. These features include the Electronic Stability Program system that uses intelligent logic to monitor the SUV’s progress and intervene effectively when required as well as Hill Launch Assist, Emergency Brake Assist and Anti-Lock Brake System.
A smarter drive
The EcoSport, Kuga, Edge and Explorer all boast a long list of smart technologies that make life easier on the road for the driver.
Common to all four SUVs is the award-winning Ford SYNC® in-car connectivity system that allows drivers to make calls or play their favourite music via voice commands while keeping their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel throughout.
The Kuga, Edge and Explorer take it a step further with MyFord Touch®, which combines the connectivity of SYNC with a full-colour 8-inch touch screen in the centre stack and two 4.2-inch LCD screens. The driver can easily access vehicle functions, settings and information easily through voice, the steering wheel controls or with a simple tap of the centre stack touch screen.
Moreover, the SUVs are equipped with different driver-assist technologies that take the stress out of everyday driving situations.
For example, the Blind Spot Information System (BLIS®) displays an alert when a vehicle is detected entering the SUV’s blind spot while the Adaptive Cruise Control maintains a safe distance from other vehicles by decelerating or accelerating accordingly. Other smart technologies can help the driver parallel park hands free (Active Park Assist) or keep the SUV from drifting out of its lane (Lane Keeping Aid).
The Kuga has a particularly intelligent hands-free automatic tailgate that can be unlocked and raised, and vice versa, just by a gentle kicking motion under the centre of the rear bumper.
True SUV toughness and versatility
Making use of its proven manufacturing, design and technology fundamentals, Ford has imbued the EcoSport, Kuga, Edge and Explorer with essential SUV practicality and versatility within a cocoon of passenger car-like comfort.
World-class craftsmanship and painstaking attention paid to every detail have given the SUVs an outstanding level of quality that is clearly evident both inside and out. The clean, modern exterior design echoes the ingenious interior with its flexible seating, clever storage spaces and generous cargo volume. Ford has also meticulously engineered superior levels of quiet into the SUVs’ cabin, delivering class-leading control over noise, vibration and harshness.
Fortified with Ford’s famed driving dynamics along with high ground clearance and outstanding water-wading capability, the SUVs enable customers to get to their destination easily and comfortably. For those taking the SUV off the road, Ford has stretched the breadth of SUV capability with smart four-wheel drive systems.
The Kuga’s new Intelligent 4WD System uses advanced software and sensors to analyse data from 25 external signals, including wheel speed, accelerator pedal position and steering wheel angle, assessing road conditions and driver input 20 times faster than the blink of an eye. The system uses all the sensor inputs to turn the SUV in the direction the driver wants it to go.
The Explorer goes further with a new Terrain Management System that takes the guesswork out of maximising 4WD by doing away with the traditional SUV transfer case configuration with the four-high, four-low and auto settings. Instead, the system is selectable by situation with settings for normal, mud, sand and snow.
“Ford designed the EcoSport, Kuga, Edge and Explorer with the customers in mind, ensuring that they will be able to select one that fits their purpose or pocket,” said Schoch.
“Be it a small SUV or a full-size seven-seater, all four new SUVs possess the winning combination of exceptional fuel efficiency, world-class safety, powerful performance and practical versatility that sets a Ford SUV a cut above the rest.”