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 Ford in the Press – Week 23

DATE: Will be calculated from "Release Start Date" field.

B-MAX, Fiesta ST and Focus Electric are the big newsmakers in this week’s European media…

French journal La Provence recommends five models in the 20,000 euro price range, and the Ford B-MAX 1.6 TDCI Trend is its top choice for families: “The brand new Ford B-MAX welcomes passengers with a spacious cabin and maximum comfort. This minivan’s claim to fame is its system of sliding rear doors with integrated center pillars, which provides a 1.5m aperture. Available for 20,200 euros with Trend trim and the 1.6 95PS diesel engine, it’s an ideal car for small families to take on vacation.”

AutoExpress (UK) describes Fiesta ST as one of the “best handling cars of any kind”, adding: “The 1.6-litre turbo has a bassy rumble, and the exhaust note has been tuned so that a meaty sound fills the cabin. Hit the road, and while the ride is on the firm side, it’s easy to live with and doesn’t get tiring — especially on a twisty B-road. Here, the Fiesta ST comes alive. The direct steering has plenty of feedback, so it’s easy to place the car exactly where you want it, while the chassis is incredibly responsive, without feeling edgy or nervous. The slick six-speed gearbox is a joy to use, and makes the most of the engine’s punchy power delivery. We thought this fast Ford was a more entertaining hot hatch than the Peugeot 208 Gil and Renaultsport Cilo. But the reality is that it’s one of the best-handling and most involving sports cars at any price.”

Autogids/Moniteur de l’automobile (Belgium) pits Fiesta ST against Peugeot 208 GTi, Citroën DS3 Racing, Seat Ibiza SC Cupra, VW Polo GTI and Skoda Fabia RS. The winner is: “The Fiesta ST. This is without a doubt the best acolyte of the GTI philosophy. Its engine, the least powerful on paper, feels powerful and enables full use of the ST’s excellent chassis. The playful but never treacherous Fiesta ST also has perfectly weighted controls, a very important quality for a sports car. Add to this its democratic price tag, and it’s the clear winner of this comparison.”

Germany’s Bild Saarland is one of several publications reporting that Focus Electric has gone into production in Saarlouis: “It’s the only factory to manufacture the battery-powered Focus in addition to Ford’s American assembly facility in Wayne, Michigan. The automaker has invested 16 million euros in the production of Ford’s Focus Electric in Saarlouis. Prices for the battery-powered compact have yet to be announced. The US version costs about 29,500 euros. Ford has another reason to celebrate as well: The 13-millionth vehicle will roll off the assembly line in Saarlouis.”

Auto.it (Italy) also runs the story: “The zero-emission Focus Electric is the trailblazer for a new European lineup of alternative powertrains. It will be followed by the C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) and the new Mondeo Hybrid, both arriving in 2014. Developed under the “One Ford” global strategy, the Focus Electric is equipped with a 145PS electric motor powered by lithium-ion batteries and reaches a top speed of 135km/h. It was born in North America, where its production started in December 2011. The Saarlouis-built model will begin reaching European customers in July.”

Elsewhere, Auto Revista (Spain) runs the rule over Ford Kuga 1.6 EcoBoost 150PS 4x2 Titanium: “Like all Fords, the Kuga boasts a high level of quality. The cabin features soft materials and meticulous finishes. The driving position guarantees good visibility from every angle and is capable of accommodating larger occupants. The entry-level model is equipped with the 1.6 EcoBoost 150PS gasoline engine. Smooth and silent, it delivers extraordinary power and torque at low rpm. The EcoBoost is linked to a six-speed manual transmission and enlists Auto-Start-Stop to reduce fuel consumption in the city….. Despite the increase in size, the vehicle’s weight has barely changed. The aerodynamics have also improved. The near-perfect suspension settings maintain comfort and reduce swaying, an area where the previous Kuga also excelled. The electric power-assisted steering is flawless and enhances the vehicle’s handling. The Kuga has a full range of safety features and offers a number of optional driver assists for affordable prices.”

  

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6/20/2013 7:00 AM