Ford Drives Innovation, Intellectual Property Development through TechShop Membership Incentive for Smart Ideas

By Ford Motor Company

DEARBORN, Mich., May 4, 2012 — /PRNewswire/ —

TechShop Detroit will give Ford employees, plus all Metro Detroiters, access to classes, coaching and state-of-the-art tools to turn ideas into reality
Ford’s Employee Patent Incentive Award program now provides free TechShop memberships to Ford employees submitting inventions
Since the program was initiated at the beginning of the year, invention submissions are up more than 30 percent year-to-date versus 2011
Henry Ford would have felt right at home in Michigan’s latest do-it-yourself workshop, the newly opened TechShop Detroit. After all, Mr. Ford underscores what a “maker” represents, having built his first motorized vehicle in his backyard shed.

What is a maker?

It’s an individual within a growing movement of people interested in turning their ideas into reality – whether these are one-off art objects or potentially marketable products – someone who might not have the tools or know-how to get it done.

TechShop is located in Fairlane Business Park, a Ford Land-owned property. Ford Land helped bring TechShop to Metro Detroit with assistance from Bill Coughlin, CEO of Ford Global Technologies. Leading the domestic auto industry’s only intellectual property team with a licensing arm, Coughlin shares this vision to help drive innovation among Ford engineers.

“Innovation and invention are at the core of Ford Motor Company,” he says. “When I heard about TechShop and how they are inspiring and helping a new generation of inventors, I had to find a way to lure them to Detroit. Not only is it a great opportunity for the community, but it will be a strategic tool to spur creativity and new ideas within the Ford engineering community to help us continue to build our intellectual property portfolio.”

Ford Global Technologies is enhancing the Employee Patent Incentive Award program so that inventors now get a free three-month membership to TechShop Detroit for submitting an invention worthy of patent consideration. Since launch in 1988, this program has provided financial rewards to Ford employees who submit approved inventions.

Coughlin estimates about 2,000 incentive memberships will be provided to Ford employees this year. Since the program was initiated at the beginning of the year, invention submissions are up more than 30 percent versus last year.

Ford has a portfolio of more than 17,000 issued and pending patents around the world, and – as a technology company – needs to be at the very forefront of automotive innovation. With TechShop in close proximity, Ford’s employees in Dearborn will be able to easily and quickly build prototypes for almost any inventive solution they can conceive.

“By collaborating with TechShop Inc. to bring this new facility to southeast Michigan, we hope both to inspire and enable some of the great minds that live in this region to create, experiment and invent,” said Venkatesh Prasad, senior technical leader, Ford Research and Innovation. “At TechShop, the many creative people including talented engineers, designers and scientists who work in the auto industry can exercise their imaginations and innovate well beyond their usual job description.”

Dozens of Ford employees have already received TechShop awards for a variety of ideas that may be incorporated into future Ford vehicles, or licensed to other companies.

Learn about how Ford innovators are using their memberships by following this link:

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Ford – a company that truly embraces the open innovation model – to drive innovation in the Greater Metro Detroit area,” said Jim Newton, TechShop founder. “TechShop provides a great resource to Ford employees and the many other local entrepreneurs looking to incubate new technologies, as part of Detroit’s growing innovation community.”

From laser cutters to computer-aided-design workstations to 3D printers, every TechShop is outfitted with tools that Henry Ford couldn’t even imagine when he built his first cars more than a century ago. While much of this equipment is still well beyond the means of most tinkerers, memberships that start at just $99 a month enable everyone to be creative. All Ford employees and retirees will qualify for a 50 percent discount on TechShop memberships.

Click here to view a video introduction to TechShop Detroit.

TechShop was launched in 2006 in Menlo Park, Calif., near the heart of Silicon Valley where much of the technology that makes modern life possible was born. While Ford is in the midst of opening its own Silicon Valley Lab, it’s fitting the newest workshop opens in America’s industrial heartland, adjacent to Ford’s product development campus.

Along with access to tools, members can take beginner to advanced-level classes with TechShop Dream Consultants on how to use the tools, and bounce ideas off other members. The Allen Park facility includes 17,000 square feet of shop space, classrooms, a creative brainstorming lounge and a retail store offering convenience materials and consumables.

Every TechShop membership includes:

Use of all tools and equipment (safety and basic usage class required for some)
Spacious workshop with large worktables with 115-volt outlets and compressed air
Use of computer workstations with software including Autodesk Inventor suite
Wi-Fi® with high-speed Internet access
Free member-only meet-ups and other special events
Fresh-brewed coffee and hot popcorn
Members can also rent storage space for their projects as well as a limited number of private workshop spaces.

“If Henry Ford were starting today, he would almost certainly be a member of TechShop Detroit,” Prasad said.

Ford and TechShop – the membership-based workshop and fabrication studio – will host a Grand Opening celebration that spans the entire weekend of Saturday, May 5 through Sunday, May 6, 2012, both days from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the new location in Allen Park at 800 Republic Drive. TechShop Detroit is the result of collaboration between TechShop Inc., Ford Motor Company, Ford Global Technologies and Ford Land.

About Ford Motor Company Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F), a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 166,000 employees and about 70 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit

Oxmoor Ford Lincoln Louisville Kentucky, Oxmoor Auto Group Louisville Kentucky,,,,


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2013 Escape: Ford’s compact SUV goes lux




With European-style handling, luxury looks, surprising refinement and new features for 2013, Ford’s compact sport utility vehicle, the Escape, doesn’t seem like an Escape anymore.


The familiar boxy shape is replaced by a sleek, rich-looking exterior, and the Escape’s V-6, manual transmission and gasoline-electric hybrid model are gone.


Instead, every 2013 Escape comes with a six-speed automatic and a choice of three, gasoline-powered, four-cylinder engines.
Importantly, all three powerplants garner a minimum 30-miles-per-gallon-on-the-highway fuel economy rating from the federal government, and two of the three are turbocharged and deliver at least 184 foot-pounds of torque. In contrast, the only 2012 Escape with a fuel mileage rating of 30 mpg or more on the window sticker was the Escape Hybrid, which started at more than $30,000.


Starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price, including destination charge, is $23,295 for a base, 2013 Escape S with 168-horsepower, naturally aspirated four cylinder, automatic transmission and front-wheel drive.

This base 2013 Escape is rated at 22/31 mpg in city/highway travel and includes air conditioning and cloth seats, with Ford’s Sync voice-activated entertainment system available as a $295 option.


Unfortunately, pricing goes up considerably from the base model, and the test Escape with four-wheel drive and top equipment and trim level called Titanium, plus options, topping out at more than $36,000.


In between the base Escape and the top model are, thankfully, a number of choices – all with two rows of seats providing seating for five. The lowest starting retail price for a 2013 Escape with one of Ford’s peppier, turbocharged engines is $25,895 for an SE with 178-horsepower four cylinder, automatic transmission, front-wheel drive and mileage rating of 23/33 mpg.


The lowest starting retail price for a four-wheel drive 2013 Escape is $27,645, and this is with the 178-horsepower, turbocharged four cylinder.


The Escape has many competitors, including the top-selling Honda CR-V with a starting MSRP, including destination charge, of $23,325 for a 2012 base model with 185-horsepower four cylinder, five-speed automatic and front-wheel drive. Among the CR-V’s standard features is a rearview camera. The 2012 Hyundai Tucson SUV has a starting retail price of $19,970 with 165-horsepower four cylinder, five-speed manual and front-wheel drive. A 2012 Tucson with six-speed automatic starts at $20,970.


Note that both the base CR-V and the base Tucson with automatic are rated at 23/31 mpg by the government, which is in line with the 2013 Escape models.


Ford’s re-engineered Escape is a sibling of the company’s Kuga, which is a compact crossover in Europe. This European heritage was one of the first impressions of the 2013 Escape test model.


The vehicle felt solidly planted on the road, even on twisty mountain roads.


Weight shift from one side to the other during curves was well-managed and provided a more confident ride than that found in previous Escapes. In fact, there was little tippy feel, and road bumps came through mostly as mild vibrations.


To be sure, the Escape felt substantial and solid. It’s not exactly a heavy sensation, but even a base 2013 Escape weighs more than 3,500 pounds, which is 200 pounds more than a base CR-V and base Tucson.


Overall, the ride was pleasant and more refined than in earlier Escapes, even though the test, top-of-the-line Titanium trim model, rode on big, stylish, 19-inch wheels.


The tester had the most powerful of the four-cylinder engines – a 240-horsepower, 2-liter, double overhead cam, turbocharged, four cylinder that, like other Ford four-cylinder turbos, carries the name EcoBoost. In fact, Ford’s larger SUV, the Edge, uses this 2-liter turbo four cylinder, too.

Premium fuel is recommended to get the maximum power, which includes 270 foot-pounds of torque at 3,000 rpm in the Escape.


In real world driving, though, this turbo didn’t send the Escape zooming forward in a rush. Rather, power was delivered smoothly but not instantaneously, even when the accelerator was suddenly pressed to the floor.


In more gentle acceleration, the test Escape, which weighed more than 3,700 pounds, moved comfortably through traffic, and the four-wheel disc brakes – an upgrade from rear drums in the 2012 Escape – worked capably.


Alas, fuel mileage in the tester averaged only 19.5 mpg in driving that was 70 percent in the city. So, it could travel not quite 300 miles on a single, 15.1-gallon tank, and the four-wheel drive tester didn’t meet the government rating of 21/28 mpg.


The interior was impressive. Premium materials, including nicer plastic on the sizable dashboard, gave an upscale feel. The optional, full leather trim on the test Escape seats helped, too.


Brightly illuminated gauges in front of the driver are uncomplicated, but Ford’s touch screen in the middle of the dashboard takes practice. A nice perk: The rearview camera’s picture is big on this sizable display screen, so drivers see clearly what’s behind them.


The new Escape is one of the few compact SUVs to offer a power, rear liftgate. Usually, these are found on larger, luxury models.


Ford’s power liftgate has a twist: A person can avoid pushing the key fob’s “open liftgate” button and instead sort of kick his or her foot under the rear bumper, where a sensor detects that the liftgate needs to open. It’s a fine idea, but with arms full of heavy pet supplies, I nearly fell on the pavement trying to kick my leg and keep my balance.


Another issue with the power liftgate: It goes fully upward each time, so in a parking garage, it struck the concrete beam overhead and then retracted a bit. The result: A small bump on the tailgate exterior.


The 2013 Escape is a bit longer and wider than its predecessor, and cargo space stretches to 68.1 cubic feet.


Oxmoor Ford Lincoln Louisville Kentucky, Oxmoor Auto Group Louisville Kentucky,,,,


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2013 Ford Focus ST priced at $24,495, build site launched


By Patrick Rall

The 2013 Ford Focus ST is the first global performance vehicle in Ford Motor Company’s One Ford plan and today, FoMoCo announced that the high performance Focus ST will carry a starting price of just $24,495 (including a destination fee of $795) – and you can build/price your dream Focus ST on the Ford vehicle website right now.

The 2013 Ford Focus ST technically carries a starting price of $23,700 and that includes the 2.0L 4-cylinder engine, churning out 252 horsepower and 270lb-ft of torque from the first high performance application of Ford’s EcoBoost technology in the US. This power is channeled to the front wheels exclusively via a 6-speed manual transmission and a sport tuned electric power assist steering (EPAS) system has been designed to cut down on the amount of torque steer under hard acceleration – allowing the driver to make the most of their high performance Ford 5-door Focus ST. The Focus ST also sports unique race ready suspension and performance braking system to make sure that the hot hatch handles and stops every bit as well as it accelerates.

Those who want a little more out of their 2013 Ford Focus ST can opt for equipment group ST2, which adds a Sony audio system controlled by an 8” touch screen and featuring both satellite and HD radio, dual zone climate control and a set of sporty Recaro race seats trimmed partially in leather. This package will add $2,385 to the final price of the Focus ST; although Ford states that this package offers the buyer savings of $120 over ordering those features individually. I actually prefer the two-tone partial leather Recaro seats – as they offer a sportier look than the all black seats…in my opinion.

If you want even more amenities from the 2013 Focus ST, equipment group ST3 starts with the goodies from group ST2 but the partial leather Recaro seats are replaced by full leather seats with heating elements, HID headlights, cornering lamps, LED signature lighting and ambient lighting, heated exterior mirrors, navigation, and an overhead storage console. This package adds $4,435 to the total price but in ordering this package – buyers reportedly save $405 from ordering the items on their own. However, very few of these items add any go-fast qualities so those who are looking to go fast and do it cheap – the base Focus ST might just be ideal.

The 2013 Ford Focus ST is available in six different colors (Tuxedo Black, Performance Blue, Race Red, Oxford White, Tangerine Scream, Ingot Silver) with all but the Tangerine Scream coming as part of the standard package. Tangerine Scream will cost buyers an extra $495 but we think that it is well worth the price – as this unique metallic orange is a great looking color in the bright sunlight. Once you have equipped the Focus ST with the ST3 equipment group, the only exterior option is the $895 power moon roof. Inside, if the ST3 package is picked there are really no options to select and if you are going for the base Focus ST, there are no options that you can pick online (right now) that can be added without adding an equipment group. In short, if you want any goodies, it is best to go with the ST2 or ST3 equipment group packages. There is, of course, the $35 engine heater available for all 2013 Focus ST models.

If you go through the 2013 Ford Focus ST configuration page and check every option – the final price is $30,355 (as shown above on the right). That includes the base price of $23,700, the $795 destination fee, $4,435 for the ST3 equipment group, $495 for the Tangerine Scream exterior paint, $895 for the power moon roof and $35 for the engine block heater. However, my idea 2013 Focus ST would feature the ST2 equipment group, the moon roof, Tangerine Scream paint, and the Sync system with MyFord Touch – for a final price of $29,065. If Ford offered the two-tone Recaro seats with the ST3 package I would just go for the loaded version and face he minimal upcharge of just over a grand but right now…I love those multicolored seats too much to go with the ST3 group.


Oxmoor Ford Lincoln Louisville Kentucky, Oxmoor Auto Group Louisville Kentucky,,,,

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Ford Escape crosses over from boxy SUV look

by Chris Woodyard

In this city of inclusion, where dot-commers, fashionistas and bedraggled street denizens share the same fog-shrouded hillsides and stunning views, there’s one arrival that never felt welcome: a boxy, fuel-gulping sport-utility vehicle.

So perhaps it’s fitting that Ford chose the city of the Golden Gate as the place to introduce its completely transformed Escape compact crossover to America.

Far from the squared-off, purposeful SUV looks of the current generation, the body of the 2013 Escape is a sculptor’s playground of complex curves, creases and swooshes. It’s as if Ford Motor came to San Francisco seeking artistic validation.

Sure, the new model gets a boost in fuel economy, an entertaining leg-activated tailgate and rear seats that are easier to fold down. But those features pale compared with the change to a more car-like appearance. The looks carry over to the road, where Escape is a sweet driving experience — precise, quiet and lacking SUV sway, roll or clunkiness.

While artistic raves count, Ford executives make it clear they are intently focused on improving Escape’s share in one of the most crucial market segments in the auto industry. Compact crossovers, along with midsize sedans, are at the heart of the family vehicle market. Together, they account for about 30% of all new vehicle sales per year in the U.S.

Succession won’t be easy, given that the current Escape has done just fine, even with its aging looks.

Though on the way out, sales of the current model were 58,604 through the first quarter, up 4.7% compared with the same period a year ago, Autodata reports.

Just how much is at stake for Ford? From only 1.3% of the company’s overall sales in 2000, Escape commanded 12.3% last year, car research site reports. About one of five compact crossovers sold in the U.S. last year were Escapes, although many have been carrying discounts lately.

“We’re trying to replace a product that is doing really well,” says Hau Thai-Tang, Ford engineering vice president. “We have really big shoes to fill.”

The decision to take what Thai-Tang terms a “revolutionary” step in the design of Escape partly reflects Ford’s preoccupation with designing models that can be sold in more markets around the world. Escape will be made in Louisville, Spain and China. In many foreign markets, “they want dynamic design,” he says.

V-6 option dropped for turbo-four

Ford is being just as bold when it comes to Escape’s engine choices: all four-cylinder powerplants; there’s no longer a V-6 option. The base is a 2.5-liter producing 168 horsepower. Then come two with turbochargers: a 1.6-liter with 173 horsepower and a 2-liter that puts out 237 horsepower. On a long drive over windy roads north of San Francisco, the smaller turbo felt adequate, the larger one substantially more confident on the highway.

The automaker is betting consumers will come to appreciate how its EcoBoost-branded turbo engines boost gas mileage at less of a price bump than that for a hybrid. At least buyers had better appreciate it, because Ford is ditching Escape’s hybrid model, which once showcased the automaker’s environmental commitment.

With a 33 miles per gallon rating for highway driving, the 1.6-liter turbo EcoBoost engine in a front-wheel-drive Escape outpaces the current hybrid front-wheel drive by a couple of miles per gallon. But its 23 mpg city rating falls well below the doomed hybrid’s 34 mpg.

The new Escape’s base model will start at $23,295 plus $895 in shipping, $200 less than the current model. The fanciest model, the Titanium, will go for $31,195. Deliveries start this spring.

Hands-free tailgate: Kick to open

The fully loaded Titanium comes with what is sure to be Escape’s most talked-about feature as standard equipment, the kick-activated liftgate. Waving an ankle under the rear bumper in a kicking motion opens the gate electrically. It can be closed the same way. It’s intended for people who, arms loaded with groceries or kids, can’t be fumbling for key fobs.

The feature seemed a little balky, but maybe it requires practice. Marketing Manager Jason Sprawka says two sensors activate the gate, both mounted on the center line of the vehicle. If you don’t kick your leg right down the middle, it might catch one sensor but not the other, and it won’t work. “You have to trip one, then the second,” he says. Sprawka says accumulated ice won’t interfere with its operation.

If that kind of innovation thrills some buyers, Ford is banking they’ll be equally drawn by other touches. For instance, folding down the rear seats to make way for cargo formerly involved having to pull off headrests and several other actions. Now, it’s a simple, one-touch operation, and the headrests fold down out of the way automatically.

The more upscale versions also come with the MyFord Touch infotainment system, front-and-rear temperature controls and an optional feature that aids in parallel parking.

But fancy stuff aside, it’s all about the looks.


Oxmoor Ford Lincoln Louisville Kentucky, Oxmoor Auto Group Louisville Kentucky,,,,


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Ford Escape SUV model hits 33 mpg


Andrew Robinson

Ford Motor Co. announced Friday its new Ford Escape was certified by the U.S. Environment Protection Agency to provide 33 miles per gallon fuel efficiency with an automatic transmission.

All three engines offered in the new Escape, which is in production at Ford’s (NYSE: F) Louisville Assembly Plant, are EPA-certified at 30-plus miles per gallon on the highway, according to a news release.

The 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine was certified to get 33 miles per gallon on the highway, while the 2.0 liter engine was certified at 30 miles per gallon. The Escape’s 2.5 liter offers 31 miles per gallon on the highway.

Ford has been working to improve fuel efficiency in all models as it prepares for new government mandates.

Earlier this month, the automaker announced a partnership with Dow Automotive Systems to use carbon fiber composites to create next-generation vehicles that are as much 750 pounds lighter than current models.

As Business First reported, the agreement built on standards already in place to raise fuel efficiency to 35.5 mpg for model years 2012-16, with a goal to increase fuel-economy standards to 54.5 miles per gallon for 2025 model-year cars and light-duty trucks.


Oxmoor Ford Lincoln Louisville Kentucky, Oxmoor Auto Group Louisville Kentucky,,,,


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Limited Edition Roush Ford Mustang Revs Up to Support Education Programs

WARRENDALE, Pa., April 27, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Roush Performance and Ford Motorsports are building a limited edition 2013 Roush® Stage 3 Ford Mustang that will be auctioned at the SAE Foundation’s 25th Anniversary Celebration. All proceeds will benefit SAE’s education outreach programs.

This one-of-a-kind vehicle features custom silver edition painted body and graphics, a Roush 5.0L Supercharged Engine featuring the Ford Racing “Aluminator” long block with a 625 hp engine and 540 ft-lbs of torque, Roush tuned suspension, custom SVT GT500 track pack wheels, Roush custom body components and a customized Roush interior.

The live auction will take place during the Foundation’s 25th Anniversary Celebration, to be held Wednesday, May 16 at Ford Field. Interested bidders may contact Renee Hayes at SAE (724-772-8508) prior to the event, or may also attend the event to participate in the live auction. Arrangements will be made for interested parties to participate by phone during the live auction if they are unable to attend the celebration dinner.

The Foundation also will honor Edsel B. Ford II with the Industry Leadership Award in addition to recognizing young men and women for leadership growth in the industry.

“Roush is proud to join Ford and SAE in the effort to help the United States continue to improve our country’s skills in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education,” said Jack Roush, NASCAR team owner; legendary builder of performance and specialty vehicles; and former college math and physics professor. “SAE’s programs are proven winners in helping young people get excited and pursue careers in these high-skills areas. We’re pleased to be part of their winner’s circle.”

For the past quarter century, the SAE Foundation has combated the pressing issue of STEM education through its curriculum development and activities geared toward students from elementary to collegiate levels.

“We know how to make math and engineering cool again in the eyes of young students,” said Matt Miller, director of the SAE Foundation and pre-professional programs. “To date more than four million students have been touched by the K-12 and collegiate programs in all 50 states and 10 Canadian provinces and territories.”

“When we can combine the Ford brand with great partners like Roush and the SAE Foundation it’s a win-win,” said Paul Mascarenas, Chief Technical Officer of Ford Motor Company and Chairman of the SAE Foundation’s 25th Anniversary Leadership Committee. “SAE Foundation programs like A World In Motion (AWIM) help encourage and engage young people in science and engineering, making an investment in the future of our industry.”

“This is an exciting opportunity to partner with two great brands like Roush and Ford to benefit our ongoing STEM programming efforts,” stated Miller. “The limited edition Roush Mustang is sure to be a big draw, given the American heritage of this muscle car, married with the performance and aesthetic modifications from Roush. It should be an exciting evening, and the winner will not only drive away with a cool car; the winner will help drive our efforts even further.”

Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F), a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 164,000 employees and about 70 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands iclude Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit

Oxmoor Ford Lincoln Louisville Kentucky, Oxmoor Auto Group Louisville Kentucky,,,,

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2012 Ford Focus SFE First Test

By Christian Seabaugh

Forty has become the new “it” number for fuel economy. Hyundai had an entire ad campaign touting each of its 40-mpg, highway-capable, gas-powered models, and before long other automakers jumped into the fray with ultra fuel-efficient models of their own. Chevrolet created the Cruze Eco, Honda the Civic HF, and Ford took a crack at it with the Fiesta SFE. Since then, Ford has expanded its 40-mpg highway lineup, and the 2012 Ford Focus SFE is Dearborn’s latest attempt at a fuel-sipping compact sedan.

In Ford parlance, SFE is short for Super Fuel Economy. Available solely on the Focus SE Sedan with the six-speed dual-clutch automatic, the $495 package adds a host of eco-friendly tricks to the Focus, aimed at making the car more slippery and less thirsty. The SFE package adds aerodynamic wheels covers to the 16-inch steelies, low rolling resistance tires, disc brakes at all four corners, a rear spoiler, and active grille shutters. All this results in a Focus capable of achieving an EPA-estimated 28/40 mpg city/highway. A standard Focus with the same 2.0-liter I-4 with 160 hp and 146 lb-ft of torque is rated by the EPA at 28/38 mpg.


Though testing data shows the Focus SFE is only slightly slower than its non-SFE siblings, the Focus SFE still isn’t quite as lively to drive as other Foci — not surprising considering economy and performance are often at opposite ends of the fun-to-drive scale. In our testing, the Focus SFE needed 8.1 seconds to accelerate from 0-60 mph. The Focus SFE needs double its 0-60 mph time to complete the quarter mile, taking 16.2 seconds at 87.7 mph at the strip. Braking and lateral acceleration are similarly average; the Focus needs 114 feet to come to a standstill from 60 mph, and completes the figure eight in 27.7 seconds at an 0.62 g average.

But performance isn’t the reason one opts for the SFE package — fuel economy is. In our testing we achieved a trip-computer indicated 36.3 mpg in a 75/25 split of highway/city driving. In the real world the Focus SFE doesn’t feel like a slowpoke, and the trade-off between SFE and non-SFE Foci becomes much less noticeable. The four-banger’s 160 hp is more than adequate around town, and offers plenty of passing power on the highways. The hard eco-friendly tires don’t help handling performance, but do offer a quiet and refined ride. The Focus SFE is also a competent handler, and its progressive steering feel works to remind you of its chassis’ sport roots.

As expected in a Focus sedan, the interior feels roomy; the cloth seats are comfortable; and iPhones and other media devices are easily paired and played through Sync. One interior feature unique to the Focus SFE is its EcoMode. Displayed on 4.2-inch screen between the speedo and tach, EcoMode shows not only the usual mpg and distance-to-empty readouts, but also includes a fuel economy game like the one found on the Fusion Hybrid. The game measures two metrics: Anticipation and Speed. Anticipation essentially measures how well you read traffic — if you’re smooth and stay off the brakes, you’ll earn more leaves for a max of five. Speed works similar to Anticipation: Stick with the speed limit and avoid jack-rabbiting the throttle, and you’ll earn more leaves. Earn all ten leaves and you become an Eco Champion and get a digital trophy. Before you ask, yes, readers, I am in fact an Eco Champion.

Economy-minded gimmicks aside, this Focus is far from perfect. For starters, one of the easiest ways to improve fuel economy is to use cruise control to maintain a near-constant speed. Unfortunately, the only way to get cruise control on the Focus is with the optional Convenience Package, and, for whatever reason, our Focus SFE didn’t have it. Considering all of the Focus SFE’s hypermiling gas-powered competitors come standard with cruise control, we’re not sure why the same isn’t true for the Ford.

Another issue we had was with the SFE’s standard six-speed dual-clutch automatic. It had all the disadvantages of a dual-clutch transmission, like a jerky feel around town and stuttering while starting on inclines, but simultaneously offered all the disadvantages of a traditional slushbox, like slow shift speed. We love the idea of a dual-clutch tranny, but the execution’s just not quite there.

And if you’re looking for the most fuel-efficient car at that price point, the Focus SFE isn’t for you. Its 28/40 mpg rating is easily trumped by the Toyota Prius C’s 53/46 mpg rating, and by the $19,290 Honda Insight’s 41/44 mpg rating. If you’re looking for something slightly larger without a hybrid drivetrain, though, the Focus SFE isn’t a bad choice. The car offers decent fuel economy at a reasonable price, and that should make it plenty appealing to commuters looking to save a buck or two at the pump.

Oxmoor Ford Lincoln Louisville Kentucky, Oxmoor Auto Group Louisville Kentucky,,,,


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