We're use to forbidden fruit teasing us in Europe. Hatchbacks and diesels from Renault, Citroën, Peugeot, Skoda, SEAT and Alfa Romeo have been a regular torment that we've grown accustomed to over the years. This vehicle, though, is one piece of forbidden fruit we aren't entirely sure we can get over. We need it.
It's called the Ford Troller T4, and if you accidentally read that as either "reborn Ford Bronco" or "Americanized Land Rover Defender," we wouldn't be rushing to correct you. It's a basic, badass SUV, and is the first new vehicle to come from Troller since Ford gobbled it up in 2007. For those with longer memories, you'll recognize this vehicle from the concept that preceded it, the Ford T-R Concept. The production model remains remarkably true to the T-R, as well as past Trollers, but it's a slightly more modern look overall, with LED taillights, contrasting colors
You'll have to bear with us on the details, as we've been forced to rely on the notoriously literal Google Translate to convert the original Portuguese into English, which means some of the details were lost along the way.
Ken Block seems like one hell of a nice guy. I ran into him at CES this past January, and he dropped the video games he was playing to chat with me for a while. His crew also recently gave our Steve Ewing a tour of the offices you're about to see on this video. Good guy to know.
As it turns out, they're some fairly cool new digs. Dubbed 'Hoonigan Racing Division HQ,' the office is open to Ford Focus ST and Fiesta ST owners who attend the driving program offered out at Miller Motorsports Park. The very same program that Ewing reported on just recently.
Or, if you've no plans to buy an ST or travel to Utah any time soon, you can let Block show you around himself in this MTV Cribs-style video. With interior decorating that relies heavily on shipping containers and luxurious amenities like a ping pong table, 10 refrigerators and a bear(?), there's no lack of eye-candy in the driverly HQ. (Judging by Block's outfit, you'll probably not go thirsty if you're a Monster drinker, either.) Take the tour along with the Gymkhana master, below.
Okay, okay, okay, so I was just a smidge wrong. Those that read my review of the Ford Fiesta with the new 1.0-liter, EcoBoost engine will know that while I really enjoyed the torquey little three-cylinder, I was concerned that Ford's decision to force 1.0-liter owners into a manual transmission, steel wheels and one trim level might hurt sales of the new engine. I was also concerned that the promised 45-mile-per-gallon highway rating wouldn't be enough to tempt buyers into trying an engine that's so far outside of what the general public is use to. My concerns, though, seem to have been for naught.
While not doing a booming business on the triple-equipped Fiesta, Ford is seeing a take rate of four to eight percent per month in the engine's first few months on sale. Now, four to eight percent might not sound like a lot - if, like last year, the Fiesta sells around 71,000 units, there'd be barely 5,600 1.0-liter models on the road. It is also small potatoes relative to the take rate on EcoBoost-equipped vehicles across the Ford range, which US sales analyst Erich Merkle estimates to be roughly 35 to 40 percent of retail sales. Still, according to The Detroit News, the 1.0-liter is getting adopted at roughly the same rate as the sparkling Fiesta ST, which should be a solid indication of just how well this little engine is doing.
The 1.0-liter's success "really speaks volumes, not just to what we're doing with the Fiesta, but with EcoBoost in general," Merkle told Autoblog.