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Auto blogMon, 30 Dec 2013 13:29:00 EST
As we prepare for the arrival of the all-new, next-generation Ford F-150, rumors about the new truck are picking up steam. Naturally, many of said rumors aren't just related to the way the truck will look (it's expected to take design cues from the Atlas concept shown above), they're tied to what's going to motivate the Blue Oval mainstay, with Ford's EcoBoost range likely to play an increasingly key role. While we're still expecting the current 3.5-liter, twin-turbocharged V6 to retain its position as a premium alternative to Ford's naturally aspirated V6 and V8, a Canadian automotive news site is proposing that the Dearborn automaker is also preparing a new, more fuel-efficient downsized EcoBoost option.
Autos.ca is reporting that a new, 2.7-liter, twin-turbocharged V6 could find its way into the lighter, aluminum-intensive truck. The new engine supposedly makes use of asymmetrical turbos to generate 320 horsepower and 370 pound-feet of torque - substantially more impressive numbers than the current 3.7-liter base engine's 302 ponies and 278 lb-ft - while offering improved fuel economy and emissions. The new 2.7 EcoBoost (internally dubbed "Nano") isn't expected to supplant the naturally aspirated V6 as the F-150's base engine, it's expected to slot in above directly it.
Naturally, we're prescribing more than a few grains of salt to go with these rumors, at least until Ford debuts the next F-150 at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show, a reveal we'll be covering in a mere two weeks.
When people ask us what car we would recommend for them, it's usually not easy to answer. To make a useful recommendation we must consider which of the numerous vehicle segments fits their needs best, and then choose one of the many vehicles offered in each segment. For some people, new cars don't meet their expectations of value, because they lose so much of it the moment they are purchased and driven off the dealer lot. For them, there's always the used-car market, where great deals can be found, but cars' histories of reliability and maintenance records - and perhaps that Certified Pre-Owned warranty - become ever-important factors playing into purchase choice.
To help out, Edmunds has done us the favor of assembling a list of the best used vehicles money can buy, covering model years 2006-2011, according to what it considers the most important criteria when shopping for used autos: reliability, safety, value and availability. That means unreliable, unsafe, super-expensive or limited-edition models don't appear on the list, but instead cars from each segment that are more likely to satisfy the general population.
There are some real goodies on the list, including but not limited to vehicles such as the capable Honda Fit, the cultish Honda Accord coupe (which can be had with a 240-horsepower V6 and a six-speed manual transmission some years), and the powerful Chevrolet Corvette. While Edmunds' choice of the Volvo C70 for best used convertible baffled us at first (not that it's a bad car), it redeemed itself by stating that the Mazda MX-5 still is an unofficial top choice if you don't require more than two seats.
Ford CEO Alan Mulally may be about to announce his long-rumored retirement from the Blue Oval, according to a pair of insiders who spoke to Bloomberg. An official statement on the succession could arrive as soon as May 1. Chief Operating Officer Mark Fields is rumored to step up as the new CEO. The company is said to be readying the announcement soon to ensure an orderly transition of power, according to the insiders.
Mulally's retirement from Ford has been a hot topic for a while. He was seriously rumored last year to be leaving the automaker to take over as the CEO of Microsoft. The board even said at one point that it was okay with them if he stepped down early. However, the CEO maintained he would stay with the business through at least the end of 2014. Fields has been rumored as a frontrunner to take over the top spot at the company since he was promoted to COO.
For the moment, Ford isn't officially confirming any of these plans. "We don't comment on speculation. We do have succession plans in place for our key leadership. We take succession planning very seriously," said Susan Krusel, Ford Global News Manager, to Autoblog.