Drive Type: rwd
Cedar Rapids, Iowa, United States
Sun, 23 Feb 2014 13:58:00 EST
Thanks to the smoke wand in the wind tunnel, you can actually see the difference in our video.
Should you drive with your pickup truck's tailgate up or down? It's an age-old controversy that's divided drivers for decades. Traditionalists will swear you should leave the tailgate down. Makes sense, right? It would seem to let the air flow more cleanly over the body and through the bed. But there's also a school of thought that argues trucks are designed to look and operate in a specific manner, and modern design techniques can help channel the airflow properly. So don't mess with all of that: Leave the tailgate up.
In case you haven't been paying attention, Ford has been gradually redesigning its lineup to sport a familiar face. The Aston Martin-inspired grille shape debuted on the Fusion and was soon applied to the Fiesta. Even the front end of the new Mustang takes its cues from the same, and we're sure other models will soon be made-over to fall in line. The next on the docket? The Focus.
Set to be unveiled in little over a week at the Geneva Motor Show, the revised Focus has leaked out a tad early, revealing a mild facelift that bears that same trapezoidal grille with horizontal slats. Along with the new grille, the headlights, lower fascia and hood appear to have been reshaped. Around back there appears to be a new rear bumper and taillights, but otherwise the shape remains largely the same as the current model.
Expect the updates to be applied to all bodystyles offered around the world, including the hatchback, wagon and sedan. The engine lineup is expected to carry over largely unchanged, though the plug-in hybrid powertrain from the C-Max Energi could port over to the revised Focus. Plus Ford seems to have taken the opportunity to spruce things up in the cabin some. Check it out in the image gallery above and watch this space for the official announcement as we pack our bags for Switzerland.
According to a Bloomberg report, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has upgraded an investigation into complaints of unintended acceleration lodged against Ford vehicles. The investigation began in June of 2010 when just three complaints had been received and it only concerned the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan, but this was at a time when the phrase "unintended acceleration" made grown men go pale. With 49 additional complaints received since then, the investigation has been reclassified as an engineering analysis - the last phase before a recall - and it has been expanded to include the Lincoln MKZ, making for a total of "around 480,000" units affected between the three sedans from the 2008 to 2010 model years.
The ostensible cause is that floor mats are trapping the accelerator pedal, but according to a Ford statement at the time, the entrapment is due to owners placing the optional all-weather floor mats, or aftermarket floor mats, on top of the car's standard floor mats. NHTSA has backed up that assessment, pinning the blame on "unsecured or double stacked floor mats."
On the face of it, it would appear that NHTSA has upgraded the status not because of Ford's error, but owner error, and Ford has stated publicly that it is "disappointed" in NHTSA's move. On top of NHTSA still being skittish after that other unintended acceleration debacle, it could be seen to be taking its time investigating all of the variables: it's reported that Ford changed its accelerator pedal design in 2010, a "heel blocker" in the floorpan has been considered a potential culprit in how the floor mats could be trapping the pedal, some drivers have said the floor mats weren't anywhere near the pedal, and according to a report in the LA Times, in "a letter sent by Ford to NHTSA in August 2010, the automaker said it found three injuries and one fatality that 'may have resulted from the alleged defect.'"