Model: Other Pickups
We often mock Toyota for building boring, soulless cars, but a new study by Consumer Reports suggests that regardless of whether that's true, the company has some of the best used cars on the market. In its report on used cars from 2004-2013, the Japanese automaker had 11 vehicles among its brands on the list - more than any other automaker.
CR breaks the list down by cost and vehicle size, and Toyota has at least one entry at every price point and in nearly every segment. To score a recommendation, a vehicle had to perform well in the magazine's initial tests and score above-average reliability results. It also tried to only suggest cars with electronic stability control. Of the 28 recommended vehicles, Honda/Acura had the second most mentions at six, and Ford, Hyundai and Subaru managed two each.
The Detroit brands also made it to the list, but not in a positive way. Consumer Reports compiled a list of 22 vehicles it wouldn't recommend because "they have multiple years of much-worse-than-average overall reliability." General Motors had the most unrecommended models on the list at six, but Chrysler and Ford weren't far behind, with five cars each from their brands not making the grade. The full list of recommendations is available on CR's website.
If you want to see a Ford racing prototype, you need look no further than the United SportsCar Championship, where the Blue Oval fields two Daytona Prototypes powered by an EcoBoost-branded 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6. But according to the latest rumors, that may not be enough for Ford, which has as much brand to promote overseas as it does back home.
That could be why Racer magazine is reporting that Ford may be poised to return to Le Mans in the coming years. As we all know, Ford competed at Le Mans in the mid-through-late '60s, bringing home four consecutive overall wins with the legendary GT40. The new program would not, according to Racer, seek to relive those glory days, but would instead compete for class wins in the LMP2 category.
Currently, LMP2 regulations are somewhat split between the United SportsCar Championship in North America on the one hand and ACO-sanctioned series like the European Le Mans Series, Asian Le Mans Series and FIA World Endurance Championship on the other, but plans are underway for the regulations to be unified in time for the 2017 season. That could be when Ford is targeting its return, allowing it to compete on both sides of the Atlantic to maximize its exposure.
Ford rolled into the Sao Paulo Motor Show with some pretty cool crossovers in tow, the awesomest of all being the EcoSport Storm concept shown above, which draws its inspiration directly from the F-150 SVT Raptor. It packs a lower grille clearly derived from the now-famous muscle truck, as well as a Blue Storm paint job, black and silver trim, special graphics, lower body cladding and 215/75 R15 off-road tires. Don't go holding your breath for a supercharged V8, though; made locally in Brazil, India and Thailand, the tiny EcoSport is typically powered by a three- or four-cylinder engine.
The Storm isn't the only specially prepared Ecosport on show, however, joined as it is by another pair called Beauty and the Beast. Beauty is decked out in matte copper with a black roof, LED fog lamps, 18-inch wheels with low-profile tires and an interior complete with four individual bucket seats, leather upholstery and a full multimedia suite. The Beast, meanwhile, takes a sportier approach with a white pearl finish, blue and orange trim and three-bar grille. It also wears 18-inch wheels and LED fog lamps, but its interior swaps out its rear seats for a bike rack.
Joining the EcoSport show cars was an Edge crossover equipped with all the latest technologies and done up in bright red with three-bar grille, bulging hood, and an interior featuring 10-inch touchscreens and leather upholstery. Feel free to read more in the press release below.