Air bag: Front Side Air Bag
Disability Equipped: Yes
Sub Model: XLT PREMIUM
Warranty: Vehicle has an existing warranty
Model: Transit Connect
Exterior Color: White
Glendale, Arizona, United States
Say what you will about the evolution of the Ford Explorer, from roofed Ranger to body-on-frame sport utility vehicle to unibody crossover - the bottom line is that it's been a tremendously successful model for Ford. In fact, the Blue Oval automaker has sold seven million Explorer models in the United States alone.
The milestone, marked nearly a quarter-century after the introduction of the original in 1990, comes on the eve of the introduction of a new Explorer at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week. We don't yet know how the new Explorer will shape up, but we're mere days away from finding out.
Now heading into its sixth generation, the Explorer has formed the basis of Ford's utility lineup for over two decades. The Explorer landed on the market right around the time that the Bronco was trailing off, predating the company's expansion into larger SUVs like the Expedition and Excursion and crossovers like the Escape, Edge and Flex.
It's a fairly well known fact that removing weight from a car is essentially a panacea for many of the modern automobiles problems. Does it handle like crap? Remove weight. Underpowered? Don't add power; trim the fat. Need to improve fuel economy? It's diet time.
Actually executing a major weight reduction program, though, much like with human beings, is no easy task. Unlike you or I, where motivation is the issue, the prohibitive measure in trimming a car's waistline is money. Lightweight materials are expensive, with carbon fiber and carbon-fiber reinforced plastic still primarily in the domain of higher end vehicles. Even aluminum construction, pioneered on a mass-produced level by Audi and Jaguar, is only now starting to make its way into the mainstream, thanks to the upcoming Ford F-150.
With this concept, though, Ford is attempting to show that a mass-produced, lightweight vehicle isn't too far off. This is the Lightweight Concept, and while it may look like a Fusion, it weighs as much as a Fiesta. For reference, the lightest Fusion available to the public is the 3,323-pound, 2.5-liter model with a manual transmission. A manually equipped, 1.6-liter Fiesta, meanwhile, is just 2,537 pounds.
Regardless of what you think of his skill as a racer, Ken Block is an expert showman. At this point, he has a career of showing up around the world to do vehicular stunts, and he's still able to go racing as well. It's a pretty sweet niche to carve out. Recently, Block was in Barbados to participate in Top Gear Live and the first event of the Global Rallycross Championship season, and Ford Racing produced a short video to show off his exploits.
It looked like a great show. Block got to race Lewis Hamilton in a Mercedes-Benz Formula One car and had a very weird crash during a Rallycross race that put his Ford Fiesta on its roof. Top Gear also released an extended look at Block and Hamilton's spectacle with the two of them expertly sliding around. Scroll down to watch the videos and get a taste of Block's tropical racing adventure.