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Auto blogThu, 02 May 2013
No Prius Killer
As much as we enthusiasts like to rail on the lowly Toyota Prius as the harbinger of death for all we hold dear, there's no denying the machine's absolute and interminable grip on the hybrid hatchback market in the United States. Toyota has so thoroughly sunk its teeth into the segment that you can clearly hear the automaker's incisors clacking against one another with the conclusion of each financial quarter. And there's little wonder why. Buyers can plop down less than $25,000 and have a runabout that can return up to an estimated 51 miles per gallon in the city, leaving every other entry on the market with precious little gristle to gnaw on.
Enter the 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid. With its claimed 47 mpg combined, the funky little hatch from Europe already falls behind the 48 mpg city offered by the Prius, but that marginal sacrifice in fuel economy could be a small price to pay for buyers who want a credible alternative to the stalwart Toyota. Unfortunately, like the Fusion Hybrid, the C-Max Hybrid had trouble even approaching its Environmental Protection Agency estimates during our time with the car.
There has been little news about Ford's China-focused Escort concept since debuting at last year's Shanghai Motor Show, but the no-frills sedan has shown its camouflaged face again during cold weather testing in Northern Sweden. While far from a guarantee, the test location might hint that the Blue Oval plans to market the car outside of Asia.
The Escort's black robe and zebra paint make it hard to tell if anything specific has changed about the design, but the shape of the sedan looks close to what was shown in Shanghai. Under the disguise, you can still make out the hexagonal front grille from the concept. When Ford announced the model, the company said that the design wasn't supposed to be "arrogant or pretentious," and it certainly achieved that. The engine range is still a mystery, but it seems safe to expect small, economy-focused powertrains.
A report from last year indicated that Ford may be considering broadening the new Escort beyond Asia and possibly even selling it in Europe. The fact that the company brought it to Sweden for testing could bolster that argument. A release date hasn't been set yet, but the automaker has promised 15 new products for China by 2015. The basic sedan could be on the road soon.
Ford has done it again. Like in April of 1964, there is once again an all-new Mustang Convertible sitting on the observation deck of New York City's Empire State Building. This has been in the making for a little while, with the first report that Ford would recreate the sky-high publicity stunt coming out a few weeks back.
The process of getting the Mustang up there wasn't exactly easy. A Troy, MI-based company chopped up the new droptop, a necessary evil to get the Mustang on the Empire State Building's only freight elevator that runs to the 86th floor observation deck. But it was slightly more involved than just taking the car apart. The company, DST, built a mockup of the ESB's freight elevators, and then practiced its cuts on a second pre-production Mustang Convertible (measure twice, cut once).
The result of all this work are the images you see above. Yes, sitting in the crisp, morning air of midtown Manhattan, over 1,000 feet up, is this brilliant, Triple Yellow Mustang. Take a look up top for our gallery of images from today's event. You can also scroll down for videos and images of the process leading up to the ESB debut.