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November 17, 2009 - 2:01 pm ET
DETROIT (Reuters) -- Ford Motor Co.'s Fusion mid-size sedan today was named Motor Trend magazine's 2010 "Car of the Year," adding to the perception that changes to the No. 2 U.S. automaker's vehicle lineup are gaining traction.
The Fusion was chosen best of 23 new or significantly upgraded vehicles that were eligible for the award after a week of testing, Motor Trend said.
The magazine said the full range of Fusion models was impressive to the judges, from the four-cylinder entry level vehicles to the all-wheel drive sport and hybrid versions.
The Fusion, which has become one of the top 10 selling vehicles in the United States and was redesigned for 2010, exceeded its previous annual sales peak earlier in November. The car was launched initially by Ford in 2006.
Ford posted a nearly $1 billion third-quarter profit that surprised Wall Street analysts this month and is the only large U.S. automaker not to reorganize in bankruptcy with U.S. government support in 2009.
U.S. 2009 sales of the Fusion were up 15 percent through October at 148,045 ... in the mid-size sedan segment, one of the key areas in the U.S. market.
Ford's sales of the Fusion surpassed the previous full year sales record of 149,552 vehicles earlier in November. That record was set in 2007.
Fun can come in really small packages
...Even sitting at the curb, the Fiesta looks fun to drive, from its sculpted hood and flamelike headlamps, to its wheels-at-the-corner stance, to that look-at-me paint job. It might be small, but the Fiesta wants to be noticed.
It drives that way, too, its MacPherson-strut front and torsion-beam rear suspension holding tight to the road even during sportier maneuvers. Steering is sharp and responsive, if a little artificial-feeling at times, mostly because of its electrically assisted setup. Its peppy little 1.6 liter Duratec four-banger delivers an acceptable 118 hp and 112 lb-ft of torque in surprisingly smooth fashion for such a small engine, but getting at that power is made all the more fun by a lively five-speed manual with gears spaced just right to keep you in the fat of the power band without constant rowing...
But the Ford ultimately wins the battle of the bodies, as its longer hoodline gives the Fiesta a less stubby-nosed front-end apperance, while in back, the higher-placed tail lamps and more sloping roofline give it a less blocky feel...Materials in our test Fiesta were of top-notch quality, and the funky styling on the dash and center stack--all controls laid out in a big V-like arrangement, ringed by a brushed-aluminum-like surround--injected the car with a healthy dose of fun...AUTOWEEK
Hot-rod Taurus lives again
When the Ford Taurus SHO debuted in 1989, it was all about the engine. Ford engineers dropped a 200-hp V6 developed and built by Yamaha into a four-door Taurus, and the Super High Output legend was born.
For 10 years and 100,000 cars, the SHO surprised many people in stoplight-to-stoplight runs with only subtle badging hinting at the performance car beneath the standard faily-car Taurus sheetmetal.....
In August, the SHO flame will once again burn brightly.
The 2010 Taurus SHO is still all about the engine. A 365-hp, 350-lb-ft, 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 is the only engine available and the first application of Ford's new line of EcoBoost engines. EcoBoost features direct gasoline injection that ensures a well-mixed and cool-air fuel charge. The result is improved throttle response, reduced cold-start emissions and improved fuel economy.....
For those wanting more performance, Ford offers a track package with bigger brakes, the ability to switch the ESC completely off, a 3.16 final drive ratio and 20-inch performance rubber.
While the 2010 SHO may not be as groundbreaking as the original, it may be just as significant because of the debut of EcoBoost. Performance muscle with fuel-sipping efficiency would seem to be appropriate for the times. AUTOWEEK