Behold the Newly-Expanded Ford Escape’s Storage Space!

Sometimes, it seems like no matter how much storage you have in your car, you always need more. Auto manufacturers are always looking for new ways to optimize storage space for drivers looking to get a little extra out of their vehicle. Recently, Ford did that exact thing with the new Ford Escape’s storage space. Featuring an entirely redesigned exterior, the 2017 Escape is said to have 25% more storage in the front row and 15% more storage overall compared to the previous model year.

2017 Ford Escape

2017 Ford Escape

The most drastic change is that of the center console, which is now 50% larger and is designed to be more comfortable and ergonomically efficient for the driver’s right arm. Additionally, the all-new electronic parking brake system freed up space in the interior for two new storage areas, a larger media bin with power ports, a new glove-box, and improved cup holders.

Ford senior Interior designer Zulf Ali said, “That whole center console area is what we call ‘Manhattan real estate’ because it’s valuable. It isn’t a lot of space to work with, but as a designer, those constraints are exciting. It’s a challenge that forces you to be more creative–to ask yourself, ‘OK, how can we get clever with this?’”

Last year, the Escape—Ford’s #2 best-selling vehicle—tied for first place on J.D. Power’s highest-ranked compact SUV of initial quality. However, designers and engineers who worked on the new Ford Escape are confident that the dramatic changes to the SUV’s interior and technology will help solidify its standing. The 2017 Escape is already available in showrooms with the spacious redesigns and extra storage.

2016 Ford F-150 MVP Edition Is a Baseball Fan’s Dream

baseballThe Kansas City Royals are returning to Major League Baseball as the league champions and Ford is celebrating in their own way. Fan Marc Lassalle emailed Ford after the team took the championship with a suggestion for a limited edition vehicle. The Detroit-based automaker eventually invited him to join the company’s executives at the Kansas City Assembly Plant for the unveiling of the Ford F-150 MVP Edition.

The Ford F-150 has been built in Kansas City since 1957. The last time the Royals won the championship in 1985, Ford responded with an MVP edition of the Ranger.

Based on the XLT trim, buyers in Kansas City can choose between white and paint. The truck comes with polished rocker panels and special badging, among other cosmetic additions.

The special edition F-150 comes at the perfect time given the Midwest Ford dealers have just renewed their sponsorship of the Royals for the 2016 season.

Only 300 Ford F-150 MPV Editions will hit the streets. Once those models—60% of which are “flame blue” and 40% are “Oxford white”—are gone, the model will go out of production.

While we here at Friendly Ford are proud to see Ford creating special models to celebrate sporting events close to the company’s heart!

Ford Tests Driverless Vehicles in Snowy Conditions

snowy roadSeveral automakers are currently testing driverless technology. However, Ford Motor Company is going above and beyond to test driverless vehicles in a variety of conditions.

One of the biggest questions about driverless cars is how the sensors and cameras will be able to function in snow or other bad weather. Autonomous vehicles use sensors, cameras, radar, and other technology to pinpoint their location, but what will happen when snow covers the cameras and lane markers?

Ford is working to solve that problem by testing a fleet of driverless Fusion Hybrids on a snow-covered, 32-acre, closed-course testing facility in Ann Arbor. Ford has been working with the University of Michigan to develop special 3D maps. These maps will allow the vehicle to precisely understand the road’s signs and markings no matter what the weather.

Fusion Hybrid

Fusion Hybrid

The 3D maps are created to contain useful information allowing the car to localize, even with snowy conditions. Ford is even hoping to enable the program to recognize when the weather is too rough and stop driving.

Jim McBride, Ford technical leader for autonomous vehicles, said in a statement, “Weather isn’t perfect, and that’s why we’re testing autonomous vehicles in wintry conditions — for the roughly 70% of US residents who live in snowy regions.”

We at Friendly Ford are thankful that we are part of a company that cares about the safety of its customers. Being in Chicago, we know about snow and are excited to see the testing of driverless vehicles in snowy conditions!

Kids Get a Free Ford GT Snap Kit at Detroit Auto Show

Ford GT

Real Ford GT

If you are headed to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit later this month, be sure to bring your kids along. If they stop by the Ford stand, they could get a free Ford GT snap kit.

This Revell-built model includes 14 pieces and will snap together in just a few minutes. It will also feature a unique auto show stamp on the bottom to mark this special edition model.

“Our annual Revell Make ‘n Take model kit program has become a fun-filled auto show tradition,” said Mark Bentley, Ford Licensing manager, in a statement. “Letting kids build their own Ford GT is a great way to introduce them to the Ford brand and create new enthusiasts.”

Now, in case you don’t have any kids, or just would like a model of your own, a retail version will be available in April, and it will be more detailed. The retail version of the Ford GT model will include 28 pieces and will take about 10 to 15 minutes to build. It will cost $14.99.

At previous shows Ford has offered models of the 2015 Ford Mustang and an F-150 Raptor.

Are you going to the Detroit Auto Show this year?

How to Find the Best Vehicle for a Young Driver

2016 Ford Focus

2016 Ford Focus

Finally allowing your teen to drive on his or her own can be a nail-biting experience. It’s not that they are incompetent but you can’t control all of the other drivers out there.

One thing that you can do to help is to get them a great car, one that has all of the important features to keep them safe and sound. The best vehicle for a young driver should have the following features.

Mild Horsepower

A lot of horsepower may tempt your teen to test the limits of the vehicle. On the other hand, healthy acceleration is actually essential to safety. In those rare times you need it, it should be there.

No Minicars

Just as you would imagine, cars that are extremely small simply do not perform as well as their larger counter parts.

Safety Ratings

By far the most important feature is safety. Both the IIHS and NHTSA test all of the vehicles on the market. You should look for top-scoring vehicles. In fact, the IIHS compiles a list of the Best Used Vehicle Choices for Teens every year. Check it out here!

 

Donated Ford Transit Connect Cargo Vans Set To Help Hunger Relief Cause

Ford Transit Connect

Ford Transit Connect

If you think about it, the Ford Transit Connect is the best vehicle to serve hunger relief efforts. It’s highly efficient so you can keep costs down, meaning more money will go to more important things. It’s also got enormous cargo space, which in effect also saves gas as you can transport more with each trip. In fact, according to the automaker, each Transit Connect is capable of transporting 1,100 meals per vehicle per trip.

Hunger relief is actually one of a number of causes for which Ford has given its support. The latest charitable move was to donate five Ford Transit Connect cargo vans to various organizations that serve the Kansas City, Louisville, Miami, Phoenix and Dallas metropolitan areas.

Ford is well aware of the food insecurity issue in America. Janet Lawson, director of the Ford Motor Company Fund, said in a press release, “More than 48 million Americans live in fear of going hungry each day.” The donated Ford Transit Connect vehicles will tangibly help the cause.

Ford and Petty’s Garage Create Three Mustang GT King Edition Models

Ford Mustang PonyFord and Petty’s Garage (NASCAR legend Richard Petty’s the in-house speed shop) have teamed up to create some seriously powerful Mustang GT King Edition models. Capable of putting out up to 727 horsepower (with an optional level two upgrade that uses a smaller supercharger pulley), the modified Mustang GTs are sure to appeal to sports car enthusiasts everywhere.

Featuring Petty’s Garage’s signature blue accents, custom wheels and performance summer tires, there is no mistaking the GT King Edition–but it’s what’s happening behind the scenes that will have drivers gripping their steering wheels. Fitted with extreme-duty TrakPak Ford Performance halfshafts, a rear axle upgrade, and three-way adjustable front and rear sway bars, the customized Mustang GT is prepared to make the most of all that power the supercharged 5.0-liter V8 engine is packing.

“I’ve always liked the look of the Mustang, and the 2016 model gives us a great base car to work with,” said Richard Petty in a statement. “These new King edition Mustangs are pretty much the way I’d build my own. They are great fun to drive, and have a signature single exhaust.”

Interested? You better act fast. Only 243 King edition models, 43 King Premier and 14 King Premier Convertibles will be made available. Give us a call at Friendly Ford to learn more!

Ford Ranger Returning to Lineup?

ford logoIt wasn’t long ago that most heavy hitting automakers cut smaller pickups and truck-based SUVs from their lineups. Times have changed and with General Motors bringing back the GMC Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado, it may be time for another midsize pickup to return. Word on the street is that Ford is considering reviving the Ranger.

General Motors and Jeep have been rolling in sales as a result of lower gas and oil prices. Truck sales have been soaring. The full-size F-150 pickup is a bestseller but that still leaves Ford losing out in the midsize truck market.

Ford has discussed bringing a midsize pickup and SUV to the lines at the Michigan Assembly Plant in Detroit. The plant had been transformed during the recession to produce small cars and hybrids. Previously, the plant built Expeditions, F-150s, Lincoln Navigators, and Broncos.

With Ford moving the Focus and C-Max out of the country, that leaves plenty of open floor space. Rumor has it the pickup and SUV could be in production as soon as 2018, although there’s no confirmation on the plan.

While the common belief is that the Ford Ranger returning would hurt F-series sales, that idea seems unlikely. The average transaction price of an F-series truck now reaches over $40,000. That’s quite a bit of wiggle room for the smaller Ranger.

We here at Friendly Ford are ecstatic to see what will come out of the Michigan Assembly Plant!

Ford Introduces Ford F-150 Limited

Ford is aiming for the high end of the automotive market with the unveiling of a new luxury version F-150 pickup. Consumers in the United States have been snapping up trucks and SUVs in the midst of lower gas prices, leaving fuel efficient coupes and sedans in the rearview mirror. The F-150 Platinum will soon take a step down from the top of the F-150 ladder to make way for this new trim.

2015 Ford F-150

Current Platinum Trim Interior

The 2016 Ford F-150 Limited will head to dealer lots later this year. One of the new features practically explains the amount of luxury within the pickup in itself: multi-contour massaging seats.

Fifty percent of Ford’s pickup sales in the month of June consisted of the three current premium models, the Lariat, King Ranch, and Platinum. The Lariat tops $40,000 while the current top-of-the-line Platinum can hit upwards of $60,000 depending on options.

The F-150 Limited will also top $60,000 in answer to consumer’s high end demands. The pickup will pack a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine under the hood. Fuel economy will sit at an EPA-estimated 17 city/24 hwy mpg.

The Ford F-Series has been the best-selling model in the United States since 1982.

We at Friendly Ford are waiting on our toes for the latest in luxury pickups to arrive!

2016 Escape Equipped with Ford SYNC 3 Connectivity System

2015 Ford Escape

2015 Ford Escape Interior

The all-new 2016 Escape will be equipped with the Ford SYNC 3 Connectivity System that will provide quicker performance, voice recognition, and a touchscreen that’s easier to use than ever before. The new technology will also debut on the Ford Fiesta.

SYNC 3 will also include AppLink, which provides control over smart phone apps, as well as enhanced 911 Assist, Wi-Fi software updates, and Siri Eyes-Free capability for iPhones.

Mark LaNeve, Ford Motor Company Vice President of US Marketing, Sales and Service, said, “SYNC always has been about providing a safer way for our customers to connect their smartphones in order to keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.”

Ford introduced SYNC to its lineup first in 2007 and continues to update it with the latest technology to provide the best in-car connectivity available. If you’re interested in learning more about Ford’s all-new SYNC 3 technology, visit us at Friendly Ford.