It seems that the 1990s was the decade of the SUV within the United States. Throughout that time, we saw the market go from only a handful of various models to dozens and dozens of different options. Every carmaker had to offer at least one SUV model to be competitive, if not more. That momentum has continued into the 2000s, but consumers’ tastes are ever so slightly changing. Regardless of whether it be simply because of greater gas prices or merely a desire of customers to want some thing much more than the lumbering feel of big body-on-frame SUVs, the marketplace is trending towards somewhat smaller and much better handling “crossover” autos. Crossovers blend the looks of an SUV using the handling dynamics of a automobile, thanks to their unit-body construction. In fact, most of these autos are based directly on automobile platforms. It is predicted that the crossover section could be the fastest growing segment in the American automotive marketplace over the next few years. Within the second part of an ongoing series on Ford’s “Year of the Automobile,” AutomotiveArticles.com appears at Ford’s latest crossover, the Freestyle.
FRD Motor Companyand Explorer
FRD Motor Company has definitely been a main benefactor of the SUV boom of the ’90s, its Explorer the top-selling sport ‘ute for most with the decade. The full-size Expedition and Lincoln Navigator models had been no sales losers, either. Despite their good fortune using the truck-based SUVs of the past, Ford senses the winds of alter that are starting to blow through the market. That is why Ford has proclaimed this the “Year of the Car” (see our Five Hundred write-up for much more), and this is why they are readying what appears to be a direct competitor to their personal Explorer. The Explorer’s position in the marketplace is becoming vulnerable as individuals appear for some thing simpler to handle. Certainly the self-shredding Firestone tires and their related media scandal did nothing to help the Explorer’s image, as well.
Enter the Freestyle, a midsize, SUV-like wagon with 3 rows of seats and a lot of interior area. Yes, that’s the exact same fundamental formula that has made the Explorer popular, but the autos go their separate methods beyond that. The Explorer generally follows the body-on-frame SUV idiom: Tall, Tippy, and Truck-y. They are the dreaded three Ts that are slowly turning several customers away. The Freestyle is the opposite of that in just about every way. It is lower to the ground, eliminating the first two Ts; and the platform underpinning it is a version with the one that’s underneath the Volvo S80 and Ford Five Hundred sedans. Yes, there’s the possibility that the Freestyle could steal buyers away from brother Explorer. That is okay, as Ford would rather keep them in the Blue Oval family somewhat than see them buy other crossovers like the Chrysler Pacifica, Nissan Murano, Honda Pilot, or Toyota Highlander.
As stated earlier, the Freestyle is primarily based on a platform originally created by Volvo and adapted by Ford for use here and also the Ford 5 Hundred/Mercury Montego twin sedans. It’s, basically a FWD automobile platform somewhat than a body-on-frame RWD truck system. It features a fully independent suspension (McPherson struts, coil-over rear shocks) and greatest in class torsional rigidity. A Halidex-style AWD system will be optional. The engine is Ford’s “Duratec 30” three.0L V6 with 203hp@5750 rpm and 207ft-lbs@4500 rpm. Like its sedan counterpart, the 5 Hundred, there is some concern as to whether this will probably be sufficient to propel the 4112-pound Freestyle at a rate comparable to some with the competition, like the 240hp Murano. Following Nissan’s lead, FRD will offer a continuously variable transmission – developed in its partnership with ZF. CVTs are often lauded for their ability to help reduce emissions and improve fuel economic climate without sacrificing performance, though they’re only available in a choose few vehicles in America. Showing its true car-based roots, the Freestyle can only tow 2000 lbs when properly outfitted.
Courtesy: Ford Motor Business If a heavy-duty truck is what you would like, we suggest you appear elsewhere. The Freestyle was designed with passenger comfort and convenience at the prime with the priority list. If you’d like, you are able to believe of this “truck” as a minivan for those who don’t want the soft one-box appear. The Freestyle offers space for seven adults throughout its three rows of seats – the third row folds flat into the floor a la Honda’s Odyssey. FRD claims that their crossover provides dozens of seating configurations to fit owners’ needs while offering the cargo space of a full-size SUV when the seats are folded. Freestyle will also provide best-in-class 2nd and third row legroom. In reality, Ford claims no competitor provides as a lot combined passenger room in three rows as the Freestyle does.
Storage area is crucial inside a family vehicle for example the Freestyle, and FRD does not disappoint. As such, there’s a bin atop the instrument panel for front seat passengers, as well as area in the optional overhead console for items like sunglasses and garage-door openers. The bin under the center armrest of the first row provides a energy point for mobile phone or laptop chargers and contains a small cutout so that the cord does not get pinched when the bin lid is closed. Smart.
By SMonteil from Pixabay