Ford’s 2006 Fusion – a better idea – at just the right time

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Not since the once-vaunted Taurus left the building about a decade ago has Ford produced a car capable of going head-to-head in sales with the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.

Ford once had bragging rights to the best-selling car in America. The Taurus was a ground-breaking aerodynamic sedan when it was introduced in 1986, perhaps the most important vehicle of that decade next to the Chrysler minivans. It soon gained status as the best selling car in America.

Shelby helps Ford flex its muscle with 2007 Mustang GT500

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

There’s only one reason to put a 500-horsepower Mustang in your garage. It’s certainly not for fuel efficiency. It comes with an SUV-like gas mileage rating and a $1,300 gas guzzler tax. And it’s not because we enjoy lining the pockets of insurance companies. But a painful hike in your auto insurance premium will surely follow your purchase. And it’s definitely not because states have eliminated maximum speed limits on their highways. You know anyone with an abandoned runway?

Edge – leading the way forward for Ford

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

SAN FRANCISCO — The Ford Edge has a lot in common with the Saturn Aura. Odd, certainly, that we would compare an all-new crossover utility vehicle and an all-new mid-sized sedan, cars from different segments.

New version of 2007 Sport Trac puts Ford on the right track

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Ford’s 2007 Explorer Sport Trac is an in-your-face competitor of the Honda Ridgeline. The two pickup-truck-like vehicles are as closely related as Pepsi and Coke. It’s only the flavor that separates them.

The new Sport Trac was introduced in February 2006, a year behind the Ridgeline, which joined the pickup truck fray in February 2005. Both blend a four-door car-like passenger compartment with a short cargo bed. And as strange as it might seem to Honda fans, the Sport Trac stacks up quite nicely against the vaunted Honda creation.

Ford F-Series Super Duty proves its worth in tough Texas weather

By Jim Meachen

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — An old ranch hand confided that competitive roping was in his blood as he gracefully threw his lasso over a set of bull horns.

He was showing off his cowboy skills to a couple of automotive writers who were among dozens assembled to drive the 2008 Ford Super Duty pickups in what turned out to be the muddy, wet and icy hill country of west Texas. Mother Nature in mid-January gave us one of the worst Texas winters in years. Burrrr!

Ford Taurus X — a crossover that shouldn’t be overlooked

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Ford may be the owner of one of the best kept secrets in the automotive marketplace.

That’s not a good thing because it shows that Ford may be spending its advertising money in the wrong places, or perhaps just not spending enough on one of its really good products. If you’ve got something in showrooms that stands out, push it. Ballyhoo it. Shout it to the rafters, “…this is a great product! Please drive it! Take it home and live with it for 24 hours.”

Ford Taurus – under the badge all is good

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

The truth be known some us think the car should have been named the Taurus 500 from the get-go. For those who remember the Fairlane/Fairlane 500 or the Galaxy/Galaxy 500 we knew that the 500 designation meant a step-up; real good stuff and better all-around. We didn’t quite know what Five Hundred stood for. Others think that Taurus is just old baggage. Then again some of us don’t think the name is going to make much difference. Really.

Ford Focus and Sync system is music to our ears

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

SEATTLE — The press introduction of the 2008 Ford Focus here was actually two introductions in one.

At the same time the compact car was revealed to journalists, Ford introduced an innovative wireless communication system called Sync, which launched in the Focus and has since begun to filter into the rest of the Ford-Mercury-Lincoln lineup.

Escape Hybrid — a better idea from Ford

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Here’s an automotive question that will probably stump most people. The answer may come as a surprise.

What automaker was first to the showroom with a hybrid sport utility vehicle? Aha. You’re wrong if you instinctively answered Toyota, the world’s most prolific hybrid builder.

Ford F-150 – capability is king

By Ted Biederman and Jim Meachen

Ford says its truck team had a clear vision when developing the 2009 F-150 — redesign America’s best-selling pickup truck inside and out to “give customers unrivaled capability, unprecedented choice and a host of smart, game-changing features.”

A day spent at Ford’s Michigan Proving Grounds at Romeo, Mich., showed us that Ford has generally succeeded and in many instances exceeded, at least our expectations.