The Virtual Driver

Ford, Lincoln, Vignale and the impossible

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(September 21, 2013) In the run-up to the Frankfurt Motor Show, Ford released information about its new S-Max and its plans to introduce a trim line for Europe that sits above the Titanium. It is resurrecting the Vignale name for this trim level, and creating Fords that are more luxurious than anything ever seen before. (The move also extends to a unique ownership experience that is suspiciously like Lincoln’s concierge service.)

Mustang: Ideas, concepts and false starts

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(September 15, 2013) Speculation on what form the 2015 Mustang will take is rampant. Rumors suggest a car much like the 2011 Evos concept could have moved to production had not Ford's plans for a global rear-drive platform fallen apart. It's not the first time the Mustang has taken a detour, nor will it be the last; as can be seen by the concepts and ideas that never made it intact into production.

Will the real 2015 Mustang please stand up?

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

You have to wonder who at Ford was able to convince the folks at Edmunds that the 2015 Mustang will be 15 inches shorter, 6.5 inches narrower and 400 pounds lighter. They should get a medal. Even a quick glance at spy photos of the car shows a vehicle that is nearly as long and just as wide as the current model.

Behind the wheel of a 2014 Fiesta ST — Giggles and grins

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(August 24, 2013) During my college and early professional years I owned a 1980 Ford Fiesta S, and loved it. The 1.6-liter Kent engine and four-speed manual driving the front wheels worked together like accomplished dance partners, and the 88 horsepower underhood was enough to push the diminutive hatchback from 0-60 mph in 10 seconds.

New GM three-cylinder engine to debut in Frankfurt

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(August 17, 2013) GM will debut its new three-cylinder engine at next month’s Frankfurt Motor Show debuting in the Opel Adam (pictured above). The turbocharged direct-injected triple is a direct competitor to Ford’s similarly sized three-cylinder turbo motor that will make its U.S. debut in the 2014 Fiesta.

Ferrari's new dog house

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(August 9, 2013) Dog owners visiting the Ferrari Museum in Maranello don’t have to worry about leaving their pooch at home. The four-legged friends won’t be able to run unescorted through the museum, but they will have a special place to stay while their owners are admiring the sheetmetal on display.

Mini's 'Vision' isn't 20-20

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(July 28,2013) Let’s not beat around the bush. This Mini Vision concept is a stylized look at what the next production Mini will look like. There will be no disco interior lighting on the floor, the side trim will be less effusive, and also less well integrated. Up front, the LED halos around the headlights will remain (a design motif first seen on the Rocketman concept), but the grille and bumper beam will not be as subtle due to the bumper beam’s intended function; it must be prominent to ward off low-speed accident damage.

BMW's new i3 electric car packed with technology

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(July 14, 2013) The i3 is BMW’s first ground-up electric vehicle for public sale. Whether or not it will be a commercial success is something that the future will decide. However, the level of technology to be found in this rear-engine/rear-drive EV surpasses anything on the road, and brings structural carbon fiber to volume automotive production in concert with both aluminum and magnesium.

Why ditching Dodge makes sense

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(July 8, 2013) The rumor mill is buzzing about Dodge’s future product plans. The reason? Apparently the brand doesn’t have any. Multiple reports claim there is no planned replacement for the Avenger mid-size sedan, that the Durango SUV will soon be dropped, and Chrysler will be the only division selling the minivan. If true, it could spell the end for Dodge.

Ford's newest sport truck didn't start out that way

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(July 1, 2013) We’ll call the engineer in the front passenger’s seat “Steve.” We’re at Ford’s Dearborn test track about to take an F-150 over the short off-road course that’s been set up. It’s not the Rubicon, but it’s enough to show what this truck can do. It’s when the ride comes to an end that Steve drops a bomb. “The F-150 Tremor didn’t start out as a sport truck. I was looking for better fuel economy.”