Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The big hits of the show are the Crossovers

Now several people have asked for more details on FoMoCo's new Crossovers, and that's understandable, because they were no doubt the stand out product in Ford's stable. And the one that I was able to get the closest look at was the CX-7. This turbocharged all wheel drive mini crossover is about the size of the new Dodge Caliber and other new mini utes. Smaller than the CX9/Edge/MKX triplets. Now quickly for "ThatDudeMike" I want to say this, as far as seat height I can't say for sure if it's over 24", but if it is, it's not by much. The seat is a pedastel mount in the vein of other little utes, but the vehicle doesn't sit very high.
Based on a chassis more akin to the Mazda5 than the CX9, it's really much smaller than it's siblings and shares few common parts. So if you can get into a Mazda5, you should be able to get into the CX7 with no further difficulties. The interior, as in most new Mazdas is just great, comfortable suportive seats, and a well laid out dash. This car seems worth every penny of it's estimated $26k. I tell you honestly, my only complaint is the lack of a manual transmission. But from my rides in my brother's Mazdaspeed6, I feel this 2.3L turbo direct injected I4 will have plenty of power even with the slush box. I wouldn't mind seeing a base model, with the base 2.3L engine either, it would give this mini ute real teeth in the market. Overall, just a winner with very few real world complaints.
The CX9/Edge/MkX were all locked and slightly out of reach, but the styling is just great.
And based on Ford's translation of the Mazda6 into the Zephyr, I mean MkZ, I would expect the interior trims to be very good. The top of the line Lincoln will share it's 265 hp 3.5L DOHC V6 and 6 speed Auto trans with Mazda and Ford, and power should be on par with any of the competition foreign or domestic.
The Edge, looks like a winner to me, and should really bring buyers flocking into the dealers. The Edge seems trim and muscular, and when was the last time you could say that about a new Ford? Now I couldn't get into any of the 3 larger ones, so just guessing from Fusion/Zephyr and CX7, I would expect interior trim and amenities to be very good. I know that's not detailed, but I'm not Brock Yates either, so don't excpet FoMoCo to toss me the keys for a ride any day soon.

These along with the Fusion/Milan/MkZ bring an infusion of Mazda DNA that may just be what Ford needs to bring back some excitment in their lineup. Now if we could only get the Focus C1, along with the Mazda3. And how about that 2.3L Direct Injection Turbo I4? Couldn't that find it's way into a Fusion?

Maybe we will start to see a turn around at Ford after all? It's at least a shot of adrenaline, oh that's right, they canceled that.

5 comments:

Igor said...

is the CX7 (by any chance) based on the EUCD platform - the stretched C1 developed by Volvo and Ford OE for the Mondeo and C70?

Mazda said it was independent project, but it would make sense (puld EUCDnot being much in the US, Mazda could still claim uniqueness of the platform)

Do you know?

Igor

Joel A said...

igor,

From my understand, the CX-7 is built on its own unique platform. I wouldn't be surprised if Ford uses it for future vehicles. (NOTE: The Edge and the former Lincoln Aviator are build on the Mazda6 platform.)

Big Ford Fan said...

You know Igor, I'm not sure. I've been told that it's based on a unique platform that shares elements of the Mazda5.

ThatDudeMike said...

Joe, Thanks for the info. After your comments I'm starting to really get interested in the CX-7. When I looked at my Mustang I took some time to check out the RX-8 and was really pleased with the interior. [The deal was just too good on the Stang.] I think it's been said a lot lately - by you and many other auto bloggers - Ford coukd learn a lot by watching Mazda and it's life could depend on it.

Crossovers may be the next big thing, but just like any good investor - diversification is security - don't go whole hog into Crossovers that everyone did with SUVs. Please, Ford, bring us some good cars too! Wagons too, please!

Mike

Chuck said...

Is 2006: Year of CUVs? Well, some of the hottest crossover SUVs or CUVs in the market today are the 2005 Ford Escape Hybrid, 2006 Lexus RX 400h and the 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid. Let just wait and see how these cars will sell in the market.