Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Reflex rant, if I talk about it, will they build it?

The Reflex concpet that's been making the rounds at auto shows, and is featured in literature from Ford as part of the "Driving American Innovation" and "Design for the road ahead" is my new favorite concept. It even apears, as a clay model, in the picture of Mark Fields above.
It's a fresh design, that hilights new technologies, and you hope new ways of thinking from Ford. A small coupe with seating for 3 adults or 2 adults and 2 children with a Diesel/Electric drive system that could achieve 65 mpg, there's a lot I like about the Reflex. There are some things that I could do without also. But what stuck me hardest was the styling, like a scaled down GR-1, it's sleak and muscular. I was less than 6 feet from it as it rotated on the stand in the Javitz center, and couldn't find a line I didn't like. Of course I'd loose the "butterfly" doors, but I'm old fashioned.
The Reflex could be a real neat little car, but when you read print and online articles about it, there are some goofy ideas. For instance, I've read several times, that the Reflex was designed with small urban families in mind. What horse shit, excuse my language. But what family is going to buy this, only to grow out of it quickly? No, this isn't for families, this is for single people or couple without children. I wouldn't even put my dog in the back. Small families will get more out of the Mazda5 or a Focus. But now I'd love the Reflex. And I could see some college age person or recent grad liking the small coupe. It's a hatchback, so there would be enough utility for a couple of suitcases or such, but not enough for diaper bag and baby buggy.
And as for the interior on the conept, leave out the recycled Nike materials and "Slimline Suspended-Mesh Front Seats" they're not going to cut it. Real people have to sit in the car, and they need to have seats that will be comfortable and safe for a 4 hour drive. And solar panels in the roof? I'm not sure, maybe for the tree huggers, but I want a sunroof that opens, so I'd pass.
I see this as a practical sport coupe, doesn't matter to me if it's front or rear wheel drive, it's not a race car. But as I've said before, if it's built on the upcoming B-Segment platform, with it's front wheel drive and sub 2 liter 4 cylinder engine, that would make it more likely to be built. Like the Ford Puma from Europe, it could be built off the Fiesta platform, have 150 hp and still get nearly 40 mpg. Hell with a Diesel or the concepts Hybrid drive it could be sporty, quick and economical. And it's one of the few cars that I wouldn't hate in Silver. And anyone who knows me knows I hate silver and white cars.

So if I keep writing about the Reflex, do you think it could create enough buzz for FoMoCo to build it? I hope so.


Igor said...

So if I keep writing about the Reflex, do you think it could create enough buzz for FoMoCo to build it? I hope so.

My as well be so.

The original "skeptical" rumor was this was design for Europe.. as you pointed out Puma and similar cars do well there..

However with Fields' suspension of product release for some year of so, anything is possible.. you might try to bug Autoextremist for an answer.. or try to bug Ford PR.. or start a petition.. if you get some 12k signatures, I am sure Ford will have a look...

Since it is still before this car is officially "greened" any positive PR, pressure on ford to build it etc is crucial - it will have more ffect than ranting after they decide not to produce it, or produce with significan changes.

Finally, BTW this was designed as design study of sporty Fiesta future - i.e. PRACTICAL, FAMILY vehicle... it looks hot and is sporty alright.. but Bill Ford said it straight up.. this is to be a B-segment family car. - but anything is possible.


Anonymous said...

Just wanted to point out two things to keep in mind with regard to the Reflex. First, it will never make it to production with a diesel hybrid drivetrain. Not that it wouldn't be AWESOME, but it would simply cost too much. Diesels are already more expensive to manufacture than their gasoline counterparts due to the need for a stronger block, turbocharger and high pressure injection system (among other things). Obviously, high volumes can help with the costs but not completely eliminate the difference. Hybrids also introduce extra cost as shown in the preminum they currently require due to the extra hardware (electric motors, batteries, etc.)

Either one separately is not insurmountable but the two combined makes for a car that is just too expensive, especially in the market segment the Reflex would compete.

Secondly, I disagree with you on the mesh seats. They seem very similar in design to a Herman Miller Aeron chair and let me tell you, they are comfortable enough to sit in for 8 hours at a shot while staring at a computer screen at work with no problems. Granted, the office doesn't hit potholes but....

I think it would be a great option in warm weather climates like Atlanta where I live when it is hot enough outside in August to smelt iron. On the flip side, I like heated seats when visiting Detroit in January.

Other than that, I completely agree with you on the Reflex. I think Ford would be making a big mistake not to produce this car for the North American market. Ditto for the Bronco. If you get up a petition, you have one signature right here!


Big Ford Fan said...

Igor your idea for a petition sounds interesting. I had seen a petition for the Focus C1, that ThatDudeMike sent me.

I'll look into that.

T, welcome new reader/commentor, I agree the Diesel/Electric Hybrid is not likely, I believe the Fiesta ST's 150 hp Gasoline engine would be the best starting point and then maybe a 1.4 or 1.6 liter Diesel if Ford can federalize them.

I'll be posting more on B-Segment, especially Reflex and Bronco concepts next week.

Lance said...

I really hope they make this car. most families are only having one or two childern anyways, and 65mpg- need I say more with that styling, well the exterior. It's going to take a lot of time to get use to the interior