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Future models - Ford - Futura

First look: Ford back to the Futura

Debuted: Futura (main pic), Saab 9-2 (top) and Cadillac CTS-v (bottom) are New York stars.

A retro name but not a retro shape for Ford's new US mid-size sedan

Ford logo22 Apr 2003

By BRUCE NEWTON

NEW York is the last major auto show of the US season but that doesn't mean it just gets scraps left over from LA, Detroit and Chicago.

No, the car game is such these days that there's always something new to reveal or announce. Here's a few of them, watch out for more on this site later in the week from the big show in the Big Apple.

Ford Futura
MEET the Futura - a retro name for the US but one we are all still veryfamiliar with here. But that's where the association with the locally-builtFalcon stops.

Destined to replace the Taurus as Ford's staple sedan inNorth America, the Futura picks up its styling cues fromthe 427 concept shown at Detroit last January andshares its basic platform with the Mazda6, although itwill have a longer wheelbase and wider track.

Due on sale in late 2004, the Futura will also sharethe 2.3-litre four-cylinder engine with the 6, and alsooffer a 3.0-litre V6 and petrol-electric hybrid. It will beFord's second hybrid, following on from the Escape thatsoon goes on sale in the US.

Eventually there will be at least 10 separate vehicles based off theMazda6/Futura architecture - a more flexible variation of the platformconcept. These will include four passenger cars, four cross-over vehiclesand two other designs.

Ultimately they will appear under the Ford, Lincolnand Mercury badges, and are expected to generate combined volumes ofabout 800,000 units annually.

The Futura should not be confused with the larger 500 sedan first shownin sketch form at Chicago last year.

Caddilac CTS-v
THIS might sound familiar as well - a performance-orientedrear-wheel drive four-door sedan powered by a 300kW 5.7-litreV8 engine mated to a six-speed manual gearbox.

No, it's not a HSV GTS in drag, it's the CTS-v version ofCadillac's CTS mid-size luxury car.

It is the work of GM's new performance division and is designedto be a direct competitor for the likes of the BMW M3.

Saab 9-2
THE much discussed new Subaru-based Saab small car was confirmed at NewYork, and revealed in sketch form.

Based on the Impreza WRX, the 9-2 is described as a performance-orientedall-wheel-drive vehicle with a hatchback body style.

Two variants are likely to be offered - a normally-aspirated 2.5-litre engine and a turbocharged 2.0-litre four.

The 9-2 is targeted for production in the spring of 2004 and at this stage is only destined for sale in North America.

This is the first of a number of new models Saab is likely to introduce in the short term, exploiting alliances within GM. An SUV is tipped to be next.

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