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First look: Ford goes small with Reflex

Small but sexy: Reflex concept is packed with cutting-edge gadgetry.

Ford goes small but sexy with a high-tech diesel-electric concept at Detroit

Ford logo11 Jan 2006

By MARTON PETTENDY

THAT Ford expects its compact Reflex coupe concept to be one of the stars of this year’s Detroit motor show is a reflection of the tediously slow but inevitable shift towards small cars in the US.

Packed with enviro-friendly tech like self-powered solar fans that cool the car when parked and an interior made from synthetic and regenerated materials, Reflex is powered by a diesel-electric hybrid engine that delivers fuel economy of up to 3.6L/100km.

27 center image Also featuring "reverse butterfly" doors and inflatable rear seatbelts, Reflex is a one-off show special built by Ford’s North America Design studio, led by ex-Volvo design chief Peter Horbury.

Polished alloy 20-inch wheels carry unique low roll resistance tyres from Michelin, while inside there’s 2+1 seating, a touch-screen that keeps tabs on rear-seat occupants, shift paddles for the six-speed semi-auto transmission, "organic blue" LED instruments, low-voltage circuitry and solar-powered exterior lights.

Apart from the Reflex, Ford's 2006 Detroit stand featured the Edge SUV concept (see separate story), a Mustang Shelby GT500 convertible and the F-250 Super Chief pick-up concept, featurign what is touted as the world’s first Tri-Flex fuel engine - a supercharged V10 that runs 500 miles between fill-ups on hydrogen, E85 ethanol or petrol.

Ford says Tri-Flex offers 12 per cent better fuel economy and 99 per cent fewer CO2 emissions in hydrogen mode, plus lower consumption.

Ford has already revealed the Shelby Mustang GT500 coupe, but used the 2006 Detroit show to reveal the convertible version, complate with power-folding roof and SVT-prepped supercharged 5.4-litre V8.

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