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Melbourne show: Ford’s triple treat

New Territory: Ford has given its locally made SUV a mid-life makeover.

Fiesta diesel, facelifted Territory and revised Focus head Ford’s MIMS display

27 Feb 2009

FORD Australia had no shortage of new models on display at this morning’s Melbourne International Motor Show media preview, headed by a fuel-sipping diesel-powered version of its Fiesta light car.

The Blue Oval also revealed a vital mid-life makeover for the Territory SUV about three months ahead of its arrival in dealerships, as well as the forthcoming facelift of the Focus small car.

And, just for good measure, Ford previewed a new Mondeo wagon variant while the heavily revised Ranger ute range made its first public appearance just one week after its low-key media release.

While the first serious Territory makeover created plenty of interest at the Exhibition Centre, it was the Fiesta diesel that really caused a stir with its claimed average fuel consumption figure of just 3.7L/100km and sub-100g/km emissions rating.

27 center image From Top: Fiesta ECOnetic, LV Focus, Mondeo Zetec Wagon and PK Ranger.

Ford Australia president and CEO Marin Burela said that the tiny diesel car – which will introduce the ECOnetic brand to Australia – will go on sale here in late 2009.

“The Fiesta ECOnetic will be added to our Fiesta model line-up towards the end of 2009 and promises to be one of the most fuel-efficient and lowest CO2 emitting vehicles ever offered for sale in Australia,” said Mr Burela.

“By launching a specific model, with dedicated Ford ECOnetic badging to designate its ultra-low CO2 results, we will be able to offer a clear alternative for those customers who prioritise low emission performance.

“It looks and functions just like conventional Fiesta, using conventional diesel powertrain technology, yet it has the potential to deliver best-in-class emissions.

“If the European-spec Fiesta ECOnetic was available for sale in Australia today, it would rank as the most fuel efficient and lowest CO2 emitting-vehicle across the entire local new car market, including hybrid models.

“The challenge for the engineering team in developing the ECOnetic vehicle line was to deliver the maximum reduction in fuel economy and CO2 emissions using available and affordable technologies.

“With the ECOnetic brand, you don’t have to sacrifice style or performance to drive an environmentally advanced vehicle (and) Fiesta ECOnetic’s reduced CO2 emissions come hand in hand with improved fuel efficiency, which means you could reduce your environmental footprint and save money on fuel costs.” Ford says that its ECOnetic models use low viscosity transmission and engine oils, low rolling resistance tyres, longer final drive gear ratios, improved aerodynamics (lowered ride height, air deflectors, unique wheel covers), a weight-saving ‘tyre mobility kit’ in place of the spare wheel and specially-tuned diesel engines to deliver ultra-low CO2 emissions.

The Fiesta’s 1.6-litre Duratorq TDCi common-rail diesel engine produces 66kW of power and 200Nm of torque, and Ford provides a shift indicator light to tell the driver the optimal point to change gears for maximum economy.

Mr Burela said Ford would use the Fiesta to gauge consumer interest in the ECOnetic range of vehicles for Australia.

“We are continually evaluating our vehicle line-up and looking at ways to develop it further, so we are excited to be able to offer show-goers a unique opportunity to preview the Fiesta ECOnetic ahead of its arrival later this year.

“Its introduction to the local Ford line-up will provide a genuine alternative to those customers who prioritise low CO2 emission performance when it comes to choosing a new vehicle.

“It will also enable us to gauge consumer reaction to the broader ECOnetic philosophy, with respect to other fuel efficient, low CO2 emission models that may be considered for the Australian market.” Ford’s new SY Territory MkII appeared for the first time, in Ghia AWD and TS RWD guises, featuring revised exterior styling, interior improvements and extra equipment.

The company also announced pricing ahead of its second quarter introduction, starting at $39,490 for the rear-drive TX with four-speed auto. Although this is $1500 more than the current model, the TX gains alloy wheels, side curtain airbags, cruise control and body-coloured bumpers, door cladding, door handles and mirrors.

Prices of other models in the range have increased by between $500 and $1500, and also gain extra equipment.

Ford has dropped the regular Turbo model from the revised line-up but retained the range-topping Ghia Turbo, which costs about $12,000 more (now at $65,920).

The major Territory design changes include a new bonnet, front bumper, upper and lower grilles, headlamps, fog lamps and tail-lights.

Although the restyled LV-series Focus small car first appeared here more than six months ago in the form of the XR5 performance model, the rest of the range was previewed at MIMS and will go on sale in about April.

While most models in the range have increased in price by only $300, the base CL increases by some $1500 to $21,990 for either the five-door hatchback or four-door sedan with a five-speed manual gearbox.

The big news item for the Focus is the introduction of a new six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission Ford calls PowerShift, which is available with the 100kW/320Nm 2.0-litre Duratorq turbo-diesel engine.

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