NHTSA Revising Crash Test Rating for 2011 Vehicles

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)  is relied on by consumers who are looking for a new vehicle and drivers already on the road for years. The NHTSA tests each vehicle in a variety of potential crash situations. But the NHTSA has recently revised its New Car Assessment Program (NCAP), also known as the Five-Star Safety Rating System, including such new aspects as an additional crash test, a new test dummy to represent smaller passengers and new injury criteria for the existing side-impact test. It also has added an overall summary rating intended to make it easier for consumers to assess a new vehicle’s safety at a glance.

This program revision marks one of the biggest changes since safety testing was first conducted in 1978. The first vehicles to undergo the new crash tests are 2011 models, but because the scores will be fundamentally different, they cannot be compared to prior years. Additionally, visitors to car dealerships might not see the ratings on vehicle window stickers for a few months — or longer. The revised testing program will also make consumers aware of whether the vehicle comes equipped with any crash-avoidance technology, such as electronic stability control, a lane-departure warning system or forward-collision warning system. Though the technologies are not factored into the scoring for the star rating, NHTSA will put the information in a more prominent location on the window sticker, where consumers will already be looking for safety information.

The other NCAP tests — frontal crash, side impact and rollover — are largely unchanged, but the addition of the different-sized dummies and the data they collect will yield different results. All of the crash and safety tests carry a certain weighting that will factor into the new overall score, which is intended to make it easier to compare a vehicle to others that consumers might consider buying. In the past there would only be star ratings for each category of test, without anything to tie together the results for buyers.

Posted by on Nov 29 2010 in Safety Tips

Ford Eco-Boost Technology Expands for 2011

The EcoBoost engine provides abundant power on demand to accelerate on the highway. It also has a flat torque curve to easily get the vehicle and trailer (Flex only) started from a dead stop and pulled up a hill. Direct injection (DI) precisely delivers a fine mist of fuel directly into each cylinder compared to the port fuel injection that sprays into the intake system. EcoBoost uses DI for more precise control, compared to port fuel injection. This can help reduce fuel consumption, which can help lower your fuel cost. The EcoBoost engine can use standard octane fuels, excluding E85 and diesel. High-octane fuel delivers optimal engine performance. Lower octane fuels are the choice for the budget conscious.

Engines equipped with EcoBoost technology are designed to deliver power and torque consistent with larger displacement, naturally aspirated engines while achieving approximately 20% better fuel efficiency and 15% reduced greenhouse emissions than these same engines. Relative to the power output and fuel efficiency of hybrid and diesel technologies, Ford sees EcoBoost as an affordable and versatile alternative and intends on using it extensively in future vehicle applications. The Eco-Boost debuted on Ford models in 2010, including the Taurus SHO and the Ford Flex. For 2011, the Ford Flex, the Taurus SHO, the 2011 Ford F-150, and the all new Ford Explorer all recieve the V-6 Ecoboost.

Posted by on Nov 13 2010 in New Technology

Ford Introduces Fiesta R2 Rally Kit for Enthusiasts

Ford Racing Performance Group is bringing the Fiesta R2 rally kit to the U.S., developed by M-Sport. The R2 package offers several performance upgrades to give competitors a turnkey, rally-ready Fiesta, including powertrain enhancements that pump out 168 horsepower and 134 lb.-ft. of torque. Furthermore, a new Fiesta Sport Trophy Championship will debut in RallyCar’s Rally America Series 2WD class for 2011, designed specifically for competitors who have the Fiesta R2 package installed by Team O’Neil

Currently available throughout Europe, Ford Racing Performance Group is bringing the competition-ready package stateside to let enthusiasts turn their five-door Fiesta into a Fiesta R2 that’s ready to compete on the roads of RallyCar’s Rally America National Championship. Developed by M-Sport, Ford’s WRC partner since 1997, the kit will convert a production Fiesta to rally specification. Included in the package are engine parts that will increase the performance of the 1.6-liter Ti-VCT four-cylinder engine: pistons, conrods, camshafts, valve springs, injectors, airbox, air filter and a sump baffle kit. The performance enhancements deliver 168 horsepower and 134 lb.-ft. of torque, a 40 percent increase in horsepower over the production Fiesta.

Enthusiasts who add the R2 package to their Fiesta will have the ability to compete in the Fiesta Sport Trophy Championship in RallyCar’s Rally America National Championship 2WD class in 2011. The winner of the Fiesta Sport Trophy Championship will be awarded a ride in the R2 class in a Fiesta at Wales Rally GB. Additionally, the winner from the class will have the opportunity to compete in the Fiesta SportTrophy International Shootout in Great Britain for a chance to win a year’s residential placement at M-Sport, working with the BP Ford World Rally team. The rally kit also is the perfect way for enthusiasts to appreciate all that the Fiesta offers.

Posted by on Nov 5 2010 in Ford News