• May 22, 2006

Watch out Fuji Heavy, Ford Motor Company is out to nab your claim to fame. The Detroit Free Press states that the automaker working its way toward becoming the leading producer of all-wheel-drive (AWD) cars and crossovers in the North American market. Ford says that it will offer AWD variants of the Lincoln MKZ, Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan, Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX, bringing its total AWD offerings to 22 vehicles and sales to 500,000 by next year.

The trick, Ford thinks, is to offer up models in the middle range of the market -- vehicles a little above entry-level, but not reaching the high cost of luxury vehicles such as BMW and Audi's AWD offerings.

[Source: The Detroit Free Press; Ford Motor Company]



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  • 34 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      Just as there are parts of this country where you can almost get by without a heater, some where you don't really need air conditioning, and some where you don't need rear view mirror defrosters, there are parts where you won't NEED a car with AWD...but there are also parts of this country where it will be great to have the option.
      My doubts about this feature center around the fact that about the time Subaru decided to switch from offering AWD exclusively, in this country, ALL the major car companies had at least one model with AWD. Doesn't anyone remember Ford's AWD Tempo? Toyota had several AWD models, including a Camry, Corolla, and Tercel, and Nissan and Honda also had AWD models. Customers that really wanted this feature migrated to SUVs. With more crossover SUVs in the pipeline, why would customers buy them if a regular, albeit mid-upper priced sedan offers AWD?
      • 8 Years Ago
      ". I agree with Wolfgang and Drewboy, part time is ok, but not worth it on the performance side."

      You say part-time as if it means you have to get out and lock the wheels. The advantage is that you get little degredation in fuel economy and the AWD capability is there when you need it. Haldex engages in a fraction of a wheel rotation. So if foul weather traction is your goal, this setup works great. The biggest downside is that the car is FWD based and the handling dymanics follow suit. The S60R references above has some fiddling done to the Haldex system vs. other implemntations to make it more performnace friendly, but there are still a lot of FWD understeer characteristics present. Is that bad? Most people don't drive anywhere near the thresholds required for these things to become obvious.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Sounds like a smart market move to me. Consumers get the predictability and economy of FWD with the winter benifits and 'showroom appeal' of AWD. And Ford gets to make money off a reliable and proven system. If you want to drive like a hooligan, get a Suburu, these Fords are meant to be improved regular cars, not rally cars.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Lol. Ford produce an AWD vehicle that handles and runs like my 05 Legacy GT? Yeah, right.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "If the Ford AWD system is reliable, a dubious proposition for Ford, it will yield a solid marketplace advantage."

      Are they not using the Haldex systems currently employed by Volvo? Those are certainly being used on the Five Hundred. These units have proven to be reliable, but the cars function mainly as FWD and then transfer power to the rear as necessary. This is a different proposition than an Audi or Subaru setup. I did not say "bad", just "different". It depends on what you want the AWD to do for you.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Freestyle = AWD, Crossover wagon.
      Competition = Outback
      Outcome = Failure.

      Feel free to try again.
      Subaru offers AWD anywhere from $18k to $40k Standard on everything from small sedans and wagons, mid size sedans and wagons, small suvs, sports cars, and midsize suvs. Ford will have a tough time making a profit in the "affordable AWD" segment. Subaru sales 37% of the AWD vehicles in the US. It's the only manufacturer that can play in that segment in mass. Even Audi sells a majority of 2WD models as opposed to quattro.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I'm not interested in any more all wheel drive systems that are primarily front wheel drive. I have a Honda CR-V, and while I love it, I do NOT like the delay between front wheel slip and rear wheel grip. I'd much rather have a RWD biased AWD system. Say, 75% rear, 25% front.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Yes, G. Snyder, they are using the Haldex systems used by Volvo, Land Rover, Audi (some models) and Volkswagen.

      I bet Ford bashers didn't realize they may be also bashing one of their favorite import car's awd systems.
      • 8 Years Ago
      You know how you get an all-wheel drive Camry. Buy two, hook them together with the back ends touching, remove the rear wheels on each and you have a reliable "push me, pull you".

      Or, for half the price, you can get one of dem Fords.

      Looks like the imports have all the answers.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Thanks Dr.Woo
      I didn't know about the RS4 new system, Audi previous full time quattro systems were 50/50.
      I guess this gives the car more rear wheel drive handling characteristics with the benefits of AWD. Under normal conditions, what other benefits come from the 40/60 split?
      • 8 Years Ago
      In the world where Fords number 1 selling car is the Taurus being sold for fleet use is the move really wise for them to try and offer up an option that is lost on most American car buyers? Do Americans really clamor for AWD in their sedans? When I think of Ford I think moderatly priced bland vehicles. If I want AWD I think Subaru. I think this is another example of Ford loosing touch with its base market, grasping at straws to regain market share, and in the process dilluting its brand releavance.
      • 8 Years Ago
      No, I'm not talking about part time 4WD, even within part/full time AWD, systems can be configured differently. In full time AWD, both axles are getting 50% power all the time, per slippage, more power is assigned per wheel. Part time AWD is essentially a sophisticated 2WD system. Only one axle gets power most of the time. If that main driven axle (could be front or rear) loses traction a fully automatic system (hydraulic, mechanical or electronic) routes torque to the other axle as well. This means you have to completely lose traction in 2WD on your driven axle first and then the other axle will take over to keep the car moving. So, for a short moment you have AWD. Once the main driven axle regains traction and both axles rotate at the same speed again, the system reverts back to 2WD. So you get some of the benefits of a full time system with the better gas mileage of 2WD. Amount of over/understeer will depend on the part time configuration, but there should be little in a full time configuration.
      And you're right, for most drivers, under normal conditions, this is fine, they would not notice the difference. But I haven't driven normal since my road test for my license. I drove my Talon hard and fast, in my case, the difference would be dealing with wheel slippage in a part time system, or a better chance of not having the slippage occur in a full time system.... a lot can happen in a fraction of a wheel rotation. ;-)
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