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Old And New, These Are The Track Stars We Love

We like fast machines around here, and that means we're drawn to racecars past and present. Here's a list of our favorites.

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With the launch of the Focus RS imminent, one of the next projects from Ford Performance might be a matching RS version of the subcompact Fiesta. A report suggests the tiny hot hatch could offer around 250 horsepower and all-wheel drive.

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The SCCA has apparently found the Ford Fiesta at risk of rollover, and has, as a result, removed the budget hatchback from its list of eligible vehicles for solo autocross events in the H Stock category.

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Today, Ford wishes its first experience with non-hybrid continuously variable transmissions was far behind it. The Blue Oval was awash in complaints and a couple of class-action lawsuits over the CVTs used in its 2005-2007 Ford Freestyle, Five Hundred and Mercury Montego models, which were a manufactured in Batavia, Ohio as part of a joint venture with ZF. The company gave up on the CVT after just two years, but with fuel economy standards pressing automakers to conjure new tricks, Ford's global

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The gift list for the 12 Days of Christmas is frightfully heavy on birds, so surely no one will mind if we sub out the three French hens for Snowkhana 3. Ford of Europe is back with another stop-motion video that – like versions one and two – throws a 1:64-scale Ford Fiesta in Ken Block livery around a fabulous world of action figures and make believe.

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As the old saying goes, "There's no replacement for displacement." But these days, many automakers are launching powerful, downsized engines that offer similar or better power output than their predecessors, all while offering improvements in fuel economy and emissions. These days, we're seeing automakers replacing eight-cylinder engines with turbocharged sixes, and the naturally aspirated six-cylinder motors are being phased out in favor of potent turbo fours. But Ford has gone even smaller, of

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Consumer Reports has released its Annual Auto Reliability Survey and the results are, in a word, interesting. While we already covered the score-damaging effects of infotainment systems, there's another big angle to the data that's getting some attention – the utterly dismal scores of the Detroit Three's small car offerings.

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It's always amazing to see how different kinds of racecars are made. Formula One racers are often constructed in modern architectural marvels that hint at some of the cutting-edge technology going into the racing. Conversely, rallying is all about sliding around on a varied course as fast as possible, but it often leaves a vehicle caked in mud. So it makes some sense Olsbergs MSE, or simply (OMSE) rally car shop in Nynashamn, Sweden, shows technological sophistication in a more down-to-earth set

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened a preliminary investigation on the 2011-2013 Ford Fiesta because the regulator has received 61 complaints from drivers, including one claim of an injury, about the doors on the subcompacts failing to latch and sometimes even flying open while driving. NHTSA has estimated that the problem could affect as many as 205,000 vehicles.

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We may regard Ford as an American automaker, but ask a Brit and they may tell you otherwise. The Blue Oval has, after all, been selling cars in the UK since 1903, and started manufacturing there as far back as 1911 when it began local production of the Model T in Manchester. Last year Ford ended 100 years of vehicle manufacturing in the UK when the last Transit van rolled off the assembly line in Southampton, but it's still the biggest-selling automotive marque in Britain.

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Ford is announcing six separate recalls for a variety of issues affecting a dozen models and a total of 100,610 vehicles in North America. However, according to Ford spokesperson Kelli Felker, "None of them have caused accidents or injuries." Half of them cover fewer than 1,000 cars.

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Ford's 1.0-liter EcoBoost is proving to be The Little Engine That Could, and it continues to acquit itself well, finding favor as one of the best powerplants in the world. To confirm it yet again, the tiny mill just won the International Engine of the Year award for the third year in a row, likewise also nabbing the title in the Sub 1.0-liter category.

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Second Time C-Max Hybrid Drops Its Fuel Economy Numbers

Ford has announced that it will be lowering the fuel economy ratings on a number of its 2013 and 2014 model year vehicles after an error was discovered in the company's internal testing data. The EPA has been notified.

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Regardless of what you think of his skill as a racer, Ken Block is an expert showman. At this point, he has a career of showing up around the world to do vehicular stunts, and he's still able to go racing as well. It's a pretty sweet niche to carve out. Recently, Block was in Barbados to participate in Top Gear Live and the first event of the Global Rallycross Championship season, and Ford Racing produced a short video to show off his exploits.

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Okay, okay, okay, so I was just a smidge wrong. Those that read my review of the Ford Fiesta with the new 1.0-liter, EcoBoost engine will know that while I really enjoyed the torquey little three-cylinder, I was concerned that Ford's decision to force 1.0-liter owners into a manual transmission, steel wheels and one trim level might hurt sales of the new engine. I was also concerned that the promised 45-mile-per-gallon highway rating wouldn't be enough to tempt buyers into trying an engine that'

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Three's A Party

I'll be honest; when Ford first unveiled its 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, I was skeptical. Past attempts at building turbocharged American cars were almost universally awful, I reasoned, so why would Ford's latest effort be any different? This may seem foolish today, considering the success that the growing EcoBoost range has achieved – particularly the 2.0-liter and 1.6-liter mills. Yet I once again found myself questioning Ford.

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Rallycross is seeing a sudden surge in popularity with two series bringing the racing to the US and Europe. The Ford OMSE team is competing in both championships this season, and it saw no reason not to hold practice with a highly modified Fiesta in the snow of Northern Sweden. It brought together Andreas Bakkerud from the European-focused FIA World Rallycross Championship and Patrik Sandell from the North American-focused Global Rallycross series for some training and fun. They certainly appear

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Ken Block became famous for his series of Gymkhana videos, but he's a real racer in his own right. Block has competed many rounds in the FIA World Rally Championship and also rallied in the 2013 Rally America series. He nearly won that latter title last year – if not for a massive crash in the final event of the season.

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The V8 grunt of the Mustang has defined Ford performance cars in the US for the last 50 years, but in Europe, the Blue Oval has nearly as a long history of building some of the best hot hatches on the market with the Fiesta, Escort and later the Focus. The latest Fiesta ST has just hit the roads on both sides of the pond and has been enthusiastically received thanks to its combination of a peppy, turbocharged engine and hatchback utility.

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You know who you are. There's probably a few of you reading; the ones that say, "Why would I spend $27,000 on a new Mazda MX-5 when I could get a used Chevrolet Corvette with more power." Yes, we're talking to you, used car proponents. While it is a fair argument, it's not like used cars don't come with drawbacks of their own, though.

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