Key to the Highway

Observations about cars and the auto industry

2012 L.A. Auto Show: Ford

Ford’s presence at the L.A. show is marked by restyled Fiesta’s launch with a high-performance ST model with the 1.6-liter EcoBoost on one end of the range and a 1.0-liter EcoBoost powered version on the other. The three-cylinder, 1.0-liter EcoBoost is compact enough that one was brought to Los Angeles as carry-on luggage, but puts out 123 horsepower and is expected to deliver fuel economy north of 40 mpg.

The ST features a 197-horsepower, 1.6-liter turbocharged engine making 214 lb.-ft. of torque that the automaker says should get 35 mpg on the highway. Fiesta ST comes only as a four-door hatchback with a six-speed manual gearbox. Inside are heated Recaro seats and on offer is an eight-speaker premium audio system.

MyFord Touch makes its way into the entire Fiesta lineup with the latest version of Sync voice command.This new Fiesta offers MyKey, which allows parents to limit top speed and stereo volume, while keeping driver and safety systems from being switched off.

Also making its debut is the Transit Connect Wagon, which Ford won’t call a minivan despite the sliding doors. Ford bailed out of the minivan segment several years ago when it killed off the Windstar. The Transit Connect arrived a few years ago as a small, economical commercial vehicle. The XLT Premium Wagon offers seating for five and an interior more hospitable than one intended for cardboard boxes or sacks of mulch.


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