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Fusion is Ford's future

All dressed up: The Fusion looks like a four-wheel drive but is actually front-wheel drive only.

Ford reveals a lifestyle version of the new Fiesta

13 Sep 2001

FORD has hinted at the versatility of its new Fiesta baby car range by showing a concept mini-wagon called Fusion at the Frankfurt Motor Show this week.

Built on the platform of the new Fiesta, which was also unveiled at Frankfurt, the Fusion is tagged an "Urban Activity Vehicle", or UAV, and has a jacked up ground clearance, higher seating position and roofline than the donor vehicle.

However, despite the look, it is front-wheel drive only rather than four-wheel drive.

Ford insiders told the media the Fusion concept resembles the production version closely.

Speaking at its reveal at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Martin Leach, vice president, product development, Ford of Europe said: "Ford Fusion Concept is our vision for an urban adventure vehicle of the near future. It showcases the potential for merging innovative, practical forthcoming technologies and an exciting new shape, all designed specifically for the style-conscious urban motorist.

"Uniquely, it combines small car agility and manoeuvrability with an SUV-style driving position and styling cues. We believe it succeeds on three levels - tough, urban and cool", he added.

The Fusion's turbocharged, 100kg, 1.1-litre, three cylinder direct injection petrol engine is derived from the 73.5kW, 1.6-litre Zetec SE Ford Focus engine and delivers 81kW and 160Nm of torque.

Ford claims the addition of a small turbocharger and variable cam timing (VCT) generate the performance feel of a larger displacement engine, with the benefits of excellent fuel economy - 15 per cent better than a standard four cylinder petrol engine of the same power.

The engine mates to a new transmission called "Durashift EST" which operates with only two pedals and buttons to control the gearshift. Ford claims the result is between four and eight percent fuel savings over a conventional automatic transmission.

A unique feature of Durashift EST is its electronic shift map, which prevents both sudden gear changes and undesirable up- and down-shifts. The system constantly monitors the power levels required for accelerating, rolling at constant speed or decelerating, then automatically selects the proper shift strategy for the situation.

The Fusion's Visteon-developed telematics system offers new features in addition to navigation assistance and modern Internet functions, including the transfer of real-time traffic and parking information into the moving vehicle.

In the back seat, the Fusion entertains passengers with DVD/video, console games or Internet browsing. Two high-resolution monitors are integrated into the rear of the front seat head restraints and can be operated independently, via remote control or through a central control module, while headphones prevent driver distraction.

Fusion also showcases a new Hella bi-xenon headlight system in which the main and the dipped beams are generated by a single source of light, providing benefits in lower energy consumption, new design possibilities, and the same colour of light for both the main and the dipped beams, which Ford says relieves the driver's eyes of the stress of continual readjustment.

Ford only revealed the five-door Fiesta at Frankfurt this week, the three-door not due to debut until next year. A sports coupe is also being considered for production off the Fiesta platform.

Ford Australia is crunching the numbers to see if it can afford to sell the Fiesta here as its entry-level car, now that supplies of the Korean-built Festiva have dried up.

Ford Australia President Geoff Polites has told Automotive NetWorks previously that Fiesta is his preferred option if the sums add up.

The new generation 121 due in 2003 and the Indian built Ford Ikon are other entry-level possibilities.

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