Thursday, February 18, 2010

2012 Ford Fiesta RS Turbo: An Internet Rumor

Time for this office to once again help Ford spec-out its upcoming Fiesta Turbo.

I say "upcoming" because The Big Blue Oval has been teasing web punks with a "Turbo Kit" in its buyer surveys forever ... and proudly shows "Turbo Kit" as the #1 most-popular option ... so the Fiesta Turbo is a done deal for 2012 according to an internet rumor I just started.

The spec for the 2011 normally-aspirated Fiesta looks to be set, complete with smart packaging, back-to-the-80s curb weight, and That 70s Show funky colors. It looks like Job 1's alternative to a clutch & stick is a slick sequential-gear dual clutch tranny, but tragically with -0- manual intervention options except Ford's patented "You Really Shouldn't Have Asked" ViolentDownShift™ "L" low gear choice.

No manual control of Ford's self-proclaimed "Advanced Six-Speed Transmission" might be fine in a modern-day Crown Vic, but it will not do in a car that is already on its way to placing Ford on the Gotta Have It Podium with a generation of paddle-slapping-happy Gran Turismo racers.

Ford: If you're going to go to the trouble of blowing a Fiesta, don't blow it by sticking non-stick-shifters with no gear selection control.

This car needs paddle shifters.

Right for up. Left for down.

And a Forward for upshift/Backward for downshift center tunnel stick to resort to once we future Fiesta Turbo drivers realize we're not stuck inside a narrow F1 tub with no room to move anything but fingers and therefore not really in need of something gimmicky like paddle shifters.

Judging by the once-upon-a-time Focus SVT, the balance of the spec on your hotted-up Fiesta should be right-on.

Probably some nice 17-inch wheels shod with 45-series rubber and maybe a suspension nip and tuck here and there.

With luck, someone will tone down the garish silver center stack trim on the normally-aspirated model and try something a little classier.

You're going to need royally-righteous purple and tangy orange paint options on the 2012 Fiesta Turbo, too, because let's face it, Ford, you're the new Anti-Toyota.

You are the anti-boring, with 240 hp Escapes, 365 hp Taurus SHOs, and 412 hp 5.0 Mustang GTs.

You are the anti-beige, with Grabber Blue and Lime Squeeze already on your palette.

Your most recent corporate walk of shame is already years behind you.

Therefore, thou shalt cut loose and celebrate the end of this dismal world recession (another internet rumor I've started) with a tight, blown, paddle-shifted urban brawler wearing the orange of the fiery sunset of our discontent and the purple of the dawn of a new age.

Thou shalt call these new cloaks "Orange Sunset" and "Purple Dawn."

Thou shalt make these cloaks to be metallic and put them on the 2012 Fiesta RS Turbo, pricing everything under 21k with a paddle-shifted dual clutch tranny and no obligation to purchase an increasingly-useless factory-installed GPS.

I am the Car Czar (sorry about all that "Thou shalt" stuff ... sometimes I get to thinking I'm more powerful than I actually am), and I'm here to help.


(Updated: The Big Blue Oval owns the Bowtie Guys in our Hot Hatches that Don't Yet Exist category)

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Trouble with Toyota Trouble

So lemme get this straight. The maker of some of the highest quality cars in the world finally screws up with one inconsistently-sourced accelerator linkage and suddenly there are questions about the quality of all Toyotas?

Congressional investigation coming up. Toyota company president Huki Saki Suki (I made that name up, so be assured it's spelled correctly) falls on his sword. Headlines everywhere: This Toyota model and that Toyota model might have this and that wrong with them too.

The Swine Flu is starting to look under-reported.

It's important to remember that Toyotas have always been good, if mostly boring cars. It's also important to remember that Toyotas have never been the perfect cars spun by the consumer media, who tend to evaluate reported problems with automotive models rather than actual problems.

Actual problems are tough to find when manufacturers make a habit of secretly fixing low-quality parts and secretly recalling low-quality parts, as Toyota did for much of its existence as a high-quality automotive manufacturer.

Engine melt down out of warranty? We've had some problems with that engine. We'll put a brand new engine into your car free of charge – just make sure to be nice to us on the customer comment card. And while you're in, we'd like to treat you to a rolling upgrade – we're rounding-off the edges on those square factory tire/wheel combos ... better ride and better gas mileage. No charge for our new upgraded see-through windshield, either.

(Foregoing embellishments courtesy of internet blogging, where you can get away with practically anything. And, oh yeah ... Huki Saki Suki , John Edwards, and a goat – really).

This whole fall-from-grace thing with Toyota is as blown out of proportion as the Tiger Woods-and-the-cocktail-waitresses tales that are all over the media, which suggest that the multi-racial Zen Buick driver has fallen to as many as 27 skanky cocktail waitresses recently when the number is much closer to 26.

The Americans and Europeans have given us cars with far worse design flaws over the years, yet we forgive them – knowing they're hamstrung by poor management, union bums, and German engineers, and Bosch and Lucas electronics – and cherish the best of their breed – muscle cars, sports sedans, hot hatches – not because they're perfect, but because someone with a driving soul laid it all on the line to give us cars that are good for our souls

Toyota makes cars that are good for some people's souls – mainly people who's souls are happy driving a car without soul. Those people will stick around, to be sure.

Maybe it wouldn't hurt, now that the whole "perfect" charade is over, for Toyota to re-dabble in some cars with real soul. The MR2, Celica, and Supra Turbo come to mind.

But in the meantime, there's nothing wrong with any Toyota that a little time in the shop won't fix.