California Autos Examiner

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Technology of the 2008 Domestics: Ford

With today's post we conclude our technical preview of the 2008 domestics.

The big news at Ford would have to be the Sync infotainment system. It's all singing, all dancing and from some reviews it does miss a step now and then, but you've got to start somewhere. I'm impressed with the Sync, it's offered at a reasonable $395 on lower priced vehicles and standard on other models. Whatever bugs exist, Ford is promising easy, downloadable updates that you simply transfer to a flash drive and then plug into the USB port.

On the refreshed Focus, the a/c condenser is combined with the transmission cooler. On the 130-hp PZEV motor, the engine has a lifetime intake air filter! The 140-hp engine still has a traditional, replaceable air filter. The engine cranking circuit on the Focus/Taurus/Sable are under computer control, so that you can simply turn the key and then release and let the engine crank until started: a nifty feature, but it does make compression tests a bit more challenging. The Focus also has a Smart Power Distribution Box that combines fuse/relay and body computer functions. The pluses are reduced wiring connections and central diagnosis, but I'm sure that the replacement cost has also increased in proportion. The Focus does not have a spare tire as standard equipment, rather there is a sealer/inflator with the spare being a $70 option. I should note that according to the mini spare tire option was no longer available for factory ordering as of 10/21/07. The Taurus/Sable AWD models have a fix for checking the torque transfer coupling fluid level. Previously mechanics had to fabricate a dipstick out of a tie strap, but now the fluid fill hole has be relocated so that you can see into it. Unfortunately, models such as the Edge/Fusion/Milan/MKZ still have the fill hole in the old location.

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