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Ford

Ford Cars and Trucks For 1999

By Carey Russ

This looks to be an interesting year for the Ford Motor Company. The Mustang gets its most significant makeover since the introduction of the current model in 1994. The Contour SVT has more power, while other Contour models have suspension revisions. Other sedans, wagons, and coupes have interior and exterior trim modifications. Contrary to earlier rumors, the high-performance Taurus SHO has not been discontinued.

Mustang

The Mustang is an American icon. April, 1999 will mark its 35th anniversary, and all 1999 Mustangs will carry a commemorative emblem. The current Mustang has its first major styling revision since its introduction in 1994, with a strong dose of Ford's "New Edge" look first introduced on the GT90 concept car a few years ago. New wraparound headlights, a restyled rear deck now made of sheet molded compound, enlarged side scoops, and new wheels are just some of the new styling features. As before, both coupes and convertibles are offered.

What's a muscle car without power? Both engines used in the '99 Mustang have significantly more horsepower this year. The 3.8- liter V6 has 40 more ponies, for 190 horsepower. The GT's 4.6-liter V8 gets a 35-hp increase for 260. Despite the serious power increase, both engines have much cleaner exhausts. A five-speed manual gearbox is standard, with a four-speed automatic available.

There are major chassis upgrades as well, and interior improvements including new stereo systems and increased seat travel.

Contour

Four doors doesn't mean the end of fun. The Contour balances sedan practicality with sporty performance. Suspension upgrades this year should increase the fun factor by improving handling and braking. Redesigned front seats add rear seat room.

Three Contour models are available. The base engine for the LX and SE is the "Zetec" 2.0-liter, 125-hp four-cylinder, with the 2.5 liter, 170-hp "Duratec" V6 optional in SE models. Both engines can be had with five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmissions. The Contour SVT has a tuned version of the "Duratec" engine that now has 200 horsepower and a five-speed manual gearbox.

Escort ZX2

Ford's sporty coupe for folks on a budget comes in "Cool" and "Hot" models. Both have a variety of interior and exterior changes this year. A 130-hp version of the 2.0-liter, twin-cam "Zetec" four-cylinder engine continues as power, with a choice of manual or automatic transmissions.

Taurus

Interior and exterior trim changes highlight Taurus LX and SE sedans and the SE wagon this year. Rumors of the high-performance, 235-horsepower V8-powered Taurus SHO's demise prove to have been exaggerated.

Crown Victoria

The full-size Crown Vic continues to be popular with people seeking a classic rear-wheel-drive V8-powered sedan with room for six and a cavernous trunk. It also has 85 percent of police car sales in the U.S. Civilian models have standard antilock brakes and new color choices this year.

Escort

The compact Escort sedans and wagons have more standard equipment and interior revisions for 1999.

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