Ford Cars and Trucks For 2000
By Carey Russ
Despite the sport-utility boom, Ford feels that there is a place for small cars. And so it is introducing its latest "world car", the Focus, to the U.S. marketplace. The Taurus has updated styling. And most of the other cars and the Windstar minivan have new safety and convenience features.
Small cars are the popular in Europe and Asia, but have rarely made much of an impression in the U.S. Space sells here, and it's hard to make a small car roomy. But Ford's new Focus makes the most of its small size. It was designed from the inside out, and, with a long wheelbase, high roofline, and high seating position, has a surprising amount of interior room and comfort. The 2000 Focus is available in three-door hatchback, four-door sedan, and five-door wagon body styles. All feature sharp "New Edge" styling, but are designed for different niches in the small-car market. Engine choices are a pair of 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines, with 110 and 130 horsepower. With fully-independent suspension and a sturdy but lightweight chassis, performance and handling should be good. And, because it is sold world-wide, the Focus meet and exceeds all safety standards in the world, with safety-cage construction, front and side air bags, and other safety features.
After pushing the envelope for round styling with the introduction of the second-generation Taurus in 1996, Ford has given its popular mid- size sedan a more mainstream look for 2000. It also introduces the "Personal Safety System", a collection of a dozen components that monitor occupant position, safety belt usage, and accident severity in order to most appropriately deploy active safety devices in a frontal collision.
The ever-popular Mustang celebrated its 35th anniversary last March with freshened styling, and is largely unchanged with the exception of the introduction of the limited-production, high-performance Cobra R. Like previous models of the same name, it's designed for racers.
The Windstar minivan gets power-adjustable pedals and a rear-seat video entertainment center this year.
Contour and SVT Contour
The regular Contour is unchanged. The high-performance SVT version has further suspension refinements.
Escort and ZX-2
The Escort and Escort-based ZX-2 coupe lines have been simplified.
Ford's full-size Crown Victoria sedan has minor changes for 2000.