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The redesigned Mustang is at the top of Ford's list of new products for 1999. The rest of the lineup gets minor changes in anticipation of the 2000 model-year, which will see the Escort replaced by the Focus, an all-new product on an all-new platform. The Expedition, Explorer and Windstar will meet federal low-emission-vehicle standards for light trucks.
1998 Ford Mustang GTEnlarge Photo
Ford describes the Focus as a global small car designed to change the way buyers think of small cars. It has good word-of-mouth since it has already won the prestigious European Car of the Year award. The 2000 Focus goes on sale here in the fall in three body styles: a three-door hatchback, a four-door sedan and a station wagon. Ford says it will come with a choice of two 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines and a choice of either a five-speed manual or an automatic transmission. The base engine is rated at 107 horsepower; the Zetec engine is said to deliver 130 hp. Ford says it will have the most spacious interior in the class, with room to seat five adults comfortably.
The Mustang gets significant power increases on both the V-6 and V-8 engines, an all-speed traction control available on all models, a new exterior design, and handling enhancements. The 3.8-liter V-6 engine gets 40 more horsepower and is now rated at 190 hp. Torque is up 5 pounds, to 220 lb-ft at 2750 rpm. The 4.6-liter V-8 engine gets an increase of 35 hp, to 260, and torque is up by 10 lb-ft, to 302 at 4000 rpm. The Mustang V-6 and Mustang GT are equipped with a five-speed manual transmission or an optional four-speed automatic. Chassis improvements have been made to reduce noise and to reduce the turning circle by almost 3 feet. An increase of about an inch in rear suspension travel and a 1.4-inch increase in rear track further enhance ride and handling.