Ford Take Top Car, Truck Honors at Detroit Auto Show Page 2

January 14, 2010

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid 4-door Sedan Hybrid FWD Rear Exterior View

The Transit Connect, actually based on the international Ford Focus platform that made its appearance in the 2000 model year, is quite a vehicle. It is the type of vehicle that makes sense in an age of $2.75 gasoline where people still need to haul things or people from place to place.

Looking directly at the Connect, you can see the sweep of the vehicle from a very narrow front cross-section with nicely integrated headlight cluster and hoodline through a sloping hoodline and windshield into a body that is an integrated unit with the front end. It seems like the Transit Connect, like the Fusion Hybrid, is an organic whole as the passenger/cargo compartment carries a slightly widened and 80-inch tall line through the rounded, by squared tailgate.

The front fenders carry this line up through the windshield and the doors pickup nicely on it and carry it through the B- and C-pillars for the microvan/truck (probably the best description). The ergonomics of the interior (study of people and their surroundings) is very well carried out with comfortable and supportive front seats and easily accessible controls.

Access to the rear passenger area is easy through the rear doors. The rear seats are also surprisingly comfortable and supportive.

The impressive features of the Transit Connect are its thoroughly logical size; its efficient 2-liter, Duratec four and its choice of automatic or five-speed manual transmissions. Smith Electric has already started producing an electric version of the Transit Connect and it is rumored the companies will be producing an electric next year.

The original design, laid down by Ford Otosan in Turkey and Peter Horbury, had held up well until last year when the automaker decided to bring it into this market in serious numbers. It has impressed everyone who has driven or just looked at it.

For instance, at today's judging, juror Jim Mateja of the Chicago Tribune called it "A U-Haul that fits in your garage. Holds people and soooo much of their stuff -- bikes, snowmobiles, lawn mowers, skis, tents, boats, ladders, furniture, you name it. Defines multi-purpose and boasts a reasonable price even when you add side and rear windows and back seat."

You can't put it much better than that.

Last year's winner in trucks was the Ford F-150 and in cars the Hyundai Genesis, a first for a Korean car.

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