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  1. #1
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    This Ford Taurus is sweet!

    Ha, I'm not kidding. This car just came to our laps testing for carreview.com. A Taurus??? But hey, this is actually the old Ford Freestyle. It's been updated and renamed to the Taurus X.

    Let me just say that this is the best US made cars that I have ever driven. Everything about it has surprised me. This crossover configuration is nice too. Not quite an SUV, not quite a van or a wagon. It's all the best things of those cars blended into one.

    The engine, the electronics, the seats, the handling, noise level are all awesome. Look for my review in Carreview.com. The only issue is reliability and resale value. Oh, and this car is decent at $27k but I just noticed my tester is $37k!

    Anyone else try or consider this car?

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    Nice attempt but the reliability scares me and it still looks too van-like. I'm sure it will appeal to some. Does it come with AWD as an option? What is the ground clearance?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flyer
    Nice attempt but the reliability scares me and it still looks too van-like. I'm sure it will appeal to some. Does it come with AWD as an option? What is the ground clearance?
    Why does reliability scare you? You must read consumer reports, one of the most biased publications in existance. I've had a blazer w/ 160,000 mi, an expedition w/ 200,000 mi, and an escort w/ 185,000 miles. All reliable and I can prove it!

  4. #4
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    We looked at the Taurus X before we bought our 07 Expedition. I never thought I'd own a Ford until we test drove it. Yeah, the reliabilty shouldn't be an issue anymore.

    It's the ultimate mountain bike hauler.

    tk

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    biggee- you must know a lot about every consumer out there. While your vehicles may be fine, a much larger percentage than average, have a lot of problems. My personal experience of owning and knowing others who own Ford, Chrysler, Dodge, Chevy, Honda, Toyota, Audi, BMS, etc gives me all the info I need concerning reliability.

    Reliability is an average of problems per so many hundred or thousand or simply a set number of vehicles that can be compared to each other. Not all Ford Freestyles will have problems and some will possibly last $150K without major issues but I'm more willing to bet on other vehicles with my money.

    Consumer Reports may be a decent guide actually. I certainly don't think they are the MOST biased. I don't read it much anymore- I have lived, observed, inquired long enough to know for myself.

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    I'd like to know more about actual/tested gas mileage, ground clearance, weight, AWD options, and all that before considering a vehicle. Then I'll wait ayear or two to see what "teething" problems and recalls come up. Heck, I'll even go and talk to some service managers at a couple of dealerships to find out what problems they are consistently seeing. I'll talk to people I know who own it. I'll read their model/brand forums too. The forums can be an invaluable source of info. That's sort of how I go about bringing a vehicle into my shortlist (or excluding it).

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flyer
    biggee- you must know a lot about every consumer out there. While your vehicles may be fine, a much larger percentage than average, have a lot of problems. My personal experience of owning and knowing others who own Ford, Chrysler, Dodge, Chevy, Honda, Toyota, Audi, BMS, etc gives me all the info I need concerning reliability.

    Reliability is an average of problems per so many hundred or thousand or simply a set number of vehicles that can be compared to each other. Not all Ford Freestyles will have problems and some will possibly last $150K without major issues but I'm more willing to bet on other vehicles with my money.

    Consumer Reports may be a decent guide actually. I certainly don't think they are the MOST biased. I don't read it much anymore- I have lived, observed, inquired long enough to know for myself.
    Hey man, it's my opinion. I myself drive a Nissan. I get confused when people bash American cars for their reliability and not the Germans.

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    My Dad has one for a company car and pretty reliable as of now... Ride feels nice, it is full time 4 wheel drive. I drove it recently and I thought it had loose steering and I didn't really like the feel of it. I think my dad averages around 22-24 mpg (He does mostly highway driving, and that what the computer said). I would get a toyota.

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    I think you misunderstand me- I was only saying that the reliability I know of (regarding the Freestale in the past) has been pretty bad. I have no problem with American vehicles now- the overall reliability has been improving significantly.

    The European vehicle relaibility has in fact been dropping but damn, those Audis handle well and have some sweet interiors

    I currently own a Subaru but have owned Fords and Chryslers, as well as Hondas and Nissans. I like review like this done by these guys since they appeal to an audience like us (outdoors-minded and active). This is why I asked the questions abour AWD and clearance. I like the interior and the quietness of it.

    Not bashing American at all- I have usually been a staunch buyer of Japanese vehicles lately but I'm willing to open my eyes and buy American as long as it suits my needs, even if I give up some theoretical/statistical reliability.

  10. #10
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    I just purchased an Ice Blue Taurus X Limited FWD in February 2008, a couple months ago. It's a superb car that's a hidden gem. I don't think Ford is advertising it as it looks too much like a wagon to entice buyers. The boxy new Flex CUV coming this summer will get over the image problem. It's based on the same D3 platform and otherwise very close to the Taurus X in features and size.

    Oddly, Consumer reports recently gave the Taurus X a top rating and recommended buy over the Toyota Highlander and other cars. They found it has the best safety and top reliability, and an excellent car in many other ways. Nevertheless, to cover me and all the expensive tech gadgets I got in the car, I got me a 100,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty for $1500. Also, Car and Driver also gave the Taurus X a thumbs up on handling.

    The mileage is officially rated at 16/24 city/hwy for the Taurus X FWD. I get average gas mileage as high as 28 MPG driving on flat highways at 65 MPH, and 25 MPG driving on rolling hills at 70 MPH. (This is averaging over a couple hours or driving) In the city, the mileage can go as low as 0 stopped at a light. I see more like 16-19 MPG average depending on how much starts and stops I'm doing. But the T-X goes from 0-60 MPH in 7.7 seconds with its 263 HP engine.

    Ford says the ground clearance is only 5.1”. I took a ruler around under the car. Most of the car has over 8” of ground clearance. But the exhaust system brings it down to around 7” along the center of the car. Worse, the engine exhaust manifold dips a little and comes to a little over 6” right under the engine. I suppose fully loaded and with some bouncing, it could drop to 5” at that point under the engine. However, I’ve had no problems getting over rough bumps and deep ruts on dirt roads at mountain biking parks with my Sable Wagon with less clearance. So I suspect the Taurus X will be much better and even less of an issue.

    The Taurus X has an excellent AWD as an option, but I don't need it in CA and went with the FWD for a little better gas mileage.

    Even best is the SYNC system and more integrated electronics and sensors than an AWACS plane. I got the Navigation, Satellite Radio, rear DVD, and other options. For example, driving along my youngest daughter can watch cartoons on the DVD listening to wireless Channel B. My teen daughter is streaming her phone music via Bluetooth to the car and back to wireless headphone Channel A. I'm listening to Satellite Radio up front. And all this can be easily set up by voice commands. The kids in back can control the front or back sound with a remote, and I can control the front and rear via the Nav panel.

    I put all my music on a Flash Drive and plug it into the USB port. It's automatically indexed and I can ask for any song by title or artist and the success rate is very high. I can also voice dial the phone numbers that are automatically downloaded from my phone via Bluetooth.

    The safety on the Taurus X is the best in the world. It was only one of a couple CUVs (such as Volvo) to get the IIHS top safety awards. It has pretension seat belts, side air curtains, six air bags altogether, stability control systems, rollover sensors, SPACE cabin integrity, .....

    There's way more than I can mention now. Go to the Taurus X web site and the multimedia site where you can see crash videos and analysis. I'm doing a longer report and pictures later. First I want to get six bike racks on the car to match the six large passengers it can carry.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

  11. #11
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    Ford power steering used to be a bit loose and vague. I have liked everything BigLarry said- except for ground clearance. I'm glad to see them upping their game in reliability and safety. The ground clearance still is something they should address- by some minor redesign, I bet they could get another two inches out of it and it would not grind out on some of these Colorado forest service roads. Most are okay but a few have some big dips and rocks and trenches that form. The Forester just about makes it with its approx 8" clearance and nothing really sticking out underneath. When it is fully loaded, I bet that clearance drop an inch and I have to take it easy and really work the angles to save my underbody. Once I let my GF drive it up and she crunched the bottom on a spot I always clear- she was immediately banned from driving it offroad again.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flyer
    Ford power steering used to be a bit loose and vague. I have liked everything BigLarry said- except for ground clearance. I'm glad to see them upping their game in reliability and safety. The ground clearance still is something they should address- by some minor redesign, I bet they could get another two inches out of it and it would not grind out on some of these Colorado forest service roads. Most are okay but a few have some big dips and rocks and trenches that form. The Forester just about makes it with its approx 8" clearance and nothing really sticking out underneath. When it is fully loaded, I bet that clearance drop an inch and I have to take it easy and really work the angles to save my underbody. Once I let my GF drive it up and she crunched the bottom on a spot I always clear- she was immediately banned from driving it offroad again.
    I would say the power steering allows a very easy touch, but wouldn't call it vague. Ford has gone to a new type of combined electrical/hybrid power steering in the Taurus X to help with fuel economy. It could be the feel was fixed too.

    Ford has got a new president, Alan Mullaly, who's busy putting the fire to Ford's progress and business. The Taurus X family car is likely to be taken over this summer by the Flex, which looks like a maxi-Mini Cooper and based on the same platform. The Taurus X will likely stay around a couple more years to fit people who don't like the mini-box look of the Flex that's otherwise very much the same car.

    For your needs, Ford is redesigning the Explorer to a unibody car frame rather than it's truck body on frame (BOF) to be more car like, and then take over the Taurus X slot in the fleet. At that point, it's likely to get the ground clearance you seek, so you may want to wait until then. Rumor is this new Taurus X/Explorer morph will be available in about 2 years.

    Also by then Ford will have it's new "EcoBoost" engine available across their fleet. By using a combination of direct fuel injection into the cylinder (like a diesel) and turbo charging they can get 15-20% more gas mileage on all cars with no sacrifice in power or responsiveness. So a 25 MPG car can become close to a 30 MPG car with no power penalty. The new EcoBoost engine has a very flat torque curve versus RPM due to their twin turbo system, even more flat than a normal engine.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigLarry
    ...
    The Taurus X has an excellent AWD as an option, but I don't need it in CA and went with the FWD for a little better gas mileage.

    Even best is the SYNC system and more integrated electronics and sensors than an AWACS plane. I got the Navigation, Satellite Radio, rear DVD, and other options. For example, driving along my youngest daughter can watch cartoons on the DVD listening to wireless Channel B. My teen daughter is streaming her phone music via Bluetooth to the car and back to wireless headphone Channel A. I'm listening to Satellite Radio up front. And all this can be easily set up by voice commands. The kids in back can control the front or back sound with a remote, and I can control the front and rear via the Nav panel.
    ..
    Nice Larry.

    Yes, I tried the Microsoft Sync. It is amazing! I plugged in my Ipod and it worked. No manual and I figured it out.

    I used the voice commands and that worked too.

    I didn't have a bluetooth phone or other devices but I'm sure that's no problem either.

    fc
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    These lean and scary days are forcing some major changes. I hate to see Detroit in such trouble but on the bright side, it has will will spur innovation in addition to cost savings. I'll keep my Forester for at least two more years (well, I say that now) and will keep an eye on all the new hybrids and more efficient and spacious vehicles that will come out.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flyer
    Nice attempt but the reliability scares me and it still looks too van-like. I'm sure it will appeal to some. Does it come with AWD as an option? What is the ground clearance?
    I hate the American relability bs. I drive a Jeep and have had zero problems after 5 years 70k miles - if you look at consumer reports my Liberty apparently sucks. Face it America has bad marketing vs. Japan the cars have equal reliability these days!

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    I think Ford makes some of the best cars for the buck. How does the Taurus compare with the Explorer? My buddy has an explorer and beats the S#$T out of it and the thing runs well (with 110k miles in 5 years). I think the Explorer is an outstanding vehicle. I am not familiar with thsi new Taurus. Im use to the sedan and wagon versions of the past. Good luck with the car - im sure its great.

  17. #17
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    I told myself I would never buy a American car unless I had too. More finacially secure now and all my vehicles are American. Cash for used American - many good buys out there and the reliablity gap is not as great as the resale gap between the Japanese and American cars IMHO.

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    I have a 2000 Dodge Dakota with 150,000 miles and still runs like brand new. After 9 years of owning it (got it in 99) the only thing I've done to it is replace the water pump. Not too bad.

  19. #19
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    Just like bicycles, you may think a product is American or Japanese but be horribly wrong. Most vehicles these days are built from components from all over the world and assembled wherever it ends up being cheapest when labor, transportation of the finished vehicle, and government taxes are factored in.

    My wife and I currently have a Lexus ES330 and a Nissan Quest. The Lexus for the most part is assembled in Japan, but has componentry from all over Asia, and some parts from the Middle East and Canada. The Nissan is built in the USA with parts from Europe, Asia, Canada, the US, Mexico, Brazil, etc.

    The country of origin on the vehicle ID labels only denote the final assembly point. Are they both Japanese cars? It depends on how you look at it.

    In my experience with these vehicles and others we have had, the stuff assembled in Japan is of the highest quality, and the stuff assembled here in the US is lowly crap. From my experience, in my opinion the unionized laborforce in the auto assembly industry just does not care about quality.

    The Quest is the last Nissan I will ever own due to the poor assembly quality. I would purchase another Lexus provided it is truly assembled in Japan.

  20. #20
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    Get a couple cars over the 500k mile mark, then you can talk reliable.

  21. #21
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    Woah! That thing is the Giant Reign-X of stationwagons!

    I never apologize. I'm sorry, but that's just the way I am.

  22. #22
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    Just get me to 100K with no breakdowns and then to 150 with maybe a battery and water pump replacement. After 100K, I'll get a new car and the old one can be a backup or be given to a friend in need.

    I have no need or desire to run a car past that but the key is 100K with no breakdowns. In the past 10 years, none of my Japanese vehicles have broken down while two Dodges and two Fords have- before 50K. Not saying things are not improving; just relating my own experience. I have not owned a European car unless you count my dad's Opel Kapitan or Sunbeam Talbot from back in the day

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by biggee72
    Why does reliability scare you? You must read consumer reports, one of the most biased publications in existance. I've had a blazer w/ 160,000 mi, an expedition w/ 200,000 mi, and an escort w/ 185,000 miles. All reliable and I can prove it!
    I am a consumer reports readers, they are not biased but the populations they poll have the bias. Whihc of course does maybe show a bias that they do not redesign their sample scheme.

    Regardless, they rank the reliability if the Taurus X, aka Freestyle, as being pretty darn reliable, a good design. etc.. the only bad aspect they note is resell value and MPG.

    One other thing, I think I read the Taurus X is being cut at the end of this year.

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    I have a 70' Cuda convertible 250K miles on the original motor. Anyone wanna try and beat that? Runs very well all things considered.

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    Let's focus now on this Freestyle and francois' reviews. I just like the fact that the perspective is from an active lifestyle. Handling, cargo space, clearance, mileage, wind noise- these are things I like to read about; not how many freaking cup holders there are or how nice the DVD player is or how stylish the alloy rims are. I am so tired of those regular magazine reviews that target the couch-wrestling suburbanite. Ooh, is that stereotyping? My bad

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raymo853
    I am a consumer reports readers, they are not biased but the populations they poll have the bias. Whihc of course does maybe show a bias that they do not redesign their sample scheme.

    Regardless, they rank the reliability if the Taurus X, aka Freestyle, as being pretty darn reliable, a good design. etc.. the only bad aspect they note is resell value and MPG.

    One other thing, I think I read the Taurus X is being cut at the end of this year.
    Consumer Reports reliability conclusions are based on reader surveys. In theory, a car needs repair or not, and it's divided by category - engine, transmission, electrical, etc.. So the users would have to lie. It's possible that one could forget problems, or not report them if they really like the car. So some bias may exist, but I don't think it's major. CR's reports tend to match other independent surveys such as JD Powers.

    In any case, Consumer Reports bases the Taurus X reliability on the 2007 Freestyle, the predecessor. Of all 17 categories they survey, the Freestyle was shown as top in reliability in each, except merely average in Audio and Body Hardware reliability.

    There was a significant change with the Taurus X to the 3.5 L engine and from the CVT to the 6-speed transmission. But both of these are well-developed power systems used in many Ford and GM cars with a very good history of their own. That's why I suspect CR allowed the previous Freestyle data to be used. They weren't so generous with the newly redesigned Toyota Highlander, which lost a recommendation due to lack of reliability data.

    The MPG isn't horrible, but rather just below average. I get 25-28 MPG on the freeway, which is just fine for a large family CUV. In city driving, the mileage really drops, to 16 MPG or so. Looking at the message center's average MPG indicator, it's frustrating to see it slowly drop while waiting at any light, or quickly drop when accelerating from a light. As such, I now turn off my engine on any long stop light, accelerate a bit slower, and coast into stop lights. It helps maybe 1 or 2 MPG in the city. Overall, it gets 19 MPG or more, same as my old Sable wagon, which isn't bad, just not good. In the next couple years, Ford will deploy EcoBoost (direct cylinder fuel injection and turbo charging) that will add 15-20% to gas mileage, or around 23 to 24 MPG average and 30-35 MPG highway for the same car and power. And then this efficient engine can be made hybrid too! Ford has a bright future.

    Ford vehicles do have a much greater depreciation than others, and not a great car to have for three years (unless a lease). This lack of resale value is in part due to bias and in part due to the bad reliability in Ford's past history. All surveys are showing Ford has made dramatic gains in reliability over the last two years, and this attitude may change. Nevertheless, I only bought the Taurus X knowing I'll likely hold onto it for 15 years, like I did with my last excellent Ford - the Merkur Scorpio.

    No official word is out yet on the fate of the Taurus X. It's more the lack of word. Every time Ford CEO Alan Mullaly talks about the Taurus line or their CUV line up, the Taurus X is not mentioned any more. No advertising is being spent on it. Ford is only selling about 2500 T-X a month. The new boxy Ford Flex due this summer is based on the same platform, has the same market, and about the same size and has the same features. But the Flex lacks the wagon-like stigma. The fate of the excellent Taurus X is not looking bright. Rumor in Ford circles is that the Taurus X will continue for the 2009 year, but likely morph with the Ford Explorer as it turns from a truck into a unibody car design like the Taurus X by 2010. Maybe they can improve the ground clearance and tow weight by then too.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by francois
    ...I didn't have a bluetooth phone or other devices but I'm sure that's no problem either.

    fc
    Huh!? Just when I was beginning to think you were really a closet geek, you turn out to indeed be a web forum Luddite!

    I guess that explains all your SS bikes.

    (J/K)
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigLarry
    Huh!? Just when I was beginning to think you were really a closet geek, you turn out to indeed be a web forum Luddite!

    I guess that explains all your SS bikes.

    (J/K)
    I put two high end cell phones in the laundry this year. So as punishment, I'm on a $29 phone right now.

    I like your Flash drive idea, full of mp3s. That is brilliant and MS Sync will read it. Does it display all the song info too?

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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by francois
    I put two high end cell phones in the laundry this year. So as punishment, I'm on a $29 phone right now.

    I like your Flash drive idea, full of mp3s. That is brilliant and MS Sync will read it. Does it display all the song info too?

    fc
    And warranty repair can tell if it got dunked by a sensor inside, as I found after my 3 yo girl tossed one in the toilet like kids do. Now I get insurance on my kid's cell phones for any such disaster- only $6/month (regardless of cell phone price), and so far I get more than my money back.

    Yes, SYNC reads all my song titles, albums, folders, artists etc. on my Flash Drive. I can search tracks by any of those methods. The 4 GB Flash Drive is $30, smaller than my thumb, but holds everything fine. I used plain old Windows Media Player 11 to rip and store automatically as MP3 @ 192 Kb/s. I ripped 70 CD albums in about 1.5 hours with my two CD readers ripping in parallel, about as fast as I could load them every 30 seconds.


    The Taurus X heir-apparent, the Ford Flex is now being positioned more to trend-setters without children than families, who'll find it anyway. "The agent of change? Ford's new marketing chief, Jim Farley."

    Ford's new CEO Alan Mullaly (hired last year from Boeing aircraft) recently hired Jim Farley (a cousin of the famous SNL comedian) away from Toyota as VP of Marketing to head up Ford's marketing instead. Farley's grandfather was a Ford dealer, so it's in his blood anyway. There's excellent leadership from the outside now on top of Ford, relinquished by the Ford family themselves in order to survive. And it seems to be showing well any many ways. Ford just dropped Jaguar and Land Rover to focus on getting Ford's own line going, including making Lincoln into a global luxury line with new vehicles. Mullaly recently said in response to a reporter's question that he wants Ford to partner most with Ford (???) - that is Ford of Europe who's been making some fantastic good-selling cars lately. He just reorganized Ford to join the two divisions with the good Euro designers having a strong position. The cute little Fiesta/Verve import coming in 2009 for the 2010 model year is just a start. If they pull this off, these will be some executives who truly earn their big $$$.
    Last edited by BigLarry; 03-31-2008 at 12:47 PM.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

  30. #30
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    I did not know that the Taurus name is on a SUV/ Van. 18 MPG EPA combined, ouch!

    Don't feel that bad, because the Taurus Car is only getting 19 MPG EPA combined. The car has so much more potential, but I'm sure it is engineered with a lot of inefficiency and needs to drop a dress size and loose some weight.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Killroy
    I did not know that the Taurus name is on a SUV/ Van. 18 MPG EPA combined, ouch!

    Don't feel that bad, because the Taurus Car is only getting 19 MPG EPA combined. The car has so much more potential, but I'm sure it is engineered with a lot of inefficiency and needs to drop a dress size and loose some weight.
    First, the Taurus X FWD (Front Wheel Drive) gets a better 16/24 city/highway MPG, or 19 MPG combined. (The AWD gets 18 combined) This is using the newer EPA MPG estimates that's ~2 MPG lower than the older numbers and supposedly fits real driving. In fact, I regularly get 25-28 MPG in highway driving between 65 and 70 MPH, much higher than they rate.

    The Taurus X is about 4200 lbs, or 800 lbs lighter than the Saturn Outlook / GM Acadia at 5000 lbs. So I was disappointed when the T-X didn't get any better mileage than the Outlook, also at 16/24 MPG. However, they both have a similar 260 HP engine. And at the higher weight, the Outlook accelerates slower as expected. So Ford should have stayed with a lower power engine to have similar acceleration but better mileage like in the Freestyle. But customers complained about wanting more power.

    Again, Ford is doing better and coming up with the EcoBoost and other techniques to get much better gas mileage in the future.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigLarry
    First, the Taurus X FWD (Front Wheel Drive) gets a better 16/24 city/highway MPG, or 19 MPG combined. (The AWD gets 18 combined) This is using the newer EPA MPG estimates that's ~2 MPG lower than the older numbers and supposedly fits real driving. In fact, I regularly get 25-28 MPG in highway driving between 65 and 70 MPH, much higher than they rate.

    The Taurus X is about 4200 lbs, or 800 lbs lighter than the Saturn Outlook / GM Acadia at 5000 lbs. So I was disappointed when the T-X didn't get any better mileage than the Outlook, also at 16/24 MPG. However, they both have a similar 260 HP engine. And at the higher weight, the Outlook accelerates slower as expected. So Ford should have stayed with a lower power engine to have similar acceleration but better mileage like in the Freestyle. But customers complained about wanting more power.

    Again, Ford is doing better and coming up with the EcoBoost and other techniques to get much better gas mileage in the future.
    Good info as usual. Good choice on getting the 2wd for Norcal.

    One thing worth noting is this vehicle is very fast. It's a V6 that is as strong as many V8s I've tried. It's soo cool to drive since power and torque are readily available and the 6-speed auto flicks once or twice as needed.

    0-60 in 7.7 according to Car and Driver. This morning, I punched the gas briefly at 80 mph and it charged to infinity very quickly. 5 dudes with 5 bikes... the power should get you up the mountain. Shuttle runs!

    fc
    Last edited by fc; 03-31-2008 at 03:32 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by francois
    Good info as usual. Good choice on getting the 2wd for Norcal.

    One thing worth noting is this vehicle is very fast. It's a V6 that is as strong as many V8s I've tried. It's soo cool to drive since power and torque are readily available and the 6-speed auto flicks once or twice as needed.

    0-60 in 7.7 according to Car and Driver. This morning, I punched the gas briefly at 80 mph and it charged to infinity very quickly. 5 dudes with 5 bikes... the power should get you up the mountain. Shuttle runs!

    fc
    And that's impressive? A lot of power is always cool I suppose, but it could still be made by much more "efficient" means, such as a smaller engine and a turbocharger, but in that case Ford would have to use higher quality parts to stand up to the heat and such, so they figure that people wouldn't pay a little more for a few better mpgs. You could easily do 260hp with a 1.8 or 2.0L turbo engine (like they do in europe all the time) and get better milege, such is one of the reasons that us manufacturers keep failing and losing money. While the US auto manufacturers are getting a lot better, I see one problem now being the sheer number of different models that they've made in the last 5 years as they've decided that no one wants their older innefficient un-crashworthy vehicles and they've seemed to have gone through a period with lots of different models in a short period of time. That's horrible for business. How many Jeeps have their been recently that look pretty much the same and do pretty much the same thing? (a lot). Even if US makers "get it", they've still shot themselves in the foot and have to deal with the effects. There's a lot of resistance to change, changing markets, and simply doing "what is necessary" within detroit, and that's been a huge barrier to them competing with the imports. An example of this is that just because people "say" they want something, doesn't mean they really want it, such as "more power", they just want "more power" with no negative side effects like milege. Automakers have done "more power" lots of times, but it hasn't always been sucessfull. Being able to see beyond this short-sighted marketing/design is what needs to happen/continue to happen.

    GM has had some interesting ones recently, like the Grand Prix, and how with a 3800 series engine and what is a seemingly "huge" car it makes 18-28mpg with the new standards, but if you look at the weight it's around 3400 if I remember correctly, which can be quite a bit less than some of the other "big" looking cars, it's FWD and does not have 300hp or whatever is the "norm" now. Due to this and a fairly aero design, it does pretty well and it isn't a micro-car. It could be a lot better, again either a smaller turbo engine or other means, but my point being that they can make this "big" car get pretty decent milege, far better than this taurus car, and the grand prix may even be bigger than the "taurus". This is not an example of stellar milege, just an example that they can do a lot better, but it's cost-benefit and such for the company, that said, I wouldn't consider the "taurus" given the info above on milege. Do better and then I might, but you can't sell a car just on "260hp" these days IMO.
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    Quote Originally Posted by francois
    This morning, I punched the gas briefly at 80 mph and it charged to infinity very quickly - almost as fast as the MPG meter went to zero.
    And so now you see why the EPA had to reduce the MPG so much for the "typical" driver, don't you? (Fixed it.)

    Power corrupts, doesn't it?

    Quote Originally Posted by francois
    5 dudes with 5 bikes... the power should get you up the mountain. Shuttle runs!
    Yessa! But I'm thinking maybe 4 dudes, 2 dudettes, and 6 bikes on a short shuttle run.

    I'm close to organizing a Henry Coe shuttle from HQ down Flat Frog, Middle Ridge, Domino, Grapevine, and maybe Anza to HH for the mere mortals, and any MTBRs who want to join. All the pleasure and none of the climb-out pain. Maybe 18 miles, only ~1500' of climb, and 3500' of descent, mostly on sweet singletrack. A few shuttle cars like this and we can handle lots of people. Yes I'm talking to you JeffH.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

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    PSSSST: EcoBoost

    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem
    And that's impressive? A lot of power is always cool I suppose, but it could still be made by much more "efficient" means, such as a smaller engine and a turbocharger, but in that case Ford would have to use higher quality parts to stand up to the heat and such, so they figure that people wouldn't pay a little more for a few better mpgs. You could easily do 260hp with a 1.8 or 2.0L turbo engine (like they do in europe all the time) and get better milege, such is one of the reasons that us manufacturers keep failing and losing money. While the US auto manufacturers are getting a lot better, I see one problem now being the sheer number of different models that they've made in the last 5 years as they've decided that no one wants their older innefficient un-crashworthy vehicles and they've seemed to have gone through a period with lots of different models in a short period of time. That's horrible for business. How many Jeeps have their been recently that look pretty much the same and do pretty much the same thing? (a lot). Even if US makers "get it", they've still shot themselves in the foot and have to deal with the effects. There's a lot of resistance to change, changing markets, and simply doing "what is necessary" within detroit, and that's been a huge barrier to them competing with the imports. An example of this is that just because people "say" they want something, doesn't mean they really want it, such as "more power", they just want "more power" with no negative side effects like milege. Automakers have done "more power" lots of times, but it hasn't always been sucessfull. Being able to see beyond this short-sighted marketing/design is what needs to happen/continue to happen.

    GM has had some interesting ones recently, like the Grand Prix, and how with a 3800 series engine and what is a seemingly "huge" car it makes 18-28mpg with the new standards, but if you look at the weight it's around 3400 if I remember correctly, which can be quite a bit less than some of the other "big" looking cars, it's FWD and does not have 300hp or whatever is the "norm" now. Due to this and a fairly aero design, it does pretty well and it isn't a micro-car. It could be a lot better, again either a smaller turbo engine or other means, but my point being that they can make this "big" car get pretty decent milege, far better than this taurus car, and the grand prix may even be bigger than the "taurus". This is not an example of stellar milege, just an example that they can do a lot better, but it's cost-benefit and such for the company, that said, I wouldn't consider the "taurus" given the info above on milege. Do better and then I might, but you can't sell a car just on "260hp" these days IMO.
    Oh My! Thank you for finally speaking up!

    Ford's CEO just listened to your post and assigned his VP of Global Product Development, Derrick Kuzak to your task. He got a team together about your ideas and here's what he wants to tell you. You might have just saved Ford. Thank you again.
    (I'm goofing around - don't take me serious. However Ford is very serious.)

    <OBJECT height=355 width=425>
    <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/jgilKUwMl2A&hl=en" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="355"></embed></OBJECT>


    The EcoBoost is a very unique way of Turbo Charging in that it allows quicker throttle response by direct injection of gas into the cylinders like a diesel. Thus you can control power immediately by direct fuel flow injection without any turbine lag. The dual turbine compressor allows full flat high torque over most all the RPM curve, except right near idle where you want it low for economy. You can get V8 power out of a V6, or V6 power out of an I4. Best of all, this technology can be used in combination with others like Ethanol or Hybrid or both for even better fuel economy. Ford is now looking to have this engine in most of their fleet within the next two years.

    BTW, I did a calculation of cost of fuel even at $5/gallon over the life of the car, and figured the ~$4K I could save on the heavily discounted Taurus-X today was good enough to make it not worth waiting for EcoBoost. And future cars with adavanced technology will likely be even more expensive. And the car isn't that bad in mileage. I can get probably over 20 MPG of combined communting MPG with very careful driving technique, and over 25 MPG on the highway. Compare to your typical SUV it replaces.
    Last edited by BigLarry; 03-31-2008 at 08:46 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigLarry
    <OBJECT height=355 width=425>
    <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/jgilKUwMl2A&hl=en" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="355"></embed></OBJECT>
    I watched Fords EcoBoost presentation and I thing Ford should be put on the top of the Endangered Species List. Ford's approach to improving Fuel efficiency and meeting new CAFE standards are far to conservative. EcoBoost's claimed 2 to 5 MPG improvement are not aggressive enough.

    All the automakers know that increased electrification is the solution to high gas prices, fuel efficiency, better energy independence and emissions. Bob Lutz has received a lot of criticism for the EREV Chevy Volt, but I think that is exactly the direction GM should be going. Yes, Ford has PHEVs (like EREVs) on there "mid term solution" starting 2012. Ford needs to at least match the volts 2010 ETA, because in 2009 the Automotive X- Prize will have consumer vehicles racing--not hypermiling --at 100 MPGe across the US. The American auto industry has already lost a lot of market share to the Prius and Other Hybrids. Ford's EcoBoost presentation looks like their are going to be left behind even more. It's sad that Ford can not even beat the fuel economy of the Model-T a 100 years later.
    Last edited by Killroy; 03-31-2008 at 08:14 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Killroy
    I watched Fords EcoBoost presentation and I thing Ford should be put on the top of the Endangered Species List. Ford's approach to improving Fuel efficiency and meeting new CAFE standards are far to conservative. EcoBoost's claimed 2 to 5 MPG improvement are not aggressive enough.

    All the automakers know that increased electrification is the solution to high gas prices, fuel efficiency, better energy independence and emissions. Bob Lutz has received a lot of criticism for the EREV Chevy Volt, but I think that is exactly the direction GM should be going. The American auto industry has already lost a lot of market share to the Prius and Other Hybrids. Ford's EcoBoost presentation looks like their are going to be left behind even more. It's sad that Ford can not even beat the fuel economy of the Model-T a 100 years later.
    Sadly, Ford is already on the Endangered Species List. The new CEO Alan Mulally was air dropped from Boeing to try and lead them out of the jungle of Detroit thinking. There's already a lot of major changes going on and more will happen. They've sold Ford's soul (including their oval logo) to get a sufficient bank roll to fund the changes. But who knows if their rapid changes will be enough in the right way.

    The EcoBoost is simply a quick 2-year strategy for global fuel economy. And later on it can be used in combination with Hybrids, like the Hybrids Ford already has on cars like the Ford Escape, and will continue to develop further according to future plans if you believe Derrick. EcoBoost doesn't improve by 5 MPG, rather it improves mileage by 20% across the board: City, Highway, Trucking, SUVs, compact cars, every car, every truck, Hybrids, plug-in Hybrids, Ethanol based engines,... It's a 20% win in every corner, a great invention worth doing ASAP.

    The current Hybrid technology is only used by a few percent of ecological minded people because of it's higher cost. Electric cars are much less economical and it may be many years away before they're mainstream, maybe a decade or more, if ever. (Hydrogen Fuel Cell Hybrid may happen instead, for instance.) Ford's EcoBoost is a low cost universal, immediate solution among all cars, along the lines of going to diesel. But it can be done now universally with minimal effect and cost, and it is being done. So rather than the world wide improvement of a few percent seen by expensive Hybrids at their low rate of customer uptake, Ford EcoBoost can provide a far bigger impact much sooner at real cost savings to everyone.

    BTW, Hybrid technology gives great gains in the city. But Hybrid does not help you haul a trailer up a mountain, or a Semi-trailer truck haul freight across country on the highway. You need power a battery cannot provide, and hybrid provides no extra fuel savings in these scenarios. But EcoBoost can help across the board including these significant cases of fuel use, and do it everywhere now.

    And if a Hybrid car gets say 50 MPG average, EcoBoost will further increase that to 60 MPG. Ford is a little behind on Hybrid, but nevertheless in the game with offerings that are competitive.

    And Ford can beat the fuel economy of a Model T, if customers would just stop their silly excessive demands for more than it's 20 HP engine.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigLarry


    The EcoBoost is a very unique way of Turbo Charging in that it allows quicker throttle response by direct injection of gas into the cylinders like a diesel. Thus you can control power immediately by direct fuel flow injection without any turbine lag. The dual turbine compressor allows full flat high torque over most all the RPM curve, except right near idle where you want it low for economy. You can get V8 power out of a V6, or V6 power out of an I4. Best of all, this technology can be used in combination with others like Ethanol or Hybrid or both for even better fuel economy. Ford is now looking to have this engine in most of their fleet within the next two years.
    .
    You realize this has been around for quite a while, the words "late in the game" come to mind here. VW has been making turbo-cars with fairly small displacement engines for quite a while (as well as selling them as audis). You're still thinking behind if you're thinking "V8 power out of a V6", a V6 will still suck way too much gas at idle or when a lot of power isn't required, hence a 2L 4cyl turbo. But, that is only one solution, and there are others, such as simply direct injection 4cyl engines without turbos, these can also be efficient and produce 250hp fairly easily, but once again one problem becomes the materials and designs to deal with this power. Drivetrain, engine, exhaust, etc, they all have to be able to withstand the stress of what you're describing. Does Ford have the know-how and ability to do it? I wouldn't bet on it at first, requirements for forged pistons or better materials to deal with the increased heat, intake manifold, exhaust being able to withstand the temps generated, cats in up-pipes, down-pipes, and so forth. The thing is, ford isn't exactly "first" with anything here, and they've had a LONG time to try. They won't be anywhere near the first to try direct injection, and I'm wondering about the turbo-thing if that will actually materialize, but again it's far from original.

    Also, if you're churning out vehicles that have the aerodynamics of a brick, as many manufacturers are recently (like mustangs, people are pulling 30mpg from corvettes these days!), it's kind of dumb to put all this technology in there only to have your efficiency kicked down a whole lot by poor aerodynamics. Aerodynamics has a lot to do with efficiency.

    The thing is that not every manufacturer has been making "monster size" vehicles forever, but Ford and a few others have, and now we FINALLY see them making some effort to actually improve them?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem
    You realize this has been around for quite a while, the words "late in the game" come to mind here. VW has been making turbo-cars with fairly small displacement engines for quite a while (as well as selling them as audis). You're still thinking behind if you're thinking "V8 power out of a V6", a V6 will still suck way too much gas at idle or when a lot of power isn't required, hence a 2L 4cyl turbo. But, that is only one solution, and there are others, such as simply direct injection 4cyl engines without turbos, these can also be efficient and produce 250hp fairly easily, but once again one problem becomes the materials and designs to deal with this power. Drivetrain, engine, exhaust, etc, they all have to be able to withstand the stress of what you're describing. Does Ford have the know-how and ability to do it? I wouldn't bet on it at first, requirements for forged pistons or better materials to deal with the increased heat, intake manifold, exhaust being able to withstand the temps generated, cats in up-pipes, down-pipes, and so forth. The thing is, ford isn't exactly "first" with anything here, and they've had a LONG time to try. They won't be anywhere near the first to try direct injection, and I'm wondering about the turbo-thing if that will actually materialize, but again it's far from original.

    Also, if you're churning out vehicles that have the aerodynamics of a brick, as many manufacturers are recently (like mustangs, people are pulling 30mpg from corvettes these days!), it's kind of dumb to put all this technology in there only to have your efficiency kicked down a whole lot by poor aerodynamics. Aerodynamics has a lot to do with efficiency.

    The thing is that not every manufacturer has been making "monster size" vehicles forever, but Ford and a few others have, and now we FINALLY see them making some effort to actually improve them?
    Another news item that just appeared from Ford's engineers on EcoBoost that addresses some of your comments.

    The above linked video also says that Turbo Charging isn't new and used heavily in Europe, with a lot of development by VW. It was also a big fad in the US when I was younger. But the problem was the boost only occurred at the higher RPMs where you had more HP anyway. So you got a spike of power at just one point on the acceleration and RPM curve.The turbines have become more refined over time to help boost at lower RPMs, but still not that great.

    My understanding is that Ford also took a second big step with the direct cylinder injection. This helps with rapid control of power, and additional vapor cooling of the compression for controlling pre-ignition. The torque curve becomes very high and very flat, even more so than a non-turbo engine, which helps overall performance greatly - more than peak HP improvement alone. This gas cylinder DI technology may also not be that "new". But the combination and refinement is somewhat unique, and it needs to be developed into a manufactureable technology which it appears Ford has done. The most significant point is that Ford is actually deploying the technology to half a million cars with this in the next few years. They must have solved the problems you mention. Or maybe we just want to make sure we all buy Ford's "extended warranty"?

    And next year the EcoBoost is due to appear on the Flex, the likely heir to the Taurus X. And since it now has a V6, it will go to an I4 with EcoBoost for the same performance.
    Last edited by BigLarry; 03-31-2008 at 09:27 PM.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

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    too bad its a ford....

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    Overall, good comments.

    Quote Originally Posted by BigLarry
    The current Hybrid technology is only used by a few percent of ecological minded people because of it's higher cost. Electric cars are much less economical and it may be many years away before they're mainstream, maybe a decade or more, if ever.
    Toyota Prius sales are over a million. http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/...ybrid-1m_N.htm

    Quote Originally Posted by BigLarry
    (Hydrogen Fuel Cell Hybrid may happen instead, for instance.) Ford's EcoBoost is a low cost universal, immediate solution among all cars, along the lines of going to diesel. But it can be done now universally with minimal effect and cost, and it is being done. So rather than the world wide improvement of a few percent seen by expensive Hybrids at their low rate of customer uptake, Ford EcoBoost can provide a far bigger impact much sooner at real cost savings to everyone.
    Extended Range Electric Vehicles (EREV or PHEV) are much more feasible on many aspects then hydrogen fuel cells.

    Quote Originally Posted by BigLarry
    BTW, Hybrid technology gives great gains in the city. But Hybrid does not help you haul a trailer up a mountain, or a Semi-trailer truck haul freight across country on the highway. You need power a battery cannot provide, and hybrid provides no extra fuel savings in these scenarios. But EcoBoost can help across the board including these significant cases of fuel use, and do it everywhere now.
    That's a common misconceptions. Hybrids are feasible for Semi trailers in highway driving too. The electric motor kicks in to prevent a fuel wasting down shift to high revs for hill climbing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Killroy
    Toyota Prius sales are over a million. http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/...ybrid-1m_N.htm

    Extended Range Electric Vehicles (EREV or PHEV) are much more feasible on many aspects then hydrogen fuel cells.

    That's a common misconceptions. Hybrids are feasible for Semi trailers in highway driving too. The electric motor kicks in to prevent a fuel wasting down shift to high revs for hill climbing.
    All good points.

    1. That's a lot of Priuii! Didn't realize. But that's a million over 10 years. Ford is hoping to soon be delivering 0.5 million EcoBoost cars per year, and continue to grow rapidly from there. Ford currently sells only 2.4 million cars per year, so more than that needs licensing or a technology copy in other companies. Again, Hybrid and EcoBoost are not incompatible nor competing technologies. They can work together for multiplied performance.

    2. I tend to agree that fuel cells need a lot of work, So do good batteries, but there's more promise there. Either is many years away from mainstream.

    3. Hybrids see some small improvement on highway MPG, it's just not anywhere near the big improvements seen in city driving, which is what really justifies its higher cost.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

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    I work in a Garage and a Freestyle came in with less than 15000 on it and it needed an alternator. Fortunately for the owner it was still under warantee and they just had to get back to the dealer. I've only seen a few others which just came in for tire work so I can't judge on the model as a whole. There is a general consensus among the guys at work that it you want a reliable car than buy Japanese. If you chose to call me a person who does not support American workers than so be it. I refuse to waste my money on cars that just can't compete in terms of quality and reliability. If you have managed to get a Ford, Chevy, or Dodge to over 150k with little to no problems I can assure you that you're the exception.
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    On another note Its hilarious that Ford had to change the name back to Taurus from 500 simply because buyers trusted a car named Taurus. Ford is sure Lucky that they have the blind owner loyalty here in America because I don't think anyone else would buy a car simply because of the name.
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    Quote Originally Posted by G-VegasMTBiker
    I work in a Garage and a Freestyle came in with less than 15000 on it and it needed an alternator. Fortunately for the owner it was still under warantee and they just had to get back to the dealer. I've only seen a few others which just came in for tire work so I can't judge on the model as a whole. There is a general consensus among the guys at work that it you want a reliable car than buy Japanese. If you chose to call me a person who does not support American workers than so be it. I refuse to waste my money on cars that just can't compete in terms of quality and reliability. If you have managed to get a Ford, Chevy, or Dodge to over 150k with little to no problems I can assure you that you're the exception.
    Well since you work in a shop than Im sure your aware that at anytime there are just as many (if not more) recalls on foreign vehicles as American. I listen to a mechanic on 710 WOR in NY every Sunday and he claims that there are actually more recalls for Nissans, Hondas etc.. now adays than American manufactures albeit most are probably bs.

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    Here's another 1,300,000 anecdotal data points

    Quote Originally Posted by G-VegasMTBiker
    I work in a Garage and a Freestyle came in with less than 15000 on it and it needed an alternator. Fortunately for the owner it was still under warantee and they just had to get back to the dealer. I've only seen a few others which just came in for tire work so I can't judge on the model as a whole. There is a general consensus among the guys at work that it you want a reliable car than buy Japanese. If you chose to call me a person who does not support American workers than so be it. I refuse to waste my money on cars that just can't compete in terms of quality and reliability. If you have managed to get a Ford, Chevy, or Dodge to over 150k with little to no problems I can assure you that you're the exception.
    Consumer Reports has 1,300,000 survey responses per year. This is enough data to make some fair statistics.

    In the first chart below, the Taurus X (AKA Freestyle) reliability is shown relative to other vehicles, including Japanese. (An Alternator is classified under Electrical, which the Freestyle is tops in reliability.) Note this is not the problem rate, but the relative reliability to the others. The Taurus X had poor initial reliability but is now near the top of the list in most all categories as problems were fixed. This is generally true for most of Ford's products over the last two or three years. Surprising everyone, Ford won the J.D. Power survey for quality last year.

    It will take years for Ford's major improvements to be shown a clear and permanent trend. And more years for consumer sentiment to realize the change.

    The lower chart shows the actual average problem rates among all cars, rather than relative. Reliability has been improving in for all cars across the board over the years, making it less a factor today than fuel economy and safety. For example, Ford gives me a bumper-to-bumper warranty on my T-X and all my gadgets for 6 years, 100,000 miles for only $1500 and still makes a lot of money on me.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flyer
    Let's focus now on this Freestyle and francois' reviews. I just like the fact that the perspective is from an active lifestyle. Handling, cargo space, clearance, mileage, wind noise- these are things I like to read about; not how many freaking cup holders there are or how nice the DVD player is or how stylish the alloy rims are. I am so tired of those regular magazine reviews that target the couch-wrestling suburbanite. Ooh, is that stereotyping? My bad
    We changed from a 98 Outback (awesome car) to the 07 Freestyle Limited AWD back in Sept. Main reason for the Ford... the Outback's got smaller inside. I don't fit in the new ones. Plus we needed room for 6 folks now and then. The Freestyle has been good so far. The wife wanted bells whistles and other goodies. No DVD player though. I refuse to go there. Do the kids have a window? Use it. The Outback just had cassette and power windows. Ford also had a 0% finance thing going on. Can't beat that.
    So far the Freestyle has been good. Comfortable but more important... it holds my MTB crap. A bike fits inside nicely if needed if the front wheel is removed. I've only tried my big bike though. Roof rack is now the mode of bike transport. More room in the back for dogs than in the Outback.
    Its also got better cup holders than the pieces of junk the Outback had.
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    Quote Originally Posted by G-VegasMTBiker
    Toyota is sure Lucky that they have the blind owner loyalty here in America because I don't think anyone else would buy a car simply because of the name.


    There fix it for you, there is alot more kool-aid drinkers in the Toyota buyers pool.

  49. #49
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    Here's more photos btw.

    http://gallery.carreview.com/showgallery.php?cat=580

    And my 3 page review on the car is done. And get this, Big Larry wrote a 20 page review on it! We'll try and publish both this week.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigLarry
    The above linked video also says that Turbo Charging isn't new and used heavily in Europe, with a lot of development by VW. It was also a big fad in the US when I was younger. But the problem was the boost only occurred at the higher RPMs where you had more HP anyway. So you got a spike of power at just one point on the acceleration and RPM curve.The turbines have become more refined over time to help boost at lower RPMs, but still not that great.
    I don't see what the problem is with that, you get better milege and more power when you need it. Best of both worlds. It's not a "spike of power" at one point on the accelleration and RPM curve, it's after one point where the turbine is turning at the speeds required to built up decent boost, which doesn't just exist at one point, but after one point.

    Unfortunately you are not quite correct though in terms of turbo response and RPM, there have been plenty of setups around that have gotten around those problems for years, with different size twin turbos, with twin-scroll turbos, roller-bearing turbos, wastegate adjustments, just making the components/engine with the right tuning of the backpressure/exhaust, and so forth.

    In actuality, that turbo lag is one of the reasons WHY your turbo engine can give you better MPG, if you're engaging the turbo all the time your milege WILL go down, when you pressurize air you have to ram a lot more fuel in there to remain stiometric. You're going to negate the efficiency advantage by making all that power "instantaneous". Once again, I think the US manufacturers (ford) are setting themselves up for failure. While you can get more efficiency from a turbo, you can also get much worse efficiency if you have a lead foot. My current one doesn't lag too bad at all, I can get good boost at 3K, and with 280-300hp from a 2.0L engine, relatively good gas milege from an AWD platform, it's clear that ford and others have a long way to go.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  51. #51
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    "Ford also had a 0% finance thing going on. Can't beat that."

    Usually (if they give you a choice), you are taking the 0% in lieu of some rebates, other times they are just less flexible with the price when they are offering 0%. People say, well at least it's at 0%, because people don't like paying interest, it's like paying something for nothing. What it comes down to though is that basically you are just paying all the interest up front, instead of getting to use the rebate, or paying a lower price for the car. You don't get anything for free. The downside is that you now have no opportunity for saving by prepaying your loan off faster, you already payed all the interest (even if it wasn't called that). The result of this is being in debt longer, because once you've paid all the interest up front, you're better off saving any extra money and earning some measly amount of taxable interest, rather than paying it off early, so you're saddled with a car payment for the whole term.

    Of course this only applies if you're interested in getting debt-free and gaining some amount of financial independence (like going riding instead of worrying about bills But a lot of people think they're actually saving money when car dealers are offering 0% interest, when the reality is that you lose the opportunity for any savings at all.
    Fall is here. Woo-hoo!

  52. #52
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    Nope, and no need to lecture me on economics. I have no debt except for this car payment and a very low % fixed mortgage. The incentives vs the percentage math in this case worked out in my favor. The model was closing out and I already talked them down a ways.
    The 0% loan is a better bet (for me) since the $$ can be working for me in my various investments at a much higher rate than even a loan of 2-6%. The 0% was a good bonus. Even my finanical advisor said it was a heckuva deal.
    Don't harsh my mello

  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by francois
    Here's more photos btw.

    http://gallery.carreview.com/showgallery.php?cat=580

    And my 3 page review on the car is done. And get this, Big Larry wrote a 20 page review on it! We'll try and publish both this week.

    fc
    Well, that's a bit of an exaggeration. It's only 13 pages in Word at 11 pt font, including the links to other reviews and Taurus X forums.

    I kept it down by not including some details such as the Consumer Report Reliability Chart I just posted. I just linked to the CR web site in my review.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem
    In actuality, that turbo lag is one of the reasons WHY your turbo engine can give you better MPG, if you're engaging the turbo all the time your milege WILL go down, when you pressurize air you have to ram a lot more fuel in there to remain stiometric. You're going to negate the efficiency advantage by making all that power "instantaneous".
    Turbo lag doesn't save you gas, it just gives you gas .

    What saves you gas is the turbo if off most off the time. It is programmed to kick in at 4000, 3000, or 2000 rpm. The lower it kicks in, the less gas is saved but the sooner power is available.

    Turbo lag is just the devil. It is when you punch the gas, you count... '1001, 1002, 1003... whoosh' It's the delay for when you ask for the power and when you actually get it. It's what gives turbos a bad name. The lag has improved over the years.

    Don't get me wrong. I like turbos and most of my cars over the years are turbos. The VW 1.8T is one of the best ever engines in my opinion.

    But there's a couple other issues with turbos. One is don't do that well in automatic transmission engines. Turbos are great in manual transmission cars since you can keep the revs up when you want quick access to the power. In auto, it's just laggy all the time.

    Another issue is low end torque. It's just harder to come by. In a light sports car, it's no big deal. But in a 4000-5000 lb car, it's just a tough match. A 1.8t overboosted turbo screamer is just a tough match.

    I think the American consumer is a little bit too attached to the V8 and towing capacity. That has to change and I think it's starting too.

    Other interesting technologies are electric assist. On the Lexus 450Hybrid sedan, the low end torque is intense. Also, cylinder shut-off on the Honda cars seem to work pretty well. It just shuts off a bunch of cylinders at cruising speeds and it's hardly noticeable.


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  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem
    I don't see what the problem is with that, you get better milege and more power when you need it. Best of both worlds. It's not a "spike of power" at one point on the accelleration and RPM curve, it's after one point where the turbine is turning at the speeds required to built up decent boost, which doesn't just exist at one point, but after one point.

    Unfortunately you are not quite correct though in terms of turbo response and RPM, there have been plenty of setups around that have gotten around those problems for years, with different size twin turbos, with twin-scroll turbos, roller-bearing turbos, wastegate adjustments, just making the components/engine with the right tuning of the backpressure/exhaust, and so forth.

    In actuality, that turbo lag is one of the reasons WHY your turbo engine can give you better MPG, if you're engaging the turbo all the time your milege WILL go down, when you pressurize air you have to ram a lot more fuel in there to remain stiometric. You're going to negate the efficiency advantage by making all that power "instantaneous". Once again, I think the US manufacturers (ford) are setting themselves up for failure. While you can get more efficiency from a turbo, you can also get much worse efficiency if you have a lead foot. My current one doesn't lag too bad at all, I can get good boost at 3K, and with 280-300hp from a 2.0L engine, relatively good gas milege from an AWD platform, it's clear that ford and others have a long way to go.
    The latest improvements in turbo technology as you suggest are one of the reasons EcoBoost is even possible today. I see how turbo lag / momentum can be a plus and a curse as you say. But Ford's found a way to negate those effects by taking the technology even further by combining it with direct cylinder injection, where stoichiometry can be instantly adjusted independently of air flow. That's one of the big control advantages of direct injection that improves economy and responsiveness.

    A lead foot will always use more gas, turbo charged or not. But EcoBoost can always help improve gas mileage regardless of foot weight.

    This technology isn't a maybe someday thing like electric batteries or whatever. It's shipping out now. A rapid 20% increase in fuel economy across the fleet is a major advance.

    Do you really believe you know more than the thousands of top engineers at Ford and their engine suppliers who've done this their whole life as a profession, and that they'll fail because they're mistaken and didn't know any better?


    EDIT: I've extracted the EcoBoost Torque versus RPM curve from the Kuzak video. This compares the smaller I4 EcoBoost to a 3.0 Liter V-6, like in the Freestyle. The EcoBoost torque curve is beautiful. A very flat torque across the top that higher, wider, and flatter than even the V-6. A sharp drop at low RMP close to idle is likely by design to lower the amount of air rammed into the engine when less power is needed. It ramps up in torque just above idle around low highway cruising RPM. And finally the direct cylinder injection gets rid of the turbo lag effects for high responsiveness. It's a brilliant combination of known and existing technologies that's made even better by being put into mass production now.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by BigLarry; 04-01-2008 at 01:02 PM.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wg
    No DVD player though. I refuse to go there. Do the kids have a window? Use it.
    Indeed! Very good for you! -GT2005

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    Quote Originally Posted by francois
    Turbo lag doesn't save you gas, it just gives you gas .

    What saves you gas is the turbo if off most off the time. It is programmed to kick in at 4000, 3000, or 2000 rpm. The lower it kicks in, the less gas is saved but the sooner power is available.

    Turbo lag is just the devil. It is when you punch the gas, you count... '1001, 1002, 1003... whoosh' It's the delay for when you ask for the power and when you actually get it. It's what gives turbos a bad name. The lag has improved over the years.

    Don't get me wrong. I like turbos and most of my cars over the years are turbos. The VW 1.8T is one of the best ever engines in my opinion.

    But there's a couple other issues with turbos. One is don't do that well in automatic transmission engines. Turbos are great in manual transmission cars since you can keep the revs up when you want quick access to the power. In auto, it's just laggy all the time.

    Another issue is low end torque. It's just harder to come by. In a light sports car, it's no big deal. But in a 4000-5000 lb car, it's just a tough match. A 1.8t overboosted turbo screamer is just a tough match.

    I think the American consumer is a little bit too attached to the V8 and towing capacity. That has to change and I think it's starting too.

    Other interesting technologies are electric assist. On the Lexus 450Hybrid sedan, the low end torque is intense. Also, cylinder shut-off on the Honda cars seem to work pretty well. It just shuts off a bunch of cylinders at cruising speeds and it's hardly noticeable.


    fc
    The discussed theories on turbos are not exactly correct. Turbos increase the efficiency of the ICE by taking waste heat (the major problems with heat engines) and putting it to work compressing the intake charge.

    The turbos are not programmed with software to perform as a specific RPM, turbo fans are mechanically designed by shape and size to efficiently boost the intake charge for a range of RPM. Waste gates and such are to prevent over boost and enhance drivability.


    I hope that helps.

  58. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigLarry
    Do you really believe you know more than the thousands of top engineers at Ford and their engine suppliers who've done this their whole life as a profession
    Well, I haven't lost billions of dollars, nor do I think ford strategic planning is all that.

    My buddy has the AWD "milan" with the V6. He gets 17mpg on good days (on the highway), and a lot worse most of the time, and it's not a quirk (his wife works at the dealership and that's why they got the car). What a POS with miserable milege, the non-V6 version got like 140hp, with an AWD drivetrain (and the losses associated) it's just piss poor engineering, and that's a pretty recent car. So what exactly have all those thousands of top engineers been doing their whole life? Sure as hell not designing good cars.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem
    Well, I haven't lost billions of dollars, nor do I think ford strategic planning is all that.

    My buddy has the AWD "milan" with the V6. He gets 17mpg on good days (on the highway), and a lot worse most of the time, and it's not a quirk (his wife works at the dealership and that's why they got the car). What a POS with miserable milege, the non-V6 version got like 140hp, with an AWD drivetrain (and the losses associated) it's just piss poor engineering, and that's a pretty recent car. So what exactly have all those thousands of top engineers been doing their whole life? Sure as hell not designing good cars.
    There's certainly been a lot of complacency, in-breeding, and bad decisions out of Detroit in the last several years. But Ford is trying hard to change that, starting from the top down. First with hiring a guy from outside the industry to be CEO, who then hires Toyota's top marketing guy.

    Ford has some excellent high mileage cars. The Ford Focus with a normal 2L 140 HP I4 gets 24/35 MPG City/Hwy and is selling around 200,000/year, up 36% over last year while Toyota sales dropped 25% over last year. The Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic don't do any better on mileage. Ford also has the excellent new SYNC technology to integrate consumer electronics and voice, which is bringing in the buyers in droves. Ford advertises MPGs and MP3s, and they have it.

    And Ford is starting to import a lot of the sweet sexy efficient European cars. Take a look at the nice little Verve/Fiesta that's immigrating from Europe next year. The Euro version is a 3-door hatch, the US version is getting 4-doors.

    As for the Mercury Milan, according to fueleconomy.gov should be getting about the same gas mileage as my Taurus X, around 17/24 city/hwy. However I'm definitely getting better than the EPA's new "realistic" fuel numbers. On freeway trips at 65-70 MPH I get between 25 and 29 MPG. I calibrate this to about 1% accuracy. If I only take my kids to school with a cold engine, and do lots of idling there getting 0 MPG, I can get an average just under 15 MPG for the week. I don't doubt your buddy's mileage number, but it's very confusing to me. Does he drive digitally (acceleration being full on or off)?

    It's hard to separate a given individual's driving habits from the car in getting mileage. It also depends heavily on the city/driving mix. That's why it's best to just compare the fueleconomy.gov numbers, and they have buttons to do that side by side.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

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    Now I'll get me a sammich and settle down to do some reading. Keep up the good work.

    Ugh- new job next week so I'll hardly have time for mtbr for a while.

  61. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigLarry

    As for the Mercury Milan, according to fueleconomy.gov should be getting about the same gas mileage as my Taurus X, around 17/24 city/hwy. However I'm definitely getting better than the EPA's new "realistic" fuel numbers. On freeway trips at 65-70 MPH I get between 25 and 29 MPG. I calibrate this to about 1% accuracy. If I only take my kids to school with a cold engine, and do lots of idling there getting 0 MPG, I can get an average just under 15 MPG for the week. I don't doubt your buddy's mileage number, but it's very confusing to me. Does he drive digitally (acceleration being full on or off)? .
    Well, the drivers of these cars are averaging (again, this is data that his wife collects from the dealership so it's real-world data) 11-17mpg realistically, that 17mpg is not all the time, but that's about as good as it usually gets with that AWD V6 milan, pretty poor. The car doesn't do dramatically better at freeway speeds, maybe up to 19-20mpg best-ever, but again, pretty miserable overall. They've actually taken to driving their dodge truck more due to the poor mpg of the milan, but coupleing an AWD platform with a V6 is probably a pretty poor idea in the first place for milege.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  62. #62
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    Data, Data, Data,..

    Is that all we can talk about? Here's some pictures I just took of my Taurus X.

    The pictures are Taurus X outside, inside, and where it took us last weekend.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

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    I honestly hate it.

  64. #64
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    So the Ford Flex looks pretty dang cool.
    http://blogs.automotive.com/6206456/...ses/index.html

    It looks like it's mechanically the same as the Ford Taurus X.

    The engine btw is often quoted as 'more than' 263 hp. I think it's 280 to 290 horse based on my seatofthepants dyno.

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    I really like the way the seats fold perfectly flat with not many holes and dips all over- perfect for carting dogs, bikes, and gear around. Oh, and the occasional drunk friend on his way back from Utah

  66. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by Killroy
    I honestly hate it.
    You're not alone. And that's probably why the Taurus X is only selling 3,000/month versus 14,500 and 18,500 per month for the Edge and Escape. I personally love the looks, but I'm a big wagon fan - one of the few left around.

    BTW, the Taurus X is much bigger than it looks due to it's proportions. My Sable wagon looks like a small toy next to the T-X. It's as tall and long as minivan, and bigger than a Ford Explorer. Lots of room and versatility.

    As Francois mentions, the Taurus-X going to be joined and phased out by the Ford Flex this summer, which is effectively the Taurus X with a shell change. Same engine, platform, size, features, price,... Ford is debating themselves how this radical new Flex design is going to sell. It's a wild gamble for them. Personally, I like the T-X much better which is why I sprung for it while I can get it real cheap. But most people seem to be more intrigued by the Flex design.

    Last edited by BigLarry; 04-01-2008 at 10:56 PM.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

  67. #67
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    After turning wrenches daily for the last five years, I can tell you that every vehicle manufacturer has problems. They all just have problems with different systems. The latest from Ford and GM appear to be very well built. They know it's sink or swim and are (finally) producing some quality products. It may be too late for them to make a comeback from the junkers they put out in the 80s and 90s while the Japanese were continually improving fit/finish and mechanical reliability.

    Unfortunately for GM/Ford/Chrysler... the mistakes they put on the road during the 80s and mid-90s are coming back to haunt them. The early to mid-90s GM/Ford/Chrysler products that come in ALWAYS have more problems than asian models of the same time period. Sure, Toyotas always have leaking valve cover gaskets and power steering hydraulics... but GM/Ford/Chrysler products have head gasket failures, intake manifold gasket leaks, transmission failures, repeat heater core failure due to electrolysis, etc., etc. The undercarriage of 100K+ Japanese vehicles is, most of the time, bone dry... while GM/Ford/Chrysler products leak from every gasket and seal. The long term durability of Japanese vehicles has been and will most likely continue to be higher than domestics.

    Totally random, but it just might save you tons of money on cooling system related repairs: GM/VW/Audi with Dex-Cool (red coolant).... flush that $!@# out! GM is facing a class action lawsuit because the havoc that stuff has wreaked on so many consumers vehicles. It is NOT good for 150K/10 years.

    For the record, I have an American (GM) designed and built (Tennessee) vehicle (99 Saturn SL2 1.9L DOHC A/T) with 130K on the odometer. I've put a radiator in it and performed the scheduled maintenance as per the owner's manual. It gets 26mpg, costs $40/mo to insure and never breaks down. It passes smog with less emissions than the majority of new cars. I would take it over a Honda or Toyota of the same generation any day of the week.

    Maybe it all comes down to the guy who built the car?

    And, as someone pointed out already, let's not even discuss German vehicles... but they are more fun to drive than just about any American/Japanese car. If only Toyota made a sports car. No, the Celica GT-S doesn't count. :-)

    edit: Toyota IS producing a sporty car. 5.0L V8, 416hp, 317lb-ft torque and 8-speed electronic-manual trans... ooooh baby. But, meh... four doors.

  68. #68
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    Testing term?

    Just interested to ask how long the car will be in your possession? do you do long term tests?

  69. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrm
    Just interested to ask how long the car will be in your possession? do you do long term tests?
    The car goes home tomorrow. We get them for a week. They valet drop it off at the office and exchange for the next one. Next up is Mazda CX9 and Infiniti G37 I think. It's a crazy good gig.

    fc
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    Why do people buy new cars on credit? If you can't pay cash, you can't afford it.

    The depreciation is brutal. I hear all sorts of excuses around reliability and warranty but the bottom line is that you will never be further ahead with a new car vs a used car. I bought a 2001 top line Taurus 2 years ago for $4600 from the original old man owner who had all the maintenance receipts from Ford. No problems with it. I would have to put over $20,000 in repairs into it to match the price of a new base model Taurus. Never going to happen -- and it will depreciate slowly from here in, so I'll lose virtually nothing to depreciation as compared to a new car. Insurance is much less on a low value car, so many more thousands are saved over the years as well.

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    i bought my 00 wagon 3 years ago with only 40k miles for $4k.
    i have had to do no work to it other then basic maintance. (bacis maintaince includes shocks, brakes, fluid changes all of them, ect)
    Taurus are great cars, the only ones that had the problems are the 3.8l with head gasket issues. The trans problems people had were from not changine the fluid and you needed to install a trans cooler to help keep the temps down.

  72. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigLarry
    You're not alone. ...
    BTW, the Taurus X is much bigger than it looks due to it's proportions. My Sable wagon looks like a small toy next to the T-X. It's as tall and long as minivan, and bigger than a Ford Explorer. Lots of room and versatility.

    As Francois mentions, the Taurus-X going to be joined and phased out by the Ford Flex this summer, which is effectively the Taurus X with a shell change.

    The Flex is much better looking (no offense to the T-X). You got to admit the shape is almost a large knock-off of a Scion X. The white roof also looks like a mini or the new Toyota FJ and the grill and head lights remind me of Land Rovers.

    The T-X size looks BIG, mini-vanish and like all big cars, unsafe for road bikers. I dislike SUV and Trucks in general and here is why: I had a Ford Ranger and it was a small truck but it only got 16 MPG. I used it as a truck, but rarely. Why should I pay to fuel a vehicle that has capabilities that I dont use, that compromises fuel economy? Then I got a Miata and found that I could move myself home from school with 2 bikes on a hitch rack and that's all I needed.

  73. #73
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    Indeed Ford innovative LMFAO, luckily they own a piece of zoom zoom....

  74. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by Killroy
    The Flex is much better looking (no offense to the T-X). You got to admit the shape is almost a large knock-off of a Scion X. The white roof also looks like a mini or the new Toyota FJ and the grill and head lights remind me of Land Rovers.

    The T-X size looks BIG, mini-vanish and like all big cars, unsafe for road bikers. I dislike SUV and Trucks in general and here is why: I had a Ford Ranger and it was a small truck but it only got 16 MPG. I used it as a truck, but rarely. Why should I pay to fuel a vehicle that has capabilities that I dont use, that compromises fuel economy? Then I got a Miata and found that I could move myself home from school with 2 bikes on a hitch rack and that's all I needed.
    I'm one of the few that like the T-X looks better than the Flex, which is why I am buying it before it's phased out next year. Each of us has different needs and different emotions about different car types. No apologies needed. It explains why we're not all driving the exact same car and color.

    Personally I like wagons for their versatility and car-like handling and fair gas mileage. And for reasons I don't understand myself, I like the wagon looks as well. The T-X has the same MPG as my Sable Wagon according to the EPA, but more room for my family that was outgrowing my Sable wagon in size and number. Over half the time I'm filling it with 2-5 people, such as kid carpools with neighbors and family outings.

    I was a little disappointed with the gas mileage, which I hoped to be better. But I drive under 10,000 miles per year, much of it to MTB parks. In my calculations I wouldn't save much with a higher mileage car, say only $300-$400/year for 23 versus 19 MPG overall average, which was well covered by the many $K discounts I got. Interestingly, with the cool gas mileage indicator, I've learned how to change driving habits, and am probably averaging 2 MPG higher from that alone, exceeding the EPA estimates. And again, on the highway I get 25-28 MPG with cruise control and by sticking with traffic flow at a constant speed. It's not as good on gas as I'd like, but it's not a gas hog either. Compare with a standard truck or SUV.

    And the Taurus X is as narrow as my Sable wagon and many cars, unlike the Saturn Outlook and the new Ford Flex that are a few inches wider. This helps in maneuvering in parking lots and passing bikers, which I give lots of room anyway.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

  75. #75
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    You're talking history.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brown_Teeth
    Indeed Ford innovative LMFAO, luckily they own a piece of zoom zoom....
    To survive Ford needs to innovate and improve like their life depends on it, which it does. They hired in a new outsider, Alan Mulally, to run the company and handed him the keys to the company. Everyone agrees he's done a fabulous job in all respects, including hiring Jim Farley away from Toyota to lead marketing, globalizing the cars, divesting of distracting brands like Jaguar and Land Rover, putting wild new concept cars into production faster with less neutering for cost, and importing fabulous Ford of Europe designs, among many other things.

    Here's what Ford's innovated recently in four key areas:

    Quality & Reliability:
    Across their fleet, Ford has moved to the highest quality and reliability not just in dramatically reducing number of defects like all brands, but actually exceeding others in their reduction to get to the top relatively to others. For Reliability, see the Consumer Reports chart above for my Taurus X, for instance. The red dots means it's much better than all other brands in reliability. Ford and Toyota are now in a dead heat when it comes to initial quality, based on three separate surveys conducted three months after delivery.

    Style:
    Ford's new Edge is selling like crazy, growing in sales while all cars are dropping. Take a look at the radical Flex design above. And look at the new Verve/Fiesta being imported from Europe. And everyone who's seen the highly secret new Taurus Sedan style coming out next year says it's jaw-dropping stunning.

    Green:
    We've already talked about EcoBoost a lot. That's Ford's primary near term focus and will be a major across-the-board improvement on gas usage. Demand for Ford's Hybrid Escape is outpacing Ford's ability to deliver right now, and dealers are gouging another $4K premium on top of the usual Hybrid premium. Ford says they've maxed out production and rapidly increasing production capability on the Hybrid. Others Hybrids such as Toyota also have production problems, getting enough batteries, etc. Toyota is overall much higher now from their earlier lead. But Ford and others wised up and are catching up. GM doesn't have any of their Tahoe Hybrids except maybe 1000 for show rooms. None for sale.

    Safety:
    My Taurus X is one of the few top picks by the IIHS for safety. Ford has pioneered a lot of the safety system modules and sensing systems now standard. Ford has received more five-star crash test ratings than any other company in US History. (See www.safercar.gov)

    Smarts:
    Ford's new SYNC is the best thing for cars since round wheels. It allows total integration of auto electronics with voice control. It can interface and index any 20GB USB drive, iPod or MP3 player in a couple seconds and then play any song, artist, album or music type by voice command. The voice command also works with phones, from which it downloads your address book instantly each time you get in the car. Music can be streamed to your from a phone by Bluetooth, either from the SD card or Internet. It's a quantum leap above anything at any other auto maker. And it's also going to put to shame GM's On-Star. The new version 2 of SYNC due in the fall will dial 911 directly after a crash, with a 10 second delay for driver cancel if desired. No intermediate operator to slow things down. A computer message will be send in case the drive is incapacitated. It uses your own cell phone via Bluetooth, so no monthly charges either. Another new feature is on-demand vehicle status reports, with data sent from the car via your phone to Ford's web site for redaction and reports that can be forwarded to email or text message. There's much more, but you get the idea.

    Here's a link from Ford that discusses some of these in more detail. This new web site is just one of the many real message deliveries, not hype, that the new VP Jim Farley is putting out.
    Last edited by BigLarry; 04-03-2008 at 02:59 PM.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

  76. #76
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    Larry, are you a Ford salesman? :-)

    I've always wondered how the reliability of newly released models is determined. Any ideas? I don't see how they can say any new (Ford or any other) product is reliable as it just came out and does not have a proven track record. What about when that baby hits 90K? How reliable will it be then? Who cares about how many squeaks and rattles people return for warranty service on. I want to know... how many power steering pumps, catalytic convertors, transmissions, head gaskets, etc. I'll be replacing over the lifespan of the vehicle. I don't think anyone can provide that kind of information.

    Also, I would hardly consider the Chevrolet a 'hybrid.' It's a pathetic attempt at anything 'green.' The only thing that differentiates itself from a standard Tahoe is the fact that the engine shuts off at stops. It uses a gigantic generator/starter assembly to rapidly start the engine upon brake pedal release. Imagine how much that baby is going to cost when it fails. These were just rolling in when I left the dealer. The one cool feature of those trucks is the standard 110V outlets in the bed. Sort of like the Civic 'Hybrid' is really not much of a hybrid either as the gasoline engine is running at all times and the IMA just that ... motor assist. I just want one for carpool access.

    OTOH, I drove a 2007 Mustang the other day (V6... boo! But it could still put down rubber with ease) and was very impressed with the fit, finish and apparent build quality. I'd buy one if I didn't want a car payment.. but only because Toyota doesn't make a sports car.

  77. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdubsl2
    Larry, are you a Ford salesman? :-)

    I've always wondered how the reliability of newly released models is determined. Any ideas? I don't see how they can say any new (Ford or any other) product is reliable as it just came out and does not have a proven track record. What about when that baby hits 90K? How reliable will it be then? ...
    There's two different measures, quality and reliability.

    Quality is the measure of how well the car was produced. What defects appear in the first few months that indicate an error in manufacturing, or poor fit, or poor job of assembly, or lack of detail.

    Reliability is more the long term failures and lifetime you describe.

    A car maker's attention to one leads to improvement in the other, so often they go hand in hand, but not necessarily as you point out. For Reliability, the Consumer Report survey over many years is the better indicator, and indeed it indicates a dramatic reliability improvement going hand in hand with Ford's quality improvement

    I'm not a salesman, but I'd been looking for years to find a car to replace my Sable wagon and wasn't satisfied with any, so I kept driving the wagon. I almost bought the Saturn Outlook, but it was just a little too big on the outside for me (too truckish) and the second row was too small in legroom. And Ford's new SYNC is delightful. Like others, I was wondering about Ford's ability, and learned a lot about them as part of this recent purchase.

    BTW, the Mustang just won the J&D Powers survey for quality. With EcoBoost the engine will get smaller I4 or V6, more efficient, but with more power and "smiles" as Ford puts it. The EcoBoost flat torque curve immediately presses you hard back in the seat and keeps you there without letting up.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

  78. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdubsl2
    Toyota doesn't make a sports car.

    ?Que? What about the MR2?


    Civic Hybrid. I want honda to bring back the Insight with a new generation.

  79. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by Killroy
    ?Que? What about the MR2?


    Civic Hybrid. I want honda to bring back the Insight with a new generation.
    They've made sports cars in the past. But not even the MR2 is in their current line-up. They don't even make the Celica, anymore!

    Mmm.... Supra Twin Turbo.... yummy.

    My coworker just picked up an older MR2 for $500. Unbelievably, it's in great shape. The A/C compressor is seized, but that's it. It's a sweet little car and a blast to drive.

  80. #80
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    Nice reviews Francois and Larry.

    I've had a Ford Freestyle since 2005. It's the SEL model with AWD and it has been a good car. I like it better than the mini vans or full size (or even medium sized) suvs we've owned previously. It drives and handles much more like a car than either and holds just about as much. Road noise is acceptably quiet, and it has a nice controlled, "on-center" feeling to the steering for highway cruising. I agree with this quote from Car and Driver: “ride quality that irons out lumps but maintains a hint of Euro firmness. Excellent all-around dynamics.”


    I get around 18 mpg around town and 22-23 on the highway depending on how heavily I'm loaded and how fast I drive (usually 75-80mph).

    I've got 75,000 miles on it without any problems (other than it seems to be a door-ding, rock-to-windshield, fender-scrape, front-airdam-smashed magnet for some reason).

    The one glitch that the dealership has not been able to solve is a moaning from the power steering with a concommitant surging of the throttle when going slow steering around a parking lot when it's hot.

    I actually like the 3.0 V6 with the CVT on the Freestyle. I have driven the 3.5L 6-speed auto in the Ford Edge and it feels like a nice drivetrain, but eventhough I was one of those who wished the Freestyle had more HP on paper it has never felt sluggish or lacked for power. It has a nice quick throttle tip-in off idle and pulls nicely and seamlessly from low rpm to midrange clear up to 6000rpm. Not sure what problems they had with the CVT (if any) to warrant the change. I've actually quite liked it eventhough I was a bit skeptical at first.

    I can fit two full size bikes inside with the middle and rear seats laid flat, one on top of the other with some blankets for padding in between them.It also makes a pretty nice bed for two with bikes removed. With all seats up I can seat seven and the space behind the third seat is much better than any of the other crossovers/suvs I tested (Pacifica, Cadillac CRX, Pilot, Pathfinder etc)... and I can still mount bikes on the roof if the seats inside are taken with people.

    I've had it on several relatively rough dirt roads to get to riding spots including the mile out to the Gooseberry traihead from the restrooms and some adventures in moab with hfly. The ground clearance as been adequate if I'm careful (I thought the Freestyle was rated at 7.9 inches or something) and the Volvo designed full time AWD system and traction control has been great in the snow, mud, sand, and loose dirt roads. It drifts nice rally car style on high speed dirt road sweepers for a big family "mini-van" thing.

    Overall it's been a nice, versatile, reliable car. ... and it only cost $28,500 including the family entertainment package (DVD). I agree with Larry's summary: "The Taurus X is an excellent people mover with perfection of the most modern features, handling, passenger comfort, capacity, flexibility entertainment and safety. But you must be able to cope with Taurus X’s dammed wagon stigma to take advantage of its plethora of offerings. If you have that passion, you’ll be rewarded with the great deal you’d only expect from taking in an unloved off cast." I'm with Larry on the wagon thing too. I'm a sucker for the looks of a wagon. I guess we're in the minority as it isn't selling very well.



    Edit: Just a comment on reliability. So far I've been either really lucky or Ford reliability is pretty good. I've had 5-6 Ford vehicles over the past 15 years and have experienced stellar reliability on all of them. This one and my '97 Ford F-150 are the only ones that I've kept long enough to get some higher mileage numbers on (110K on the truck and 75K on this one) though all have had at least 60K before selling. Oh, almost forgot, we bought an old Taurus wagon once that had 80K on it and kept it for a year or two. YMMV

    I'm anxious to hear your reveiw of the CX-9, Francois. That's the next crossover/suv I've got my eye on. I took one for a quick test drive a few months ago and have read the magazine reviews. It looks like it may be a worthy step up/replacement for the Freestyle. We didn't like the Hyundai Veracruz as much. I'm intrigued by the Ford Flex with ecoboost. ... and it's nice having a local dealer.
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    Last edited by KRob; 04-16-2008 at 03:32 PM.
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  81. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob
    Nice reviews Francois and Larry.
    For those who missed Francis and Larry's reviews, clicking on the links below will take you directly to their reviews.

    2008 Ford Taurus X Limited Review - A Family Guy’s Perspective
    Lots and lots of details from biglarry (we wouldn't expect anything less)

    2008 Ford Taurus X Review - Confused looking crossover finds its identity
    Get the full scoop from Francis
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  82. #82
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    Awesome car and real sweet Intense!

  83. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigLarry
    Again, Ford is doing better and coming up with the EcoBoost and other techniques to get much better gas mileage in the future.
    Big Larry,

    Try owning the Ford for a couple years and see if your opinion of their products change.

    The Taurus X will be replaced by the new Explorer CUV, but I expect the Explorer name to be dropped because of the horrible reputation they suffer (rollover magnet, soccer mom-mobile, etc).

    Ford has been making empty promises about fuel economy and improvements for years. The 2003 Ford F150 V8 had less power and fuel economy than the 1996 Chevy Silverado, and the 2008 F150 has more power and less fuel economy than the same Chevy. It's a sad day when my Chevy Silverado gets 1 MPG less than the Ford Mustang GT in my garage.

    We're looking for a car for the wife, and while I want to buy American, we will not buy a SUV for fuel economy reasons although we like the Ford Edge, I cannot bring myself to buy a CUV because of the status symbol crap.

    Just beware that the stuff you are spouting off has been said by Ford since I started buying Fords in 1998, and nothing has yet to come of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Killroy
    I watched Fords EcoBoost presentation and I thing Ford should be put on the top of the Endangered Species List. Ford's approach to improving Fuel efficiency and meeting new CAFE standards are far to conservative. EcoBoost's claimed 2 to 5 MPG improvement are not aggressive enough.

    All the automakers know that increased electrification is the solution to high gas prices, fuel efficiency, better energy independence and emissions. Bob Lutz has received a lot of criticism for the EREV Chevy Volt, but I think that is exactly the direction GM should be going. Yes, Ford has PHEVs (like EREVs) on there "mid term solution" starting 2012. Ford needs to at least match the volts 2010 ETA, because in 2009 the Automotive X- Prize will have consumer vehicles racing--not hypermiling --at 100 MPGe across the US. The American auto industry has already lost a lot of market share to the Prius and Other Hybrids. Ford's EcoBoost presentation looks like their are going to be left behind even more. It's sad that Ford can not even beat the fuel economy of the Model-T a 100 years later.
    Ford's EcoBoost system is a joke and I bet it will never come to fruition. They have been claiming to do things to increase gas mileage, yet GM is production a direct injection 3.6 V-6 for their cars and Ford is still talking about it. GM full size trucks and SUVs get better gas mileage than Ford (and there's a lot of debate about the quality of the modular V8s that Ford builds), and Ford just cancelled their next-gen V8 "Hurricane" project.

    To be brutally honest, Ford products are inferior to the competition in every way. Power, reliability, workmanship, resale value, and overall value. I could care less if Ford went out of business because they have produced junk products for so long, and having been on the losing end of two of their products, I'm not ready to make another gamble. Based on Ford's sales numbers, I am not in the minority, but rather you fanboys are. And know this - every one I talk to I let them know exactly how I feel about Ford products, and while they have some nice designs (Focus, Fusion), they are behind the 8-ball again with their gaudy interiors and sub-par materials.
    Last edited by wesd; 04-21-2008 at 09:23 PM.
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  84. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob
    I get around 18 mpg around town and 22-23 on the highway depending on how heavily I'm loaded and how fast I drive (usually 75-80mph).

    I've had it on several relatively rough dirt roads to get to riding spots including the mile out to the Gooseberry traihead from the restrooms and some adventures in moab with hfly. The ground clearance as been adequate if I'm careful (I thought the Freestyle was rated at 7.9 inches or something) and the Volvo designed full time AWD system and traction control has been great in the snow, mud, sand, and loose dirt roads. It drifts nice rally car style on high speed dirt road sweepers for a big family "mini-van" thing.
    Going on the flat highway, I see between 25 and 32 MPG at 65-70 MPH. With hills and higher speeds (75 MPH), I've seen in the 23-26 MPG range. In the city and only driving kids to school with cold engines and lots of idle, I can get under 15 MPG, but 16-18 is more typical if I'm careful and not always idling.

    On our trip to Moab and Fruita at the end of April, with a very heavy (over)load of four people and camping gear, dragging four bikes in back, a big cargo box on top, and driving 75+ MPH over big mountains, we only got 18.5 MPG. But it wasn't bad considering the trip. I'm pretty sure we'd done 20 to 22 MPG if we keep the speed under 70 MPH.

    We also just went to Gooseberry and drove for several miles on the back roads leading to it from Springdale with lots of big rocks in the dirt road. Rensho (Norcal moderator) was driving my Taurus X and was good at not hitting anything, recognizing the M-shape clearance underneath, with the engine sticking down. We didn't scrape once, even with the very heavy load causing the car to lower a couple inches more than normal. Also, fortunately, our FWD version did just fine on the loose dirt with careful driving skills from Rensho.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

  85. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by wesd
    Big Larry,

    Try owning the Ford for a couple years and see if your opinion of their products change.

    Just beware that the stuff you are spouting off has been said by Ford since I started buying Fords in 1998, and nothing has yet to come of it.

    Ford's EcoBoost system is a joke and I bet it will never come to fruition. They have been claiming to do things to increase gas mileage, yet GM is production a direct injection 3.6 V-6 for their cars and Ford is still talking about it.

    To be brutally honest, Ford products are inferior to the competition in every way. Power, reliability, workmanship, resale value, and overall value. I could care less if Ford went out of business because they have produced junk products for so long, ...

    ...And know this - every one I talk to I let them know exactly how I feel about Ford products, and while they have some nice designs (Focus, Fusion), they are behind the 8-ball again with their gaudy interiors and sub-par materials.
    I've owned 4 Ford cars for 20 years with mixed results. On two cars, the transmission went out, but was covered by warranty on one and the other went out at 100K due to a hydraulic pump. But I drive with a lead foot and likely to kill any car. But you're right in that past performance could be better.

    I've tried to quote independent statistics from Consumer Reports, Car and Driver and others. The hard statics now show Ford has made indeed major gains in reliability across their entire fleet over the last five years, approaching that of Toyota and other top car makers. It will take a few more years for their quality to be perceived by the general public, just like with Toyota in the early years.

    EcoBoost is a interesting new synergistic mix of Turbo Charging and Direct Injection, not just DI and not just Turbo. And it's not just talk. It's gearing up for mass production in many cars next year, and most of the fleet within two years. They're also trying to grow Hybrids and smaller cars as fast as they can, for example importing innovative new small car designs from Europe and battery manufacturing from Asia as needed.

    For their own survival, Ford has put a new guy in charge with radical changes in direction, some of which were already starting even before he started. Alan Mulaly has already made some major improvements and changes, like droping some Ford lines, and merging the US with the highly successful Europe design teams. There's no doubt that Ford will have to improve dramatically and quickly or die. The new top management knows that and is busy kicking out deadwood and bureaucrats to make that happen. As such, their future looks very interesting and exciting. We'll see if they make it.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

  86. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigLarry
    I now turn off my engine on any long stop light, accelerate a bit slower, and coast into stop lights. It helps maybe 1 or 2 MPG in the city
    all of this is wrong. turning your motor on and off waste way more gas than idling and puts more wear on parts. accelerating does not always save you gas, depends on the rpm range of the engine power band. if your luggin along at low rpms out of the powerband the vehicles computer puts it into enrichment mode pumping more gas into the motor making it less effective. and coasting is also bad for gas mileage but better than hitting the brakes. using the brakes takes away vacuum away from the motor. although there is nothing you can really do about that unless your vehicle is equipped with engine braking or a standard transmission

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    I have a 94 Chevy Beretta with 390,000 km ... I got the car at 160,000 and changed the headgasket. I am not saying that GMs are awesome, but THIS ONE definitely is. There are tonnes of examples of cars that run forever ... doesn't really help anyone to hear about them.

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    I second your opinion. Here is a list of all the cars I've owned and the mileage. If I hear one more mis-informed person say " Honda's run forever" I'm gonna puke!

    1972 Chevelle-212,000 miles-0 problems, I put 120,000 of the miles on it. My brothers in-laws bought the car new.

    1977 Chevy C20 truck-110,000 miles, starter and waterpump, I bought it with 65,000 miles

    1986 Chevy S10 Blazer-97,000-0 problems, bought new

    1988 Jeep Wrangler 220,000 miles-1 starter, 1 waterpump, bought new and still own

    1995 Chevy Silverado-205,000 miles, 1 fuel pump

    2001 GMC Yukon XL- 67,000 miles- 0 problems

    2002 Chevy Avalanche- 115,000 - 0 problems

    2003 Ford Focus ZX3, 65,000-0 problems

    I believe that most car manufacturers do make great, reliable cars now-a-days, but Honda and Toyota rely on ages old reputations. I know that American car manfacturers are amongst the best in the World, I think the history of my car ownerships can prove that.
    Everyone in my immediate family own domestic cars and they can also back up mine and there claims.

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