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Ford is betting on the compact vehicle, so much so it plans to offer 10 different models based on its new compact car platform, which underpins the upcoming 2012 Focus. The latest of these is the 2011 Ford C-MAX, which will compete in the MPV segment alongside the Mazda5.
Ford doesn’t call it an MPV, however, but a ‘white space’ vehicle – whatever that means. In Europe this car is actually called the Grand C-MAX, with the regular C-MAX model featuring just five seats.
While MPVs are popular in Europe, they’ve yet to catch on here, despite clever packaging that delivers excellent fuel economy, plenty of passenger and cargo room and a drive quality that’s engaging.
As a 5+2 seater the C-MAX has one more seat than the Mazda, with a second row that includes a center seat which folds out from one of the side seats. Total cargo room is rated at 70.2 cubic feet.
With a standard 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine making 168-hp and 167 ft-lbs of torque, Ford will easily achieve best-in-class fuel economy thanks to an optional EcoBoost 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, which also boasts 168-hp as well as 173 ft-lbs of torque that’s available from just 1500 rpm. On premium fuel the EcoBoost motor makes 180-hp. Also helping in the fuel economy department is a six-speed automatic transmission and electric power steering.
Interested? But you haven’t even heard the best part. Always looking for innovative solutions to make life easier, even items like SYNC and the new MyFord Touch have nothing on the industry-first hands-free liftgate. That’s right, thanks to sensors in the bumper, as long as you have the keys in your pocket, just approach the vehicle, wave your foot under the car and the rear hatch opens up. (Why has no one thought of this before?)
Set to debut at the Detroit Auto Show in January, Ford has yet to release all the details on the C-MAX, but we can all but guarantee the EcoBoost model will cost a premium and items like the hands-free liftgate are certain to only be available on top trim models with a keyless access system and push-button ignition.
Check back for complete Detroit Auto Show coverage starting January 10th.
GALLERY: 2011 Ford C-MAX
Official release after the jump:
New 2011 model set to debut at Frankfurt Auto Show
Ford has just released several images of the 2011 C-Max, which is set to debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show in just over a weeks time. While not currently scheduled to go on sale in North America, there is a strong possibility that this new compact multi-activity vehicle could eventually cross the pond.
The C-Max is based on Ford’s new global-C platform which underpins the upcoming Focus. As a more family-oriented vehicle, the C-Max could compete in a growing segment on this side of the Atlantic that includes the Kia Rondo and Mazda5. Recently Ford sold off much of its share in Mazda, essentially cutting the Japanese automaker loose, but by doing so Ford gave up its foothold in MAV or MPV segment.
Set to go on sale in Europe mid-way through 2010, the C-Max will be available with a new turbocharged 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine featuring direct-injection.
GALLERY: 2011 Ford C-Max
Ford is not yet disclosing much about its new Euro-market model, but the 2011 C-Max will be powered by a new 1.6-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder. Like the larger EcoBoost powerplants available in Ford’s U.S. products, that means that the little I4 will be equipped with turbocharging and direct-injection for better power and fuel efficiency. No output figures for the engine have been released yet, but we suspect Ford will release horsepower and torque numbers (and further information) when the car rolls out in Frankfurt later this month.
Those wishing to purchase the C-Max will have some time to think about whether they’re interested in plumping for options like the promised blind-spot detection system or the semi-self parking feature, because the model isn’t slated to hit EU dealer forecourts until the second half of 2010. As this five-seater isn’t slated to come to the States at all, the rest of us will just have to slake our curiosity on the high-res images below and the press release after the jump.
Official release after the jump: