Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Ford Reflex Concept

Ford uses a lot of words to describe its Reflex concept car. Words like bold, innovative, American, sporty . . . and from what I can tell, all the words fit. But I think the best word is one Ford doesn't use: family.

Let's face it, most of the newest car innovations fit a family about as well as a studio apartment! While Ford never says so, the innovations designed into the Reflex concept make it look like they were designed with family in mind. A hip sporty family, that wants to go green, but a family.There are the reverse butterfly doors which make it easy to get in and out of front or back, and mean a parent is no long bumping into the door installing a car seat, or buckling baby in. And speaking of car seats, it comes with one; built right into the rear seat. When is the last time your car came with one of those?

Then there is the rear seat itself - you know how some vans split their row seats 60-40 for easy removal? Well Ford did something similar in the Reflex, for a different reason. The rear seat is divided into one seat, and a small 'love seat' that can easily and comfortably fit two full size adults . . . or, you can push a button, and the love seat is divided in two small seats, perfect for children.

Safety is also a major consideration, and in addition to the standard safety features - and not so standard ones, like side curtain airbags - Ford has added some innovation here too. The inflatable seat belts that reduce injury to second row passengers, is nice. The BeltMinder™, that lets you know if someone in the rear seats isn't buckled up, is even better.

Ford doesn't stop innovation there either. The solar roofs fans, that power themselves to keep the car cool when it's sitting in a summer parking lot, are a very sweet extra. The solar head and tail lights, that absorb sunlight during the day to use when you turn the lights on - and charge the battery - are a very nice touch as well, and boost the fuel economy nicely.

Not that the Reflex needs help boosting the fuel economy. The diesel electric hybrid gets up to 65 mph, while giving all the benefits of all wheel drive. Of course, some things - like how it handles - will need to wait until Ford starts offering test drives.All in all, there is only one minor issue I can see with the concept. Did they have to use white for the interior? I really hope that mesh cleans easily, because speaking for every parent I know, white and kids just do not mix well!

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