Week in Review: Convertibles, Unidentified Small Trucks, and Bargain Corvettes Galore
February 2013 is in the record books, but the final week of the shortest month of the year didn’t go quietly. The week started off with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration prodding Ford about the potential for 725,000 vehicles that could inexplicably stall. Chevrolet made waves the following day after rumors spread that a bargain-priced Corvette is on the way and will be available starting with the 2015 model year. Perhaps the biggest automotive news story of the week came on Wednesday when a camouflaged Ford pickup truck was caught out on public roads. Conventional wisdom would say that this mule is the 2015 Ford F-150, but our spy photographer said it’s smaller than the current model. A full rundown of the unidentified F-150 plus the rest of the week’s biggest automotive stories are below, so check them out.
Monday, February 25
Ford can’t seem to keep under the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s radar lately. In the Blue Oval’s latest run-in with the NHTSA, the safety governing body is concerned about the possibility of 725,000 Ford Fusion and Escape as well as Mercury Milan and Mariner vehicles assembled from the 2009 to 2011 model year randomly stalling. The NHTSA is only in the investigative stages after receiving 123 complaints from consumers. Ford got 1,472 letters from its customers asking what was up with the sudden stalling too. The Blue Oval boys are going along with the investigation and as soon as the next step of action is announced, we’ll pass it along, so stay tuned.
Tuesday, February 26
Did you hear? In case you missed it, the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray made its official debut at the 2013 North American International Auto Show earlier this year. We’re still waiting on official pricing for it, but, as we’ve all heard a bunch of times by now, if you can afford the current Corvette then you’ll be able to afford the new one, too. If, by chance, you couldn’t afford the C6 but still want a C7, you may be in luck, as rumors have begun that signal a “bargain” Corvette will become available starting with the 2015 model year. According to sister publication Motor Trend, this everyman’s ‘Vette will slot close to or just below the C6 hard-top’s $50,595 price tag. The Corvette coupe, as it would be called, would come with a 5.3-liter V-8 engine instead of the Stingray’s 6.2-liter LT1 V-8 mill.
Wednesday, February 27
A smaller, mystery Ford pickup truck was spotted out testing by our spy photographer this week but the exact model is unknown. Guesses by our staff ranged from the 2015 Ford F-150 base model, to the production version of the Atlas concept, to the second-coming of the Ranger/F-100. The final verdict went to the first guess, a base version of the 2015 Ford F-150, but with a five-lug wheel configuration instead of the usual six. Still, in the photos there is a smaller truck riding behind a bigger one so Ford’s camo’d creation is safe, for now anyway.
Thursday, February 28
We recently drove the 2013 Range Rover with an six-speed automatic transmission and thought it performed admirably. However, Land Rover apparently isn’t stopping at six gears as news broke that a nine-speed automatic transmission will bow next week at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. A new, electrified Defender will also make an appearance alongside the new-gearbox Evoque. This electric Defender is powered by a 904-pound battery which is positioned in the front of the vehicle as isn’t expected to hold the hearty SUV back. As for the new nine-speed transmission, Land Rover got together with ZF, the world’s biggest gearbox maker, in an attempt to boost fuel economy and lower emissions for its vehicles.
Friday, March 1
The first day of March brought us more leaked photos of the Toyota FT-86 Open concept. On our shores, once it arrives, it will be known as the Scion FR-S roadster as we aren’t allowed to play with the Toyota variant. This new model is expected out sometime next year and will take on the likes of the Ford Mustang convertible and, of course, the Mazda MX-5. The same 2.0-liter flat-4 engine, rated at 200 horsepower, will motivate the topless FR-S. More details are expected to be released next week during the 2013 Geneva Motor Show so check back on Tuesday.