Ford Middle East hosts Can-A-Car event
Ford Middle East hosted a three-day public event dubbed Can-A-Car at the end of July at the Dubai Autodrome. The event was aimed at publicising Ford’s latest American line-up, including the all-new 2012 Ford Explorer. And a fair number of visitors to the event happened to be our regular readers, though all of them showed up at different times on different days.
Hospitality aside, the day comprised of four events in various Ford cars, thereby ensuring that every participant would get a feel of what the latest American Fords have to offer.
The first couple of events were track runs , which included two laps each in a 2012 Ford Edge and a 2012 Ford Mustang GT 5.0. The track included small slalom courses, making it all the more fun for the participants. While the Ford Edge cars had a Ford Fusion of all things as a pace car, the pacer for the Mustang GT cars happened to be a Ford Edge. Though I must admit that the Mustang GT was fun, it was rather a sad scenario as the Ford Edge seemed to make the Mustang GT sweat in the bends. However, I did manage to keep the instructor entertained by coercing him to push his Edge against all mercy as I enjoyed tailgating him in my Mustang GT all the way, even ignoring the understeer at one point resulting from the intervention of the electronic stability control. The power delivery from the new engine, steering precision and interior quality were all commendable about the Mustang. As for the all-wheel-drive Edge, despite some body-roll, it seemed to have very good limits for a crossover. Engine performance and interior quality seemed good too.
The next car which awaited us was the all-new 2012 Ford Explorer, and the experience was an off-road one rather than a track run – obviously as part of Ford’s intentions to emphasise the new crossover’s off-road abilities. However, it was not a full-fledged off-road experience as the track consisted of only a hill with a 30-degree incline and a 45-degree descend. It turned out to be just a test to show off the vehicle’s hill-descent control function and its approach and departure angles; and the Explorer went through it all with no evidence of stress. On the way to the off-road course, the instructor had attempted to demonstrate the Park Assist feature in the new Explorer – a feature which detects parallel parking slots and parks the car automatically. However due to some software or technical glitch, the system failed to initiate and displayed an error message on the screen instead. On our way back though, we were lucky to see this feature in action as we hopped into a different Explorer, which was also present at the off-road course and did not face this issue.
After the Explorer, we were greeted by a couple of white Ford Taurus sedans for our next event; but more than the Taurus, what excited us was the event itself, which was a competition against every participant for the day, in an autocross course with the Taurus. The autocross course seemed to be made for the novices, with the only tricky bit being manoeuvring the boat-like Taurus which sported infinite blind spots. Add to that a soft and lifeless steering, soft suspension setup and soft pedal feel. There was a warm-up lap after which the participants were timed. In spite of this being my first autocross experience, I managed going through the course without knocking any cones in the timed run, though not with the best time.
Among a few cars on display, we spotted a Ford Taurus SHO Ecoboost, which hints at the availability of the Ecoboost range in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and rest of the GCC shortly. We are unsure what to assume from the absence of Ford’s European line-up in the event. From what we saw of the cars we drove, Ford seems to be making giant leaps in terms of interior appointments, overall quality and design.
Photos by Vivek “Oberoi” Menon and Faisal Khatib.