It’s unlikely that the Focus RS would be the only Ford to grace the road wearing an RS badge, but would you believe that one may end up on a crossover?
Ford might be working on RS variants of its crossover lineup, Car Dealer Magazine reports, citing a conversation with Ford performance boffin Dave Pericak. Pericak referred to the idea of an RS crossover as “an opportunity” that could benefit both the automaker and the consumer.
“I think customers love performance. I think the definition of what that means for an SUV might be different than what it means for a Focus or for a Fiesta,” Pericak told Car Dealer Magazine. “[T]hey like sporty, they want the power and pick-up and engine improvement, so I think the answer is yes. SUV customers would appreciate performance, for sure.”
Car Dealer Magazine believes the most likely crossover to receive the RS badge is the Kuga, which is known in the US as the Escape, as “its underpinnings [are] especially capable of a performance upgrade.” Other vehicles in the running include both the Edge and EcoSport, the latter of which is soon to go on sale in the US.
Pericak told the magazine that he doesn’t believe that many automakers have really nailed the idea of a performance crossover. Sure, you’ve got some high-horsepower models like Mercedes-AMG’s lineup and Audi’s SQ vehicles, but Pericak says that are “no real credible [performance SUVs].”
Considering both of those performance crossover lineups are actually pretty fun to drive, any sort of RS-branded crossover will have to possess something that the others don’t. That might mean additional track capabilities, but it’s anybody’s guess.
Right now, the only Ford bearing an RS badge is the Focus RS. It’s a beast of an economy hatchback, boasting a 350-horsepower turbocharged I4 engine and all-wheel drive. We tested one against the M2, one of our favorite new BMWs, which shows you just how high the Focus is swinging. Any car to earn this badge would really have to earn it.
Shootout: BMW M2 vs. Ford Focus RS
It’s German rear-wheel drive against American all-wheel drive in a battle for bragging rights.
Recalls are never good, but they’re especially rough when they affect a car that’s only been on sale for a short time, as is the case with the 2017 Maserati Levante.
Maserati has issued a recall for 3,299 examples of the 2017 Levante crossover. According to the defect report, Maserati expects every single recalled vehicle to contain said defect. The vehicles in question have production dates between July 1, 2016 and December 13, 2016.
The problem, in this case, involves a software bug. If the Levante is operating at speeds of about 2 miles per hour, the transmission may shift into neutral, or it may just stall and conk out completely.
Naturally, this presents a safety concern. The speeds in question are common in bumper-to-bumper traffic, and a vehicle that inadvertently becomes immobile may increase the risk of a collision.
Maserati opened its investigation into the issue back in October, when it received one report in China of an improper transmission shift in heavy traffic. The automaker tested its own vehicles extensively to replicate the bug, and those follow-up tests indicated and confirmed the gremlin. A vehicle safety recall was first issued in December 2016, but it took subsequent analysis to consistently replicate the bug.
In order to remedy the issue, Maserati dealers will have to reflash the software in the engine control module. The fix is free, and it shouldn’t take very long. Owners will be notified at the end of March, which is when the recall campaign is expected to begin.
The last thing you want in a collision is a seat belt that comes detached from its moorings. Hyundai doesn’t want that either, hence its latest recall.
Hyundai issued a recall for 977,778 examples of its Sonata sedan. The recall covers the 2011-2014 Sonata, with production dates between December 11, 2009 and May 29, 2014. It also includes the 2011-2015 Sonata Hybrid, with production dates between December 2, 2010 and January 9, 2015.
The issue lies within the seat belt assembly. The anchor pretensioner, which is fastened to the vehicle’s sill, might not be fully connected to the seat belt’s linkage. If that’s the case, a collision might cause the linkage to separate from the pretensioner. When that happens, the chance of injury increases.
Thus far, Hyundai is aware of just one reported injury — a minor injury, thankfully — related to this defect.
In somewhat good news for Sonata owners, of the vehicles recalled, Hyundai estimates that only 1 percent will have the defect.
Hyundai is still investigating the issue with ZF-TRW, the seat belt supplier. Affected owners will have to head to the dealer, where techs will inspect and verify the connection between pretensioner and seat belt linkage, ensuring proper attachment as necessary. Owners should start receiving recall notifications by mail in April.