Ford unveils Start concept car; aims to make urban driving sexy

Ford has unveiled a new urban concept car called Start that aims to make a subcompact car as desireable as a full-size one.

Ford on Friday unveiled a new concept car named Start that aims to make a subcompact car as desirable as a full-size one.

The vehicle, which is designed as "aspirational" urban transportation in emerging markets, was designed by Ford creative chief J Mays and the global design team at the Ford Strategic Concepts Group in Irvine, Calif.

The team says it took inspiration from the original Porsche 356 Speedster and an Alfa Romeo Zagato SZ.

The goal: make small cars sexy again.

"Our vision was to look at a small car holistically, like slicing through an onion where every layer gave meaning, function, and substance to the next," Mays said in a statement. "As in nature, taking this approach creates beautiful, endearing objects."

By beautiful, Mays means expensive. The Start isn't supposed to feel like an econobox.

(Still, the car's snap-fitting inserts allow easily customizable seat material and color, a popular option in cheap, fun cars such as the Mini Cooper and Fiat 500.)

Outside, you'll find hybrid aluminum/high-strength steel body construction, side curtain airbags, interior body panels made of natural sisal fiber and exterior body panels made from deformable, pre-colored recyclable composites.

Under the hood, the vehicle features an upcoming three-cylinder, 1.0-liter EcoBoost gas engine, Ford's smallest to date. The automaker says the new engine offers as much power and driveability as a 1.6-liter inline four-cylinder engine, but delivers far fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

Perhaps most interestingly, the Start features "MyFord Mobile Concept," an app-driven, smartphone-inspired center console interface.

Ford didn't indicate if or when the vehicle would begin production, but look for these technologies to make their way into future consumer vehicles.

[via Autoblog]

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