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Price Range (MSRP): $14,455 (Fiesta) to $43,845 (Expedition)
2015 brings big changes to two of Ford’s signature vehicles, the iconic Mustang and the F-150, the best-selling vehicle in America.
We’ll start with the smallest of Ford’s offerings, the diminutive Fiesta subcompact. The Fiesta also comes in ST guise (like the Focus), which offers plenty of driving fun in a small, five-door package. It features a 197-hp, 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine and a six-speed manual. It’s our favorite performance bargain as well, starting at just $21,400.
The Focus is one of the more flexible vehicles in Ford’s lineup, coming in both sedan and hatchback varieties, as well as a Focus ST version of its own that serves as an older brother to the peppy Fiesta ST. For 2015, the Focus gets revised exterior styling that includes a new grille which more closely matches the rest of Ford’s lineup and the three-cylinder EcoBoost engine is now optional.
The Fusion adds standard features for the new model year including a rearview camera and 16-inch wheels. The Fusion is also sold as a Fusion Hybrid which offers 42 combined mpg and the Fusion Energi, a plug-in hybrid with all-electric operation.
One of the most anticipated cars of the year, the Mustang got a full redesign for 2015 which includes a fully independent rear suspension (replacing the old live axle) and a sleeker design. This will be the first Mustang to be offered globally as well and it adds a four-cylinder EcoBoost to its engine options, alongside the traditional V-6 and V-8 offerings.
An emphasis on family friendly fuel economy spawned the development of the C-Max Hybrid, which offers comfortable seating for five, lots of cargo room, and excellent fuel economy of its own (47 combined mpg). There is also the C-Max Energi which gets larger batteries and offers 19 miles of electric range before the engine kicks in.
The uniquely styled Flex returns sans major updates, but with plenty of seating and cargo room.
Ford also offers an extensive lineup of SUVs, starting with the compact Escape. The Escape offers plenty of technology, including a powered rear liftgate that can be opened by waving your foot beneath the rear bumper.
The five-seat Edge gets a redesign for the new model year and is set to debut in spring of 2015. It will be a slightly smaller, sleeker Edge that will offer two EcoBoost engines and new technology, including a new self-parking system.
Ford also offers several options for those looking to haul more than five passengers in the Explorer, Expedition, and the even larger Expedition XL.
The F-150 gets a complete redesign for 2015 that includes a change to an aluminum body (instead of steel) which shaves up to 700 pounds on some models. There are also updated powertrain options and new styling, and Ford hopes these changes are enough to keep the F-150 at the top of pile.
Last year, the heavy duty F-250 and F-350 were the first vehicles in the Ford lineup to get its update MyFord Touch infotainment system. Ford’s engineers have heeded customer complaints and have added more physical controls to the system to make it easier to use, a welcome addition. For 2015, the pair adds a new diesel engine option.
Rounding out the lineup are a few more commercial offerings. Ford offers two series of work vans, the Transit and the E-series. The Transit family consists of the Transit Connect, Transit-150, Transit-250, and Transit-350.
The E-series has more conventional work van styling and is offered as the E-150, E-250, and E-350 Super Duty.
Zero percent financing, employee discount, cash back, out-the-door price tags...
Most dealers work hard to offer the public competitive prices. These incentives can grab your attention, but they can also obscure the actual terms you're getting on your purchase.
How can you fully understand incentives to get the lowest possible price on your car?
Most state franchise laws prohibit manufacturers from selling cars directly to the public, so the dealer will be your middleman. But in terms of financing and insurance, you can choose a bank or the dealer directly.
How can you determine what's in your best interest?
Destination charges, taxes, license and title fees, advertising fees... When going to a dealership, you must ask for an explanation of any fee you don't understand. But you need to choose your battles wisely. Your local car dealer may have taken a loss or slim profit along the way, and your fighting over something like a doc fee when the deal is nearly wrapped up may be counterproductive.
In any case, there are many fees and charges in the sale process: some inevitable, others questionable.
How do you tell them apart?
If you currently own a car, it probably represents profit. The question is, whose profit will it be?
With few exceptions, you'll get the most money for your used car by selling it privately. That's because dealers pay wholesale prices — not retail prices — for used cars, and they sell them at retail.
Your current car's value can be used to lower the price on your new car. However, most people underestimate their used car's value when going to a dealership.
How can you maximize your value?
The car manufacturer holds back a fraction of the price of all vehicles the dealership sells. Then, it returns the money to the dealership, usually on a quarterly basis.
Dealer holdback began its life as a safety net that ensured the manufacturers would have a security deposit of sorts if a dealership missed payments, and the dealerships would have money on hand to cover overhead costs when the holdback was returned.
How can you take advantage of dealer holdbacks to get the bottom line price?
Unlike consumer incentives, dealer incentives are factory-to-dealer incentives that reduce the dealer's true cost to buy the vehicle from the factory to below invoice.
Manufacturers offer these incentives on a regional basis to generate sales on specific models. These incentives are sometimes referred to as "spiffs," and they can touch off competition among dealers to move slower-selling stock.
For instance, a dealer incentive may kick in when a certain sales target is reached, with each subsequent sale resulting in a higher factory-to-dealer rebate.
How can you benefit from that?
We use your ZIP code to find accredited dealers in your area who will quote you their best internet price.