The Ford Reflex proves that small
cars can be bold, American and innovative. The sporty
concept is expected to be an auto show star, reflecting a growing and
important "small is big" trend
Reflex is a technological showcase with its advanced
diesel-electric hybrid engine – delivering up
to 65 miles per gallon – solar panels, flexible
interior made from synthetic and regenerated materials,
and such advanced safety features as inflatable safety
belts in the rear.
The concept underscores Ford's intent to offer bold,
American designs regardless of vehicle size. "From consumer electronics to urban dwellings,
small is becoming big in America," says Peter Horbury,
executive director, North American Design. "The
bold and innovative design of Reflex stretches the
traditional boundaries of a subcompact car. Reflex
delivers the fuel economy and flexibility that Americans
have come to expect."
Bold, American Design:
Reflex underscores the bold, American design direction
for all Ford vehicles going forward. It also is packed
with Ford innovation. "Ford Reflex is a small car
that doesn't feel small," says Freeman Thomas,
director, North American Strategic Design. "It
is a gorgeous sporty car that delivers guilt free performance
with a hybrid engine. And thanks to its innovative
approach to the interior, it has space for growing
Reflex is set off with Ford's three-bar grille –
made of high-strength anodized extruded aluminum, which
is hand polished to a matte finish. The concept's shoulder
line flows upward to the B-pillar and back down into
the wheel arch. Reverse butterfly doors aid vehicle
ingress and egress.
The vehicle's low-voltage circuitry is exposed beneath
the glass roof and rear hatch, giving a clever nod
to accessible technology – even as a fashion
statement. The roof also features self-powered solar
fans that cool the car when parked.
Reflex's aggressive 20-inch wheels are polished alloy.
The large diameter, narrow width and unique Michelin
tire design provide low-roll resistance for improved
Lightweight, space-efficient materials define the interior
with its innovative 2+1 backseat configuration. Mesh
seat covers are transparent and sheer, offering maximum
airflow for comfort and style. Unexpected colors –
red and robotic white – create a sense of warmth
The cockpit comes alive with keyless activation. At
the touch of a button, the instrument cluster controls
appear in a cool blue hue as organic light-emitting
diodes (LEDs) switch on.
Located in the center console, touch-screen technology
helps reduce driver distraction. Shift paddles that
control the 6-speed semiautomatic transmission are tucked
behind the steering wheel.
"The interior of Reflex is modern, with no wood
and leather," says Thomas. "The color and
materials challenge many of today's dark plastic interiors
by offering a blend of warm and cool colors. It is
a fresh approach that will inspire future trends in
many industries, including fashion and home furnishings."
The back seat offers the ultimate in small-car flexibility.
A second-row "love seat" can accommodate
two children or one adult. With a push of a button,
a divider bar raises through the seat bottom, transforming
one seat into two. Rear-seat passengers also have the luxury of watching
their favorite movie on two small flat-screen monitors
mounted to the lower portion of the front seatbacks.
Like the front seats, the rear seats feature mesh wrapped
around a lightweight inner frame.
Reflex takes safety innovation a major step forward.
Advanced safety technologies include inflatable safety
belts and BeltMinder™ for backseat passengers.
The inflatable safety belt helps reduce injury risk
to second-row occupants. Ford's patented BeltMinder™
technology alerts the driver when second-row occupants
are not buckled up.
Reflex also is equipped with side air curtains. The
love seat is fitted with an integrated rear-facing
child safety seat. Understanding that the responsibilities
of a parent don't end once the car starts, Reflex designers
added a strategically placed "baby cam" in
the headliner. From this vantage point, the driver
can see streaming video images of the rear-seat occupants.
Sporty and Green:
Reflex features an advanced diesel-electric hybrid
propulsion system that harnesses diesel, electric and
solar power. This combination of power can deliver
maximum fuel economy
– up to 65 mpg – without compromising performance. The concept features an electric motor on the rear axle
in addition to the hybrid propulsion system on the front
axle. The rear motor provides all-wheel-drive capability,
improved driving dynamics and the fuel economy benefits
of a full hybrid vehicle.
Reflex's energy is stored in a new-generation lithium-ion
battery pack, using the same technology found in cell
phones. Ford was the first manufacturer to produce an
electric vehicle using this type of battery system when
it introduced the electric Ford Ka research vehicle
in 2000. Also contributing to Reflex's power and performance
are unique headlamps and taillamps that integrate solar
panels. The Ford-patented battery-charging lighting
system improves fuel economy by using the sun's power
to charge the on-board batteries, while capturing and
reusing the daylight at night.
Reflex also uses ground rubber from the manufacturing
of athletic shoe outsoles, called Nike Grind, as insulation
to reduce noise and vibration in the car's interior.