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Spy Shot: Ford D-MAX

Overheat

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Ford calls its compact Focus-based MPV C-MAX, so the larger Mondeo-based MPV is to be, logically enough, D-MAX (though the name E-MAX has also been suggested, to stress its size and position in the Ford range). This will replace the ageing Galaxy next year, and will be built on the next-generation Mazda6/Mondeo platform, also shared with the US-market Mercury Milan, Ford Fusion and Lincoln Zephyr. Expect far more car-like driving characteristics than the current Galaxy, and full seven-seat interior functionality; styling-wise, it will be more of a high-riding station wagon than a van-like MPV. To go with its crossover-style looks, four-wheel drive versions would be feasible, though these may not make it to the UK.

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lol... what a name... Ford D-max after the C-max... can't they name it something more interesting or different
 
We saw the SAV concept car at the Geneva Motor Show in March, and under all that disguising is the real thing: the Mondeo D-MAX, undergoing high-speed testing at Germany's Nurburgring race circuit. It's based on the next-generation Mondeo/Mazda6 platform, which is also shared with the US-market Mercury Milan, Ford Fusion (no relation to ours) and Lincoln Zephyr, and it is going to have much more car-like driving dynamics than the Galaxy. A flexible, versatile platform, it could also form the basis of new Volvo (S60, V70, S80), Land Rover (Freelander) and even Jaguar models (S- and X-Types). Engines expected in the D-MAX include the Volvo 2.3 and 2.4s, some turbocharged, versions of the 2.0 petrol and TDCi diesel as in the latest Focus, and the 2.7 V6 diesel as in the Jaguar S-Type.

The D-MAX (the use of the Mondeo name is still under debate) is expected to come with a choice of five- and seven-seat layouts, and all the usual MPV-style versatility; the SAV previewed neat touches such as remote-controlled, motorised sliding seats, integrated luggage trolleys with built-in armrests and outer seats in the middle row which can slide inwards to give more elbow room, though some of these features may not appear in entry-level versions. The optional sixth and seventh seats are likely to be stowaway items which can fold down flat into the boot floor.

The D-MAX may not completely supersede the Galaxy; Ford described the SAV as a proposal for a car to fit in between the Mondeo and Galaxy in its ranges, and the Galaxy is likely to continue on sale for a while after the D-MAX is launched (early 2006). We reckon the production version will be unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2005.

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Fugliest thing for being a van
 
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