The Fairlane concept has provided the basis for the 2009 Ford Flex production crossover.
Fairlane features a well-defined hood, a large cabin with upright A-pillars, four side doors with low step-in height, and a rear door with an industry-leading three-way tailgate.
The rear door opens to the left or right, while the upper glass section flips up. Fairlane’s design blends this new shape with sophisticated elements such as the bold, three-bar grille that signifies the new face of Ford.
"The Ford Fairlane concept breaks new ground as a people mover with presence," says J Mays, group vice president of Design and chief creative officer. "This is a vehicle with the power to move people emotionally as well as physically."
The exterior is defined by upright front roof pillars that stretch the people-mover concept upward, creating a minivan-size interior. The interior has three unique zones with a unifying design theme, but that serve individual needs.
The clutter-free design, solid proportions, and large wheels and tires communicate a sophistication carried through in numerous details.
The wide, horizontal front end is established by the three, stainless steel grille bars. The same theme is repeated in the headlamp and rear-door designs, and signals the new face of Ford.
High-tech, light-emitting diode (LED) headlamps deliver wide, consistent lighting patterns and are encased in advanced horizontal frosted-glass covers that enhance the front-end design. The large top section houses an LED day lamp with an inset projector beam for high- and low-beam settings. The middle turn-indicator LED rests above the fog lamp that is half the size of the upper two units.
The "French-opening" doors reinforce the look and offer maximum access to the front and rear seating areas. The second-row power armrests automatically retract downward when the side doors are unlatched to open more room for passengers to maneuver.
Nineteen-inch tires wrap ten-spoke, brushed-aluminum wheels to fill the wheel wells and accentuate Fairlane’s modern design and stance.
The industry’s first triple-hinged rear door opens to the left or right, and the flipglass section opens upward offering more ways to conveniently load cargo.
A single stretch of a unique, tightly woven canvas-cloth material is tightly bound to the full roof-pillar perimeter – just as fabric is stretched over a polo helmet – for a unifying halo effect surrounding the glass roof.
The console is trimmed with brushed aluminum that extends to the forward tunnel area and flows into a center stack with radio and climate control functions.
The second row is focused on passenger comfort and convenience, with activity and storage solutions for younger occupants, and luxurious seats for larger occupants.
The third row is built for maximum utility and flexibility.
"The Fairlane concept takes Ford’s interior design leadership to new levels," says Kris Tomasson, designer. "The three-zone design treatment harkens back to the 1920’s glory days of American design when car and aircraft interiors were uniquely segmented to reflect home interior designs."
Exclusive materials include automotive firsts like maple bentwood, Lloyd Loom woven rattan made from recycled paper, and a durable woven canvas – that help separate each row by job description.
The front seatbacks are finished in an extremely durable woven material that helps make the transition to the second zone.
This material, being used for the first time in a vehicle, is made from recycled paper by Lloyd Loom, a home décor company based in the United Kingdom since 1917. The material is known for timeless elegance and sophistication, as well as its unique ability to resist scuffs and water. It also accents the door panels and second-row armrests.
The subtle change in seat materials helps create a unique atmosphere. The door panel and roof treatments, however, tie the zones together with the same design theme and materials selection. A roof-mounted center DVD screen and easy-to-access DVD player that slides from the rear of the center console conveniently offer the latest entertainment options.
The Ford Fairlane concept rides on an all-wheel drive version of the company’s mid-size CD3 architecture, with fully independent front and rear suspensions. The Fairlane is the first CD3-based people-mover concept, demonstrating the architecture’s flexibility next to its production mid-size-sedan cousins – the 2006 Ford Fusion and Lincoln Zephyr.
This architecture will eventually be the basis for up to ten unique vehicles in North America and approximately 800,000 vehicles annually over time.
The Duratec 30 3.0-liter V-6 engine features all-aluminum construction, dual overhead cams, four valves per cylinder, intake Variable Cam Timing (i-VCT) and electronic throttle control.
The engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with wider ratios that allow this smaller, more fuel-efficient engine to deliver smooth, consistent shifts and great low-end torque and performance feel.
Safety technologies include the Safety Canopy™ rollover protection system and Ford’s Personal Safety System™ with dual-deployment front air bags, energy-absorbing safety belts and load-limiting retractors.