Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

SYN US concept for secure urban parking and driving

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January 6, 2005

SYN US concept for secure urban parking and driving

SYN US concept for secure urban parking and driving

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Detroit January 7, 2005 Somewhere between an armoured car and a sporty bank vault, the Ford SYN US concept is compact enough to manoeuvre through congested streets yet bold enough to look like it can look after itself. It was designed as an exercise to see what the urban vehicle of the future might look like, with a strong emphasis on security, as the majority of the world's population will live in urban areas by 2010,

The architecture of the SYN US comes from the Ford Fiesta and the inspiration definitely came from bank vaults and armored cars - this concept's exterior design immediately communicates that it takes security seriously. When parked and placed in secure mode, SYN US deploys protective shutters over the windshield and side glass. Small windows on the flanks and roof are non-opening and bullet-resistant. The rear hatch has no window at all.

The SYN US concept also signals security through its use of a driver-side dial operated combination lock on the B-pillar. The rear hatch is operated via a vault-style four-spoke spinner. Flat glass in a slightly raked windshield furthers the armored-car look of this concept.

Bold wheel arches make a design statement as well as accommodate the vehicle's exceptionally wide track.

INVITING INSIDE

Chief designer Joe Baker conceived the interior of the concept as a warm, welcoming private sanctuary in contrast to the cold, perhaps cruel, world outside the car. Innovative front seats are identically shaped and padded on both the front and rear faces. Each seatback can slide from back to front, allowing one or both of the front seat occupants to face rearward.

This arrangement could turn the SYN US into a conversation pit, allowing for personal interaction between front and rear occupants. While the rear seat can accommodate two passengers, it also can fold flat to become a cargo area.

Colors, shapes and materials throughout the inside of the concept also were chosen to emphasize the sense of warmth and welcome. And to make the interior even more accommodating and spacious, the steering wheel folds away under the dash. The instrument panel is similarly user-friendly. A model of ergonomic efficiency, it incorporates easy-to-read gauges and intuitive controls.

Perhaps the SYN US concept's most eye-popping feature is a gigantic widescreen liquid crystal display in the tailgate. The largest flat screen LCD ever mounted in a vehicle, it offers a choice of Internet surfing, movie viewing, or, via, cameras, watching what's going on outside the vehicle. In motion, the display works with the cameras to function as the vehicle's rear window: by looking in the rearview mirror the driver can sees a high-definition closed-circuit image of the rearward view. EFFICIENT, RESPONSIVE, FUN

The powertrain of the SYN US is taken from the Mondeo sedan. The engine is a turbocharged, intercooled 2.0-liter, four-cylinder Duratorq diesel engine with 134 horsepower and a whopping 236 foot-pounds of torque.

In the interest of fuel economy, the diesel is compatible with bio-mass diesel fuel. This mix features 80 percent traditional petroleum-based diesel mixed with 20 percent bio-mass diesel. Bio-mass diesel is a non-toxic biodegradable diesel fuel made from biological sources, such as agricultural products and even recycled restaurant grease.

The concept shares the fun-to-drive Fiesta's MacPherson strut front suspension and semi-independent torsion-beam rear suspension for nimble, confident handling. For increased cornering grip - not to mention style - the SYN US concept features a wider stance than the production car, and 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped in P225/50-18 performance tires.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon After Editing or Managing over 50 print publications primarily in the role of a Magazine Doctor, Mike embraced the internet full-time in 1995 and became a "start-up all-rounder" – quite a few start-ups later, he founded Gizmag in 2002. Now he can write again.   All articles by Mike Hanlon
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