Ford’s SYNUS Diesel Urban Concept B-car

Jose Michael


At the NAIAS in Detroit, Ford unveiled a small diesel-powered urban concept car, the SYNUS. The SYNUS comes from the Ford Fiesta architecture, and is equipped with a 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder diesel engine. The Fiesta is smaller than the Ford Focus, and is known as a B-segment car.

Popular in other markets because of narrow streets and dense traffic, B-cars are almost unknown in the US. Given increasing urbanization, however, Ford thinks that “the time may finally be at hand for the B-car market in the United States”.

The 2.0-liter 16-valve diesel engine in the SYNUS is taken from the Ford Mondeo sedan and delivers 134 hp (100 kW) and 236 lb-ft (320 Nm) of torque.

In the Mondeo (Ford did not release fuel and emissions data for the concept vehicle), the Duratorq diesel engine with a manual transmission (as in the SYNUS) generates combined cycle (European) fuel consumption of 6.0 liters per 100 km (39 mpg US) and accelerates from 0-62 mph in 9.8 seconds. The Mondeo emits 159 g/km CO2.

With the SYNUS, Ford is promoting the use of B20 biodiesel.

The SYNUS concept is suited to bio-mass diesel fuel. Twenty percent of every gallon of this blend is bio-mass diesel; the other 80 percent is traditional petroleum-based diesel fuel. Non-toxic and biodegradable, bio-mass diesel is made from such things as agricultural products and even recycled restaurant grease. Unlike oil, these sources are readily renewable.

Not only would reliance on bio-mass reduce the need for petroleum, that reduced need would eliminate or delay the need to extract petroleum from areas with fragile ecosystems.

Playing the diesel/biodiesel card makes a great deal of sense for Ford, especially given its strength in diesel engines via its work with PSA. Assuming the diesel market for passenger cars in the US begins growing, Ford could reclaim some of the marketshare it has lost.

A note on the design. The SYNUS looks like a little armored car. When parked and placed in secure mode, SYNUS 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, and opens with a vault-style four-spoke spinner. The driver’s door is opened with a combination lock.

A 45-inch LCD panel from Sharp acts as the rear window while the vehicle is underway and allows the driver to get a high-definition, closed circuit view outside the vehicle from tiny, exterior cameras. The LCD screen acts as a multimedia hub that connects to a wireless internet system, a PC controller, videos or electronic games.

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