Consider what goes into the morning drive to work: searching for a good radio station, checking the mirror for Raisin Bran between those bicuspids, searching for the ringing cell phone, avoiding eye contact with road rage dude. What usually ends up at the bottom of the list is concentration on driving. And that’s scary. Yet, with more and more distracted drivers traveling an outdated and overburdened highway systems, vehicle safety has jumped significantly in importance for car shoppers and, therefore, manufacturers. The latest example of this focus on safety is the Mercury Meta One concept vehicle, a midsized crossover suv packed with a lane departure warning system and an advanced braking system.
We all know, however, that safety by itself doesn’t sell cars, so the Meta One also incorporates a bevy of high-tech gadgets into the passenger compartment and the powertrain. Inside is a navigation system that offers up-to-the-minute traffic information, an ignition slot that also serves as a data port, and a display panel that is akin to a computer desktop. And don’t miss the 880-watt sound system. Moving the whole package down the road is a twin-turbocharged, six-cylinder diesel engine that runs on biomass fuel and is mated to a hybrid transmission. The result is the cleanest diesel engine possible with 431 lb.-ft. of torque.
Ford officials claim that a production version of the Mercury Meta One will arrive in showrooms in 2007, likely without features like the biomass diesel and the data port ignition.