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 Yet, with more and more distracted drivers traveling an outdated and overburdened highway systems, vehicle safety has jumped significantly in importance for car shoppers and, therefore, manufacturers.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.
What is LDW?
Warnings include visual and audible cues, in addition to vibrations in the driver’s seat. In the Mercury Meta One concept car, drifting into a right or left lane triggers a vibration in the respective side of the driver’s seat. The system is only intended to address unintentional lane changes, and is overridden by the use of turn signals. LDW requires the headlights to be on, and is effective both day and night, though unmarked roads remain an obstacle. Finally, it should be noted that LDW serves only as a warning system, and will not prevent the vehicle from ultimately drifting into opposing lanes.
What is CMbB?
That’s a lot of power to handle, so Ford engineers equipped the Meta One with 12.5-inch vented disc brakes up front and 13-inch solid discs in the rear. Carrying the weight of the engine is an independent MacPherson strut suspension and out back is an independent multi-link setup with coil-over shocks. Stabilizer bars are bolted in front and rear. Inside the wheel well of the 4,250-lb. Mercury Meta One are 20-inch alloys cloaked in 255/50 tires.
Photos courtesy of Ford Motor Company