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Ford Start concept car

Not only is the Ford Start concept car, which debuted at the 2010 Beijing Motor Show, smart looking and petite, it also sports an iPhone-like interface.

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Derek Fung

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Wayne Cunningham

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Who wants to Start? Part I

Not only is the Ford Start concept car, which debuted at the 2010 Beijing Motor Show, smart looking and petite, it also sports an iPhone-like interface.

Ford showed off its Start concept at the 2010 Beijing Motor Show, a fitting design for a country growing in its thirst for automobiles among a large urban population.

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Who wants to Start? Part II

With its smart looks and upmarket features the Start would also do well in Europe, where narrow city roads, high fuel taxes and punitive registration schemes conspire to make tiny cars with small engines an especially attractive proposition.

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Who wants to Start? Part III

The Start could also do well in Australia too, where BMW's Mini has prospered as a premium-priced small car with funky retro styling and a high gadget count.

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Flares

Thin seats not only improve the interior room in the Start, but also add a sporty flair.

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What's this?

Taking pride of place in the centre of the dashboard is a large LCD screen featuring application icons similar to those on an iPhone.

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Strip lights, part I

The Start lacks traditional headlights, instead using a row of LEDs. These have been a typical concept car trait for a while now and are slowly making their way into production cars.

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Strip lights, part II

It's a similar story at the back, where a set of thin LED tail-lights live.

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Familiar stuff

If the Start ever reaches production, it will likely re-use many of the components that underpin the current Ford Fiesta and Mazda 2.

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Metrosexual

Should Ford ever sell the Start it will be aimed at urban drivers, where its small size should make fighting through traffic and squeezing into tight parking spots a breeze.

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Boosterism, part I

The most realistic feature of the Start Concept is the EcoBoost-branded turbocharged three-cylinder 1-litre engine. This engine will be placed in many a European Ford soon.

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Boosterism, part II

Ford claims that the Start's tiny 1-litre engine delivers the power of a larger, heavier four-cylinder engine while emitting less than 100g of CO2 per kilometre. The company, however, stopped short of giving us exact power and fuel economy figures.

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An oldie but a goody

The concept car comes fitted with a five-speed manual transmission.

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Lightweight, part I

To keep weight down the Start has a hybrid aluminium and steel body. Aluminium bodies are usually reserved for large luxury cars or exotic sports cars where the costs of the lightweight but expensive metal are more easily recouped.

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Lightweight, part II

As part of its Weight Watchers diet, the Start's exterior body panels are made from deformable, recyclable and pre-coloured plastic composites.

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Snappy

The roof can be detached, exchanged and refitted by drivers, allowing for endless customising possibilities. You could even, presumably, have flag roofs, a la the Mini.

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Little 'un

At under 3.7m long, the Start is sized between the Fiat 500 and BMW's Mini.

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Come one, come all

Despite its petite dimensions, the Start is designed to accommodate four people.

Via CNET US

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