Ford today announced all its future large cars will have adaptive steering as standard – letting reps flick their wrists on the way in to the Welcome Break on the M4, yet tip their fingers when changing lanes on the London orbital.
It’s a further sign that what was once the high-tech preserve of the German brands is now firmly in the mainstream.
BMW was one of the brands which pioneered variable-ratio power steering; in essence, it changes the ratio between the driver’s inputs at the wheel and the rate at which turns are made at the rack.
Ford Edge: the first big Ford with adaptive steering
First up with the new steering tech in the Blue Oval’s range is the new Edge crossover, which will be unveiled in production guise in summer 2014. Sales start in 2015.
But it is earmarked for all future large Fords. So expect the new S-Max to feature the same rack, as well as future iterations of Mondeo.
CAR understands that adaptive steering will be standard on large Fords, rather than an optional extra.
How does Ford’s adaptive steering work?
An actuator placed inside the steering wheel means that the tech can fit in any model, says Ford. This electric motor and gearing system is controlled by a black box, which increases or reduces a driver’s steering inputs, depending on the vehicle’s speed.
Let’s just hope that another level of microchip interaction doesn’t rob big Fords of their feelsome steering. Ford shouldn’t risk losing its edge in driver dynamics just for the sake of some showroom bragging…