Thursday, November 15, 2012

Focused for a Month

A couple of years ago, I would have never looked at a Ford. Back then, for me, with Ford, quality was job none.

But then Ford started introducing some of their European models to North America, started ramping up their marketing, and car reviewers started saying good things about the car manufacturer. And I started taking notice.

Last month, as you may know, I bought a new Ford Focus. It's the first new car that I've ever bought; until then, I always bought used cars. This is the first car where I got to shop for what I wanted, from the style, the features, and even the colour.

Now, truth be told, we bought the car in the showroom. My wife wanted a sunroof, I wanted a manual transmission. But we fell in love with the two-tone leather interior, I didn't care about having a sunroof, and after driving the manual-transmission model (which I found too smooth, too automated—the car seemed to be doing all the work, which is not what I wanted: I wanted to feel like the shifting was entirely in my hands), I decided to go with the six-speed automatic with Shiftronic capabilities.

And we both wanted white.

So, a month into our new car, what do I think?

It's a fun car. It handles well, it uses way-less gas than our minivan, it's comfortable, and it has a lot of conveniences, such as a voice-activated console, which lets me tell it to make phone calls, adjust the radio or play music from my iPhone, and control the climate.

I love the keyless entry and push-button start, the windshield wipers that come on automatically when it rains, the rear-view mirror that automatically dims at night when bright lights come up from behind, the heated seats, and the reverse sensors that help me back the car into the garage without making contact with anything.

But there are some things that I am not crazy about. The engine isn't very gutsy. If I use the Shiftronic feature, I can get better acceleration (not that I'm racing with the car). And even though the car doesn't accelerate with any power, though most of the time I to a smooth, slow acceleration, the fuel economy isn't as good as I had hoped. Thanks to the console, I can see the fuel economy, and I'm averaging 9.6 litres per 100 km.

The console has some issues. Sometimes, even though I hook my phone directly to the USB, the car doesn't detect the phone. Sometimes, it doesn't play the songs when I ask it to. The USB, when a device is connected to it, is the default entertainment. That means that if I'm listening to the radio and stop the car to fuel up, when I start the car again I don't get the radio, I get my music on my phone. And I have to tell the car to go back to the radio station.

There are not enough storage places in the car. I like to keep a box of tissues where I can reach them when I'm behind the wheel. So far, I've stuffed a small box in the space on the driver's door.

There are no map lights, which means that if a passenger wants to read something at night, the dome light is the only available light, which means the driver gets flooded too.

The things that I'm not crazy about are minor inconveniences, though some of them might drive me nuts as time goes on. But the things I like about my car far outweigh the inconveniences, and so I have to say I love my car.

If you're looking to get a small car, I suggest you check out the Focus.

(And no, I won't be doing car reviews on The Brown Knowser. And I'll stop going on about my car now.)

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