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2014 Ford Focus

2014 Ford Focus

Okay. I’m finally going to do it. I’ve avoided such pedestrian “what’s the best” arguments, but as she often does, my pal Bookworm, has inspired a brief article. I say brief, because I intend to state my preference and flee for the exits as from a pestilence before those with a differing opinion can get out of the starting blocks. I refer, of course, to my current preference for Ford vehicles.

Bookworm’s article is about the fact that electric cars really aren’t good for the environment, nor do they save the vast amounts of money their proponents claim. The SMM electric vehicle archive is available here.  Bookworm, however, drank at least a little of the Koolaid: 

And just a random aside:  We ended up getting Ford’s Focus electric car and it is a delight.  The downside is that it has a really big turning radius and has a low driving range for an electric car (about 70 miles).  The upside is that it is an absolute delight to drive.  Not only does it handle well, the interior is so well designed, and the electronic interface so much fun, that I get a kick every time I’m in the car.  Moreover, when we went on vacation back East, our rental car was a Ford sedan — a nice one, since my husband has car rental membership perks.  It was just as delightful to drive and sit in as the Focus.  Next time I’m in the market for a new car, I’m going to give Ford cars a very close look.

Mrs. Manor and I, for many years, drove Chrysler vehicles. The Dodge 4WD pickup we owned for more than 12 years was a reliable, solid, if generally unexciting, vehicle. Even so, it did all that we asked of it. Then things began to sour. We bought a 2005 Jeep Liberty with a diesel engine. It was a great vehicle in many ways, and we liked the engine, which was powerful and reasonably quick, but it was bedeviled by electronic and engine problems the dealership couldn’t fix. The first year we owned it, it was in the shop for actual months. When its accelerator stuck wide-open one day, requiring me to shut off the engine to ensure a safe stop, that was it for the Jeep.

Then came the Obamites and taxpayer money was lavished–and much was wasted–on GM and Chrysler. Only Ford did not drink the Koolaid, and coincidentally, Ford had begun to pay attention and produce vehicles which, in features, design and execution, rivaled even the legendary Japanese and Germans. We decided–and this was an overtly political act of the kind for which Americans are infamous–that we would not darken the doors of GM or Chrysler dealerships in the future and divested ourselves of Obama-tainted vehicles.

Ford Escape

Ford Escape

We bought a new Ford Fiesta when it was introduced in 2011 and loved it. But with experience we realized it was just a bit small for us, and I now drive a 2013 Focus, and Mrs. Manor loves her 2013 Escape. Both vehicles get very good mileage, handle well, have plenty of power–Mrs. Manor loves the turbo in her vehicle–are comfortable and reliable.

Escape interior

Escape interior

The interiors are, in parts and design philosophy, similar. They are very well integrated and the materials just look right. The panels fit well and flow together. All the controls fall easily to hand, and while they may initially look daunting to some, one quickly adapts and understands the logic of the designers.

They are not, of course, perfect. The Escape, particularly, has had a few recall issues, none of which would have resulted in horrible, flaming explosions, but were quickly and efficiently repaired by our friendly local dealer. One expects such things when buying an entirely new model the first year out of the assembly plant. The Focus had some minor transmission issues, but they were quickly fixed with software updates. Our biggest gripe remains the Microsoft Synch Bluetooth interface. While it does allow hands-off use of a cell phone, it doesn’t always work well, and sometimes, not at all. It’s slow and clunky and the female avatar seems to be mostly deaf. One doesn’t expect such buggy software in vehicles costing more than $30,000.

But considering the nature of motor vehicles I’ve experienced since I began driving in the 1400s, the Focus and Escape are virtual miracles of design and construction.

Unlike Bookworm, we don’t need to think about trying Fords in the future. While we are not brand-fixated people, we do tend to stick with what works. Our vehicular plans in the next five or so years include a 4WD Ford pickup. The engine choices in those vehicles–already the most popular in America–are becoming brilliantly efficient and tractable, and I’m hearing rumblings of a ten-speed transmission in the works which should significantly increase mileage, just as the aluminum bodies already have.

If, gentle readers, you like Chevys or Chryslers, by all means, buy one. I suggest only that if would be worth your while to check out a Ford in whichever class of vehicle you intend to buy. Ford really is doing it right these days.

PS: Dear Ford; I would be happy to accept some complimentary oil changes or similar perks for my entirely unsolicited review of your good work. I’d be willing to pass that along to my readers as well.

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