Welcome to the final entry (for now) in my COAL series. This series of posts, begun over six months ago, now totals almost 35,000 words. By comparison, Hamlet, Shakespeare’s longest play, comes in at 30,066 words. In fact, this series has winded and wended on for so long that I added another vehicle (and therefore another entry) since I started. In February of this year, I replaced the 2014 MKZ (that I liked greatly) with its platform-mate, a 2017 Ford Fusion Platinum that I like even more. Regular readers may recall that I already used the Fusion as a foil for an earlier piece I wrote, titled The End of Luxury.
Obviously there is something about the Ford CD4 platform that appeals to me since, for the first time in my life, I’ve essentially purchased the same vehicle twice. As far as I am concerned, Ford hit a home run with the CD4. Perfect size, good ride/handling compromise, and very attractive styling (in both MKZ and Fusion guise). The availability of AWD (which most other mid-size sedans don’t offer) is a huge plus in the snowy part of the country. And of course the gadgets. Lots and lots of gadgets, as we shall soon see.
The question that I keep getting asked repeatedly is “Why didn’t you get another Lincoln, since you like them so much?” For starters, I don’t like the insinuation that kinship with my 1970 Lincoln Mark III must somehow translate into blind loyalty for products from the same company a half-century later. While automotive heritage is important, cars should ultimately be judged on the merits of the here and now, not what they made decades ago. So let’s dispense with the loaded second part of the question, and focus on “Why didn’t you get another Lincoln?” To answer this question requires one final journey of self-discovery.
The screenshot above tells me pretty much everything you need to know about me. My house is fully immersed in the Nest ecosystem of digital thermostats, smoke detectors, and security cameras, with a total of 13 devices. You know that friend you call up when you’re trying to set up your home theater or you can’t get your WiFi to connect? That friend is me.
Everyone has different automotive priorities, obviously. Otherwise we’d all be driving the same car. Some people value performance, others carrying capacity. Me, I value technology. Until recently, the best automotive gadgets were limited to luxury brands. However, as I pointed out in my End of Luxury post, you no longer need to get a luxury car to get most of the bells and whistles. So literally, all the MKZ offers over the Fusion is the (dubious) value of the Lincoln name.
So let’s dive right into the gadgets, shall we:
Adaptive Cruise Control. This is one that I use every single day. While my 2014 MKZ also had adaptive cruise control, that system only worked down to about 35 MPH. Below that speed, it would disengage. The setup in the 2017 Fusion (and 2017 MKZ) does it one better by being fully functional at all speed, all the way down to a complete stop. This effectively allows it to completely control the throttle and brakes in stop and go traffic, and takes us one step closer to our self-driving future.
Like all adaptive cruise systems, the Ford system keeps a generous following distance, even when set to its shortest gap setting (enough to allow aggressive drivers to slip in). As a recovering tailgater, I like the fact that it helps me maintain a safe following distance.
Lane Departure Assist System. This is definitely a love it or leave it system. My wife Kristen hates the way it “grabs” the wheel, and refuses to use it in her MKC. I, on the other hand, don’t mind it. If anything, I think the system is a little too milquetoast on its inputs. The system is strong enough to resist lane changes if you don’t use the turn signal first, but if you start drifting out of your lane, the nudges aren’t always strong enough to bring the car back into its lane.
It also allows too much “play” within the lane before kicking in: The car will be almost over the paint stripe before it does anything. Once it does, it will frequently overcorrect, sending the car towards the opposite side of the lane. Sometimes for grins (on a suitably empty road), I’ll try to let car the “drive” itself, but what inevitably happens is that the car will weave back and forth within its lane, before the system gives up, lets the car leave the lane and I have to take over.
To be clear, in no way does Ford represent lane departure assist to be any kind of self-driving technology, nor do I suggest attempting to use it as such. Once it detects any kind of shenanigans of the kind I described above, the system admonishes the driver to put their hands back on the wheel. But it is tantalizingly glimpse of our inevitable self-driving future.
Apple CarPlay. Your car’s infotainment system sucks. It’s not your fault: They all do. After all, automakers are in the car business, not the consumer electronics business. Some systems are borderline OK (Chrysler Uconnect and Ford SYNC), but most are awful (Mercedes COMMAND, and anything without a touch screen).
Luckily car manufacturers are well aware of their shortcomings, and most now allow anyone with a smartphone to replace their crappy UI with that of their phone (Google has the similar Android Auto for owners of their devices). Toyota/Lexus seem to be the last major holdouts against Apple CarPlay and Android Auto which, in case they are reading, instantly removes them from my automotive shopping list.
At first I thought it was just a gimmick, but Apple CarPlay has quickly become my go-to automotive interface. CarPlay is simpler and more intuitive than the SYNC 3 setup, and it works just like my iPhone, so I don’t have to learn any new menus or commands. I only dip back to Sync 3 on rare occasions when I need to use a vehicle control for which there is no hard button (heated steering wheel, for example).
The Apple Maps app has a smooth, fluid 3D UI that far exceeds what could be done with the limited processing and graphics capabilities of the head unit. I can use Siri to voice control just about everything, as well as to dictate text messages.
There are a large number of third-party apps available for CarPlay, most of which are audio apps. While I like being able to control and peruse my Audible audiobook collection through CarPlay, Waze is notable by its absence. Apple has also not opened CarPlay to third-party messaging apps, so no Slack or Skype.
FordPass Smartphone App. The Fusion contains an onboard 4G modem for vehicle telematics. This allows me to remotely start, lock, and unlock my car from the FordPass app on my phone. This is particularly helpful during extreme weather, allowing me to preheat/precool my car before I get in. Where I work, my car is parked far from my desk, well beyond the range of traditional key fob remote starters, so the app is a big plus. I can also remotely view the fuel level and odometer reading, but curiously not the tire pressures (something that the Lincoln app does allow).
Some people have complained that the onboard modem is strictly for telematics, and not available to use as a WiFi hotspot. I for one have never understood the appeal of in-vehicle hotspots. Almost everyone already owns a device that can be turned into a WiFi hotspot on demand (their phone). Why pay $20/month to do what you are already paying the device in your pocket to do?
Air-conditioned seats. As the author of the Cold Comfort series on automotive air conditioning, I can honestly say that this is the best invention ever. I’ve covered ventilated vs. cooled seats before, but just to reiterate: Ventilated seats are not the same as actively cooled seats. There is no substitute.
This is usually the part of the article where I tick off all the negatives, but honestly, I can think of anything. Could it be faster, more comfortable? Of course, but considering what it cost that would just be greedy. As far as I’m concerned, this car meets all my needs.
So here we are, at the end of my last Cars of a Lifetime post. When I began writing this series, I had no idea the journey of self-discovery I would be undertaking. There were several arcs in my life (like my Quixotic quest for automotive perfection) that I wasn’t even aware until I started pounding the keys for this series.
But before I conclude my COAL series, a few thank yous are in order:
First, thank you Paul Niedermeyer for running what I think is the best auto enthusiast site on the web (of course I may be biased). I don’t know how you continue to pound out hundreds of original posts, year after year, while I’ve barely written 75 in the past 6 months.
After being a long-time reader, I decided to take up the (virtual) pen and give back to the site that has given me so much, and I’m glad I did. While I originally signed up to contribute some COAL articles, I enjoyed it so much that I quickly became a regular contributor to the site. Even though my COAL series is concluded, I will continue to contribute articles here as long as I can find interesting things to write about.
Second, a heartfelt thank you to all commenters and readers. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: The quality of discourse from the Curbivores is second to none. I’ve seen comments here that would be great articles on their own merits. Comments are like tips to contributor here at CC: Whether you agree or disagree with what I’ve written, if I have moved you to post a comment then I’ve done my job.
If anyone is on the fence about contributing here, I highly recommend taking the leap. The Cars of a Lifetime series is a great way to get your feet wet, and offers two significant advantages for the first time contributor. The topic is one that is guaranteed not to have been covered here before, and one that you should be an expert in: Yourself.
Lastly, I want to thank Kristen, my lovely wife of 17 years. I’d be lying if I said that she fully embraces (or even understands) my family’s car obsession (now being passed on to my oldest son), but she does support it. Thank you for enduring countless U-turns and unplanned stops to grab photos of yet another old car! Truly a Woman of a Lifetime!
Tom, I’ve enjoyed your non-COALs immensely and look forward to many, many more of these most erudite and informative pieces. As to your personal choice in cars, whilst I would not have chosen the same vehicles myself, your contributions are a splendid example of the richness of the CC community. Cheers.
Thanks for the kind words, everyone. I kind of struck a chord with the “Cold Comfort” posts, so I’ve decided to turn it into a recurring series. Look for further entries soon!
Fantastic voyage Tom.
Tom, a great purchase – possibly the best car in the segment – and I’ve enjoyed reading your series!
You’ll get some of your typical, “Bah, all I need is a heater and a radio in my car” comments, of course, but I think you and I have a similar mindset with in-car technology.
Cooled seats are an absolutely terrific invention, and thank you for teaching me the difference between cooled and ventilated. I’ll try and retain that knowledge. I remember a Lexus GS I rented where, if you leaned forward, you could actually hear the air blasting through the seats. That was a delight.
My car has an extremely basic infotainment set-up. It’s really just a display with a few menu options, no nav or anything. I was in a rental recently though that had Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and I’ve been in friends’ cars that have them and it just really makes sense… You use your phone every day, you may even have multiple devices with the same OS, so why not have it in your car? And the layout and display are so simple!
Active safety features I have little experience with but hey, if it helps keep me alive, it’s a good idea. If it doesn’t annoy me, that’s even better.
Ford really has been on the forefront of creature comforts. They were one of the first to really push cooled seats, way back in early-2000s Lincolns. Then there were neat, if unnecessary, features like capless gas tanks and adjustable ambient lighting. Now, you can get all these features on Titanium and Platinum Fords. Lincoln will really have to bring it when it comes to dealer service to justify the price premiums.
Even if they are undermining Lincoln, I’m glad Ford isn’t depriving Fords of fancy features to protect Lincoln. You can get panoramic sunroofs and cooled seats and all kinds of neat features in Hyundai Elantras and Kia Optimas now, after all.
That smartphone app looks like a really good idea! I actually heard about it through some particularly egregious product placement in Designated Survivor…
Enjoy your car! These Fusions are so nice now, and so well-sized, they’ll kill off the Taurus sooner or later… Incidentally, the new Chinese Taurus is based on the Fusion and looks decent–right down to optional quilted leather that looks like it’s from a Continental!
“… if you leaned forward, you could actually hear the air blasting through the seats. That was a delight.”
I’m sorry, but, yeah, me too.
I have enjoyed the ride, so thank you.
I guess I stake out the other end of the gadget spectrum among new car buyers. I have stuck to the super basic end of the pool, so all of these gadgets on your Fusion are foreign to me. Maybe some day.
I find myself somewhere in the middle here. I guess I could be considered an early adopter of computers, buying my first (a Tandy!) in 1988, selling my bass guitar amplifier to get it. Within a couple of years I was controlling my phone, lights, and other things with it. Even found my wife there!
I would love adaptive cruise control, but not much else. I don’t have a smart phone or equivalent, and I love driving. I remember being very frustrated at how long it took car manufacturers to install CD players with decent audio equipment. Took that in to my own hands numerous times.
As an example, unless you are handicapped, or old like me, I don’t understand why anyone would have to have doors or liftgates that open themselves. I can do it myself. Rear seat entertainment? Come on! Lets sing “The Ants Go Marching 1 By 1” again!
I will freely admit that I am out of the mainstream here (like that’s never happened before . . . ) and remain amazed that my strippo 2012 Sedona has power windows, rear air and Bluetooth!
These new features do sound pretty nice, but I also come from the era where I imagine having to deal with it when it quits working. Manufacturers can’t seem to handle basics like window regulators these days, I’m supposed to believe that these cutting edge electronics will work better than all of my other electronic gizmos at home?
The cooled seats do sound tempting, though.
Yes. Your whole second paragraph is exactly what I think, too. I remember my father saying in response to being asked why our car didn’t have power windows…”just something else to break”. Probably didn’t have anything to do with being the father of a single income, 9 kid family. 🙂
Interesting. I just made the statement in a review I was working on how if someone wanted an entertainment center in such vehicle they better start singing to themselves.
Jim, like you I’m happy with bluetooth and power windows. Beyond that is nothing that really interests me.
I don’t even know if the cruise control on any of my cars even works–I’ve never tried it–even though I drove 40,000+ miles per year.
Great COAL series, thank you!
I have a 2016 Honda Accord with the Sensing package which includes adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, and collision mitigation. You are correct, it is a game changer. I drive 600 miles a week and it definitely helps. One time, I had to drive from my home in New Jersey to Cincinnati, around a 9 hour drive. I had the system engaged most of the time, it was quite impressive as it did the steering and braking on the long stretches of highway, leaving me to be able to watch the road more carefully. I took over completely when the road became curvy, or I had to change lanes and pass another vehicle, and in stop and go traffic. In that regard, I like how the Fusion’ s adaptive cruise control works at any speed…the Accord’s shuts off under 20 mph which does not help in stop and go driving. What I do like is that unless you turn them off, lane keeping assist and collision mitigation stay active in the background. Just a few months ago, I was with my family and a car made a sudden left turn in front of me. The system was able to stop my car faster than I could react, preventing a collision. The lane keeping assist will “drive the car” but sounds a loud alarm and disengages if you take your hands off the wheel for more than 20 seconds, also it does not work when the windshield wipers are on.
Anyway, I agree with Tom’s point about “The End of Luxury,” the Sensing Package I described is available on the base model Accord LX. I don’t think that’s a bad thing.
Tom, congratulations again.
I love the adaptive cruise control on my 2017 CR-V. It maintains a safe following distance between me and the vehicle ahead. Plus, if I come up on a slow vehicle on the Interstate, I have time to look for an opportunity to pass it without disengaging the cruise control.
I don’t share your enthusiasm for the lane keeping assist, though. I tried it, and I didn’t like it, so I shut it off…….and it’s been off ever since.
About the Lane Keeping Assist: Well, I must admit it is a little disconcerting when it tries to “take over” unexpectedly. Once, I was in an exit lane and the system did not understand this, so it was interesting trying to exit while the car kept counteracting my control inputs, I remembered that activating the turn signal overrides the system and relinquishes control to the driver immediately.
However, when you are expecting it, it works wonderfully. Like my commute to work this morning. I didn’t have to touch the brake or gas, and just kept my hand on the wheel for 50 of my 60 mile drive into work. The car did the braking, accelerating, and steering.
For a counterpoint see Kurt Ernst’s recent post in Hemmings “What Don’t Auto Makers Understand?”
There were nearly 200 comments, perhaps a record. Most were highly critical of auto tech, its distraction from safe driving, and the mind numbing learning curve compared to intuitive physical controls.
Some systems are borderline OK (Chrysler Uconnect and Ford SYNC), but most are awful (Mercedes COMMAND, and anything without a touch screen).
I’ve always heard positive comments about iDrive (the latest iteration. The first ones were total crap) and specially about Audi’s MMI (which was considered good and easy to use since the first version in the early 2000’s) and neither has a touch screen.
Now about your COAL. It’s been a great series so far (and sorry for the eagle-eyed comment about the MKC when you were talking about the Audi). You ended up with a very nice sedan.
I know yours is the range-topping model, but you Americans are lucky that your base Fusion isn’t like ours! (With a 1.0 liter 3-cylinder)
Thanks for a wonderful series Tom. One thing I should take away from this journey is how you embrace new in-car technology. I’m a little bit hesitant about some aspects, however since having rain sensing wipers in my Honda the last six years I can never go back to manual wipers in any future daily driver… I have no classic car yet but that’s something that I’m working on..
Tom is a very sophisticated consumer and he is not only willing to, but capable of adapting to the new. Furthermore he is able to use the new effectively for his purposes.
I am very different car consumer and certainly feel left behind. I use new technology – but often only grudgingly. I love cars but my focus is, and always has been, first on the looks and next on the utility/ease of use and then on the performance/fun. This must be the first car review I’ve read where the focus is only on the very sophisticated, advanced technology. I care nothing about that. My limited driving (local in town and only about four or six long road trips yearly) just makes learning these new systems not worth the effort.
The new technology I want, and do not see mentioned in the Ford review, is heads up display. I have it on none of my cars but have driven cars with it and have really enjoyed having it. And it was no effort to learn.
This is not criticism of new tech or those who enjoy it. It is just a comment from a car nut who is fairly satisfied with what I’ve got from ’90s Mercedes and S197 Mustang daily drivers which have no new technology impediment.
Thank you – I have enjoyed your COAL series!
You have just purchased the car I’ve been considering as my next steed and I would like to get it equipped almost exactly as you have done with yours, minus the AWD (I don’t need it here in Texas). Living in a place where the summer temperatures regularly soar above 100 degrees, the air conditioned seats are my must-have climate related option.
I do not consider myself a technophile but I can easily justify the safety features. After being very frustrated with the unintuitive user interfaces in several rentals (looking at you, CUE), I have been waiting for a simplified system to be developed and, in my opinion, no one does it better than Apple.
I have been thinking of the MKZ as well, but have been finding it very hard to justify the extra cost (although a year-old, low-mileage version might tempt me). Your End of Luxury post left me nodding in agreement that virtually all of the goodies are now available in the lower-priced brands and questioning the need for the Lincoln brand.
William – Not sure what part of Texas you’re from but here in Houston I love having AWD during our various monsoons. Just yesterday I was driving my wife’s RX350 in a downpour and kept thinking ‘I wish I had my Outback”. AWD lends a sure-footedness in situations like that.
I have never driven one but have to say I have admired the Fusion from day 1 (though I did prefer the styling of the Milan while it was offered). This car is one of the few times a new model/nameplate was introduced and with each generation the car got better. Then there is the fact that the Fusion covers pretty much every possible “base” with 1 basic car. You want a planet saving hybrid? Got it. AWD? Got it? And if they haven’t discontinued it, there’s the recently introduced “all the bells and whistles” AWD, V6 Sport model.
Probably the only area the Fusion doesn’t cover all that well is as a “gran luxe” Titanium Plus (Vignale…IIRC in Europe).
I’ve come close to buying a Fusion (or Milan) a few times, but haven’t been able to justify the size for a driver only vehicle.
Europe’s Vignale is America’s Platinum. The Platinum sits above the Titanium, having everything standard except AWD, rear inflatable belts, and pearl paint. It uniquelyadds leather-wrapped door trim and instrument panel, plus quilted air conditioned seats and larger wheels. It shames Audi, Acura, Buick, Cadillac, and Lexus.
Don’t kill me, but I’m one of those guys that spends his whole time caring only about looks, is a technophobe supreme, and thought Billy Crystal’s “You look marvelous!” skit in Saturday Night Live said it all. Consequently, I spend most of my time on the road trying to decide, if I could, whether I’d rather have a Ford Fusion or a Chevy Impala, or, in a similar vein, would I rather have a Dodge Challenger, Chevy Camaro, or Ford Mustang, again, on looks alone. I haven’t decided the second question, but for the first, I’d take the Impala. Is there anyone else, I wonder, who’d rather have an Impala?
Fusion, Camry, Altima, Accord, (insert Mazda name here)….the more I walk past them in parking lots the more they all look alike.
I owned a 2011 Camry for 5 years. Dull but Dependable. The ’53 Chevy of it’s time period.
I was ok with my Camry while I had it; didn’t miss it two days after I sold it.
Pleased that you have a car that you think so highly of!
Thank you Tom for a terrific COAL series. Although many of your cars are not exactly ones that I could see myself in, your passion and insight into their qualities, strengths and weaknesses has been very enlightening.
It’s precisely the diversity of voices and experiences of our contributors and commenters that makes CC worth the effort to keep it going. As a committed “learner”, I have learned more these past years, and not just about cars and other vehicles, than I could have imagined. Your series has expanded my horizons, like so many others.
It’s important to remember that different folks have very different relationships with their cars than I (or others) do. If I spent significant time driving every day, especially on the often crowded streets and freeways of most bigger cities, I too would likely have developed a different relationship with the available high-tech features of new cars.
That probably explains my lack of genuine passion about new cars, as they simply don’t fill a need or purpose in my life. I only drive the Acura occasionally, and we got one without the technology package. but between Sirius and my phone, we can play all the music we want.
And in my F100 and xB? I’ll show you my “portable technology package” shortly.
Again, thank you Tom for stepping up to help keep this site interesting, diverse and enjoyable.
Tom: I have also enjoyed your COAL series immensely.
You’re a marvelously entertaining writer, Tom. Please keep your posts coming.
My dislike of tech is the usage of our when saying something like ” our autonomous future”. I mean I’ve been driving for 12 years, and never once in that time have I even used even old school cruise control, even on the three 2000 mile trips I’ve done, even though nearly every car I’ve ever driven has it equipped. I also have never used a ride sharing service, don’t have Facebook, and have even managed to survive without a smartphone until last year – which for me was really just a consolidation of existing tech I already used into one device, I haven’t at all used it to it’s full potential(I haven’t spent one cent on apps) – so when I see/hear “our” or “we” used when describing something like autonomous driving, I interpret that as a grim or even hostile dictation.
One ap you should consider, along with the neccessary hardware to support it is an OBDII one, at least if you mess with any 1996 or newer vehicles. Very useful in diagnosing any problems and knowing exactly what your car is up to. I have FORScan which is just for Ford vehicles and allows you to do the majority of things that the factory scan tool can do. For example when I change the tire size on my F250 it took just a couple of minutes to select the new tire size and correct the speedo. Buy a car with keyless entry and didn’t get the code, no need to take the door panel off to look at the driver’s door module, just select that module, the code PID and read if off.
Wish this wasn’t a topic hijack, of sorts, but can FORscan help me find a new tire size to “correct” for a change in the rear axle ratio of my Crown Victoria? Or can you suggest the correct size?
About 9 months ago the rear axle on my CV was changed from about 3.27 to 1 to 2.75 to 1 or thereabouts. The “certified” speedometer is now “off” by about 12%. Current tire size is 235/55 x 17, I’ll even be willing to go to a 16 wheel from a CV/GM. The mechanic that swapped the axle seems too tired to figure the correct tire size to get my speedometer back to “normal”. Car will need new tires soon, so may as well make the change then.
FORScan can also adjust axle ratios which is what you need but since it is a community sourced free program someone has not done every function for every vehicle. The other problem is since you have a police calibration the only options may be the 3.23 and 3.55 ratios offered with the police calibration. On the other hand for some functions you can download the “as built”, do the math in hex, create your new file and upload it. Plus you need to know the address of the thing you are changing. In other words not for many people.
The other option is a tuner like from Hypertech, if they have a program for your year. In those they have screens that allow you to enter the gear ratio or tire diameter and the programmer will do it.
Tom, my thanks to you; I have enjoyed this COAL series, and your many other posts. While our automotive lives are quite different (I tend to hang on to a car for years, and bluetooth is about my only electronic “luxury”), I appreciate reading other people’s automotive experiences.
I look forward to seeing more of your posts.
Tom, thanks for the great series. I encourage everyone to read your “End of Luxury” essay, a Unified Field Theory of the past six decades of car design and one of the smartest things I have read on this website. You linked it above but it is worth linking again: https://www.curbsideclassic.com/future-classic/future-cc-2017-ford-fusion-platinum-the-end-of-luxury/
Back in the ’50’s the only electronic gizmo I can recall as being available in cars was the autronic eye headlight dimmer. I find it ironic that this is about the only electronic feature not available today.
Well after reading this about the Fusion I can say it is most definitely a car I do not want.
The Fusion can be purchased without any of the features Tom talked about in his post.
The base model is selling for under $20k in these parts. Pretty remarkable at that price point.
Yup, and used/CPO examples are dropping in price too. You can get a lightly used 2014/2015 Fusion SE for around $13,000 these days.
I’m a little late to the party, as usual for weekend posts, but thank you for a great series.
As someone who is still dismayed over the dearth of two door fastback hatches with 5 speed manual transmissions, I’m intrigued by your very comprehensive overview of the technology in most of these recent COALs. Like many others here I could probably wax curmudgeonly about the simple cars of the past, but in truth I’m quite sure after a very brief time behind the wheel of one of the latest tech equipped marvels if find myself unable to live without many of these features.
I’ve learned a lot from this series, and as a newer car is most certainly on the horizon for my household in the next couple years, I now feel somewhat more knowledgeable, which is never a bad thing.
Tom, you got me hooked with your Acura Integra GS article and I fondly remember driving several in the early 1990’s. This has been a great series and I have come to learn that any article with your byline is definitely worth the time to read.
Tom – Thanks for a fantastic series as well as your continued contributions. Your Fusion is beautiful in exactly the right color to show off its tasteful chrome touches. It will still look good in 20 years. Ford hit it out of the style park with this design – it’ll be interesting to see where they go from here.
When I concluded on the Outback as my new car in ’13, I rushed to get the desired SAP package before they made EyeSight a mandatory part of that package for 2014. I didn’t need all that new-fangled technology.
Fast forward to this past December and my car was at the dealer for some adjustments so they gave me a 2017 as a loaner with all the toys. I loved every single one and have seriously considered trading mine in to upgrade, heresy for me since I like to run my cars to 10 years/250k miles before replacing. Many toys are comfort/convenience – cooled seats, app integration, pano roofs, but many are safety-related. They don’t excuse you from being an involved driver, but they sure make driving safer.
As we begin the long process for my daughter’s first car, I hate to be “that dad” that buys their princess a new car. She’s practiced on all our vehicles and can handle anything from from a turbo six-speed (Saab) to a lumbering turtle (Trooper). That doesn’t mean I don’t want her to have every safety toy available. Accidents happen when you least expect it.
If I could just fast forward to our future of self-driving hover pods, that would be great.
I had a rental with the Uconnect system for a month. All I kept thinking was “my phone does a much better job” I would have been happy with two usb ports, two 12v acessory ports, and a radio.
Thanks for your contributions to both CC and your COAL series. “The End Of Luxury” is a masterpiece by itself.
Tom, you’ve been a great contributor. End of Luxury is a fitting bookend to Paul’s LTD articles.
As for this particular car, it really is crazy what you can get on a Fusion these days. As I’ve said before on here, my mother bought a base model Fusion last year. Literally the only option on the car was dealer-installed heated seats. But you get so much even in a base- of course power everything, Bluetooth, satellite radio, etc. And it’s got good bones, so to speak. At the price she paid for it, I feel it’s almost a steal for its driving dynamics and build quality. Putting all these technology and comfort features on it isn’t polishing a turd, it’s making a good car into a luxurious one.
At the risk of sounding curmudgeonly (and let me add that I do like some gadgets)…ALL of that stuff will screw up eventually. And will be expensive to fix (now), or either expensive or impossible to fix (in the future).
My current new-to me vehicle is a 2008 HHR. It has a MANUAL transmission, one of its strongest selling points. It has cruise control that I control. It’s too old to have infotainment, per se, but I don’t care. It still happily plays one of the hundreds of silver discs (they’re called CDs) that I have. I have Onstar if I want it. And I can haul stuff in it.
First, thank you for the series. As for the Fusion, the nearest which we can get here in the EU is a fully loaded Mondeo. My understanding is it’s a very capable car these days but – having priced one up – over €50K for a Ford sedan is a bit too much for me; at that level, you are well into BMW territory (and not bare bones BMW at that) here. We do not have any Lincolns imported into the Austria currently, so I don’t have anything “in-house” to compare it with like you have. I do not know what you paid for yours but presumably it made sense. The electronic gizmos are mind blowing if you can understand them and when they work. So far I deciphered only some of the ones I have on my pre-update, 2015 Mazda 3 (it has lane control, low speed autonomous braking and radar-controlled cruise control) and very quickly switched the (non-active) lane control off after the audible warning nearly gave me a heart attack on one or two occasions. I can see the usefulness of it on a long trip from Vienna to London, as I tend to drive at night when the Autobahn is empty and you can maintain 100 MPH constantly but not on a daily basis. Same applies for the radar-controlled cruise control. However, I wonder about the reliability of all of the above. Not important if you change your car every 3-4 years but if not, well:)
I am also not entirely convinced by the current small, high HP turbocharged engines trend Ford has been following lately. I just cannot see these surviving for very high mileages.
Having said all of the above, if I lived in the US, I would be sorely tempted by the current Lincoln Continental, which is one of the best looking sports sedans on the market today, anywhere.
What a great series tom. After seeing this post I took the time to read the rest and it was definitely worth the read! This has to be my favourite car of the series. I had one myself and its a great car!