Why name a winter storm? Practically all of America asked this question when The Weather Channel announced their plans to do so shortly before winter 2012. As boneheaded as this decision was (a future storm will be named after a Star Trek villian), I can understand where their marketing department is coming from. After all, every vehicle featured on this site had people sitting around an office contemplating the right way to sell their particular CC during its development cycle. So what does it all come down to then? How it was remembered.
Now to be fair, this storm was memorable, but not for the reasons any weather-reporting entity would have you believe. This is upstate New York after all, and we’re used to snow. But this was the first time that one of us had to be at work the next day, which forced us to consider the positioning of all four of our cars. Did I say four cars? Yes, I did. There was an addition to the Snitkoff fleet just days before Nemo arrived. So what was it? Let’s take a look behind doors number one and two.
Door #1: Dad’s spot, and the location of a previously mentioned CC. If you look at the picture quickly you could almost mistake it for a Corolla.
Door #2: My spot. But what’s this? Why, a 2013 Ford Focus. For the first time since…forever, a brand-new car occupies a spot in the garage. It couldn’t be helped – with the incentives from Ford and my substantial employee discount, saying no would have been foolish. So am I a two-car owner now?
That’s a negative. My decision to buy a new car was based on my predictions for the old one. Sure, the CC was in great shape, but any 15-year-old car will need parts replaced at a steady clip, and that can add up quite a bit. So I sold the car that had been part of my life for nine years. And it happened quickly, too; within six days, the Sable was in another driveway. It went to a father purchasing a car for his teenage son, the exact scenario that took place in 2004 when my Taurus wagon was on life support. That car stuck with me throughout high school, undergrad, graduate school, and into my first journey into adulthood at my current place of employment. Hopefully, its new owner also will create some fond memories with it, but even if not, I’ll always have pictures and stories to reflect on as the years go by. And of course, my future CC will be there as well.
Who drives the white Taurus? I was semi disappointed that the Toyota (whichever model it is) is gold colored since all the other cars are white or near white.
Maybe it is the automotive engineer in me, maybe it is my Swiss roots that provide the efficiency. I have been in the automotive business nearly 37 years and never owned a brand new car. I certainly could have afforded to (within reason) but I guess I always chose to step up to better cars when they were a couple of years old. Probably because I or a customer of mine could always fix them. My two regular drivers are relatively new (2 years and 4 years old) so I can’t be accused of being weird or different in the neighborhood (see 72 Satellite post). One of these days I will buy a new one and just drive it until it dies or I die first.
The Taurus and the Camry are both my dad’s rides. I don’t think he would have ever purchased a gold colored car on his own, as he prefers whites and blues. The Toyota was an inheritance from a deceased family member.
As to your point on car ownership, I definitely would have considered getting something used if it wasn’t for my discount and the zero percent financing. The Focus had options that I wanted and nothing I didn’t, and I’m already getting 10 mpg higher on my fill ups versus the Sable. So for me it was a win-win all around.
Hey if you can get me that kind of deal on a Ford Flex Limited I might buy…
A Ford man, I see. Must have good experience with them, unlike so many others.
Maybe we’ve gotten lucky, I can’t deny that. But my family has had other makes that have treated us well. My dad has a creed of sorts, which is pretty simple: pay attention to gas mileage, listen for any abnormalities in the car, and get things fixed when its needed. I think its what kept our Curbside Classics running for so long.
That is a very good philosophy, and sadly, one that often does not get used. As an automotive engineer, it always surprises me (and dismays) the almost totally utter lack of understanding or caring that most people have for the vehicles they drive. I realize that people are not going to share the same passion about vehicles, old or new, but considering cars are among the largest purchases, how little goes into them. There are many bad car designs (mechanically speaking) but fully half or more of problems I have seen in the field have started from or have been exacerbated by customer misuse and neglect. Power steering pump makes noise? Anyone thought to check the fluid? Red lights come on the dash? Keep driving until you hear noises? Feel like power brakes at lights? Jumping curbs? Wonder why your alignment is off or your tie rod is bent.
Your dad is a smart guy. Listening and feeling for abnormalities in the way they drive is definitely the way to do it. If you pay attention to it, nobody knows more about your car then you do. And when you detect it, get it fixed before it becomes a bigger problem.
I used to buy used and keep cars a long time, but lately with new car financing cheap and all of the incentives, I’ve been buying new also. As a former mechanic and current engineer, it gives me heartburn sometimes, but I also do a lot of driving now and it’s not fun having to constantly fix an older car so that you can get to work. I like working on a project car, or a beater truck to use for the house or something, but I hate working on daily drivers.
I also almost always experience sellers remorse whenever I let a car go. In fact there are probably 4 cars that I have sold that I regret selling. Two of them were beat and their time was simply up (like my Honda story that also posted today), but a couple that I sold, I wish I didn’t. If it were up to me, we’d probably have 15 cars in the driveway 🙂
I just gotta say, the used car market is really weird lately, to the point that buying a brand new car was the sensible decision for me. Purchase price, maintenance, insurance, fuel, repairs, and depreciation together were more expensive for a decent used car than a brand new one in my area (Minneapolis, MN).
These Ford products are also cars that people loved or hated. Having known many people that owned them some kept them forever while others traded after a few years. Maybe it is a lot of luck if you caught a good one. I personally know this because I had my share of owning Ford products in the late eighties and early nineties. I bought an 88 1/2 (remember the 1/2 year models?) red Escort GT fresh off the truck. It was an absolute nightmare – in fact it had a horrible interior water leak that even the Ford reps were unable to find! After 2 windshields and replacing the carpet twice they gave up on it. Then with about 16k miles the power steering pump went. End result – Ford bought the car back from me and I was able to get a white 1989 replacement. I put 60k on that car in 3 years and it was FLAWLESS!! I absolutely loved that car! Finally when the new 1991 model Escort GT came out (which was heavily Mazda based) I traded the 1989 in for it. Once again a flawless car, put about 70k on it in 3 1/2 years and traded it for a new Accord Coupe in late 1994. I would most certainly purchase another Ford product today, knowing that quality has improved greatly over the last 20 years. They were comfortable cars and priced fairly, as I feel they are today.
As far as new vs. used, a lot of factors come into play. There are great deals out there on new cars so today sometimes buying used isn’t always the best option.
So I guess this means you don’t want my mom’s Sable anymore??? J/K.
It’s probably for the best, as the Merlot color would clash with everything in your driveway 😛
If I had a bit more money…
How well does that new Focus do in the snow?
Funny you ask, because I took it out in actual snow with last week’s storm. Drove on a completely unplowed road, and aside from the traction control kicking in a bit too much, the Focus seemed just as competent as the Sable.
Interesting. It’s a handsome car; I’m just leery of small cars in winter weather!
FWIW, I’ve usually had good luck with small front drive cars in winter. The one exception to that was the 1997-2003 Chevy Malibu. For some reason, I found those cars to be terrible in winter weather! Oddly enough, my Olds Alero sits on pretty much the same platform, but it goes through the snow just fine. Go figure…
In the snow tires are 90% of the equation. Did you have the same brand, model, and and mileage on the tires that were on both of them?
All season tires don’t do too well in snow after their first 25~30% of tread wear and the differences between different tires can be dramatic.
What? You didn’t get the hatchback? Come on, this is the internet and we all know that hatchbacks are the greatest vehicles ever, after station wagons. Only boring Americans buy sedans.
I honestly like the Focus sedan better than the hatch. It’s nicer looking, cheaper and has more useable trunk space with the seats up. As a fellow sedan owner, I’m glad this site is generally free of such nonsense about hatches, stick shifts, diesels, etc.
Congrats on the new ride.
I feel the same way mostly; however, the individual has a Taurus and Sable in his driveway and a Camry in his garage–do you think he’s the type who would buy a manual, diesel wagon? No.
I prefer hatches myself, both in general and on the Focus, but I’m seriously tempted by a ’12 leftover Sonic Blue Focus S sedan at a serious markdown at the local Ford dealer. That *is* a manual, though – it’s a no-option car – but maybe the sweet deal the OP got was also sedans-only or specific to this particular one.
And I do agree that it’s a good-looking car, first time that’s ever been the case for a Focus sedan. Enjoy!
Thanks guys. I prefer sedans as well. I was tempted to get the hatch, but the price premium and the blind spots steered me away.
Oddly enough, despite having the same audio system, it seems like the Sedan is able to project the bass more thoroughly, and this has been true in every one I’ve been in.
I am not surprised. My 83 Eldorado has the then-new Bose sound system and the brochure that I have talked specifically about the accoustical angles of the speakers. Since the interior of the Eldorado is rather square, it has a lot to do with where the speakers are located and where the sound waves reflect. I am certainly no audio expert, but I tend to believe that. The hatch may create an echo effect and dissipate the sound behind the seats.
The trunk in the sedan acts as the rear speakers’ enclosure, enhancing the bass frequencies.
I also think the sedan is a much cleaner design.
I rather like the looks of the new Focus, so I don’t blame you at all – that’s one heck of an upgrade!
If Ford would just make a AWD + EcoBoost version, oh man I’d be all over it. That said, though, the Focus ST is enough to make me consider a new car. That thing just ticks so many boxes for me..
When Ford were into WRC they put out 4WD versions of their cars however 4WD on rally cars fell out of favour in the modern era of Sebastian Loeb and his Subaru killing Citroens so maybe Ford gave up too.
Nice! I like the Focus a lot, drove a fairly loaded SEL sedan last year and was very impressed with it. Roomy, comfortable, surprisingly nimble for it’s size, engine was smooth and made good power – I even liked the MyFord Touch system and thought it was extremely easy to use. What most surprised me about it was that the interior was made from excellent materials and seemed put together as well as any Japanese car I’d been in recently, if not better. That’s a big change from the earlier Focii – which I also liked a lot and have considered owning at times. Like others here, I think I also prefer the look of the sedan to the hatchback… which is the opposite of how I felt about previous versions.
The only thing I didn’t like was the dual clutch transmission. Maybe it was just this particular car, which was a rental, but it seemed to have a hard time picking a gear to stay in and also had a pretty rough feel to it at low speeds. If I were going to buy one, I’d want the manual transmission anyway, so that didn’t really bug me too much. When the ST went on sale I priced it out on Ford’s website and found out that it’s waaaaay out of my pricerange – at least the way I’d want it. Too bad, I’ll probably look into them again in a couple years when they start hitting the used car lots.
Anyway, congratulations – go find a nice icy parking lot and learn how to steer with the parking brake!!
Congrats on the new car. Here’s hoping that your experience works out better than mine did, but then, mine was an 85 Volkswagen. After a lifetime of Taurus/Sable, this will certainly be a life-shift for you. The new Focus certainly seems like a nice car.