Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ford's "Better Ideas" for the new age... SYNC helps Ford leap ahead of other makers' "tech" features

If you're old like me, well approaching "middle age", you may remember Ford's old "Better Idea" ads from back in the day. Well, they may not use that phrase anymore, but just as "Quality is (still) Job 1" Ford continues to have better ideas as well. And case in point is the SYNC technology package.
I'm old enough to remember when cell phones came out and even remember when radio phones were for the very rich, but today every auto company has some sort of Bluetooth connectivity in their lineup. SYNC is more than just that, and as I'm learning with my new Mariner it's fairly easy to use and very well integrated into the car. But if you read the article from PC World, linked in the title, you'll see that Ford hasn't just sat back with SYNC and let it become static. Even before I bought my new Mariner, I had read that you could get free updates downloaded so that as new features came online for the system you wouldn't experience that new tech regret that's inevitable when new upgrades come after you bought the early run. And now Ford's latest upgrade will allow you to have a mobile WiFi in your car for no extra cost, when you use your Smartphone or USB Mobile Modem with the SYNC system. I'm not a tech guy, read the article, but this is just amazing. And the fact that you don't need to buy hardware or software beyond what you may already have is a huge plus. Oh and there's no extra service to sign up for! No hidden fees or subscriptions? Ford in my opinion has just gut punched the competition.

And let's not forget that Ford offers all of this high tech goodness across it's entire lineup (I'm fairly certain) from the upcoming "entry level" "aspirational?" Fiesta, to the Focus, Fusion, Mustang, Taurus and across the SUV and CUV lineup and even the trucks.
I'm fortunate to have wireless service from a very good provider and I believe I can get a suitable adapter for my current phone or just upgrade to a suitable new phone. Just imagine on a long road trip, passengers can surf the net while we clock the miles. A mini WiFi "Hot Spot" in my car? I'm going to take baby steps with this, but I'm excited.
I was reading recently that although Ford's new Fiesta will have a sub $14k entry price, it's expected the average transaction price will be closer to $20k. You may laugh at that, but when you think of all the "Millenials" (you know young people) who love their tech gear and want to drive something that's economical, then Ford could be ahead of the curve here. Around the globe, small cars don't mean "cheap".
I've often said that I could see myself buying a Fiesta, if it had enough features and that I'd be willing to pay around $20k.

You say "Way Forward" or "We Speak Car" I say Ford is still cranking out "Better Ideas"
In the end it's just proof that Ford will be a major player in the foreseeable future.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

1,100 mile and severe storm update, the Mariner earns it's stripes!

Ok, I just turned over 1,100 miles and drove through some wicked weather last night, so it's time for a Mariner update. And there have been no further issues with the little SUV. Once the swaybar link was repaired the truck has seemed to be improving on a daily basis. Fuel economy has been improving, averaging 20 mpg on a mostly urban loop.
The big news was last night's storm here in the New York Metro area. We decided to go to a party in New Jersey near Newark, which in good weather is just under an hour away. The forecast was for bad snow, high winds and low visability. Not the weather you'd think I would take a brand new untried vehicle out in? I don't drink, I have tons of experience driving in very bad weather (usually in the bulletproof Ranger) and knew that if I just took my time I'd be fine.
And the Mariner earned it's stripes! We left the party in Jersey at 11 pm, and got back to Westchester at 1 am, without a hitch. Most of that delay was because we were following slower traffic, including several plows on the local roads in Jersey.
I can't tell you how many stuck/stranded/abandoned cars we passed on the various highways, but I can tell you that no matter how slick it got the Mariner's "Inteligent AWD" with traction control was able to pull us through. Sure there was that long stretch of 280 in Jersey where speeds were held down to 10mph, but for the bulk of the trip we averaged 35 mph and not a wiggle from the Mariner.
I'm not ready to put the Ranger out to pasture yet, but it's nice to know that the car is smarter than I am. If I had known just how bad traveling was going to be I would have lit a fire and stayed home. But it's nice to know that the Mariner can move through some ugly road conditions. One note that I found odd, was the majority of cars I saw stuck were BMW and Mercedes, some with AWD. The key besides having a capable car, is knowing that slow and steady gets you home while overconfidence gets you stuck.
The Mariner is looking like one of the best buys in my humble view.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The good news from Ford has been just coming again and again

Mustang 3.7 V6 check! 2011 Fiesta doesn't get "Dave" treatment, check! Fusion gets Motor Trend Car Of The Year, Check! The news just gets better and better everyday.

Ford has some of the freshest product out there and some really inovative technology in the pipeline and on dealer's lots today. EcoBoost, SYNC and upcoming Hybrid and Electric vehicles.

There's always room for improvement (Mustang) but there's little doubt about which of the domestic brands will come out on top, it's going to be Ford all the way.

But what about Mercury? Did I just buy the next "Orphan" brand?

Finally! 3.7 V6 for Mustang in 2011

Ford's getting rid of the boat anchor 4.0 V-6 in favor of the 3.7 finally! And going toe to toe with Chevy Camaro's 300 hp/29 mpg with 307 hp/30 mpg. Read all about it at Autoblog.
Now, let's see when we can expect that IRS?

21 days 510 miles and first problem with Mariner

Ok, so today is day 21, I've put 510 miles on my Mariner and it's already been back for a warranty repair? Yes, you read that correctly, the Mariner had to go back to the dealership today. The good, the bad and the not so ugly facts are these. On Saturday I was setting off to visit friends, we pull out of the driveway and get 1,000 feet when I hear a knocking noise from the suspension. I went less than a mile when said knocking noise caused me to turn around and park the Mariner. Luckily we have more than one vehicle, so we transferred our weekend bags to the Honda and set off. This morning the Mariner went the less than 5 miles back to the dealership.

And the problem was? Driver's side stabilizer bar link had come loose. I have to give credit to the dealership. They found the problem quickly and 2 hours later we were on our way home, without any knocking noise.

But only 19 days into this "extended test drive" (lease) a stabilizer link fails?
My Ranger had a a stabilizer link fail, but after 10.5 years and 57,000 miles.

I'll put this off to a fluke this time, but I'll be documenting any further problems very carefully.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Mariner is paying it's way easilly! Perfect vehicle for Holiday traveling.

Ok here's an update on my new Mariner. I've had it just over 2 weeks and it's been a real pleasure to live with. And yesterday's Thanksgiving holiday travel really helped the Mariner prove it's worth. As expected gas milage is improving on almost a daily basis. And the switch to the automatic paid big dividends in the 2 hour bumper to bumper traffic on both legs of my journey. One thing that I almost laughed at when I bought it but now love is the blind spot mirrors. At first glance I was thinking this was too small a vehicle to need them, but with all the bumper to bumper snaking around accidents on the Thruway and Parkway they really were a life saver.

I had a full load of passengers and leftovers coming home, and everyone was impressed with the ride comfort, even the back seat. Since I will never ride back there I hadn't really considered this, so it's a bonus that it's so nice.

The SYNC system's Bluetooth really made it easy, as I was receiving and making calls from the road in bumper to bumper traffic without any distraction. The voice command dialling and clear display high up on the dash meant that I didn't ram into the idiot that cut me off on I-87.

My sister who loves her Explorer but is wanting a smaller more efficient vehicle next spring liked my little Mercury so much that she's putting on her list for consideration. Her real goal is the Ford Edge, but the Escape/Mariner make a nice second choice. She was thrilled when I told her it's a 4 cyl and what milage I'm achieving.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Sighting today and competitor for the Fiesta in 2011?

I drove upstate today to visit family in advance of the Thanksgiving holiday and on my way back home I had to make a pitstop on the NYS Thruway. And sitting there was a car I had only seen online and in videos from Europe, a Mercedes B200 (Wiki article linked in title). To be honest I felt bad for the poor guy sitting in the passenger seat waiting for his lady friend to return. I wasn't the first guy to ask him about the vehicle, but at least I did explain to him that he was riding in a vehicle that Mercedes doesn't sell in the United States (yet?). And his response was that he was from Montreal and unspoken was the fact that he's not a gearhead. It was a sharp looking little vehicle, but what's not impressive are the stats in the Wiki article. Only 136 hp? There is a Turbo option, as well as CDI options that are unlikely to come to these shores.
And as I walked around the little Merc, I was not as impressed as I was when walking around the Fiesta at the New York Auto Show. In my humble opinion, the Fiesta is a sharper looking package. Only time will tell.

Friday, November 13, 2009

5 days and still the honeymoon continues

It's only 5 days and I know the honeymoon period is still ongoing, but so far so good.
On the plus side, all the tech features are amazing, the ride is smooth and I don't get killed merging onto busy highways. Only 171 horsepower, but that's enough for the nimble Mariner. I can only imagine that the V-6's 240 hp would really make this move, but I'm not complaining, the better fuel economy from the 2.5 more than makes up for the fewer ponies.

One minor complaint is this, in order to fold the rear seats flat, you need to remove the headrests and find a place for them. This is not a problem unique to the Mariner, I've encountered it in the past with other vehicles, but it is a minor inconvenience none the less.
The load floor is flat and large enough to swallow a ton of gear. I'm in the middle of moving my office at work and I'm using my Mariner for the job. Several boxes of office supplies and files, the copier, fax machine, phones and PC tower all fit without a fuss. The load height is perfect for me and I would imagine for most folks. The liftgate height is enough that I don't bump my head even with the stupid bump cap required in our work area.

This is a very easy vehicle to live with on a day to day basis. No road trips on the horizon, unless you count the 60 mile drive upstate to see family for Thanksgiving, so I can't say how it will be on my anual 5 hour pilgrimage to Cape Cod.

While I don't notice the rear drum brakes when I'm driving, it still hits me that in this day and age they're back there. I'll be interested in how they feel this winter.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

First pics! My new Mariner

My digital camera is broken, but luckily my buddy stopped by to check out my new ride, so here are the first pics. The color is Black Pearl, which is really graphite, not black. Actually I like it better than black. I had never been a fa of the Mercury "waterfall" grille, but you know what? On this I like it. Much nicer than the oversize eggcrate on the Escape.
I love the lack of claddiing or useless bump strips on the sides. A clean crisp look.
The jeweled taillights catch the light well and look nice. The 12 spoke rims look like they'll be a pain to clean, but when clean they look sharp. They also hide the lack of rear disc calipers.

I like the satin accent below the hatch, combined with the grille and roof rails, it's just enough bright work without looking like a pimp mobile.
Day 2 goes well, I've got the flashdrive in the dash, loaded with music and the SYNC system makes it easy. I went grocery shopping after work and the load height is perfect. I'm loving the 2 way opening of the cargo area too. Click the remote button twice and the glass pops open, or for bigger loads you can open the full door.
Smooth ride over bumpy roads, but not floaty or tippy. I've yet to drive it hard through any twisty roads, but it's not my old Mazda3, so I don't expect sports car handling from my new cute ute.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ok, I can see why the Ka won't make it, but no new Ranger?

Over at AutoBlog, there's a piece about Ford CEO Alan Mually saying the new Global Ranger and Ka won't be among the One Ford global models coming to US shores. Ok, I get the Ka, it's really not a practical vehicle for the US market, but the Ranger? With the last global Ranger and Mazda BT-50 (pictured) we had already missed out on so much, but with the new version it seems all the more painful. And what's this about the F-100 again? A "slightly smaller" version of the F-150? Yeah, that makes no sense. Is the Ranger name so poluted? Come on Alan, you're a smart guy, Ranger sales are actually fairly good these days, despite being an ancient design. Just think of how an all new Ranger would really compete, especially if fuel prices rise again.
The Ka is kind of small and aside from the Smart there's really not much of a market in the US for such a little car. Alan is right on the money with this one, Ka sales would be too low and those interested in micro cars can still look forward to the new Fiesta.
When the Ranger does end in 2011 I will shed some tears.

24 hours into my Mariner and loving it! Also surprise touch of class from salesman

Ok, so it's only 24 hours in and that's still the honeymoon phase, but I have to say I do love my new Mariner! The one adjustment is to the automatic transmission, I'm not reaching for the gearshift, but I still go for the clutch when stopping.

When I got home today, in the mail was a very nice thank you note from Frank C, my salesman.
And I have to say, that with all the cars I've bought over the last 22 years, this is the first thank you note I've ever received. A real classy touch. But it doesn't end there, Frank gave me key fobs with his name and number on them as well as a pen embossed with the same info.

And I'm not sure how best to say this, so I'll just say it. Frank is an older gentleman, and it's been my experience that many of the older salesmen don't keep up with the new technologies and concepts/future models. Frank is in his late 50's or maybe even older, but he had a great grasp of the SYNC system and other tech features (which the Mariner is full of) and like I said he knew about the Kuga, Fiesta and other foreign/future models coming down the pipeline. Only after I made my deal did I even mention my blog in detail. He modestly said he wasn't very Internet savy, but I kind of doubt that. Frank struck me as a very low key, but very smart guy.

I figured out how to SYNC up my phone, actually very easy, so that's tech toy 1 down. I need to load up a flash drive with tunes and try that, then hook up my MP3 player and test that. The Sirius radio is ok too. I have to admit the Ambient lighting is kind of goofy, but I picked a color (blue) that matches the dash lights.

24 hours may seem premature, but I'm sure that in 24 months I'll still be loving my Mariner.

Monday, November 09, 2009

MyFordDreams begins 27 month test drive of Mercury Mariner!

Ok not a test drive, but a lease. After months of shopping for a good deal I've traded in my trusty Mazda 3 sGT for a 2010 Merucy Mariner I-4 Premier 4wd. I went back to the dealership where I bought my very first new car 22 years ago, Smith Cairns of Yonkers New York. My salesman Frank made it one of the easiest purchases I've ever made.

My opinion of the refreshed Mariner/Escape/Tribute is a matter of record here, the only flaw is the lack of 4wheel disc brakes. The level of luxury and technology are both fairly high, especially at this price point. I was joking with my salesman Frank that when this lease is up, Ford should finally have the new Kuga based Escape/Mariner replacement out. That may be no joke. And if FoMoCo can SYNC up those dates, then that's what I'll do.

Now to learn how all my new toys work! I've got to learn the SYNC system, load up my MP3 and USB Flash Drive with tunes, then select which Sirius stations I want to listen to. The ambient lighting is actually kind of cool. But over the next 27 months I'll also give my day to day impressions of my first Mercury.

Yeah, it's hard for me to believe, but with all the FoMoCo products I've owned over the years, this is the first Mercury I've ever had.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Step 1 build it in the US, step 2 sell it in the US..Ford to build Kuga in Kentucky, export overseas

Good news, Ford is planning on building the Kuga cute ute here in the US. Louisville Kentucky to be exact. Taking advantage of the weak dollar and lower labor costs (?) here in the United States, Ford Motor Company will start to produce the Kuga compact SUV here in 2011.
Initially they'll be built for export to overseas markets, but of course it's been rumored that the Kuga will replace the capable but not exceptional Escape. I've been looking forward to this for a while. But there's one question I have....
What about a Hybrid version? The Escape Hybrid would be sorely missed if it was lost when the change to the Kuga platform. Although the Kuga is offered with a 2.0 TDI Diesel engine overseas, it's unlikely that Ford will offer that fule sipper here on these shores. Regardless, Hybrids are Green Credentials that lead folks into a brand. It's my hope that Ford will Hybridize the Kuga eventually.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Why can Allan smile? Cause Ford too the "Way Forward" and he's not taking a pay cut! Government Motors (GM & Chrsyler) Execs take 25% pay cut...

Sometimes it's good to be the king. Well, maybe not king, but at least not a Government Motors exec. Alan Mulally can smile here for several reasons, the biggest reason of course is that unlike crosstown rivals at GM and Chrysler, he's not being forced to take a massive pay cut.

And before I hear anyone moan, let's remember that Bill Ford vowed not to ake any compensation until FoMoCo turns a profit and and that FoMoCo didn't take TARP money.
No Government Bail-out means you can earn executive compensation. Sure CEOs of big companies make too much money, but the boys at Ford seem to have earned it his year!

No bail-out, no bankruptcy, no foreign takeover, yes new products, yes improved quality, yes new technology, yes you can keep your money. Simple as that folks.

Read the Detroit Free Press article linked in the title. Go Ford!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Gas prices have some who switched to small cars experiencing buyer's remorse, wanting more from econo boxes?

So, I've been reading posts at AutoBlog (linked in title) and The Auto Prophet about American Buyers who switched from traditional large vehicles to smaller vehicles when gas prices spiked who are now experiencing buyer's remorse, wanting more power and space and features.

Now that gas prices are "low" they aren't happy with their Honda Fit, or Toyota Yaris.
Economy cars in the North American market traditionally don't come well equipped, unlike Europe. I know this from shopping around back in 2006 when I bought my Mazda 3.
Also in 2005 when we were getting a coupe for my honey.

So, maybe FoMoCo is going to be in a good position with new Euro offerings coming over the next 18 months? Ford already offers a good amount of technology, with their SYNC system available on Focus and everything above that. And unlike some other economy offerings, Ford offers factory leather, moonroof and other "luxury" options across the line, although good luck finding economy models optioned that way on dealer lots. But that's not really Ford's fault, it's American consumers who dictate what's on the lot. And most Americans don't want to pay over $17k for an "economy car." Not when you can get a nicely equipped mid-size sedan for a little more coin.

Product mix on dealers lots over the next 18 months is going to be interesting to say the least. Now that gas is "cheaper" again will Americans slide back into their old habits? Will SUV and larger vehicle sales start to pick up? And what happens if fuel prices spike again?

I'm not your typical American consumer, I like smaller vehicles, but I want the features you'd find on larger vehicles as well. After owning my Mazda 3 these last couple of years, I wouldn't consider a new vehicle without heated leather seats, a premium sound system and moonroof. And I'm not adverse to paying near the $20k pricepoint for that combination. But will Americans follow that course? And can manufacturers meet the new expectations ?

The new Fiesta and Focus from Europe are capable, well equipped, relatively frugal cars but in Europe consumers expect to pay for that combination. Can American consumers make the leap?

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

My next Ford Dream....

Back when I started this blog, my stated "dream" was the 2005 Mustang, the Pony V-6 version in Windveil Blue to be exact, but while I'd love to have a Mustang, my automotive needs and priorities have changed over the years and my new "dream" is the Kuga, which should be the replacement for the Escape.

Where the hell has MyFordDreams been? Don't worry folks, all 3 of you, I'm back...

As any regular reader will know, I'm not an Automotive Journalist by trade, although high horsepower, high rpm equipment is a regular part of my life. And I haven't posted anything since August 24th, but I'm back and I'll be posting more soon enough. Here's a brief glimpse into my life, I'm an Engineer, not like The Auto Prophet mind you, I'm more like the Casey Jones type of Engineer. And over the last few weeks I've been involved with a work project that will be ongoing over the next year or so, the redesign and retrofit of my powerplant. So, bear with me folks, life is complicated for those of us who don't get paid for this. For those that may be curious, that pic is me standing in front of a Steam Turbine, 600 hp that runs between 1500 and 48oo rpm, one of three we have in our plant.
I've also been trying to retrofit myself in a way. I've been on a diet and am quitting smoking, so no crap or I'll twist your head off and ... oh never mind, I'll be fine, no need to fear the blogger.
In September I did manage a little down time, even dragged my pastey butt to the beach. Damn kids kept trying to drag me back into the water, but what can you do.
I am happy to read all the good news about FoMoCo, the uptick in sales caused by Cash For Clunkers, the new product ramping up, the public perception improvement of the company, it's all been very promissing. Not so much over at Auburn Hills, Chrysler is in a world of hurt with no light at the end of the tunnel in my opinion. Guess that's what happens when you build truly boring mediocre cars and get bought by the taxpayers and Italy's house of crap.
It's my opinion the Chrysler won't last five years, the new Ram brand is obviously an attempt to position Dodge trucks for future sale. Jeep will get a new home also, but you can kiss Dodge and Chrysler goodbye. Another pair of "orphan brands" for the history books.
GM will survive, they'll even be fair competition for Ford, but they'll never be the giant they were. And looks like Japan's GM (Toyota) is in for a world of hurt as well. Of course all the Japanese are worried about Hyundai ( and their in house little buddy Kia )
But oveall I'm happy with the direction Ford is moving in although I see room for improvement ( that's sort of what I do .)

Monday, August 24, 2009

CARS aka Cash For Clunkers was a wild ride, but it's over and I didn't scrap the Ranger

So, like many Americans I took note of the CARS program, more commonly known as Cash For Clunkers, and was actually persuing a new vehicle under this program. Mine was a complicated deal initially, because I did not want to scrap my beloved Ranger, but instead trade in my beloved's Isuzu Rodeo. That was not going to work for a number of reasons.

Then I decided I would part with my Ranger, see it put to a miserable death and scrapped.
But fate had other plans for me and the Ranger. My dealer and I couldn't meet in the middle on a couple of details and I walked.

Now I've advertised the Ranger for sale, not scrap, but to a "good home" for "market value".
I've checked Kelly Blue Book and NADA sites for the estimated value of my Ranger and have actually gotten a couple of nibbles. I decided to get the Auto Check report from NADA, it's half the price of the CARFAX, in case any prospective buyers don't believe my claim of 57,670 miles on a truck that's 10 years old.

I'd love to sell my Ranger to a good home, then go back to the dealer that didn't want to honor my Xplan pin and see if he's so confident that he's going to get full price for the silver Escape.

In the end, it was an experience, not just for me, but for our nation. Pundits are kicking the can around the block, bitching and moaning about the program and every media is looking for the latest opinion and factoid. I still think that it was a good program, maybe not run very well, but out of the billions of stimulus dollars flushed this year, it's the only program that the average citizen could actually feel a benefit from.

I'm working long hours this week and waiting to hear if this fellow wants to buy the Ranger, but I'll update as I can.

Friday, August 21, 2009

CARS aka Cash For Clunkers to end Monday, just as plants spool up production?

So, news today (actually I think it was yesterday) is that the Feds have decided to end the CARS program Monday night. There's been debate about how much of a sucess the program has been, but in my opinion it's been a relatively good thing. I've heard that it's just pushed people's purchase timetable forward, steeling future sales, and that may be true. There's been criticism of how well the government has administered the program and dealers have concerns about payment. Pundits will be picking apart the details like a Thanksgiving Turkey for months to come. I missed my chance with this program, but there's still hope for me getting a new vehicle none the less, but I'll post on that Monday.

What I find amazing is the timing for the government canceling the program, it seems very sudden. Earlier this week it was anounced that the program was doing so well that manufacturers, including Ford and GM were ramping up production to meet demand.
All week I've been seeing more and more TV commercials from almost every manufacturer saying you can purchase or lease a new model under the Cash For Clunkers. And now they're pulling the plug? Just over 72 hours left to get your deal done. Will dealers be open on Sunday to take advantage of this?

Let's not forget that dealers have been pulling out of the program because of concerns about being paid for deals already in the pipeline. I went to a local Jeep/Chrysler dealer on Tuesday and was told they're no longer in the program.
I was a wild ride while it lasted and we'll see in a few months how good it was overall, but from my perspective I'd say it has to be the best spent stimulus money so far.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Now I know why my Honda dealer has so many CRVs on the lot while I can't find a Ford Escape ..

This is going to go in one ear and out of the other of folks that have drank the Kool Aid from Honda, but I went to the dealership to check out a new 2009 CRV. I know people love them, I went in with an open mind. And let me be honest, a couple of years ago I leased the last generation CRV for my mom. And I like that car, it was nice enough. But while I have been in the back seat of my friend's CRV for short trips (and hated it) I had not sat in the driver's seat of the newest CRV. And you know what? It's got to be one of the worst interiors I've ever sat in. And I'm not talking the base model, I sat in the CRV EX-L (with dealer installed wood trim.)

The arm rest, center console and door panes were just horrible. The seats were uncomfortable. The dashboard was ok, not horrible, but there's no way I could live with this. And again, I'll remind people that my honey drives a 2005 Honda Civic EX coupe and that's nice.

I have driven several competitors to the Escape, including the class leading interior of the 2010 Equinox. But the Honda CRV EX-L was a shock. For a car brand so beloved and hyped I really wonder how they sleep at night. And it's not limited to the front seat, it only gets worse out back. The back seat is like something out of the Inquisition and to flip and fold, while not difficult was just not what you'd expect after driving others in this field.

The Escape/Mariner twins may have rear drum brakes, but let me tell you again, how despite this handicap, it's still one of the best in class. I can say this safely after driving quite a few cute utes lately. My only complaint about the Ford/Mercury interior was the fact that you need to remove the rear headrests to fold the seat down. But I could sit in that back seat for a long drive if I had to.

My search for an Escape or Mariner continues. It seems that as soon as I find one on a local dealer's lot it's gone. Well, I had found one at a local dealership, but when I mentioned the X-Plan pin, he told me no way, he can get full price for it. I continue to search, with some luck.

I had considered an Escape without the leather, but then I sat in the cloth and wanted to puke.
That "Econ Friendly" cloth material is crap to the touch. I can find plenty of Escapes with leather and V6, but I4 and Leather seems to be a rare item. When they hit the dealer's floor their gone in 24 hours.

I'm checking dealers in my area on a daily basis. I know I'm not getting a Honda, my honey doesn't like the Chevy. Jeep dealers don't have Compass/Patriots with leather and moonroof. Jeep Liberty don't qualify for the Cash For Clunkers (so says my local dealer) because they don't get good enough economy ratings. Dodge is no better, Nissan ditto. I wouldn't buy a Toyota nor could you give me one.

I know I'm biased, but in all honesty I have to give the win the Escape/Mariner twins, if I can find one, that's where my money will go. I'm debating going for the V6, but that's unlikely.
One more week is what I'll give it. I'm not sure I'll have access to the Xplan Pin after that.
Cash For Clunkers money will more than likely be gone by September 1st.

It's an interesting adventure, I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Again no camera, but I did talk to New York Mustangs club today

On May 31st I was driving home from my office on a nice weekend morning when I heard then saw a line of almost 100 Mustangs. I kicked myself because I didn't have a camera . There I was stuck at a red light watching this parade of personalized late model pony cars. Well, today I stopped for coffee and there were 5 hot Mustangs, including 3 SVT Cobras, with IRS, and their owners. I walked up to the group of guys and started talking. I mentioned how I kicked myself for not having a camera and they told me all about their club New York Mustangs and their website (link in title title) and forums. As you would expect of a group of Mustang fanatics, a real nice group, with some very special ponies. Again, no camera, but I hope to meet up with this group again.

So, of course I couldn't restrain myself from asking for their opinion on an issue that I've talked about a lot over the last few years, the Mustangs lack of an IRS . And I was especially interested in hearing from the SVT Cobra owners, their opinion on the strenght of the IRS in their cars. The SVT Cobra was powerful enough out of the box, but these guys have warmed theirs over considerably, one guy putting 650 hp through the IRS. He was the only one to have any problems, but with 650 hp, that's to be expected. The other SVT Cobras are far from stock, but neither has ever had an issue. The other Mustang owners said they love their cars, but wonder how in 2010 a Mustang can't have an IRS, while they pointed out that the Camaro and Chalenger both have one. Preaching to the choir guys, I'm with you.

Take a look at my archives, go over to Jeff's site, Driving Enthusiast dot Net and read past posts, then e-mail Ford and ask them when the Mustan will get what it needs to be complete. I nearly said competative, but that would be misleading, since it's true that the Mustang is more than competing, even if initail Camaro sales are beating Mustang, in the long game it will all be Ford's to loose.

Friday, August 14, 2009

SOLD in less than 24 hours on lot, but not to me

I rushed to the dealership today at noon and when I walked in the salesman sheepishly told me sorry that the blue Escape had been sold. I can't blame him, he didn't know that another salesman sold it last night. That's less than 24 hours on the dealer's lot! I called the dealership yesterday at noon and the salesman didn't even know it had arrived on his lot, so when I told him I'd be in today at noon, I didn't think I'd need to give him a deposit, big mistake.

I found another one, that's not on the dealer lot, tried to give a deposit over the phone, but salesman told me he'd call me when it arrives. He had a point, what if the car doesn't arrive? God knows, with my luck, it could be destroyed in transit.

I know the local Honda dealership has 17 CRV EX-L in stock, which is comparable to the Escape, but you know I want a blue oval in my driveway. I talk a good game about buying a Chevy or some other cute ute, but I bleed true blue. Wish me luck.

Ford's luck has been amazing with the Cash For Clunkers, just try and find an I-4 Escape, Fusion or Focus on dealer's lots this week, same goes for Milan and Mariner as well. The fact that my local Honda dealer has 17 CRVs on the lot and there doesn't seem to be an Escape/Mariner within 20 miles of me has to tell you something.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Maybe? the 2010's are on dealer lots and CARS still has money, so maybe I'll do this..

On again, off again, when will I pull the trigger on this? As the adventure continues. I was just goofing around online, when I noticed that one of my local dealers has Escape Limited with I-4 leather and moonroof in stock. I called the salesman and I'm going to take a look at it Friday.
Now, I know I said I didn't want to scrap my Ranger, I do love that truck, it's the only way to do this. And for several reason I want to do this. Currently I own 2 vehicles, that I like a lot, but with the financial situation I could cut expenses considerably by trading the Mazda and scrapping the Ranger, and the Escape would still give me good mpg and winter driving ability.
So, here I go again, but this time armed with all the knowledge that I didn't have before and a simpler deal. I may know by Friday evening if this is going to happen and if it does, I could have the new vehicle by early next week.
And I was "this close" to going and buying a Honda CRV EX-L, the local dealer has 17 of them!
Couldn't find an Equinox at all.

Cute Ute, small SUV and Cash For Clunkers talk.

I've been working 12 hour shifts at work and lapsed with blogging this week, but here's an old school down and dirty post about Cute Utes or small SUVs and the Cash For Clunkers aka CARS program. No photos, my PC is acting up. But you more than likely know all the players.

First, my observation has been this, Ford Motor Company has been shooting vehicles off the lots as a result of the CARS aka Cash For Clunkers program. My own personal experience is this, there are not many Ford Escape/Mercury Mariners on dealer lots. When I recently attempted to make a deal and it didn't work out, because of my complicated trade deal, I decided to wait a week, review the situation and try again. I'm hunting for a Mariner at this moment, expanding my search to neighboring counties, as here in Westchester there are none to be found.

And as part of my purchase process I've been looking at all sorts of Cute Utes. You may have read my recent piece comaring the aging Escape/Mariner twins to the new 2010 Chevy Equinox. I've also driven other cute utes and comparison shopped them. Here's a breakdown of some of them and my personal opinion of them. For the record, I was shopping with these criteria in mind, must have AWD and 4cylinder engine, must have leather interior and moonroof as optional equipment and must be on dealer lot, not special order.

Dodge Caliber/Jeep Compass/Patriot triplets; Well they're all available with AWD, but good luck finding a Dodge so equipped. Leather and Moonroof are options on all. I had driven the FWD version of the Dodge several years ago when comparison shopping the Mazda 3. When the Caliber first came out I liked it, the styling was unique and it has some interesting options and features. The Boston Acustics liftgate speaker system, lit cupholders and chilled glove box storage among them. The 1.8 and 2.4 engines had received good reviews and on my test drive power was adequate. But what killed it for me, then and now, was the CVT. I'm known to prefer a manual trans, but automatics are more popular and in this class of vehicle their the norm. The CVT is alien at best and just did not leave me with a fuzzy feeling. The two Jeep clones are the same under the skin. Now, I didn't even really pick too much on the cheap feeling plastics on the interior, in the class of vehicle that's not far from the norm.

2010 Chevy Equinox; This is a nice vehicle, no doubt about it, the interior is probably among the best in it's class, GM has done an amazing job, taking many of the enhanced feel cues from the Malibu. It's 180 hp 2.4 Ecotec engine is more than competative, it's again almost class leading, with more hp than most competitors and better mpg too. This was a difficult vehicle to walk away from. But it's big, it's too big, it's more like a mini van than a cute ute. This is one to watch folks. While it's too big for my liking, it's going to be perfect for folks with kids. I almost forgot to mention just how sweet that new 6 speed auto is, it's very nice, making great use of available power with no slipping or hunting.

Nissan Rogue; this one is sort of an odd duck. The interior had some nice points, but bordered on the Dodge's cheap feel too. Does that make any sense? A nice interior that also feels cheap? Styling is sort of bland, but not ugly like the Jeep twins. And the killer? CVT again.

Now, I looked up the Mitsubishi Outlander, but in AWD it only comes with a V6 so it's out. It shares platform with the Dodge/Jeep triplets but from what I've seen they aced the interior.
I even looked at Hyundai, but couldn't find one with an I-4, I believe they also only come with V6 when you check off the AWD option box. I didn't even look at the Toyota RAV-4, I hate Toyota with a passion, not even going to lie about that. Any Toyota I've sat in over the last 20 years had just felt like crap to the touch and you couldn't give me on, never mind get me to pay for one.

So, moving on, what else do I see as competition? The Honda CRV. It's 2.4 liter I-4 puts out 166 hp, close to Ford's 171 hp from 2.5 liters. The CRV has 4 wheel disc brakes but it seems to only have a 4 speed auto? As with any Honda, it's an appliance, with little in the way of spirit. Sure it'll last 200,000 miles without a doubt, but it's like Prozac on wheels, neither spirited driver or bucking bronco, it's just sort of neutral. Like the Ford Escape it's getting kind of long in the tooth and in need of a major refresh, but it's not bad. I know one family that traded in their Clunker Chevy Blazer on one and they love it. It's an alternative there's no doubting that.

I did not look at Subarus, their mpg ratings are always so low and prices so high. I know folks that have them and love them, but I just haven't gotten around to checking them out. Maybe soon I'll drag my butt to a dealer and give a Foreter a whirl. But before I do, I'll go to their website and build/price one to see if it's competative.

So, after all that what do I have to say? First I'll say that while the Escape/Mariner are dated and not cutting edge, they're still great little wagons and a solid value. The Equinox is nicer, a lot nicer, but it's more like a mini van, sort of like the Dodge Journey. The Honda CRV is the major competior here. I don't know yet where my purchase will be, I'm still hunting an elusive Mariner.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Washington Examiner, how is CARS aka Cash For Clunkers working out for Detroit?

Mark Tapscott emailed me this post from a fellow Washington Examiner writer that sheds some light onto how the Big 3 are doing in the CARS program. And it's interesting to see that 2 of the top ten models being sold are Ford.
While I expected the Focus to do very well, and it has, I was surprised to see it #2 to the Toyota Corolla, but above #3 Honda Civic. I dare you to find a Focus on dealer's lots today. As I said, Ford positioned itself very well for this program and the Focus was a natural with it's 34 mpg and high level of standard content.

And at #7, the Escape is the best selling cute ute or tall wagon, beating out the Honda Fit and Dodge Caliber. As you'll know, if you've been checking my site lately, I recently tried to wrangle a deal on a Mariner (the Escape's "City Cousin") and dealer supplies of these twins are flying off the lots. So, while Toyota and Honda do dominate the list, Ford's placement is very good.

And on the list of top ten vehicles traded in? Wow, a lot of older Dearborn iron is being crushed!
Explorer #1 F-150 #2 and out of the top ten 5 are Ford? As the author notes, it's no surprise that Honda and Toyota are doing well, but his concerns that these are losses of past Ford customers may be of less concern. How many owners bought these vehicles new is not in these stats. I'm going to assume that many of them may have been bought second hand and this does not reflect poorly on FoMoCo.
Sure I'm biased, that's obvious, but it's also fair to say that the Focus 2nd place spot on the sales list is certainly a sign that Dearborn, if not their Detroit neighbors, has done very well. Further proof of how well is available in a recent Autoblog post on monthly sales stats here
Some see the glass as half empty, I see Ford doing very well.

Carnival Of Cars has been back for a while now...

Mark Tapscott of the Washington Examiner has cranked up the Carnival Of Cars again!
I'm actually a bit late with this, he's been back at it for a couple of months now.
The Carnival Of Cars was started long before I got started in 2005, I think by The Auto Prophet, and has been authored by several respected bloggers over the years. Mark has been doing it the last few years and thankfully has started at his new home, the Washington Examiner.
It's a great roundup of interesting blog posts from around the automotive blogsphere and every once in a while I get metioned ;)
So, take a trip to the Carnival (linked in title) and treat yourself to a walk on the wild side of the blogsphere.....

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Ford can't replace the Escape/Mariner soon enough!

I've always been a fan of FoMoCo's Escape/Mariner/Tribute mini SUVs, hell I recently tried to buy one. And while I really like it, there were some major eye openers for me. Did you know that it's the ONLY compact SUV that doesn't even offer 4 wheel disc brakes as an option? Many have them standard, but even on the top of the range Escape Limited and Mariner Premier it's not even available. Rear Drum brakes, how quaint. Sure the Escape/Mariner are nice driving little wagons and the fresh styling does look good, but the brakes aren't the only penalty when compared to crosstown or overseas rivals. Let's just compare the Ford and Chevy ok?
Chevy has an all new 2010 Equinox and I drove one this week, it's impressive, very impressive.
From the standard 4 wheel disc brakes, to the 10 horespower and 4 mpg advantage over the Ford it's almost in a different class. And the only bad thing about it, is that it's too big! The quality of the interior has taken a lot of cues from the new Malibu and the level of technology and luxury are equal to or superior to any competitor. New 6 speed auto trans, 2.4 L with 181 hp and with the AWD still gets 29 mpg on the highway. But it's big, it feels big and as my honey said, it almost feels like a minivan. Which makes it closer to the Dodge Journey.

That's why I say FoMoCo can't hurry the new Escape, based on the Kuga, to market soon enough. Cute Utes, small SUVS, what ever you want to call them are a growing segment in this shrinking market. And the Kuga has 4 wheel disc brakes and all the luxury bits already. It's unknown what powertrain it would use here in the North American market, but even with a 2.0 Duratec it couldn't do too bad, more than likely it would come with the 2.5 or an EcoBoost engine to stay competative.

As much as I like the Escape/Mariner, and I like them a lot, Ford needs to get up to speed in this segment. One of the remaining sweet spots.

New car is not in the cards, CARS or no

So, the end result of a week's worth of labor? No new car for me. After 7 days of arguing every single point of the deal, I've decided that Ford needs the sale more than we need the car.
That means the only Ford I'm dreaming about right now, is my good old Ranger.

I'm not going into personal details here in a public forum, but to be fair to the dealership, this was not a simple deal, it involved me and my honey and a very complicated government program. I could have simplified things very simply by trading my Ranger in as a "Clunker" but there is no way I'm allowing this truck to be scrapped, it's just been too good to me these last 10.5 years and it's only got 57,500 miles on it. Original clutch and only second set of tires.

I had looked at many options with this program, even considering going beyond the Blue Oval and test driving a Chevy Equinox, and I'll comment on that in another post.

It's my opinion that anyone who didn't get a deal in the first weeks of this program won't be getting a great deal no matter how much money the government throws at the program.
First, there are too many hoops to jump through. Second, dealers are overwhelmed by the mountain of paperwork involved. And lastly, with lower inventory on dealer lots, the cars that qualify for the greatest discounts just aren't on the lots.

I've visited several Ford and Mercury dealerships and Escapes and Mariners are becoming scarce, as are Fusions, Milans and Focus.

I'm finally throwing up my hands and wishing everyone involved good luck.
Customers, dealers, auto recyclers and every taxpayer. In the end, I think this was a great program and I hope it worked for some folks. If I was willing to see my faithful Ranger killed it would have worked for me.

I'm going to try and avoid posting about the CARS program unless there's something that really sparks interest in me.

Friday, July 31, 2009

CARS aka Cash For Clunkers to be expanded....

So, it looks like Washington is going to expand the CARS aka Cash For Clunkers program.
The initial response was overwhelming and it looks like the first Billion was spent almost before the program got started. Deals started on July 1st, even though the program wasn't finalized until July 24. So, $2 billion has been approved by the House and is expected to be approved from Congress allowing the program to go on uninterrupted.
This program gets wild responses on both ends of the spectrum. Dealers are loving the traffic through the showrooms, but concerned about the disposal of the clunkers. Consumers ( myself included ) are concerned about the complicated process and potential for abuse, while hopeful and showing a real interest. Pundits, like Mark Tapscott (who I respect a great deal ) are concerned that the program, like so many Federal "entitlements" will take on a life of it's own and become permanent, something that I personally believe is very unlikely.
There's no doubt that the program seems to be a huge boon to sales, with over 23,000 dealers taking part. It's being praised as the most actual stimulus out of all the Fed's programs. Mostly because it's the only program that the average citizen can realize a genuine personal benefit.
But as with any incentive program, many are concerned what will happen to sales when the money again runs out.
Obviously my opinion is biased, because I've been trying to cash in on this myself. But after seeing how well similar programs worked in Europe I'm still a supporter.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

CARS aka Cash For Clunkers to shut down?

Only 4 days into the program, the AP is reporting, from un-named sources, that the Obama administration will stop the CARS program? I know it's been cranking beyond anyone's imaginings, with 10% of the funds already spent and a bunch more in the pipeline, but stopping it? I'm hoping this is either untrue or just temporary, as I'm still holding out hope for my own deal, which if the dealer hadn't putzed around would have been done tonight.
I heard earlier today on the radio that the program was so sucessful that many wanted to see the fund increased. It's estimate that the money will run out long before the November cut off date. Some say as early as September.

NASCAR Mustang? This should be a joke, but it's not

Autoblog ( link in title ) had this piece the other day on the Mustang going to NASCAR.
And while it should be a joke, it's not. NASCAR lost relevance over a decade ago when the last carberator was installed on a production car. Never mind the fact that all of the "Car Of Tomorrow" bodies are identical regardless of the stickers on them declaring Ford Fusion or Toyota Camry. But this is just the final insult, it doesn't look anything remotely like a Mustang, not even if you squint.

NASCAR is a joke, the pro wrestling of motorsports, don't let the Mustang become part of that joke. There are enough real Mustangs racing in legitimate series that FoMoCo shouldn't cheapen the heritage by plastering these stickers on plastic fantastic posers.

Still waiting to see what the dealer says.....

If my experience lately is teaching me anything, it's teaching me to not trust salesmen.
Still waiting to see what the dealer is going to say about our CARS allowance, now that we've presented our case for the higher $4500 credit.

I'll admit this program is slippery and just makes the dealer look stupid. If I'm totally honest, I'd have to say they're having as much difficulty trying to decipher the program as I was. But after all the research I've done, I know that it's $4500 based on a "Clunker" SUV (Catergory 1 truck) being traded for a new SUV (Category 1 truck) and the difference of 5 mpg.

I'm going to copy my online live chat with Ford's site so you can see the type of frustation I'm feeling. I love the part where Julian says that it would be $4500 if I was going to get a Focus, Fusion, ..... or Mariner. And the confusing bit where I have to explain that a Mariner isn't a "Car" it's an "SUV"

You are now chatting with 'Julian'
Julian: Welcome to the Let Ford Recycle Your Ride support center. How may I assist you?
you: Joe here
Julian: Hi Joe
you: My Mercury dealer says my trade for the CARS program is only eligable for $3500, but according to your site and edmunds.com it's $4500
you: I've also read the 136 page pdf from www.cars.gov and if I'm reading it right, my trade allowance should be $4500
you: Who's right?
Julian: That depends on the car you get, if the fuel economy improves by 1 MPG you will only get $3500 and if the fuel economy improves by 2 MPG you will get the $4500.
you: the old car gets 16 mpg according to www.fueleconomy.gov and the new one gets 21 mpg for a diff of 5 mpg
you: I'm trading a 1997 Isuzu Rodeo V6 4wd manual trans and getting a Mercury Mariner Premier I4 4wd
you: how do I let the dealer know he's wrong, or can I appeal to Ford?
Julian: One moment please.
Julian: Just get the print out of that web where it says that your car gets 16MPG.
you: I've done that
you: I tried sending him an email as well, but he won't return my calls
Julian: That is the government web we have to follow what is in that web.
you: So, you're saying I'm right? That it should be $4500
Julian: Well let me check your car
Julian: What kind of car do you have?
you: sure, 1997 Isuzu Rodeo LS 4wd 3.2 V6 5 spd manual
Julian: Ok one moment.
you: according to www.fueleconomy.gov it's 16 mpg
you: new Mercury is 2.5 4cyl auto 4wd gets 21mpg
Julian: What is your zip code?
you: xxxxx

Julian: Yes I see your car gets 16 MPG.
Julian: Ok I just checked the rules for car

Julian: I was wrong
you: you were wrong?
you: what does my trade qualify for?
Julian: The information that I told you was for a truck
you: these are both Category 1 trucks
you: SUVs
Julian: What it says here is 4 MPG or higher $3500
Julian: And 10 MPG or higher $ 4500
you: for Category 1 trucks? It says $4500
you: why does letfordrecycleyourride calculator come up $4500 as well as edmunds.com and every other resource?
Julian: I know but for cars is different.
you: these aren't "cars" they're Category 1 trucks
you: both are SUVs
Julian: If you you get a ford focus you will get the $4500
Julian: Or the fusion ,ranger, escape, Milan, or mariner
you: I don't want a Focus, I want a Mariner and your website as well as others and the federal pdf file say that both vehicles are Category 1 trucks, so it should be $4500
you: this is a Mariner
you: 4cyl 4wd auto trans, SUV
Julian: Is it the 2.5 liter?
you: yes
Julian: Yes I see what you are looking at
you: it is confusing
Julian: Give me one minute.
Julian: I am going to verify that on the government site.
you: thank you
Julian: I will be right with you.
Julian: Thank you for waiting. I'll be with you in just a moment.
you: ok
Julian: Do you want a 2009 or 2010
Julian: ?
you: 2009
you: 2010 isn't out in dealers
Julian: I'm sorry for the delay. I'll be right with you.
Julian: It says right here from the government site that you qualify for $ 4500
you: That's what I've told the salesman
you: how do I get him to see what you see?
you: can you email him?
Julian: Did you tell him the same information about the new car ?
you: I did
Julian: No we can not do that. but tell him to go to cars.gov .
Julian: So you can show them the right information.
you: thank you I will and I'll print everything out
Julian: Because it says right from the government site that you are eligible for $ 4500
Julian: Thank you for chatting with us. We value your feedback. Please click the CLOSE button at top right to answer a few questions about your experience with us today.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The dealer says $3500, Edmunds, CARS and LetFord say $4500

I'm getting sick of this stuff, but here's what I found on Edmunds and it agrees with what Ford's site and how I read the CARS site say;

1997 Isuzu RodeoLS 4dr SUV 4WD

It appears your vehicle qualifies for the C.A.R.S. program based on the information you selected.
Combined Fuel Economy† of My Trade-In ............. 16 MPG
C.A.R.S. Category for My Trade-In ......................... Category 1 Truck
Data provided was for the following configuration:
Engine ...................................................................... 3.2L 6-Cylinder
Transmission ............................................................ 5-Speed Manual
Drivetrain .................................................................. Four-wheel drive
Note: If this is not your vehicle's configuration, your vehicle may not qualify under the C.A.R.S. Program. Search for your Combined Fuel Economy at the EPA Website. ( I checked here too )

2009 Mercury MarinerPremier I4 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl 6A)

MPG of New Vehicle:
Estimated Credit†† Based on New Vehicle Selected: $4500
MSRP: .................................................................... $27,240
Combined Fuel Economy† of new vehicle ............. 21 MPG
C.A.R.S. Category for new vehicle ......................... Category 1 Truck

Yet my local Mercury dealer is telling me it's only $3500.

Now, when I punch the new Chevy Equinox in it's also $4500. Who's going to get my money?

Don't use the Ford site folks, it looks like they've got it all confused? Use Edmunds.com

This program is not clear and reports are that even though everything was supposed to be settled Friday July 24, there were some last minute changes by the EPA. These changes help some folks, which is a good thing. But you really have to be careful and hope your dealer is smart and honest. I'm running into speedbumps with my trade, the dealer now says that my allowance is only $3500. But I've read the 136 page PDF from www.cars.gov and checked Ford's site and both read to me that the allowance should be $4500, based on 2 Class 1 trucks and a differnce of 5 mpg.
But don't trust the Ford site folks! Looks like they've got bugs. Which is a real shame, because FoMoCo was geared up to perform well under this program. I had used this site over and over and now can't trust the numbers it gives me. But wait, there's hope! www.edmunds.com has a calculator on their site and it seems to be working better. One odd note, is that if I put Mercury Mariner in, there's a glitch that doesn't allow me to pull down the trim. No problem, I entered Ford Escape and similar trim/drivetrain and it says yes, the deal is $4500.
If I were Ford I'd get my guys on this pronto. Last thing they need is bad PR about a site designed to help folks. It's bad enough that there seem to be shady dealers trying to screw folks over as it is.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Catching up on all sorts of EcoBoost news and opinion....

While MyFordDreams has been concentrating on other things, the blogsphere doesn't stand still, so I've been catching up at AutoBlog on the latest EcoBoost news, opinion and speculation.
Interesting that Australia will be the first place an EcoBoost I-4 will appear in a rear wheel drive platform. And not just in the upcoming Global T-6 Ranger, but in the Falcon. I still believe that ultimately the base Mustang will replace it's aging V-6 for an EcoBoost I-4, but there are doubts out in the Net.

Furthermore, folks want to know when the EcoBoost I-4 will be seen in the Edge and other North American mid-size CUVs and Cars. Although fuel prices haven't peaked at last year's record numbers, this is further proof that Ford's EcoBoost is an anticipated technology upgrade.

6 cyl power with 4 cyl economy makes too much sense for consumers and the manufacturers alike. Some have forecast resistance from consumers based on past history of turbo charged powerplants in the past and the perception that Uncle Sam is trying to force us all into underpowered eco-boxes. But if you've got over 200 hp and still achieve 25-30 mpg how are you being forced into an eco-box?

I personally would love it if my new Mariner (soon to be ) was packing a 2.0 EcoBoost. The current 2.5's 171 hp is fine, as is the 25 mpg on the highway, but if I could realistically expect 200 hp and 27 mpg ( it is 4wd after all) I'd be tickled pink.

EcoBoost will be a win win for many enthusiasts and green minded folks as well.
Minimally it will maintain ( more than likely improve) performance, while also lowering our carbon footprint and lessening our dependance on foreign petrolium.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Buyers be aware of Dealers scams! Especially with the new CARS program..

Ok, so we went to the dealership today and a couple of red flags on the deal.
First the salesmen told me there would be a $50 Document Fee, which is in direct contradiction to the CARS program guidelines. Second he told me that if there is an excess Scrapage value above the $4500 federal credit the dealership takes the first $50, which is allowable under the CARS guidelines. It's Saturday and the program just went into effect yesterday, so it's understandable if some dealers don't fully understand the program, but it's more likely that they're counting on buyers not understanding either.

Buyer Beware! Go to the CARS site http://cars.gov and click on the link to the PDF file, print it out if you need and highlight the passages that are directly in conflict with anything the dealer says. Remember there are always other dealerships and other deals.

In this case it's very stupid of the salesman to try and pull this kind of stunt, there are several Mercury dealerships in my area and as many Ford dealerships also. I can switch dealerships with no problem. It's not as if I'm looking for a rare vehicle, I know there are at least 7 sped'd like I want in the local area.

I'm waiting until Monday to decide how to procede, I've told the salesman that he can't have the $50 Doc Fee. The ball is in his court, deal like a professional or play games and I walk! FoMoCo are you reading this? Email me and I'll give you the dealership's name as well as the salesman.

CARS confusion on LetFordRecycleYourRide with a friend

As I've posted about, I'm taking advantage of the CARS program and I've found Ford's website to be imensely useful. So, when a close friend was asking if his car would qualify also we headed over to Ford's site, linked in title, so see if it does.
And according to Ford, it most certainly does. But I'm confused, his car, a 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee, isn't 10 years old. I tried looking elsewhere, but I've been busy.

I was looking at the Fed's site www.cars.gov but they don't have the easy to use tool that the Ford site does. Instead they've got a link to a PDF file over 130 pages long and in legalese that if I took the time would probably clear things up. I think later today I'll just go to http://theautoprophet.blogspot.com/ and use his chart. With all the research The Auto Prophet has done, I'm counting on him as yet again one of my best resources and you should too.