Car Shopping Saga

by Natalie P.

January 13, 2007 | Filed Under Lifestyles of the Heartlessly Bitchy | No Comments

We Don’t Need No STEEENKIN’ FM-Transmitter!

When I went back in the next day, he sheepishly admitted that they had looked into it, and yes, in fact, the TripTunes WAS an FM-transmitter solution, and not only that, one of the guys in the shop had one installed in his truck and said the sound quality wasn’t all that great. I filed THAT one under “dull surprise”. But to my genuine surprise, what they had worked out for me, was to get a Ford-certified car audio company in town to “modify” the stock stereo and console, putting an Auxiliary input jack on the dash, attaching it to the AUX inputs on the back of the unit. (I have a power adapter that uses the cigarette lighter, so that’s all good). The cost would be $200 and they would absorb $100 of it. That seemed fair to me.

In the end, the entire price of the vehicle, including our 14% taxes, dealer freight, and all those options was under $21,000. A fully loaded “economy” car for under $21,000, and lease finance rates of just 2.4% for 3 years. Nobody else, except Saturn, could even come close. When I went in to sign the lease papers, my sales rep wasn’t there. I only really needed to work with the guy in charge of lease financing and fill out the necessary documents, but I had decided in the interim that I wanted to add side-curtain wall airbags (an extra $250 option). The lease guy looked at the offer and smiled. My sales rep had already thought of that. He had included them in the price I was quoted.

AND, I get all my oil changes for free for the life of the lease.

One thing about the Focus – it’s been around long enough that most of the bugs, kinks and recalls have been worked out. Yeah, there have been a few over the years, but no serious on the cars I’ve had, and they’ve always fixed the issues promptly. To be honest, I don’t know of ANY make of vehicle that hasn’t had *something* recalled on it at some point…

Aside from the low-profile tires, the only 2 complaints I have had on every ford I have owned is the easily-dented door body panels, and the hatch/trunk latches. Every single damned one of the cars I have had required that you SLAM the hatch shut in order to get it to close properly. You’d think they could get a simple latch RIGHT after all these years. I even had some retiree come up to me in a parking lot and ask me about my wagon’s rear hatch latch. Seems he had recently bought a Focus wagon and was having problems with closing the hatch. I explained it was something endemic to all fords, and not much they could do about it.

My dream car would have everything my new Focus ZX5 has, with a better lift-gate latching system; the Honda Fit’s magic back seats and electronic assist power steering; the Ion’s fold-flat front passenger seat, dent-resistant door panels and extra power outlet on the rear of the front center armrest (so I could charge things like my phone while listening to music); the Caliber’s 110V plug, cooler unit and front-armrest iPod cradle, and 2 cup holders in the rear; the Versa’s integrated blue-tooth with the stereo; 150hp, 50 MPG highway, a gas-electric hybrid engine, and be priced at under $20,000. Oh, and have a STOCK auxiliary input jack for my iPod, of course. Are you listening Ford?

When I become Queen of the Universe, I will “make it so”.

For now I get the main features I wanted in the Ford Focus ZX5, except, perhaps, prestige. Yeah, it’s a Ford, and the boyfriend makes snide remarks about that fact. (I can tease him about the fact he still can’t drive a stick beyond the ability to get my car out of the driveway, and sometimes even THAT makes me cringe). But in the end, the ZX5 is affordable and reliable, and gets good gas mileage (35-40MPG highway). My son gets his monthly subsidy for university, and I get a car that will handle the winters here, keeps my ass warm, lets me listen to my music and podcasts, and comes in a funky Kiwi green colour.

All-in-all, I’m a satisfied Heartless Bitch, and I don’t have to go through this ordeal again for another 3 years.

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