Ford Focus Test Drive
Tomorrow I'll be returning the Ford Focus I've been driving for the past ten days. Ford gave me the car for a no-strings-attached ten days and I drove it to the cottage I rented in Meaford and all around Highway 26 before heading back to the city. I wasn't told to write a positive review or a review at all, they just told me to have fun and try and bring it back in one piece.
I like smaller, economical cars, having driven a Mazda Protege for the past nine years, so this car was right up my alley. She was a smooth ride, so quiet and comfortable, and although there wasn't a whole lot of space, two adults, two kids and a full trunk didn't feel crammed. This car was a pleasure to drive.
The Sync technology hooked up my iPod Touch and my Blackberry via Bluetooth and that was just awesome. The voice recognition software had a few minor bugs I quickly learnt to dance around, but the controls on the steering wheel meant I didn't have to fret. I pretty much stick to shuffling playlists anyway.
The sound system itself was top notch making it sound as if Neil Young was playing in the back seat. The Sirius satellite radio allowed me to reconnect with Howard Stern and the other perks, like the tinted windows and sunroof, just added to the positive experience. It was a great ten days and it's going to be tough to switch back at Ford tomorrow.
Now that I think of it, Ford didn't ask to see my driver's license or credit card. They don't know where I work or live. Maybe I won't be returning this car tomorrow...
One unexpected perk in driving this new car for ten days is getting a chance to sample Sirius satellite radio. The first morning I popped over to Sirius to give it a listen, I shot straight for channel 100. That's the Howard Stern station.
At some point after Humble & Fred left 102.1 for Mojo, I found myself spending more and more time listening to Howard Stern on Buffalo's WBUF 92.9. The show was simulcast here in Toronto on Q107, but I always found Q107 censored more of the show and aired longer commercials than they did on WBUF.
Before I had ever heard a minute of Stern's radio show, I saw him on the big screen, catching "Private Parts" at the Uptown theatre. I loved the film, loved the radio show and seriously considered (no pun intended) coughing up the coin for satellite at the end of 2005.
For the first time in over two and a half years, I heard the show. It still sounds great and it still makes me laugh my ass off. The addition of George Takei and the uncensored production just makes things better. I don't know which I'll miss more, the awesome Sync technology or Sirius radio.
Oh yeah, there were other great stations too, but I found myself always returning to channel 100. Hey now!
I've been out of town all week, scooting around in the new Ford Focus they lent me. I'll have more on my adventure this weekend, but I wanted to chime in on something I just discovered in the trunk of this car.
If you're "accidentally" locked in the trunk of this car, there's a well marked emergency escape mechanism. For some reason the image associated with this handle made me chuckle.
The Ford Focus's tank is full and the iPod is too, so it's time to hit the road. I have a sweet destination just outside of Meaford, Ontario mapped out so updates over the next week will be sparse. It'll all depend on whether there's wifi nearby.
Like last time I unplugged, if something breaks between now and Saturday, like a big trade involving a Toronto-based franchise, a significant death or World War III, feel free to use the comments of this entry to share your thoughts and discuss the significance of this big trade/death/war.
I'll be back.
I just wrote about the Ford Focus I'm test driving for ten days. That meant meeting Zoe from the Social Media Group who contacted me in the first place and a few very nice people from Ford.
Obviously, Ford expects me to write about this test drive, but they never once told me I had to. In fact, there were surprisingly few caveats or requirements. They just want the car back at some point, ideally on the 25th.
After they gave me the keys and told me to have fun, they had one more thing to pass my way. During their travels on this blog they came across this entry about Terry Fox in which I mentioned my six year old son was inspired by Terry's effort. Ford and the Terry Fox Foundation work together so a call was made and I was given some fantastic Terry Fox tee shirts, books and a DVD for the kids.
It wasn't necessary but it struck a chord. James and Michelle are going to love their Terry Fox tees and I know James will enjoy the books and DVD. That one above and beyond gesture carries more weight than the ten day test drive. That's the heart of marketing, and Ford got it.
Since we're talking Terry, I'm running for Terry in September. Pledge my run online right here.
I got a great tutorial on this Sync technology. I've got my Blackberry and iPod synced up and it's amazing. I press a button on the steering wheel and say "Play Artist Neil Young" and it starts playing songs by that artist. I say "Phone Call Stephen Harper" and I have our PM on the line. It's totally hands free and totally cool.
I've got the car for ten days so I'm going on a road trip. If entries are sporadic next week, that's the reason why. I'll report back here on how it all went after next weekend.
Someone from the Social Media Group contacted me last week and asked if Toronto Mike would test drive a Ford Focus and write about the experience. I've got some road trips coming up, and I thought it might be a good idea to drive a new Ford Focus instead of my 200,000km clunker. To sweeten the pot, they started telling me about Sync.
I'm not really a gear head, so I had to Google Sync. It's a voice-activated mobile phone and digital music system for your car. I have a phone! I have a shiny new iPod! I'll drive a Ford Focus for a week!
It's official. I'll be test driving a new Ford Focus with Sync technology for ten days in August. The Ford people are going to give me a personalized Sync demo in Oakville so I can surround myself in hands-free digital tunes when I hit the road.
I'll update you next month after my Sync demo.
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