Saturday, March 25, 2017

2017 Ford Focus RS 24hr Feedback

Yesterday I picked up my Stealth Gray Focus RS from Barrie Ford in Barrie Ontario.  Like most dealerships they don't allow test drives so I bought the car from what I saw in reviews.  Therefore the first drive I had was taking the car home after I bought it.  This was not really a situation I was comfortable with.  I bought the car to be an all season daily driver, my commuter car.  But also I wanted it to be fun.

Driving the car out of the dealership and onto the road I was just getting to know the clutch which sort of engaged at a weird position but that wasn't a big deal.  Very quickly we turned onto the highway and I gave it some gas.  I must say I was pretty disappointed in the power.  I expected a huge kick in the pants and it really wasn't there.  Certainly it had some power but I wanted to hear and feel the turbo and if there wasn't a boost gauge I don't think I would even know it had a turbo.  Playing with it on the highway I really didn't get the big grin from the car I was hoping for.

To be fair I don't know that I can properly report on the power.  My other car is the 662 hp Shelby GT500.  I recently took that car out of winter storage to gas it up and put air in the tires and the power is still shocking to me.  After you get out you are shaking for several minutes and have to calm down. It's not fair to compare the RS to the GT500 but it's hard for me not to.  So I drove home and didn't really play with the car much other than setting up the stereo and nav settings.  I was a little bummed out.

The next day my girlfriend had to go to a party leaving me home for most of the day.  It was cold, cloudy, and wet but I decided to take the RS out and get to know it more.  So I found a few curvy roads and gave it some real juice.  This is where the car really shined.  Even with damp, sandy, wet roads the RS would take the corners as fast as you had the balls to take them.  Definitely at speeds I wouldn't dream of taking the GT500 into a corner.  I was having a blast!  And that was on winter tires.

It could be a coincidence but after switching to sport mode and driving around my area enjoying the pops from the exhaust I saw a cop.  Then after about a half hour I saw two cops together cruising the area.  I started wondering if the noise was generating police calls so I switched back to normal.

Monday I will start my commuting with the car which is sure to add to my opinions of the car.  As of right now I don't have any regrets and look forward to getting more acquainted with the RS.  The power may have been a disappointment but that's not really what this car is truly about.  At it's heart I think it wants to be a rally/track car which for me is an excitingly new kind of fun that I want to play with.

But you know that since I went ahead and purchased my RS that means next generation is going to be the more powerful RS500.  It just always happens like this.  Perhaps next weekend I'll write another review after my week of commuting.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

I Purchased a 2017 Focus RS......I think.

Last week I decided to trade in my '07 Hummer H3 for something a little better as a daily driver.  The less practical genes in me made the decision to get a Focus RS.  So I went down to a local dealer to see what they'd give me for the H3.

I wanted to get $8000 for the Hummer but due to an exhaust leak it had at the manifold they said they could only give me $5000.  I agreed however and said I wanted wanted the RS in Stealth Gray, they only had access to the blue.  I'm a little past the "boy racer" age so I passed and decided to look at other dealerships.

Calling a dealership in Barrie they said they could definitely get me gray.  I went to see them and they also determined the same trade price for the Hummer, oh well.  They also didn't have a Stealth Gray on the lot however they said they can get it and we signed the papers.

Now trying to be a clever person I had kept my insurance policy in the States when I moved to Canada.  At the time not only was this a cheaper rate but Allstate US and Allstate Canada don't talk to each other so when I would get speeding tickets in Canada my US insurance would never hear about it.  It was perfect.  They even allowed me to put my Shelby on the policy which was a Canadian car registered in Ontario.  I'm not exactly sure how they did that but I was cool with it.  But all good things must come to an end and when I asked to add the Focus to the policy as well it seems I "shook the monkey tree." They started asking why I was getting the car, how long was I going to be staying in Canada, where was my US residence in the States?  The jig was up and they dumped me.  So I needed to find insurance in Canada.  Fortunately my girlfriend's insurance had added me as a secondary driver so it wasn't hard to get my own policy but poking into my record of tickets getting a good rate could be a challenge.  Currently they are still investigating and haven't come to a decision.  If I can't get proof of insurance I can't pickup the RS.

In the meantime the dealer kind of sold me a car that didn't exist.  I don't think they did it in purpose but while they were selling the me Stealth Gray RS the dealer that actually had it was also selling it.  So the bill of sale was written up on a car that was sold to someone else.  Not they need to find me another gray RS if they can.

So right now I'm waiting to hear if I have insurance and also if I even have a car.  Maybe I should have gone with the VW Golf R like I had originally thought.

Monday, March 13, 2017

The H3 Might Be Going Bye Bye

Back in 2013 I bought my '07 Hummer H3 after my girlfriend suggested that I move in with her.  She live further north and at that time my only car was an '07 Mustang GT.  Moving meant a longer commute in heavier snow.  There was no way I was doing that in a Mustang.  I saw the H3 for sale while I was getting some service done, it looked big and bad ass.  I thought, "There's the solution. A big Hummer would get me through any snow Ontario has to dish out, and I can park my Mustang in the winter. So I bought it.  I had big dreams with the H3.  I was gonna start off-roading, we were gonna camp more, go biking.  It was all justified.

Now it's 2017 and I did none of those things.  All I did do was drive it to work and twice a year to the States.  It certainly lived up the my first assumption that it would do well in the snow.  It hardly acknowledges any weather exists at all.  It effortlessly climbs through any snowstorm or flooding I encountered.  But I never did the cool off-roading or backwoods camping or anything.  I just ground away on those expensive tires commuting.

As it aged it of course started having issues, mainly electronic.  One day you start it up and there would be an message about some failure, then the next time you start it up it was gone.  I dumped an additional $4000 on maintenance and various emission sensor replacements.  Then last week I was driving to work and I got a message saying, "STABILITY SYSTEM FAILURE." What the heck is that?  I looked online and it said it's a blanket warning that covers many different things.  Okay that's enough.  With an exhaust leak that I was told could cost anywhere from $300 to $3000, new electronic problems, and big $2000 tires that need replaced I think it might be time to take a serious look at how much this vehicle was costing me.

I grabbed a pen, paper and calculator and was pretty shocked to discover that just in gas the Hummer was costing me $520 CAD a month!  Just in gas!  That's approximately $67 each time I fill and I was filling twice a week.  Pile on insurance and other expenses I was just $200 short of a Ford Focus RS payment.

Imagine a Ford Focus RS as a daily driver rather than an H3.  I figure it would at least cut the gas in half.  Most of my commute is highway and while the Focus isn't spectacular at fuel economy the H3 is awful.  Okay maybe I'm just trying to justify buying a Focus RS but it is better gas mileage than my Hummer H3.  It is AWD for snow, and it does come with a set if winter rims and tires along with summer rims and tires.

I've already talked to one Ford dealer that could get me the deal I wanted but only had a Nitro Blue care available and I'd rather have the Stealth Gray.  Today I spoke with a different dealer that says he can get me a Stealth Gray Focus RS.  If he can give me what I want for my Hummer I could be driving a Focus RS around as a daily driver.

The Hummer was awesome for what it was and I'm probably going to miss it but the expense and the fact that I never used it how it was meant to be used make me feel this is for the best.  I'm a speed guy, my brother is the offroad guy.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Another Shelby Summer

Spring is coming and so my Shelby can be released from its winter cocoon.  This leads my thoughts to the question of how much to I plan on driving it this summer.  This is something many people don’t care about, they drive and drive without any concern for miles.  I am not one of these people.  I didn’t really buy the car as a money investment but I also don’t want to quickly devalue a low miles car. 

This dilemma starts with asking will the car hold its value?  I bought the car from a company that specializes in “special” cars.  They of course think every car is amazing and full of value at least until they sell it.  But I had the unique opportunity to have gotten along really well with the guy that put together my loan and he happened to have changed jobs and gone to a different dealership.  So when he messaged me that he had moved I said, “Hey, now that you’re not at the place I bought my Shelby you can be honest.  Was it a stupid investment?”  He replied, “No, the Shelby’s are a pretty safe bet.  Out of anything that you could purchase they hold their value best.”

This was great to hear but I believe it also matters how it compares to the other hot Shelby’s out there.  My 2014 was the last year of the big 5.8L Trinity engine with a supercharged 662 hp.  This is great but everyone is waiting with baited breath for the next GT500 which has been guess to have 755 hp.  This would certainly have an impact on the value of my car just like the ’13 and ’14 had an impact on the previous year GT500s.

If I ask for the opinion of people on most of the Mustang forums they all say, “Dude, just drive it.”  But I don’t know.  I feel more like a caretaker of the car rather than an owner and don't really want to drive it into the ground.