2014 Ford Fiesta- Along With Change Comes A Party

DSCI1721Winston Churchill once stated “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”  Maybe not as profound, but Sheryl Crow also proclaimed that a “change will do you good.”  During my time with the Ford Fiesta, I couldn’t help but think about how change can be profound.  The car itself is a reflection of how subcompacts, and specifically Ford’s subcompacts, have modernized in the past twenty years.  During the first initial years of the last decade, I was fortunate enough to own a used 1995 Ford Aspire during college.  It was a cheap set of wheels that I had earned after an arduous summer of busing tables and I was proud to have the aspiring little car.  For those of you who can’t recall the Aspire, it filled the minicar gap in Ford’s lineup left behind by the Festiva and was a Mazda design built by the fine folks at Kia in South Korea.  It was a cheery enough design and surprisingly flaunted the best velour seats I have ever encountered in any car.  Not only that, this particular Aspire was luxurious by mid-1990’s subcompact standards, boasting every option available; power steering, a cassette radio, air conditioning, a rear defroster, and those terrific seats.  Some of these weren’t available on the Aspire’s direct competitors or standard on some larger cars of the time.  But when it came to performance, the Aspire was a dog.  A little 1.3 liter with 63 horsepower could barely tote the small car around and a three-speed automatic would lurch while handling the timid power delivery.  And forget about power windows, cruise control, or power mirrors; they were unobtainable on any Aspire.  Yes sir, driving around in the comparably sized, and marketed, contemporary Fiesta was a reflection on how much has changed.

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2013 Ford Taurus- Not Such Bullish Aspirations

DSCI0235In Greek mythology, Theseus was considered to be the founding hero of Athens and the reformer of religion and social order.  Under his rule came the political unification of Attica under Athens and a stronger, more resilient city.  Despite his efforts, he lost popularity in later years and was thrown off a cliff by Skyros.  The Ford Taurus has had a similar rise and fall.  Introduced in 1986 as an all-cards-on-the-table gamble for ailing Ford, the Taurus was nothing short of revolutionary.  Being bruised and battered from financial woes and questionable quality, Ford’s future was dependant on the success of the Taurus .  The smooth, aero “jellybean” styling, thoughtful interior touches, and Euro-inspired performance proved that Detroit could indeed build a world-class product that was worth buying.  Personally, I consider it to be one of the most influential automobiles of all time; applying new features and technology we take for granted today.  The risk paid off, and not only did the Taurus receive numerous awards from journalists and was copied by competitors, but it catapulted its way to being America’s best-selling car throughout the late 80’s and 90’s.  However an equally daring, but less enticing, redesign for 1996 caused the car to lose its sales crown, and new-found profits in SUV’s during the early 2000’s resulted in Ford neglecting the Taurus completely.  The car that had saved and served Ford so well stagnated for years before finally being killed off in 2006.  Unlike poor ol’ Theseus, the Taurus was able to come back from the dead and a quick rebadge of the little-known Five Hundred brought the revered and famous name back to the Ford stable.  Finally, in 2010, Ford acknowledged that they can’t live without the name badge and introduced a brand new generation of the bullish car that was designed to be a Taurus from the ground up.  

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2013 Ford Mustang- Faster Than You Can Say “Heilige Scheiße!”

DSCI1102It’s Saturday evening and just like clock work, the Santa Monica Freeway is to its usual crawl. My fiance and soon-to-be mother-in-law are navigating through the maze of LA traffic and we’re anxious to have a ramen dinner in Little Tokyo. We’re hungry and exasperated from seeing endless brake lights, but fortunately tonight we’re in the 2013 Ford Mustang. Suddenly, we stumble across an opening to the near-empty carpool lane and I punch the accelerator. Faster than my mother-in-law can exclaim “Holy s**t!”, we’re well over the speed limit and those brake lights are a distant memory in the rear view mirror. Not only has the Mustang put a smile on my face and gotten us to our long-awaited dinner. but it also scared the scheisse out of my in-laws. Suddenly, the Ford Mustang has become my new best friend.

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2012 Ford Focus- A Real American Reunion

When the original European-designed Focus was introduced for the 2000 model year in hatch, sedan, and wagon guises, it became a game changer within the compact car segment almost overnight.  At the time, the small car market was full of bland, soulless appliances that had no passion, no excitement.  The Focus was revolutionary, proving that an affordable small car does not have to feel cheap.  It did everything well- offering plentiful room for five full-size adults, superb driving dynamics, and looked good- boldly expressing Ford’s then-current “New Edge” styling theme.  It was such a good all-around package that it was hard to imagine that the car was developed on a tight budget.  Critics raved and the Focus received numerous awards, including European Car of the Year and scoring a place in Car And Driver’s coveted “Ten-Best List” three years in a row.

The Ford Focus always brings back fond memories.  Coincidently, that Focus debuted in the midst of my senior year of high school.  It became the “must have” car during the twilight years of being a teenager.  If the Focus were a person- it would’ve been the captain of the school football team; handsome, athletic, taut, envied, and extremely popular.  It was a car that could do little wrong and had its whole life ahead of it.
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