In my post yesterday I talked about how the current economic situation is affecting Computer Troubleshooters in general - today I want to talk about one way I've used the current downturn to my advantage, by posting a review of my new Ford Flex.
To provide some background - I was not looking for a new car. My CT-wrapped Subaru Baja had served me well and was paid off. It was also one of the best cars I've ever owned. BUT, in just the month of September my Baja was stolen, recovered, wrecked (while parked), and then erroneously impounded by the Dekalb County police who apparently forgot to note in their database that it was no longer stolen. When it was taken the first time I started looking around to see what I might want to replace it with, and came across the Ford Flex. After the wreck and the impounding I started to think that maybe someone was trying to tell me it's time for a new car after all.
Then I read stories about how automakers have been hard hit by the recent economic conditions. Dozens of dealerships around Atlanta have closed, including the Subaru dealership near me. To try and stimulate sales many manufacturers are offering some pretty strong incentives to potential buyers, especially those with good credit. I got an email from a local Ford dealer offering me $4000 under dealer invoice on a new Ford Flex, plus they gave me full trade-in value for my Subaru even though it was wrapped and wrecked, plus they gave me some service incentives as well to help a friend whose having some car troubles. All in all it was a deal I couldn't pass up. If you're in the market for a car, now is a REALLY good time to go shopping because there are some great deals to be had.
So now I'm the proud owner of a Ford Flex, and honestly it's the best car I've ever owned. It's incredibly comfortable - the giant leather seats have all kinds of adjustments and even seat warmers (not really needed here in Georgia but still nice). The headrests could use more adjustment options, and as other reviews have pointed out it would be nice if the steering wheel telescoped, but having adjustable pedals helps. My Flex also has "egress assist", which means when I pull the key out the driver's seat slides back automatically to make it easier to get out, and when I put the key in the seat moves forward back to it's memorized position. This is slightly disturbing since for a brief second I always imagine myself in the trash compactor scene in Star Wars as the seat pushes me towards the steering wheel, but overall it's a nice feature.
For a gadget lover the Flex has everything you could ever want. Seperate climate controls for the driver, passenger, and rear seats. Lots of power ports everywhere you can think of, plus an AC outlet built into the center console. There's even a USB port inside the center console which can charge a USB device as well as connecting any MP3 player into the sound system. And speaking of the sound system - I got the 10-speaker Sony-built system with Microsoft Sync technology, and it's really amazing. I wasn't sure what to expect of Sync, but the voice recognition is remarkably accurate even when I ask it to call friends with hard-to-spell names (it connects to my cell phone whenever its' within Bluetooth range), and the sound quality is fantastic. There are almost too many options in the sound system (I don't know how I'm going to find time to fill all 30 presets for the AM/FM radio, or the other 30 presets for the Sirius satellite radio). And the onboard computer lets me keep track of things like my average miles per gallon (which is only around 18 for me so far, but I only drive about 10 miles a day and through a lot of stops, so I expect it will get closer to the advertised 24mpg when I'm taking longer road trips). It's the most fuel-efficient vehicle of it's size, but you'd never know it by how powerful and responsive the engine feels.
Gadgets are great, but the Flex really shines in style and functionality. I've had the car for 10 days and already several people have stopped me at traffic lights or parking lots to ask me about it. I also got a chance to test the cargo-friendly fold-flat seats when I took some tables to a festival this past weekend, but I'm really looking forward to utilizing all 7 seats the next time I drive for a youth event at church.
So if you're in the market for a cool, functional vehicle that can carry a large family or a lot of customer computers, take a look at the Ford Flex. Besides getting a great car at a great price, you'll also be helping your local car dealers stay in business during these challenging times, which is good for your local community and your local economy too.