This letter is to my car, a 2013 Tangerine Scream Ford Focus ST. The Focus ST won the 2013 Automotive Achievement Award for ”Most Entertaining Front-Wheel-Drive Hatchback Under $25,000 Only Available in Manual.” It dominated everything else in that category.
But this Focus ST, my Focus ST, has been a terrible annoyance riddled with one problem after another.
A leaking fuel neck, a Check Engine Light, a loose rear seat, a mysterious noise from behind the driver somewhere, constant MyFord Touch issues, both operation and design. It seems the list keeps getting longer and longer.
Like I said above, the car is a remarkable performer. Aside from the fuel spraying on the ground, none of my other issues have been major. They did (or will) require me to take time out of my day to visit a store and will also likely mean being without a car for a day; but it is what it is.
Just last night I drove to Baltimore Washington International (BWI) airport. I know the route to BWI, but wanted to see if I could set my destination using just voice commands. I arrived at BWI and the car and I were still negotiating my destination. My carputer was certain that Ronald Regan National was the closest airport to my location, which was parked at BWI.
After I shared my story on Twitter, Ford was quick to reach out to me, but this wasn’t a system problem – it was a user problem. The system wasn’t compatible with the user. I consider myself tech savvy and last night SYNC and I were speaking two very different languages. I’ve had other problems with MyFord Touch – stations disappear, it rebooted once while driving, it will sometimes recognize my phone and other times I have to ask it to reconnect. Again, these are all small minor annoyances.
I raised a few of my concerns to a Ford representative in Detroit while at the North American International Auto Show. Yesterday, I received an email from a Ford Customer Care Representative.
Regarding my “You do not have a rear camera!” warning message, I was told “not to start the car while the shifter is in reverse.” They knew about the issue, yet no solution had been produced. OK. That seems a rather odd requirement, but easy enough. I was used to these oddities. I owned a first year C6 Corvette that had to be shifted to reverse or the car would stay ON and the battery would die.
It’s interesting that this rearview camera error occurs in the ST seeing that a rearview camera isn’t even an option on any of the ST trim levels. Also, in a way MyFord Touch is correct – I do not have a camera. Thanks for the reminder, jerk.
Also in the email was a reminder that my infotainment system was not up to date. I was given a rather lengthy list of instructions on how to update it. I could take it a dealership OR I could go to a website (www.MyFordSyncMyWhip.com/update/social/whyisthissohard/WTF/thisisridiculous), create an account, request an SD card be sent to me, wait 2-3 days for it to arrive, and then download the update onto that card to upload into the car. Simple as that!
All of this headache and labor for an infotainment system I wanted about as much as someone could want herpes. I just wanted the Recaro seats, but the way Ford packaged the options on the ST, to get those seats you also get MyFord Touch. Guess the idiom ‘take the bad with the good’ applies here.
Would I still recommend this car? Yes, yes, yes. Hell yes! But only in the base trim. As good as the Recaro seats may feel on a short spirted drive, they’re not what I would call comfortable. They offer very little lubar support and there is no way to adjust (relax) the side bolsters. On longer drives your lower back and kidneys will hate you. Also, having these seats isn’t worth the aggravation of having to live with MyFord Touch.
In the end
Just like any romance this one has had its ups and downs, but at the end of the day she still puts a smile on my face and that’s what really matters.
Even with all my bitching – I’m still very happy with the car (and happy with Ford’s response to said bitching).