Goodbye Explorer, Hello Focus

10 1/2 years ago Ford manufactured an Explorer that I designed just for me and they had to change their line, just for me, because I love driving with a standard transmission.  It’s nothing special, just an Explorer Sport with standard transmission and cruise control (I have a lead foot).  I went to pick it up, and my Dad came with me, because he was always very excited whenever I bought a new vehicle, whether it was used or brand new.  And we went for a long ride.  And every so often over the years, we would go for long rides.

My Explorer never let me down.  Over the last 10 1/2 years I have never broken down with it.  Even last week when it needed a new alternator, it made it home, and to service (they were surprised it did).


Today, I traded in my Explorer using the ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program, even though I *really* wanted to keep it for a winter-rat, because it does so well in the snow.  But the ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program was really irristable, making one of the high priced cars more in line with what I wanted to pay for a vehicle at this time.


But I’m having doubts, because what will I do when winter comes?  And it comes with intense fiery in NY state.  I’m really worried that I’ve made a mistake.  And my Dad wasn’t around to consult.  Even though I know he would tell me to do what I needed to do.   Buying a new vehicle should be no big deal, but somehow this time it’s different because things aren’t the same all around.  No Dad, the economy sucks, I’ve *never* driven a small car.  In fact, I’ve owned all of four vehicles, now working on my fifth:  a 1975 Maverick (used), a 1979 Thunderbird (used), a 1990 Ranger (new), a 1999 Explorer (new), and now this 2009 Focus (new).


But then maybe I’ll love that this new vehicle is fully loaded (not my request, just give me stick and cruise control), including SYNC and SIRUIS.  Listening to the BB King Bluesville station 74 may settle me down.  Maybe.

12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Scott Thomas Photography
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 15:39:59

    I just bought a Mustang and I will drive it in the winter in upstate NY. Have done so before with other Mustangs. You’ll be fine.

    Enjoy the new ride with all neat stuff. The only real problem you’ll have is getting used to not being further off the ground as the Explorer was.


  2. Pam
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 15:46:41

    Thanks Scott for your encouragement! Ohh, a Mustang, I love Mustangs!
    I’m already having issues with being closer to the ground. I can’t see around SUV’s, trucks and mini-vans anymore.


  3. waterlooinsider
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 19:50:09

    I have had GM cars for the past 20 years, but am considering Ford for my next vehicle. My Pontiac is 9 years old. I am impressed that Ford managed to avoid the financial mismanagement that required GM and Chrysler to get so much public money.


  4. Pam
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 19:55:20

    Me, too, Waterlooinsider. Ford has a great lineup of vehicles. If I wanted to spend more I would have considered either the Escape hybrid or the Fusion hybrid.


  5. Susan Gets Native
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 21:44:08

    Your thought about not having your Dad around…struck a chord.
    When we bought the Subaru, I knew we were making the right choice. But I really really wanted to pick up the phone to call my Dad and tell him what a safe, dependable car we got.

    You’ll be okay, Pam. It’s a pretty car…and you will be surprised at how it handles, being so much lower to the ground that the Explorer.


  6. Linda in Erie
    Jul 28, 2009 @ 02:31:18

    I wouldn’t trade my Explorer for the world. I always got stuck with my little Geo in the winter. Peace of mind and not sliding into snow banks in the winter is my main concern. I’m sure your Focus will do better than my little Geo did. Putting sand bags in my Geo Metro for weight helped a little. My in-laws drive a smaller car but they stay in town. I guess it depends on where you live and how often you go out on snowy days.


  7. Jayne
    Jul 28, 2009 @ 06:47:45

    Love it Pam! Change is sometimes hard, but in the end, often just what we needed.


  8. Pam
    Jul 28, 2009 @ 08:23:26

    Susan – thanks Susan. My Dad was always there for these important things, and this is the first important thing I’ve done without him. And I don’t like it. I do like how I can zip around corners quickly now!

    Linda – I thought I would never trade my Explorer, either, but I didn’t want to continue maintaining it.

    Jayne – You are so right, change is good! And the Focus does greatly reduce my carbon footprint.


  9. Lynne at Hasty Brook
    Jul 28, 2009 @ 18:32:51

    Pam, I’m having a bad case of missing my Dad now too. I wonder if women ever stop missing their Dads? My daughter is shopping for her first used car anf the Ford Focus is what she wants!


  10. Mary Carlson
    Aug 01, 2009 @ 17:41:03

    Wow, Pam – that is quite a change. But I’m glad to see you “held out” on getting a standard transmission. I kind of miss mine. I had a 95 Saturn with a standard transmission, but last November it needed more work than the car was worth. I ended up getting another Saturn, but had to settle for an automatic. It seemed that there weren’t any standard transmissions around in the Saturn lots. So, as you said, change is good. I really like all the extras I got with my Saturn Aura in lieu of a standard transmission. I now have auto windows and cruise control which I didn’t have with the other car. I loved the idea that it came with OnStar for the first year free — but I bought the car as a previously owned and the OnStar carried over until its subscription expired. But if I should ever want to “renew” it and renew the satellite radio, at least I have that option. Congrats on your new car. You’re probably already getting used to it.


  11. laurie
    Aug 21, 2009 @ 15:58:32

    I’m not a big fan of the cash-for-clunkers program as I’m afraid that it will put some people in cars they really can’t afford and will in the long run make the economy even worse. I also have a problem with the disposal of perfectly good automobiles, despite the fact that it will do some good for the environment, it seems foolish, to me to reduce them to rubble.

    That being said, and I’m sorry for the rant here…

    I think you’ve made a good choice. The focus really does get around well in the snow and it is a very reliable car. Aside from the lack of ground clearance that has already been mentioned, I think you will find it handles extremely well in inclement weather.

    I know how you feel about missing your dad, too. Mom’s birthday (she’d have been 83) was yesterday. It’s the first one since Daddy died and I have been having a real case of missing my parents lately.

    Big hugs, and enjoy your new car.



  12. gary
    Aug 27, 2009 @ 08:38:06


    Wanted to let you know I clunkered 1995 Explorer with 292K. Only replaced fuel pump and alternator. Ran great and felt bad about trashing it. Purchased Prius due to 50+ mpg.

    Good Luck


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