Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Why Your Teenager Will HATE Your New Ford Focus (OR Why You Should Never Rent a Ford Focus)

Tonight's blog entry is a thrilling piece with some lovely writing and an excellent demonstration into the real-life implications of "redundant redundancy".

Lately, I've been impressed by Ford's offerings.  They finally, (after thirty years of not selling it here) brought the Ford Fiesta over from Europe.  It's a sweet little hatchback.  If you haven't driven one yet, I highly recommend it.  Their Ford SYNC media system readily connects with your phone via bluetooth, and Sirius radio.  If you have a navigation installed, you can get dining info and ratings before being guided there by several GPS antennae.

But enough of Ford's fantastic-ness, this article is about how very annoying their electronic nanny system, "MyKey" is, and how you should avoid it like a plague.  The MyKey system allows the owner of the vehicle to set up certain "limits" as to how the car is operated.  With one "Admin key", you can set numerous "MyKeys" to let the car know that your teenage son or daughter (or an unsuspecting car renter) is operating the vehicle and cannot be trusted to do so without making a mess of things.  When starting the car with a "MyKey", this is the sound and light show that greets you:

This is your first indication that something is indeed...wrong.

Now if you're like 25% of the overall U.S. population (or 90% of the teenager population) and don't wear your seatbelt, the electronic nanny has not yet finished with you.

Begin your drive with the radio on (which is actually very nice and advance for a base model) if you haven't buckled your seatbelt, and this alert will remind you.

Now if you haven't been scared shitless to the point where you've driven off the road and need to call AAA (because Ford doesn't have an agreement with OnStar like GM), you can buckle your seatbelt and the music will be restored.

"Finally", you'll think.  Now I can continue my drive to work, a friend's house, dinner, or any other number of things you might do with the freedom a car grants you... but if you plan to drive on any highways, you'd be horribly, horribly wrong.

Upon reaching 65mph on the highway, you are greeted by the following message/sound combo:

At 75mph, you get the honor of being notified yet again that you are doing something dangerous and  wrong and must be informed/punished.

By now you're thinking "OK, now it's going to tell me something else and beep at me one more time," and you'd be correct in your assumption:

...But hold that thought...

Whilst at 80mph (which is a perfectly acceptable speed in, say, Wyoming), nothing you can do will make the car break this impenetrable speed barrier.  Press on the accelerator a little and, nothing.  Push the pedal to the floor AND...nothing.  It's like a bad dream where you'd be able to help your girlfriend from the hideously-burned slasher if you could only move...which you can't.

You thought that was the worst?  You thought that the pain, suffering, rage and dementia-inducing car nannying was over?

Bring that thought back.

You know what happens when you assume, you make an "ass" out of "u" and "me".  Oh yes, I went there.  Because Ford, in its great wisdom, decided that these lovely "notifications" should be let loose every time you pass by these mph markers.  Meaning, you get to see/hear the same exact notifications in reverse order!

"Yes, I know that I'm near the top speed, I just slowed down from there!"

What ever do you mean, car?!  I just slowed down!  How is my driving not any safer!?

At this point you're thinking "ENOUGH! I'm going to turn the radio up all the way so that I don't have to hear this sound anymore!!!"

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