First road trip in the new truck

Lisa and I took the new F150 to Des Moines and back this past weekend.  It’s every bit as smooth and quiet as we had hoped; I would say it probably comes close to most luxury cars.  Gas mileage was not spectacular, but I’ll reserve judgment on that issue.  We’re still in the break-in phase; in fact, there was under 100 miles on the odometer when we left.  Temperatures hovered at or below freezing for most of the weekend, and we had a stiff cross wind both ways.  I also have not put a bed cover on yet, and I know that will make a difference.

The EcoBoost engine pulls smooth and strong from idle to highway speeds; you really have no indication you have a V6 under the hood.  Horsepower and torque are higher than the new 5 liter V8.  In fact, it outperforms last year’s 5.4 liter by a good margin (320 HP/390 ft-lb for the 5.4, 365 HP/420 ft-lb for the little 3.5 EcoBoost).  This engine is amazing.  No turbo lag or whine, just quiet power from an engine that pulls like a mule.

I’m looking at what to do to get the ham rig installed.  There really isn’t a hidden spot in the cavernous F150 cab for the transceiver; I may be able to wedge it in under the seat, but I’m not sure yet.  I think there’s plenty of room under the dash, but I’m not inclined to drill anywhere.  I’ll have to do some looking.  The antenna might be a challenge as well; I believe that’s a fiberglass hood.


Night and day

If you read my last post you got a run down of the archetypical car dealer experience.  Last night we went through what can best be described as being close to the other end of the scale.

Now, granted, we’d dealt with this dealership and salesman before.  He knows we’re not really ones to enjoy the endless back-and-forth negotiation.  They had the truck I wanted (OK, possibly because I’d asked them to order one for me).  We took a drive, then sat down to work out the deal.  I already knew what the other dealer’s last-dich, closing time on the last day of the shortest month of the year offer was.  I figured that would be a good number to shoot for — maybe adjusted for the fact that this truck had a sticker price about $1400 higher.

So we sat down with the dealer’s invoice, showing what their holdback was, the employee price, all of it.  We agreed that it was only fair that they make a little profit on the deal.  They took a look at our trade-in, and came back with a number that was within $1100 of the other dealer’s.  Not too bad for the first attempt; if you go by total discount off sticker price, they actually beat the other guys by $400 or so.  Then they agreed to let us take both vehicles home so I could get all of my stuff out of my old truck — the ham radio, etc.  They’ll pick it up later this week or early next.  Again, not too bad.  I don’t think we could have asked for much more.

This is why we keep going back to Woodhouse Ford.

Sometimes you just shoot yourself in the foot.

Lisa and I spent several hours at a car dealer this evening, in a huge waste of everyone’s time.   I hadn’t planned for it to be a waste of time.   If they had what I was looking for and we could come to an agreement on price, I was ready to buy.   Unfortunately (or maybe not, for me), the car dealer games cost them a sale.

The first price they came up with — after leaving us cooling our heels for a bit too long — was, of course, ridiculous.   Less than blue book trade value for my current truck against retail for the new one.   Now my ’03 Sport Trac is a pretty desirable model in great shape with low mileage, good tires and a nice aftermarket in-dash nav system and backup camera.   It’s going to sell quickly and without a lot of time or money spent cleaning it up.  We politely declined, and it was time for Round 2.   I told the guy we were several thousand dollars apart, and gave him a number I thought was more fair…   from which Lisa then suggested we trim another couple thousand.   Half an hour or so later, we get the answer; it’s still a couple thousand higher than Lisa’s figure.

By this time I’d had enough time to think about what we were doing about that I had pretty much talked myself out of buying that truck — at any price. It lacked a few options I really wanted, and had a few I specifically did not want.   By the time we finally decided we were done and asked for the keys to my truck (which had disappeared, of course)   the sales manager made a last ditch effort to get us to take it for a thousand under even Lisa’s number, which I thought was pretty low anyway.   Sorry, too late.

If we’d been able to dispense with the idiotic games, if we hadn’t been left waiting on negotiations for so bloody long, we might have considered taking a truck home with us.   The guy could have come up with an offer a thousand or even two higher than their last offer, right off the bat, and we might have done the deal.   Maybe.   I would have regretted it later, but they’d have made a sale, and it still was a very nice truck.   Problem was, they felt the need to play the kind of stupid games that have given car dealers a bad name.   And we’ve seen it all before and recognize all of it for the nonsense it is:

  • “I’m going to lowball you and see if you’re stupid enough to fall for it.”   No, we’re not stupid – and this is not an impulse purchase.
  • “I have to run this past my manager.”   Yeah, right.   If you can’t make a deal, then kindly get out of my way and get me someone who can.
  • “This truck is going out on a dealer trade so we’re not supposed to sell it to you…   but we will, but you have to buy it tonight or it will be gone in the morning.”   Sorry, not buying that story.   You’re either lying to me, or reneging on another deal.   Either one is a very unattractive trait in a dealer.
  • “Oh, Ford financing is expensive, we’ll hook you up with a great loan rate, probably under 6%.”   Um.   ‘Scuse me?   Ford was at that time offering 0% financing for 60 months, PLUS $1000 cash allowance, PLUS a five-year extended powertrain warranty.   What, you didn’t know about that?   You’re supposed to be a Ford salesman and you are unaware of that?   Wait, this is another test to see if we’re stupid, right?

We walked in around 4 PM and didn’t get out of there until well after 7.   By that time I was tired and hungry, Lisa was about ready to fall over, and they had managed to convince me not to buy the very nice truck we’d driven.   And quite frankly, the whole experience pushed them down a couple of notches on my list of places I would buy from.

I’m going to give the next guy a 2-minute rundown of the stuff I am no longer willing to put up with, under any circumstances, and see if he still wants to deal.   No running off to the manager — if I’m in a chair more than 5 minutes without a warm body with a number on the other side of the desk, I’m out the door.   Make a deal or find me someone who can.   I don’t pay sticker price, I don’t take lowball trade offers, and please don’t piss on my foot and tell me it’s raining.


Fusion Hybrid, 3 months in

Well, we’ve had the Fusion Hybrid for roughly 3 months now, with a little under 3600 miles on the odometer as I recall.  This car continues to perform extremely well.

Saturday we took it to Hastings to watch the Broncos soundly defeat Briar Cliff (34-20, and the game was not as close as the score would indicate).  From Omaha to Lincoln we were in heavy Husker football traffic, moving at a steady 65 MPH.  I think we were in a pretty constant slipstream with the solid line of cars and trucks, we got 43 MPG between our Omaha fill-up and the far side of Lincoln!  Amazing.  Our overall mileage for the 299 mile round trip, including some in-town driving in Hastings after the game, was 38.6 MPG.

I wasn’t exactly nursing it along; we drove at the same speed we normally would have, other than the Omaha-Lincoln stretch.  There we drove as fast as possible, which was 65 MPH.  After we cleared Lincoln, I had the cruise control set for 70 for the rest of the trip out and back.  We stopped at the Stangs’ house to pick up Buddy on our way home.  I figure we used less than $19 worth of gasoline for the trip, and less than half of what my truck would have used.  In fact, we probably got almost the mileage we would have gotten on the Harley.

As for the features other than fuel economy, the car is still impressive.  Lisa likes the rear view camera and early warning system when backing out of places; it’s pretty nice that the car will pick up approaching vehicles and warn you before you’re able to see them in a crowded parking lot.  The sound system is great, and we’re even getting used to using the Sync system occasionally.  The hands-free Bluetooth is nice.  We’ve loaded several CDs into the car’s internal jukebox hard drive; my only gripe there is that while you can play music from a USB drive, you can’t transfer the files to the jukebox.  Oh well.

It’s a keeper.

Ford Fusion Hybrid

Well, we’re now the proud owners of a Fusion Hybrid.  Nice car!  The highway mileage is around 35-36 so far, and about the same in town.  It’s supposed to get better as the car breaks in, we’ll see how that goes.

the new car...
the new car...

All the toys; heated seats, LCD for the nav, radio, backup camera, and other displays.  The sound system is pretty good, sounds great – but no HD radio?  What were they thinking?  That’s really pretty much my only complaint, though.

Lisa at the wheel
Lisa at the wheel

Smooth, quiet, adequate power and then some.  500+ mile range on a tank of gas, so far (we haven’t filled it yet).  10,000 mile oil change interval.  Plenty of room for even tall people in the front and back.  Looks good.  Drives quite well, and they didn’t skimp on anything that we’ve found – right down to the fatter-than-expected Michelins.