What's funny is that, despite owning several Ford vehicles in my lifetime, I've never really considered myself "A ford guy". Then last week the wife and I got this:
And it goes along nicely with the rest of the "Family"
I guess I was wrong. I'm a Ford guy.
A little background. My Escort is definitely a beater. Something small breaks on it now and again. Generally, it's pretty reliable, but then you get the occasional small things (under $50 to fix) that go out. Like a wheel bearing, an ignition switch, things like that. Also, the gearshift is too short for my wife to comfortably drive it, and now it's got a slipping clutch. The thing is, it averages 38-42 MPG when I use it for my 30-mile round-trip commute to work. So as long as I put less than $200 a month into it on average (I've put about $300 into it in the last year), it's paying for itself. I just can't rely on it all the time.
The Focus is still running strong at 108,000 miles and no major mechanical failures whatsoever. It's a 2.0L 5-speed manual and my wife likes to drive it on occasion. If the Escort's down and out though, we were down to just the Focus and nothing else to drive. Kind of a pain, with our work schedules conflicting. Often I would have to leave my job in the middle of my shift, take her to work, and come back to my job, which is about a 36 mile round trip added to my 30-mile daily commute. Talk about inefficient use of fuel and time.
So, instead of pumping about $1000 into the beater to make sure it stays reasonably reliable, we decided to go for something a tad larger. After all, if we already have 2 compact cars, why buy a third? Also, SUV's are cheap right now because of fuel prices, and compacts are getting really expensive. Who would have thought a Civic could command over $20k? Even the 2006 Focuses we were looking at were in the $17K range, with the nicer Focus ST also asking $20K+.
Also, we like to go out camping, and on really long trips, we usually have to take both cars since not everything will fit in one of them. We usually bring our own fire wood and food. On a 3-day weekend trip, that takes up a lot of room. It should all fit in the truck though.
Lastly, 4x4 will come in handy. The winters here are hit and miss, but we get the occasional blizzard that makes driving around in a normal car impossible, and there are a few 4x4 parks near Kansas City where you have to stay on the trail but you can see some wildlife.
I'm usually the kind of guy that can't leave a vehicle alone. We'll see how that works with the Explorer. Is it is right now, it should work fine for what it'll be used for (My wife's 6-mile-per-day commute, the occasional camping trip, and winter driving). When the tires finally need changing, I'll probably go with some all terrain shoes.