Wednesday, August 5, 2009
As most of you know, I had the chance to visit the Ford assembly plant in Chicago last week. I learned some surprising information about Ford and was able to pass your ideas on to the folks at Ford as well.
When I asked you for your input on what features you'd like to see in a vehicle, you guys didn't let me down and you wrote in with dozens of awesome ideas. When I went to the Ford plant, I was amazed to see that a lot of your brilliant ideas are already being implemented in Fords now! For example:
You said you'd like to see a vehicle with a fridge since you spend so much time in your car. The Ford Flex has that option! Yes, you can get a little refrigerated compartment in the vehicle! How cool is that? No more sippy cups left out in the sun until the milk turns to cottage cheese!
Another thing you said you wanted to see in a vehicle was massaging chairs. Ford has those too! Seriously. They designed them so it's not like a deep tissue massage that will put you right to sleep while you're cruising down the interstate, but so it keeps the blood flowing and improves circulation so you don't nod off on the cross country family vacation road trip extravaganza.
Here's a feature that I don't remember anyone asking about, but Ford has it and it's pretty cool. It's called My Key. Austin's going to high school this year which means it won't be long before he's driving. (freaked out scream!) The My Key technology allows parents to program a key for their young driver. You can set a maximum volume on the radio. If your teen doesn't buckle up, the radio shuts off and they get no tunes until they buckle up. You can also set a maximum speed so your young driver can't drag race down the street at insane speeds. When you put your master key in the ignition, you can also see just how many miles your child has driven so when they say they're just driving to work, you can check and be sure they weren't running around anywhere else.
Another thing you asked for was more cup holders. There were cup holders-a-plenty on the Fords I saw there. And not only that, but they have this ambient lighting on the new models. It's so cool! There's a subtle, ice blue light around the cup holders and other areas in the car. It illuminates the cup holders and dash enough that you can see without turning on the lights and waking a sleeping child.
One of the coolest features I saw was the parallel park assist. I got to drive a car with this and it was the freakiest thing ever. The car parked itself! I kid you not! You don't even touch the steering wheel at all. The car does all the work. There's a little video about that HERE.
Better fuel efficiency was another big item you brought to me. Ford is making leaps and bounds there with several hybrid vehicles. They have a completely electric car in the works for the near future too. It will go 40 miles before switching over to a gas tank back-up while the battery recharges as you continue to drive. On the dash of several Fords, you'll see a little tree. The more eco-friendly driving you do, the more leaves appear on the tree graphic so you know you're saving gas. Not only are they making their cars more efficient, but they're using renewable sources on some of their lines now. For example, the foam used in the seat cushions contains a percentage (sorry, I can't remember how much) of soy. They're also experimenting with making fabric from corn and other sources which is cool because if you're driving along and you get hungry, you can just take a bite of your seat.
You asked for more cleanable surfaces. Ford has several with this molded plastic type material in the interior. It wipes clean, but looks like leather. I mean, I got a real close-up look and I could swear I could see stitching on it, but it was just part of their process to make it look like leather while it's actually very cleanable.
Unfortunately I didn't see any models with privacy glass between the driver and the passengers. Nor were there any cars with front mounted missiles I could launch at the slow drivers ahead of me. I didn't see any with a flame thrower on the back that I could fire at tailgaters either. What? I thought they were good ideas! I also didn't see any flying cars, but I did see some other feature that was very "Jetsons-like". It's called Sync. You can plug your phone, iPod, memory card, MP3 player, or whatever into the car and voila, with a simple voice command, it will play any track or artist you want. You can say, for example,"Call home," and your car will call home for hands-free talking. You can ask where the nearest Mexican restaurant is or what the traffic conditions are like on the way to work. You can get directions to anywhere and get 9-1-1 assistance. It will babysit your kids, do your grocery shopping and make sure your laundry is spring-fresh. It's like Kit! (I may be dating myself with that one.) Seriously, it. is. awesome.
Although my first car was a Ford Mustang (may it rest in peace), I haven't owned one since. Joe is a Chevy kinda guy so that's what we've always had. But I'll let you in on a little secret. Chevy was a sponsor of BlogHer, so there were cars in Chevy's line-up at the conference, and being a curious sort of gal, I thought I'd check them out and compare. Honestly, I was much more impressed by all the features Ford offers. I didn't think that Chevy had nearly the cool bells and whistles that Ford does. And nope, Ford didn't pay me to say any of this.
Here's yours truly showing just what a dork she really is...
And finally, the random winner of a signed copy of Because I Said so is...
Here are your random numbers:
Timestamp: 2009-08-05 06:32:14 UTC
Comment 95 came from Jessica who said...
Cupholders and places to put miscellanous other "stuff" - little console-like areas throughout. Oh, and the cupholders can't block other important things (like the radio, A/C control, etc) when there's actually a cup in them.
Leg room! Leg room! Leg room!
Versatility - seats that come out or otherwise disappear are the best.
Thank you to everyone for taking the time to leave me a comment!
I don't do paid reviews, but Ford did arrange a night's lodging and meals during the tour.
Posted by Dawn at 1:21 AM