Recently I was given a new car. Sadly, I had to give it back after a week, but the glass was definitely more than half full on this one as I zipped around town and on a mini road trip in a Ford Focus Titanium.
|The Ford Focus Titanium on a road trip with me|
For those who pay attention to car ads on the tele, the Ford Focus Titanium is the one that can reverse park itself. Sure, it’s not the first car to do it, but it’s a feature that’s usually found in cars that are a lot more expensive.
In fact, I’ve been in cars that could do it before, but my friends who owned said cars had never actually done it because they were too scared of dinging their very expensive wheels.
I’ll admit I was still a tad nervous letting go of the wheel to park on a busy road with cars coming up alongside me… but oh how I loved finding quieter streets and using this trick over and over again.
|Release the steering so the Titanium can reverse park itself|
I’ll explain a bit more about that later, but it was one of the most fun features to share with friends. That and the Voice Control, which made me feel like Sigourney Weaver in Galaxy Quest: “Computer….”
I have to confess when I first sat in the Titanium, all of the bells and whistles were a bit overwhelming. Not only did I not know what half of the buttons did, I didn’t even understand what one of the options on the gearstick was.
There, following P, R, N, and D, which I understood, was a mysterious S option. What was this S? I tried asking a few people around work. One said it was for keeping it in second gear, when you wanted to go up a steep hill or something. Others had about as much idea as I did.
|The mysterious “S” as seen on Ford Australia’s website|
That’s when I decided it was probably a good idea to go back to Ford, have a chat with someone and find out more. Sticking to the gearbox choices I knew I drove over to the Ford Alto on the Pacific Highway in Artarmon, Sydney, and there I found Paul who was able to demystify the Titanium for me.
He explained that D was the usual, economy style drive. But S was more of a spirited option, when you wanted to let her really do her thing. He then connected my iPhone through bluetooth and introduced me to Voice Control so I could start calling friends, change the temperature through climate control and more.
|You don’t really have to say “Computer…” to Voice Control|
Then he convinced me to give the reverse parking assist a go. We drove to the back of the car yard and pressed the button that let the Titanium know we wanted to find a park.
She then found a spot she could fit in, asked me to put her in reverse, and did (almost) the rest. I had to keep my hands off the steering wheel so she could spin it around, and go in at the sort of angle I would never dare to do (nice and sharp, but then again she was using parking sensors to make sure she didn’t clip the other cars).
|The Ford Focus Titanium can find its own car parks|
But here’s a very important thing to know when using reverse parking assist… you still need to control the brakes. I’m not quite sure why that is, as she was beeping away at me letting me know how close I was to the car behind me and was telling me when to stop. But yes, you hit the brakes. Don’t want to forget that one!
After my chat with Paul, the Titanium and I were in love a little bit. I should explain that there were a few signs that made me a little concerned when I took her at first. There was the fact that her number plate was YKE, and that the first word I thought of was Yikes! (I then renamed her Yeke Yeke).
Then there was the fact the keys had the word Titanic on them, rather than Titanium. But I got over those seemingly bad signs, and we bonded.
|Yeke Yeke the Titanium and I on the road to Hunter Valley|
We also got to share a very special weekend together… Dolly Parton in the Hunter Valley. On Sunday morning after work, we hit the road and got to try out some of her other fun features, including Adaptive Cruise Control.
|The Ford Focus Titanium controls, from Ford Australia’s website|
Adaptive Cruise Control uses a radar beam to tell how fast the car in front of you is doing. So if you’re going along at the limit of 110km an hour, and you come up behind a car tootling along at 80, then the Titanium slows right down to keep the safe distance between you and the car in front.
The first time it happened my foot was hovering over the brake ready to take control, but sure enough, she slowed down, and as soon as I moved into the next lane, picked up the pace ’til we were cruising at 110 again.
I can assure you this did not get old no matter how many times it happened on the way up to the Hunter Valley and back. Nor did the fact that she turned on the windscreen wipers automatically when it rained. Or that she told me how many kilometres we had before we’d run out of fuel.
|One view of the Titanium’s trip computer|
Now there were times when she didn’t understand what I was saying when I tried my Sigourney Weaver impersonation for Voice Control. But for the most part I was really just doing it for the novelty factor.
|Ford Focus Titanium interior, as seen on Ford Australia’s site|
Now as you can tell, I’m not usually a motoring journalist. So when I tell you that the Ford Focus Titanium has Six Speed PowerShift Automatic Transmission, Twin independent Variable Cam Timing, Gasoline Direct Injection and Torque Vectoring Control in corners, I hope it means more to you than it does to me.
From what Paul told me I understand it has two gearboxes that work together and that it changes gears faster than a Formula 1 car. Which is just what I needed for pottering around the city.
But I can tell you that she was absolutely lovely to drive, that she felt powerful and smooth and within a few days I was addicted. By the end of the week, it was very sad to say goodbye.
|Is it wrong to miss a car? Yes? Thought so.|
It’s lucky for them that Ford made me sign a document to confirm she was still their property at the start of the week. Let’s not talk about the separation. It still hurts. But I have the memories. And the photos. And we had a real good time.
The Ford Focus Titanium is priced from $32,590. To find out more about its features, or to download a brochure, visit the Ford Focus Titanium website. You can also see videos of Yeke Yeke the Titanium’s brothers and sisters in action on Ford’s Youtube channel.
Amanda Woods test drove the Ford Focus Titanium for one week
|One of Yeke Yeke’s Titanium sisters from the Ford Australia website|