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Posted on Aug 13, 2012 in Dear Diary | 0 comments

Hello Buttercup

Hi-dee-ho, friends. So, remember how on Friday I said that I was really feeling the color yellow lately? Well, I wasn’t kidding.

Say hello to my brand-spankin’-new, beautiful 2012 Ford Focus. She has been loooooooong overdue (in case you don’t remember, feel free to revisit my former car troubles here). Her name is Buttercup.

Somewhat ironically, I ended up purchasing a car that wasn’t even on my “list” of contenders to begin with. I actually was kind of all over the place when it came to test-driving cars, which is why it ended up being a rather lengthy process. When I first started thinking about getting a new car (when my car had it’s first breakdown on my birthday back in April, haha), I thought I’d be getting a tiny little subcompact like a Yaris or the Scion xD. I test drove the xD and, while I liked it for the most part, it really is a TINY little thing. And, as we all know, I am not so tiny.

Then later I was convinced that I would be driving home with a weird and quirky box car like the Kia Soul or the Nissan Cube. I test-drove both of these, and though I still do like the aesthetic (hey, I’m a bit of a weirdo, what can I say?), the engines just really weren’t powerful enough to make either of them particularly fun to drive. I need a little more torque coming out of a stop, and the Cube in particular struggled on hills (and Northern Virginia is actually surprisingly hilly).

My third round of wishful thinking involved what I believe are being referred to as “compact SUVs” (or crossovers). Since I was driving my mom’s Chevy Equinox for a while due to my own sad car troubles, I was getting really into the idea of driving a big car. So I also test drove both the Toyota RAV4 and the Nissan Rogue. I really liked the Rogue (not so much the RAV4), but in the end, it really was just unnecessary space for me. Plus, the price point was much, much higher on those (obviously), and after all of the frustration involved with my own car I really wasn’t considering buying used anymore. (Don’t get me wrong, I know that used cars are of better value, and there are plenty of used cars that will work just as well and problem-free as a new one. It’s just that, with all of my recent experiences, I really didn’t want to have to deal with the hassle.)

So how did I end up with the Ford Focus? Well, near my house is a Nissan dealership right next to a Ford dealership (both owned by the same company), and my brother Ben thought I might like the Ford Fiesta (a subcompact in the same class as the xD). However, given my feelings about size, I decided to test out the Focus instead. I drove a manual one and I REALLY liked it. It reminded me a lot of the Mazda3, which my sister used to have and I had really enjoyed driving but was out of my price range. The 2012 body redesign looks really slick, too. Even though I ended up test-driving a ton of different cars that day (and several the day before), the Focus was definitely my favorite.

So when I found one in one of the colors I liked at the Ted Britt Ford in Fairfax (where an old friend of mine from middle school also happens to work — if you’re looking for a Ford, go there and ask for Alex!), I knew I had to go check it out! It also happened to be listed at an almost too-good-to-be-true price (which did, of course, end up being too good to be true, haha). In the end though, I feel confident that I got a really good deal considering how many bells and whistles are on this thing.

It is stocked with the MyFord Touch system that connects it to my phone, has voice activated everything, and is generally just really sweet. I did end up purchasing an automatic, but one of the things I like about it is that even the automatic still drives like a manual. (Some reviews point this out as a negative thing, but I think they’re just from people who are not familiar with how it feels to drive a manual.) There’s also a manual mode that you can put the car into, which helps amp up the whole torque/fast acceleration thing that I like.

This car has almost all the frilly technology stuff I like (only things it’s really missing are navigation and parking assist/rearview camera, but it’s not like I NEED those things, it just would have been cool), plus it’s fun to drive. Plus it has great fuel efficiency — I was getting 42 mpg on the highway at one point! Plus it’s an awesome color — it’s called “Yellow Blaze”, and it has that kind of shimmery, sparkly finish to it. The color reads as bright yellow to orange-ish yellow depending on what light it’s in.

Plus, even though it’s still a small car, it definitely feels spacious in the front. And there’s still plenty of room for schnauzers.

Car buying was definitely an experience, I will say. I did a lot of research on the buying and negotiating process but still wasn’t prepared for how long and exhausting the process would be. I was at the dealership for FOUR hours! I may or may not have cried at one point. Just saying.

I had intended to do a nice, full-scale car photoshoot with the good camera, but I guess I just got too carried away actually, you know, driving this thing.

Anyway, buying my first “real” car is a very exciting (and somewhat terrifying) step into adulthood, and I can’t wait to celebrate it (once I get over being terrified that someone is going to hit me, ding me, dent me, or otherwise ruin my life, that is). Happy Monday!

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