As part of Ford Canada’s #FordTryMore program this summer, I had the chance to test drive a 2015 Ford Focus Titanium for an extended weekend, and try out stand up paddleboarding for the first time with my husband and 14 year old daughter.
I’ve wanted to try stand up paddleboarding (SUP) for years, but wanting to do something and actually doing it aren’t always the same thing. So when Ford offered to set us up with a private stand up paddleboard lesson with an instructor from WSUP Toronto, I jumped at the chance.
Located in the Kew Beach area of the Toronto beaches, WSUP offers paddleboard rentals, private or group lessons and fitness and yoga classes on SUP boards. Our instructor was friendly and patient with us, and all three of us had a blast trying out paddleboarding for the first time. It was definitely a great overall body workout, especially when trying to balance in the waves! If you’ve been thinking of trying it, I’d definitely recommend that you do.
The Ford Focus is a smaller vehicle than I’m used to, but it took no time at all for me to adjust to driving it, and I appreciated the easier maneuverability on the roads and while parking. I found the Focus very enjoyable to drive on the highway, around the city of Toronto and on the country roads around my home. It was comfortable, the sightlines were good and I think it looked pretty snazzy too.
One thing that impressed me about the Focus was all of the technology. If you love tech, then the Ford Focus is sure to make you happy – and it will definitely impress your kids!
One very handy feature on the Ford Focus is SYNC, a “hands-free voice recognition system used for entertainment, information and communication.” SYNC uses Bluetooth technology to allow your Focus to communicate with your phone or MP3 player.
What does this mean exactly? Well, for starters you can use voice commands to make hands-free phone calls (just say “call Joe Smith at work”), control the temperature in your car, find a destination on the navigation system or play music off your phone or MP3 player. It’s pretty cool, and definitely safer than fiddling with controls or your phone while driving.
You can also use SYNC to set a “Do Not Disturb” feature if you don’t want to be distracted by incoming calls or texts while driving.
When you’re driving, backing up or trying to park, the Ford Focus comes with lots of ways to help make your life easier.
The video display on the dashboard shows you exactly what’s behind you, and how close you are to any objects or people that may be in your path. It will sound a warning when things are too close. This feature is very handy for backing out in busy parking lots (or anywhere, really.)
Blind Spot Information System
Using sensors, the Blind Spot Information System can detect traffic in a driver’s blind spot and visually alert you if vehicles are detected.
Lane Keeping System
Using cameras and the lane marking on the road, this system will alert you if your vehicle wanders, or if it senses the driver is drowsy. It can also apply light steering pressure to guide the car back into its lane.
Active Park Assist
Are you one of those people who will do everything possible to avoid having to parallel park? I will admit I am. Well, with this nifty feature you may just change your mind about parallel parking.
Active Park Assist was probably one of the coolest features of the Ford Focus I drove, but it did take me a few days to get the nerve to try it. Basically, the car does most of the work of parallel parking for you, including finding a suitable space and steering you into it. You just need to work the accelerator and brake. It’s pretty freaky, but it definitely makes parallel parking a whole lot easier.
The one thing I didn’t love about the Ford Focus for our family is the rather limited leg room in the back seat. If you have younger kids, this may not be an issue, but with my kids now being teens and taller than many adults we know, the space was a little tight back there for them.
My daughter will be driving in just a couple of years (gulp) and this test drive experience had me thinking about the vehicle she will learn to drive in – and how much I wish I had had some of these cool features when I was learning to drive!
I think the Ford Focus would be an ideal car for a teenager learning to drive. All of the technology and safety features could definitely help keep new drivers safe as they gain experience driving, and provide their parents some peace of mind when they’re out on the road without them.
Another great development by Ford for families with teenage drivers is the MyKey feature. With MyKey, you can program the key your son or daughter will be using to set speed restrictions, prevent safety features like lane keeping system from being turned off, limit audio volume levels, give them seat belt reminders and even set an earlier low-fuel warning. I suppose this could also be used for spouses who have a bad habit of blasting the radio or leaving the car with no gas in it!
Overall, I loved my Ford Focus experience and was a little sad to have to return it. If I was buying another vehicle with plans to give it to my teenage daughter in a few years, this one would definitely be high on the list of considerations. Note to teenage daughter: No, this does not mean that I am planning to buy you a new car for your 16th birthday!!
Note: I received compensation from Ford as part of my #FordTryMore experience. All opinions are entirely my own, and I really did enjoy driving this car.
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About Kathy Sima
Kathy is a blogger and freelance writer and mom of two teens who gave up her career as a financial advisor when her son was diagnosed with autism at age 3. When it comes to parenting, Kathy truly believes there is strength in numbers and knows that sharing stories and strategies with other parents has helped keep her sane (so far!)