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Stimulating the Economy

April 29, 2009

In a move that I sincerely hope does not tempt karmic forces to smack us down, Mr. Karen and I acted on the theory that if you’ve got money, now is the time to spend some and bought a new car, a 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid. We ordered it in March because 1) we wanted one, 2) the dealership told us they were only getting an allotment of one of these this model year, and 3) according to some interpretations of the meaning of “purchase” in the IRS regulation, getting the order in before March 31st would qualify us for the full hybrid tax credit amount. We were told not to expect the car to arrive anytime soon, maybe it would be in by summer. Ha. The dealer called last Tuesday to say it was here. Of course they wanted a cashier’s check before they’d give us the keys; by Thursday night we’d gotten the money sorted out and were able to go pick it up.

Even though I’m going to be its primary driver, I wimped out and asked Mr. Karen to drive it home from the dealer because it’s got more features than any other vehicle we’ve ever owned, and I didn’t want to risk messing with them until I’d gotten the chance to learn about them at my own pace and in my own way, not with the salesman leaning over my shoulder. I read the quick start guides—one for the car and one for the SYNC–then took it out over the weekend for a shakedown cruise of sorts and have been commuting in it ever since, looking things up in the manual at night when I’ve wanted to find out more about certain things. There are still features I haven’t tried out, like the CD player—I’ve been having too much fun talking to the SYNC and getting it to play things from my iPod, exploring the satellite radio stations (six months of Sirius came free with the purchase, which is probably going to be just enough time for me to get hooked, playing right into theirhands), and looking at the real-time traffic reports. I’ve also tried out several of the various instrument panel configurations, watching the leaves and vines grow on the dash as a reward for eco-friendly driving behavior. I like the leaves so much I’ve been taking pictures of them at stoplights, recording new MPG personal bests, but since I’ve been working on driving more sensibly so as to keep my leaves and vines healthy, I haven’t been sitting at as many lights as usual. Speaking of lights, there are some nifty ones inside the car, with a switch that changes their color. It’s not so depressing to drive to the gym in the early morning dark when I can have purple or blue or red or orange or white or green mood lighting. One thing it doesn’t have is heated seats (unlike the Focus); that was only an option with the leather, which we didn’t want. I’ll just have to deal with a cold butt come winter; that’ll be better for my vines and leaves anyway.

New car!

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  1. Jeff Says:

    Congratulations! Welcome to the hybrid club.

    My sister-in-law has an ’08 Ford Edge crossover (not a hybrid – boo!) and I really like the tech gizmos in her car. Sounds like yours is outfitted in a similar manner. I’m glad that Ford has upped its game and is competing head-to-head with the import market leaders like Toyota. I know you and Mr. Karen have a vested interest in Ford’s survival and I think they are going to be the big winners at the end of the shakeup.

    It’s a real pretty car. Good luck with it!

    (P.S.) At first oil change drop some Mobil 1 synthetic in it and watch it tick up a couple more MPG. I was skeptical at first, but it’s done wonders for my Prius. It really helps the teeny engines in the hybrids.

  2. KarenD Says:

    Thanks! The Fusion engine is actually bigger than the one in the Focus I have been driving–2.5L vs. 2.3L–though it’s still tiny compared to the 5.0L Mustang that’s now on its way out of our lives.

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