Going from Chevy to Ford

Still having a hard time believing I did and its only been a few weeks but a few things I wanted to point out. 

I went from a high end Silverado 1500 (2007), meaning added accessories and even more “important” the 6.0L V8.  My new Ford is a 5.4L, the less power is quick to show itself but while I will miss the extra horsepower, it will be beneficial now that I have a substantial daily commute.  Gas mileage does seem better but that’s only over a period of 1000 miles.  I felt the Chevy’s adaptive fuel management was a great idea but poorly implemented. 

I went from extended cab to super crew (2 doors to 4 doors) and day to day, Chevy’s full swing back doors made accessing it (such as the grocery store run) much easier, especially in the dimension of standard parking lots.  The Ford is longer because of the bigger cab which I believe Chevy keeps the length the same across their models, stealing space from the truck bed to allow the larger cab.

So, I guess I should start with why I turned to the dark-side.  I have had Chevrolet trucks for over 15 years never even considering a Ford.  Ever since GM took substantial stimulus money I lost interest.  They took a ton of tax payer money, yet for their customers they just kept raising their prices.  Additionally I was interested in the “Sync” system.  DSC00091 Ford financing was offering a very attractive interest rate, which allowed me to upgrade, lowering my payment while offering a shorter term loan.

After looking from afar, I finally took a test drive.  The model I tested was one step up from basic, which should have been a similar trim level as the Chevy I was driving but seemed very sparse.  Yes it’s a truck so it shouldn’t need much in the way of accessories but for the prices these trucks come at they should be equally outfitted.  The drive was nice and the sync operation where very nice. 

The next step up was huge and is the Lariat package.  So I went from lacking to way too much in one quick step, I know it’s a sales scheme but I fell for it.   Some quick things that I think Ford can learn from Chevy:

  • Remote Start: Ford has this crazy setup and is fairly new (I had the built-in remote start with my 2006 Impala) and is poorly done.  For starters you now have two key fobs, one is the standard keyless entry and panic and then you have a separate one simply for the remote start.  Additionally the process works well (aside from a note I will mention in my next point) but they have implemented some new “safety feature” so that when you open the door, the started truck then stops????  I find this pointless since the keys still aren’t in the ignition so what are you preventing?
  • Day Time Running Lights: Chevy has them Ford does not.  Yes Ford has a light switch that allows you to set it so that when the truck senses it is dark enough out the lights come on.  Okay, points on that implementation –
    1. Why do the “fog” lights come on but default? There is no way to turn just the fog lights on.
    2. The light sensing can be confused by heavy shaded areas so your lights switch on and off so anyone facing you thinks you are warning them about a possible speed trap or even scarier they may see it as you giving them the right away in an intersection.
    3. New laws mean lights have to be on any time you operate your windshield wiper (honestly a stupid law) and they are added that coordination in the new model… why not just turn the lights on?  With the new bulbs its not like it’s a replacement cost issue.
  • Winter hasn’t fully set in yet but the 4×4 selector seems outdated compared to the Auto-4×4 option in a Chevrolet.  Both makes have traction control and the Chevrolet implementation works well in partially wet conditions with a good indicator to alert the driver that it is working, I have not noticed it yet with my new truck.  In the F-150 I have a selector that offers 4×2, 4×4 High and 4×4 Low.  In my Chevrolet I had the same options but there was one bridging between 4×2 and 4×4 High which is called Auto 4×4.  I used that extensively, whether it be steady rain or snow covered roads and it was nice to know it would kick in without going into full time 4wheel drive.  Ford’s response is you can shift to 4wheel drive at any speed which while is true it is problematic.  For starters it still takes time to synch the transmission and depending on your speed you will see it waiting to connect 4wheel drive.  Secondly I imagine a scenario where a road is slicker than it appears, by the time you reach over for the control knob you could have already lost enough traction to be in trouble.
  • This one is a combination of two of the above items I believe.  When using remote start and keyless entry from distance (as I leave the building I am working in) there is no feedback to indicate I have initiated the sequence (remote start, unlocking the doors).  This is definitely tied into the lack of day time running lights since if you do any of these operations during periods of darkness you get confirmation that the press of a key fob button has worked but on a sunny day, you have to look really hard and even then I do not believe it provides any feedback.

Yes, lots of minor issues but the 4×4 selector seems like a potential issue, winter is right around the corner so we will see.  In general I am really liking my new truck but after many years I still find it amazing how the price tags grow at a rate that outpaces the quality which I think its time Detroit starts working with us not in spite of us.  I have only put 1000 miles on this truck and I will say the ride is much nicer and my favorite little accessories is the defrosted yet powered opening back window, an option that was not available from Chevy.  I will have to post again to talk about things like the navigation system and climate control. 

I will also have to post my experience with the Sync technology.  I have to do some research but I missed a potential flaw at first but recently came across it.  One of the nice features is the bluetooth connectivity (for streaming and hands free phone operation).  I had OnStar and loved it but couldn’t justify paying for minutes to use it as my phone (not to mention it was just another phone number to remember and the microphone did not work well in a truck – yes worked like a charm in the Impala).  So I was walking to my truck, which was running via remote start, and my phone rings.  I raise it to my ear but while it says I am connected I can’t hear anything, further examination the bluetooth indicator shows its connected.  In short, I was close enough to the truck for the bluetooth pairing to occur despite me being outside of the cabin.  Now that I am aware of it I know how to resolve the issue but this is contrary to the advertisement of the systems feature.  I have to look and see if I have to tweak something via the Sync options or maybe my phone.  If its my phone I will hold off, as I play to have a Windows Phone device come November 8th.

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