2013 Ford Focus ST: Break-In, 4am
October 24, 2012
As noted in the prologue, I was tasked with getting our new long-term Ford Focus ST over the break-in period. And so begins my journey...
I awoke at 3:28 am; two minutes before the alarm was set to go off. There was a mix of excitement and trepidation as I headed out the door. I wasn't worried that I didn't have it in me to complete the mission, no, I was nervous about writing the test drive the following week.
You see, I knew nothing about the car. Not a thing. Somehow, I never paid attention to the press the Focus ST was getting. Horsepower? Yah, I'm sure it' got that. Price? Ummmmm, twenty-ish? The same thing happened with the Scion FR-S. Perhaps I avoided information about it because I figured I'd be disappointed. I was wrong.
In stillness of my neighborhood (as still as it gets, anyway), I packed the car with the essentials: dry Cotto salami, energy drinks, beef jerky and camera equipment. I topped-off the tank with 87-octane, not knowing that 91 was recommended for peak performance. Then I zeroed-out the trip meters. There was already 110 miles on the odometer by that point, so I really only needed to add another 900 miles or so.
There was a full moon that night. It was unusually bright, too. So bright, in fact, that at some points I felt compelled to tilt the visor down to keep from being mesmerized by it. It' weird being out so late/early like this. It felt like only cops and criminals are out, and I don't have a badge.
I drove over Laurel Canyon to hop on the 101 freeway north (it' funnier if you say this like you're on SNL' "The Californians"). Laurel Canyon is a twisty road that is made up of broken concrete and potholes that can swallow an F-150. The Focus shrugged off the bumps and ruts with surprising ease. Alright, well, so far I'm impressed.
I accelerated onto the highway and was greeted by an unusually beefy-sounding engine note. It sounded burly, like a Volvo C30 and approaching Audi TT RS territory. Ok, I could get used to that. The thing is, that growl is only heard when you're really accelerating. Otherwise, the car is as normal sounding as any Focus. Cool.
But then there was the Moon. It found that perfect placement between the visor and A-pillar. There was nothing I could do about it, so I submitted to it. The Moon became a traveling companion of sorts. I chased it for hours until it dipped just below the horizon, just as I cleared Santa Maria.
Next update: 7:24 am
Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor @ 308 miles