Category: Cars

Sunnyvale Ford

I was new to the country back in summer of 2010 (and I do see a couple of reviews very similar to mine from back then). I wanted to lease a Ford Fusion somewhere else, but before I really did, I wanted to test drive it. I call up the nearest Ford dealership – Sunnyvale Ford, and they call me in.

I get a greeting from a “new guy” there and then they start showing around. I tell them what I’m looking for specifically and they take us on a test drive. Driving on I-280, I could feel the bumps being hit, but I was told it “was normal”.

Back in the showroom, they start to “sell”. I told them that I’m getting this car leased. When I tell them the numbers, they almost call me a “liar”. An unimaginable amount of pressure was being put on me by “a very tall guy” there (I really don’t remember names). “Help me out here,” says he. Running back and forth between a high-rise room, I’m being super pressured into buying. They brought their numbers to a low of what I could have afforded (another mistake I made). They hit a ‘gong’ and say congratulations even before I’ve said yes. The worst was yet to come.

They call in an insurance agent, who hurriedly does it for me. Their finance guy then starts putting more numbers into my bill. 2500 for an extra warranty + 2500 for ford care. When I say no, he says my financing rate will go up – since I’m new to the country without credit history. I was extremely naive to keep on falling into those traps – it was my fault too (..and I paid for it).

That night, I was unable to sleep. Somebody just slapped a $30,000 liability on me and I’ve no way of getting out. The next morning, I woke up early and went back to the dealership and told them how unhappy I was. Pressure tactics again – this time I was going to fight back. I said I’ll get my financing elsewhere, just cut the whole $5000 from my bill. Panic gripped them and they told me to wait. Magically, a person without any credit history in this country, was offered a low rate of 3.9% – the only condition was to buy the extra warranty+care. I was very very upset and completely lost it. I urged them to drop the warranty and bought only the Ford care plan (still an extra $2500 on my car).

I have always been thinking of writing to Ford or someone about this, but have never been able to. I signed up on Yelp to review another business – but this frankly is my worst experience ever – and I learned some very hard lessons. The only thing that has kept me happy so far is Fusion itself. It’s not such a bad car after all (despite people jesting me, this car is very comfortable has been great so far). Service (although it’s covered in Ford care) at Sunnyvale Ford has been “ok” – nothing that I would cherish.

Folks at Sunnyvale Ford sure know how to get you – and if you have never bought a car, please don’t go there.


I finally bought a Ford Fusion (nickname: Musa) over the last weekend, thus ending a long standing quest on which car it would have been. I weighed this car against Nissan Altima and Volkswagen Jetta (comparison chart on Fusion has quite a few useful (and quite desirable) features at the same price that the other two cars were missing. Since for the most part, I would be using this car for intra-city driving with bi-monthly long trips, I didn’t see a lot of value into getting  details under the hood.  This is a 175-hp engine (I am not power-crazy). Am pretty happy that I didn’t get the V-6 after all, it’s pretty silly to drive them. I loved the pre-fit Sirius XM, audio controls on the wheel and a Sync feature (which is from M$, but heck, it’s the feature we’re talking about here) – which enables you to receive and make calls right from the steering wheel. For the most part, these are pretty high end model features. The moon roof was something that I just noticed. Nice.

Ford has a maintenance contract (which is probably negotiable) for 6 years or 75K miles – I bought it.  Since Fordies are said to behave not too well,  I liked being backed up on the service bills at least. This was something I debated quite a few times over with Soni (I was against buying it), eventually it turned out worth spending something there.

Looking all around myself, I see fewer Fords on the road than Hondas, Nissans, Toyotas and even Chevys. I guess, not a lot of love for Ford after all – but am loving it pretty much.

For the record, this is my second car. The first one (and people get surprised at that too) was a Indica (petrol) and it was an awesome ride at that price. Go to hell Maruti. Same to you, Toyota.

Car fuel/service log template (spreadsheet tool)

Was filling in data for my car’s fuel and service logs for the past year when I thought I’d post it here in case someone else needs it too. It’s simplistic and is accompanied by a fuel log that you can print and keep in your car’s glove box to keep a record (in case you don’t have fancy PDAs that do it already).

What the spreadsheet provides (after all your data entry hard work):

  1. Estimated average (Km/L) of your car
  2. Spot average – this is exact (when you top your tank twice in a row)
  3. Cost per Km

Here’s the spreadsheet: car-fuel-service-log-template.xls (Excel sheet – you can use the free OpenOffice Calc to use it). Directions of use are included in it, though I’d list them out here too:

  1. Enter date of fuel fill (column A), kilometer reading (column B), total fuel filled (column F) and whether the tank was topped to be full (column E).
  2. Other fields are optional, but will help if you enter data.
  3. Column D (used %age), is the estimated used %age that you see from the fuel tank indicator – this value is used in case the used %age cannot be calculated (in column M).
  4. Copy paste formulae in columns K (Left), L (Spot Mileage) and M (Used %age) from  the above rows to fill in values automatically (this is pre-filled till row 75).
  5. Make sure you edit the tank capacity in the sheet as per the tank capacity of your car.
  6. Total trip cost for particular trips can be summed and indicated in column M.

There’s an additional service sheet in the spreadsheet file that you can use to log your car’s service job details. I use it to keep a log of all the service jobs, what was fixed/replaced etc.

To maintain the fuel logs, I have this document: petrol-log-template.doc that I print out, trim to border with scissors and harden it by pasting two of them together. This is kept in my car until it fills up completely and then I enter data into the spreadsheet I mentioned above. At every fuel fill, I just have to ensure the discipline of filling in the fields and later filling them into the spreadsheet I maintain.


This is the best car I have driven so far (apart from Quay’s BMW that he loaned me for a minuscule while).

Mazda’s M5 (sports station wagon) had the best force I have so far seen. Unfortunately, my specs broke into two and I had to cruise below 50 mph to be in the range of my natural vision. Like the Altima, this one had an awesome set of features – manual transmission override being my favourite. Though the stick shift feel is absent, you still have more control over the machine.

Unfortunately, I had to drive a Ford Focus for a week (I went to Reno). Very bad experience. I wish I could have the M5 on my drive up there.

Ultimate Altima

AltimaWell, a Nissan Altima is not the only thing in life – but this car is just so great that it doesn’t hurt to write a few things about it.

It is a hot cake right now and you can see an Altima more often on the roads  – whenever you see a new car. The transmission is just amazing and has given me about 30 mpg until now. I guess that’s extremely nice considering the spread of speeds I cruise on (from 20 to 65 mph). The best thing is that both the cooler and heater take only about 20 seconds to set the temp right  – really!

Tons of features, things I haven’t even checked out completely yet. I feel so overwhelmed with technology for the first time in life!

I was up for a Pontiac (G5) – somehow it didn’t quite turn right and this was what I chose. I am glad I did.