Tag Archive | "MyKey"

People’s Choice


There was a time, not so long ago, when motorists aspired to bigger, better and faster cars. The automobile as status symbol. Ownership of a prestige brand was a demonstration that the driver was successful and people aspired to this. Well, now it has all changed and the car is seen as just part of what we are pleased to call lifestyle.

This means that performance figures and sheer physical size are being ignored in favour of real world choices like running costs, fuel consumption and safety. We like our cars to be part of what we do and, increasingly, they are being electronically connected to our social activities, like a home away from home.

Car makers have responded to this very astutely. Cars are, by and large, pretty good value. They are very reliable. Most importantly they are becoming smaller and much more efficient. Out and out performance has given way to comfort and mod-cons.

Traditionally, new developments have slowly trickled down from the R&D departments, through the luxury end of the market until such time as the economies of scale could see them fitted to our everyday motors. It took ten years for the airbag to filter down from its introduction in an expensive Mercedes to be fitted as standard to a family hatchback – the Honda Civic.

Today, the pace of change is much faster. Cars that are within everyday budgets can do some remarkable things for themselves and this year – seen recently at the Paris motor show – many popular models will be available with real cutting edge technology.

Seatbelt airbags, intelligent lighting that gets brighter the faster the car is going, parallel parking assistance and auto-braking are all in evidence as standard. Lane departure warnings and adaptive radar based cruise control are becoming the norm.

Ford have taken another important step. At some point in the life of an adult a day will come when, as parents, they become afraid; very afraid. One of the kids has just passed their driving test and want to borrow the car. This of course is a cunning ruse by the former ankle-biter to get the parent to buy a separate car for them; but for those grown-ups of a sterner disposition who hold their ground, be thankful for Ford’s MyKey system.

This allows for certain parameters to be enforced on the car. Set speeds can be programmed and warnings emitted. Volume controls can be set to stun rather than loud enough to make ears bleed and so on. It’s a great step forward that teenagers will hate, but, hey, that’s part of the fun of being a parent. We may no longer aspire to expensive vehicles but at least we are now able to avail ourselves of the best and latest safety features. We might not ride in luxury but we ride well and you can’t say fairer than that.

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