I'm a Ford person. So far I've owned a Ford Festiva ('89), a Ford Mustang LX ('93), a Ford Mustang GT ('92), a Mercury Sable ('00), Ford Crown Vic ('96), Ford Explorer ('06), and a Ford Focus ('10). I've also owned two Chevy's mixed in there.
My parents are also Ford people. We're from Detroit and several family members were Ford employees who worked their entire working careers for Ford.
When I got traded in my Sable on my 2010 Focus I was so thrilled that before my daughter even turned 16 and got her license I was thrilled when my parents bought her a slightly used (5K miles) 2012 Focus.
I'm a little less than thrilled today. She had the apparently typical problem of shuddering during gentle acceleration, hesitancy on gentle acceleration, and a hard shift between first and second gears. I assumed that it had more to do with being an inexperienced driver than anything as I tend to accelerate a bit more firmly and I didn't experience those issues.
Then about 6 months into owning the car I got the customer satisfaction program notice about the transmission reprogramming. I took the car in and had the work done.
It didn't solve the problem. In fact it made it worse (actually contributing to the rolling back on an incline issue) and increasingly harsh shuddering and more hesitance on acceleration that wasn't drag race quality acceleration. So much so that even I notice it with my more aggressive driving style.
Fast forward to last night when on a more gentle acceleration we heard an odd "grinding" noise (sounded like dragging something plastic on the ground or shaking gravel in a plastic bottle) and a shudder going up a slight incline into our driveway that felt like the car was going to stall out.
I took the car into the dealership today. When I picked the car up (8 hours later) I was told that if I had any more problems to bring it back in. Well, I wasn't 3 miles off the lot when the grinding noise was heard and a gentle acceleration (stop-and-go traffic) left me wondering if my teeth were still attached to their roots. I drove for a few more miles just to be sure that I wasn't imagining things and headed right back to the dealer. They now have the car for a second day (necessitating a great deal of juggling things around so that my daughter can get to school and work and I can get to school and work since those things are 35+ miles in opposite directions).
I keep reading about having to drive differently with the dual clutch transmission and advice (some of it rather snarky) to just "Google" it and find out how to properly drive your Ford Focus. My issues with that? First, when I Google the DCT and Ford Focus all I manage to find is page upon page of complaints about this car and it's transmission. I don't find any "how to" information. Second, I see advice about waiting for the car to be broken in and how it will get better ... yeah. We've got 13,500 miles on this car. Just how much breaking in should there be? Third, how in the holy heck is one supposed to differentiate between the "normal" shudder and not "normal" shudder?
I've been driving for nearly 30 years and I've driven more than a few cars with manual transmissions - ranging from cheap cars like my Festiva, to pick up trucks, to my Corvette. With the exception of the early days of learning how to drive a manual (which happens to coincide with learning how to drive) I have never had a car shudder and nearly stall. I suppose I should take away from that bit of anecdotal evidence that I am one heck of a driver since I seem to be able to shift gears for efficiently and more effectively than a computer.
I'm exceedingly frustrated and my daughter no longer feels safe driving her car. This was quite an investment as it was to be the car that got her through her senior year of high school and all the way through college before she'd need a new car. We didn't go cheap here as even as a (slightly) used car we dropped $20K.
At what point do you just give up and get a new car? I don't mind having to alter driving habits a bit in order to accommodate the quirks of a good car. But shuddering to the point of nearly stalling should not ever be considered "normal" or "expected."
Perhaps Ford needs to realize that most of us might be willing to sacrifice a few mpg for a car that actually accelerates when called upon to do so, doesn't roll backwards on an incline, and doesn't shudder nearly to a stall when you can't put the pedal to the metal in city traffic.