I have heard a lot of people talking about new Ford products and I was thinking about buying my daughter a new Fiesta. Can you give me your thoughts on the new Ford vehicles, especially the Fiesta?

QUESTION: I have heard a lot of people talking about new Ford products and I was thinking about buying my daughter a new Fiesta. Can you give me your thoughts on the new Ford vehicles, especially the Fiesta?


ANSWER: There is no question that the 2010 and later Ford vehicles seem to be wonderful vehicles in all areas. I had a new Fiesta for a week and it was great in every way. Our test car was a five-speed manual hatchback. The manual was easy to drive, and clutch pedal pressure was light. I was amazed to find it had heated seats as part of the comfort option at $795. Base price $17,120 plus $675 delivery. EPA 28 city, 37 highway. This is a car that is above an entry car and should give many years of great service.


 


QUESTION: My wife and I opened a three-bay repair shop eight months ago and are just getting by. You mention Alldata and Identifix often. My wife answers the phone, writes most service orders. I have thought about buying into both Alldata and Identifix. I checked the cost of the services and do not know if I can afford them on our budget.


ANSWER: Congratulations on your new shop. It takes three-plus years to get the shop profitable at minimum. I have been at my location 40 plus years and still turn wrenches 60 hours a week. I cannot imagine trying to operate a shop without the use of Alldata for the office invoices, estimates, tracking customers and sending emails, and in the shop we use Alldata for TSBs and repair information. You can also use Alldata for scheduled services and offer the owner a printout. As for Identifx, I use it daily when I run into a problem vehicle to see if there is any history on the problem. I also use both services in this column weekly. I could not operate my shop without the services of these companies. You cannot afford not to have them. Contact both and ask for a free trial. Mention this column if you want. Trust me; it’s a quick learning curve to go from manually writing service orders to the computer, and you can always call for support at Alldata or Identifix.


 


QUESTION: A coworker and I were at lunch last week and were talking about 2012 cars, and another coworker said he heard that the new Buick Regal was available with a six-speed manual transmission. I said there is no way this is possible. We read your column every week at lunch and want to know.


ANSWER: It is true, the Buick GS is available with a six-speed manual four-liter turbo charged four-cylinder 270 HP, big Brembo brake calipers and unique body trim. I had this car for a week and it was a blast to drive. That’s right, this is a car that you drive, not just ride in. I came home late one night and saw the car in the driveway and thought it was an import. The next morning I jumped in the car and it took a minute for me to figure out it was a stick shift Buick. The car was the topic of my morning radio car care topic. I would put this car against a highline midsize import. Fit finish and quality equals cars of 10 grand more. The one area the driver needs to pay attention to is parking too close to the curb. The big shiny alloy rims extend farther than the sidewall on the tire and can get damaged easily. The style engineers did a great job designing the vehicle. The large front grille has also been redesigned and the Buick emblem was also toned down. There is no question that the new GM is going in the right direction.


 


Junior Damato writes regularly about cars. You can send questions to him care of the Old Colony Memorial, 182 Standish Ave., Plymouth, MA 02360.