By on September 23, 2010

This video wandered onto one of Ford’s YouTube sites today. It shows a Focus ripping around the Dearborn Development Center…

Having driven a Cruze in, if not anger, at least mild annoyance, I can tell you that if this video is any guide, GM’s Korean takeout isn’t likely to hang with this German bratwurst. While it’s very easy for any car to look dynamic around what is a highly technical test track, as I watch the body control I see a degree of competence that the Cruze simply doesn’t have, or perhaps doesn’t want.

The proof will be in the production-car pudding, but if you’re a subcompact-car intender, you might want to wait a few more months.

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40 Comments on “The Next Focus Comes With (Better than) Cruze (Body) Control...”


  • avatar
    majo8

    Cool video.
     
    Makes me wonder what the 250 hp Ecoboost ST model will be like.

  • avatar
    Z71_Silvy

    Such an ugly car…
     
    And talk about a noisy interior…you can hear that rattle traps engine (or squirrel?) screaming away throughout the whole thing.
     
    This car will be another let down…just like the Fiesta/Taurus/Mustang/etc.

    • 0 avatar
      MikeAR

      Why do you mindlessly support GM and insult their competition? What’s the point? Anyone who comes here knows that you’re a shill for GM and nothing else. Get another hobby or are you getting paid by GM to do this?

    • 0 avatar
      ash78

      This is either the worst troll attempt I’ve ever seen, or a GM line worker.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Slivy, The unrelenting bias in your comments makes them only worthy of scorn and ridicule.  I’d like to suggest that if you can’t contribute something positive (even if only a valid, and or balanced, critisism of your competitor) to the conversation that you consider not posting at all.

    • 0 avatar
      Toyondai92

      Don’t feed the troll.

    • 0 avatar
      Sinistermisterman

      He’s just pissed that TTAC has just run a week long appreciation of a Ford product.

    • 0 avatar
      FordDude

      Maybe if we started calling him by a psuedonym…let’s say…FX-4_F150..for example…but I’ve been told not to feed the GM troll…

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      Why the hate for Z71_ Silvy? Mindless support MikeAR? So your comments ,never show any bias eh? Are GM line workers not allowed to post at TTAC “ash78″?

       Stand back and take a deep breath guys…Z71- Silvy doesn’t like Fords. Is there any of the TTAC best and the brightest that doesn’t like GM? Do any of those  folks bash GM at every oportunity? Right, I think we all know the answer. So if we don’t like what Z71 -Silvy has to say,we can just ignore him.

      Guess what, as a GM hourly retiree I’m a GM fanboy. Who knew? My dream car would be a base model Corvette convertible. Or maybe a 57 Chevy drop top with a 283. However both of the above are beyond my financial means.

       Now…..I might be able to swing a four year old Mustang GT ragtop and be proud to have it my garage. Somehow I think Z71 Silvy wouldn’t agree.

    • 0 avatar
      Sinistermisterman

      mikey, I think the point is that Silvy NEVER has a good word to say about Ford and NEVER has a bad word to say about GM.
      Personally I’m a Ford fanboy, but that doesn’t make me blind to Ford’s various failings, neither does it make me hate everything built by GM.
      The reason people get fed up of Silvy’s posts is because of his/her perpetual and irrational hatred of Fords which gets posted in absolutely any article vaguely Ford related.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      More to Mikey’s point, there are some incredibly biased ant-GM people on this board, and I think Silvy gives us a demonstration of what it’s like to have constant negative comments against the brand you have some sort of an emotional attachment to. That he only takes it out on Ford products is beyond me, but to each their own, no?
      Just like Silvy’s “mindless” support of GM, there are other “mindless” (IMO) supporters of other brands on this board. Each one just as clueless as the last.
      If you don’t like his “mindless” posts, don’t “mind” him.

  • avatar

    I’m hoping, Jack. But Ford seems to have discovered that Americans care far more about ride quality than handling.

    • 0 avatar
      lancerfixer

      Given the state of the majority of American roads (especially up north,) that’s a reasonable priority.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Given that the average American driver spends their time shagging stoplights between housing projects, office parks, and strip malls, this is not surprising. Build them with the boring squishy suspension, then kick out a month of sport touring models toward the end of the model year.

  • avatar
    niky

    The Cruze’s handling/ride balance is a major selling point for the car versus the Focus… has to be, because the drivetrain isn’t. The current Mark Two Focus gets better performance (if not better fuel economy) out of its 1.8 and 2.0 engines than the Cruze does out of its woeful 1.8 6AT. But the Cruze (which I’ve driven in moderate anger) manages to match the Focus’s handling competence while maintaining a better ride.
    I don’t know what kind of suspension springing you get on the US version, but the local Cruze is an incredible handling car for what is basically a big, porky sedan, and wheel control is fantastic, even with its gigantic shoes. It’s a toss-up whether it handles better than the Focus, but even if it doesn’t, it comes close.
    Hard to tell how a car will sound from the inside from a video of a test mule. Can’t sound any worse than the banshee death shriek of the Cruze.

  • avatar
    pgcooldad

    I was more impressed with the beautiful picture perfect skies.

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    The top selling porky, compact sedan in North America is still the Toyota Corolla.  US buyers are are price conscious and are not ready to plunk down the extra cash for a Euro-tuned compact.  I wish Ford luck, but largest segment of US buyers seem content to do their commute with as little driver input as possible.  I’ll bet dollars to donuts that the sedan version of the Focus sells better than the hatch here in the US.

    • 0 avatar
      musiccitymafia

      - Granted more may buy the Corolla for various reasons, but the test driving experience will drive enough to the Focus. It’s just a “funner” runner.

      - I suspect getting things into and out of the back still remains easier in a hatch than a sedan due to the rear lip. My father-in-law bought the hatch because getting his golf clubs into the sedan was to difficult. So I got my mom to buy one too.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      @mafia, in the real world, few car buyers are looking for “fun” in their driving.  You and I may be, but not 90% of the buyers.  Otherwise we would not have the success of the Corolla and the Camry — or Impala, or Contour, or Sebring, or …

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    If you’re a subcompact intender, you’re probably not waiting around to see what 3,000+ pound compacts can(‘t) do on the catwalk.

  • avatar
    Jimal

    The insistence in grafting on a trunk to this car is going to hold it back in my opinion. I just hope the hatchback (3 door please) makes it to North America. Chevrolet seems to be missing this opportunity with the Cruze. I hope Ford doesn’t.

    • 0 avatar
      Lemmy-powered

      Agree. This car just ain’t right without a full stable: 3-door, 5-door and wagon.

    • 0 avatar
      Chicago Dude

      Lemmy,
      I’m pretty sure that Ford is going to say that the Grand C-Max is the Focus wagon you are looking for.  The problem is that too few will disagree.
      My issue with the Euro-sourced Fords is the interior.  Way too busy and they look like they will look out of style too quickly.  Strangely, I find the US designers are creating better interiors.

    • 0 avatar
      faygo

      there is no 3-door C346 Focus anywhere AFAIK.  US will get sedan and 5-door, not wagon.

      orders and sales of the Fiesta have shown that people _do_ want 5-doors. as per Ford statements, projections were 50/50 mix and are running 65/35 to the 5-door.

    • 0 avatar
      Jimal

      I’ll settle for the 5-door. I find hatches are simply more useful. I’m driving a ’03 Jetta right now and I miss my old ’03 Golf. Nothing wrong with a trunk, but on these smaller cars they look grafted on.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      @faygo, Maybe the UK is not “anywhere?”  See the three-door here:
      http://www.ford.co.uk/Cars/Focus/Exteriordesign
       
      Ford USA simply decided that US buyers wouldn’t want it.

    • 0 avatar
      Arete

      th009, the car you’re showing is the current Focus.  The C346 Faygo is referring to is the next generation Focus launching next year.

    • 0 avatar
      faygo

      @Arete bingo.  the prior C307 had 3/4/5/wagon/folding roof convertible, C346 is only 3/4/wagon.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    Jack, I’m kind of surprised at this post, we’re comparing a VIDEO of a car going around a test track vs. having actually driven another car in different surroundings… I can’t help but think apples to oranges.
    Get both of them on the same piece of tarmac at the same time, and THEN you have something to compare. This reminds me of the folks who say that the video game Gran Turismo is better than actual racing…

  • avatar
    NN

    The difference between cars in this class in 2010 and 2012 will be astounding.  For 2010 we had Cobalt, really old Focus, old Corolla, old Civic, old Elantra…the only recently updated contender being the Mazda 3.
    By 2012 we’ll have new Cruze, new Focus, I don’t know about Corolla, new Civic, and new Elantra that looks incredible.  I think the Elantra and Focus will be fighting out for top spot here, finally surpassing the Mazda 3 as being the best car in the segment, and seriously putting a hurting on Honda and Toyota unless they step up their game.

  • avatar
    HoldenSSVSE

    Here is the battle Ford faces with the 2012 Focus and GM faces with the 2011 Cruze.  Civic and Corolla buyers return to their showrooms like spawning salmon to buy the next model.  The 2009-10 Corolla is universally ripped for a big step backwards in build quality and the worst electric steering on the planet.  Honda decided to delay the Honda Civic a year after looking at the strong competition coming from Hyundai, Kia, GM and the upcomer from Ford.  Toyota dumb, Honda smart.
    The sad reality is the Cruze and Focus will remain fleet queen vehicles, despite the fact they are better than their Japanese competitors (look at what TTAC had to say about the Cruze versus the current competition) because most buyers won’t even climb into one and find out how much better they are.

    • 0 avatar
      ringomon

      The timing of Honda’s announcement that the Civic would be delayed made it seem like it was a response to the focus/Cruze hype that was hitting the nets at that time.
      The reality is that the decision was made long before Honda announced it to the public.  
      The new Civic was originally planned to be even bigger than the current one (which is already big as the late early 2000’s Accrrds).  Then gas shot up to four dollars, there was a sudden backlash against big vehcles- and Honda decided to start the development over from scratch- essentially losing 6-12 months of development time.
       
      That they made the decision to compete with what else is out there is the going story- but it’s not the truth.  Same result though I guess.

  • avatar
    carguy

    I hope you’re right but I don’t think that this will translate to sales numbers. Most compact buyers are not track junkies but are looking for a comfortable and economical commuter. The Cruze with it’s low end torque and compliant ride may please the masses more than a Euro sport. In any case the Focus will be hunting for Mazda3 buyers while the Cruze will be going after the Corolla crowd.

  • avatar
    Cheevie

    Nice, but…

    if you want to see a (obviously non-production) Focus at play,

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4g7wbQ313cA

    Ken Block’s car control skills are simply out of this world… like watching a virtuoso finessing a Stradivarius.
    Best enjoyed 720p, full screen, full volume.

    Remember, “Obama can’t gymkhana”.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      After watching that video, I think that just about any regional autocrosser in the country could do that stuff in that car. I could do all of that in my stock 911, particularly if I had Chinese children working themselves to death so I could sell enough shoes to shoot the segments a few times.

  • avatar
    Arete

    th009, the car you’re showing is the current Focus.  The C346 Faygo is referring to is the next generation Focus launching next year.

  • avatar
    oboylepr

    Good advice Jack. It would be worth driving this car when it’s available and worth waiting for. Looks nice in dark blue but would be really nice in bright red or white.

  • avatar
    Steven02

    While interesting, the suspension probably doesn’t matter much unless it is too harsh.  The average buyer won’t care about body roll on a test track.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Civic and Corolla buyers return to their showrooms like spawning salmon to buy the next model.
     
    Hysterical.  SOMEBODY PLEASE OFFER A RELIABLE COMPACT WAGON?  Thanks.

  • avatar
    Hanksingle

    I just want one of these companies to hot one of these compacts up – whoever, going into this burgeoning new model war, drops the big turbo for low money into one of these suckers and resists the urge to call the package ‘xtreme’ or paint everything stupid colors is going to have a lifetime fan section.


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