By on February 3, 2011

O Brave New World, that has such automobiles in it! Welcome to the twenty-seven-thousand-dollar, mainstream-brand, non-specialty-model compact car. Open the door. All but the most perversely sybaritic will find their list of requirements fulfilled. A direct-injection engine teams with a twin-clutch transmission to deliver up to forty miles per gallon. We grip a steering wheel with brash aluminum trim and a half-dozen complex controls. The instrument panel has an LCD screen which surpasses the optional hardware in cars like the Audi A5, while the center stack has better resolution than your netbook. Everything you can see or touch feels ready to challenge your neighbor’s G35 or 328i for perceived quality.

The Ford Focus Titanium is, theoretically, the direct descendant of the 1981 Ford Escort “world car”, but on the road it feels much more closely related to the old Nissan Primera, known to us as the Infiniti G20. Size, power-to-weight-ratio, steering response… only the mandatory high beltline and chunky A-pillar of modern automobiles spoil the illusion. If you are truly a fan of “European-style” motoring, you can quit reading this review and go order a Focus Titanium five-door hatch right now. It’s everything you’ve wanted, and you will simply adore the day it darts around near-luxury barges like the Lexus ES350 while beating them on style, features, fuel economy, and price.

The rest of us are unlikely to buy any twenty-seven-grand compact, particularly one that has a domestic nameplate bolted to its nose. What happens when you cut ten thousand dollars’ worth of content out of the car, swap the hipster-cred five-door for the people-will-actually-buy-it four-door, and leave the dual-clutch transmission behind in favor of a plain manual transmission? Let’s find out.

Matthew 20:16 tells us that “the last shall be first”. A missed connecting flight put me dead last on the ground at the Ford preview event in Los Angeles last week, but I was richly rewarded for my dilatory arrival in a few different ways. First, I missed a bus trip with the socially awkward penguins of the blogger media — and I wouldn’t say I was “missing” that, Bob. Secondly, because I got to the start of the press drive after everyone else had left, I had no “media partner” with whom to swap seats. Instead, I got twice the drive time everybody else did, and with stalwart Ford engineers in the passenger seat instead of easily-terrified journos. Finally, I had the good fortune to arrive just as an unwanted five-speed base “SE” sedan did, which meant I would have a chance to drive Ford’s little wondercar in what could be its least-convincing configuration. Off we go.

Ten miles into the drive, heading for Topanga Canyon Boulevard, and I’m thinking about a Corolla. Not the current Corolla, mind you: that thing’s a God-damned disaster. I’m remembering the 1992 car, the “little LS400″, the Corolla that was assembled to obsessive levels of precision and rolled down the road like it cost twice the number on the window sticker. That was a great car, and so is this new Focus. It’s as quiet as it needs to be and there is precision in the machine. It’s recognizably German from the driver’s seat the same way the Cruze is recognizably Korean from across the street, and it has the same sense of dignified poverty one used to find in a 318i.

Much was made in the media presentation about the “torque vectoring” system which, like Volkswagen’s ASR and other similar setups, uses the brakes to simulate the action of a limited-slip differential. On corner exit, I found that it was too easily confused, leading to a wig-wag as the computer tossed power back and forth between the front wheels. There’s no substitute for a true limited-slip differential, and “torque vectoring” is no exception. To be fair, however, I was pretty far up the grip ladder when experiencing this phenomenon, and I couldn’t duplicate it in the second Focus I drove later on in the day.

The rest of the drivetrain, however, is just peachy. The transmission has just five forward gears instead of the fashionable six, but it works well with the two-liter Duratec, now turning out 160 horsepower. I found myself shifting five hundred revs short of the mechanical redline just to keep the engine boiling down the very tight switchbacks in our test road. In terms of outright pace, I’m not sure this car is any faster than the 2009 Focus SES Sport five-speed I drove around Autobahn Country Club for two days a couple years back; the extra power and wider torque band are absorbed by the ten-percent weight gain between the old and new models. At least the Focus is still substantially lighter than the Cruze.

What else is there to say about this affordable SE model? The seats are solid and supportive, the air-conditioner doesn’t absolutely soak power from the engine when it’s running, and you can get away with a little bit of left-foot braking before the ECU cuts throttle on you. I didn’t experience any brake fade, but I was deliberately preserving them most of the time since the penalty for boiled fluid while driving down a canyon road can be nontrivial.

A hundred or so miles later, I arrived at the “car change” area just as most of my colleagues, who started an hour or so ahead of me, were leaving. It must be nice to never be in a hurry when you’re driving, is all I can say. Time to upgrade to the aforementioned Focus Titanium five-door with the PowerShift gearbox.

The myFordTouch system is so complex, and so frequently updated in these early stages of its deployment to the public, that I’ve yet to drive two cars which operated identically in terms of response and available features. This one was pretty quick to perform the requested tasks, but it also took fifty-three minutes to index my 13,165-song iPod Classic. Not to worry; you can browse the iPod from the moment you plug it in, you just can’t talk to it until that indexing is complete. As a system, myFordTouch is very far from perfect, but it’s so far ahead of anything else available that bitching about response time or the fact that it understands “Vladimir Ashkenazy” but stumbles over “Renee Fleming” is simply beyond the point. Not only is this the undoubted future of in-car electronics, it’s also upgradeable over time, so today’s problems may eventually be as irrelevant as the old “Ping Of Death” is to Windows 7 users.

The PowerShift gearbox isn’t quite as futuristic, since Volkswagen beat Ford to the punch by a few years on offering a twin-clutcher in this class, but since both GM and Hyundai backed away from offering anything but a fluid-pumper in their new compacts, it still qualifies as a “bold move”. There are three basic ways to operate it:

  • Leave it in “D”. This is probably the best idea.
  • Select “S” and it will hold its gear down hills and on entry to corners where you are using the brake. If you’re in a hurry, it might be worthwhile, but don’t be “that guy” who drives around in “S” all time, okay?
  • Select “S” and then use the up-down button on the shift lever to change gears. This has already been the subject of much wailing and gnashing of teeth in the press. To listen to Dan Edmunds et al, you would think that they are only a set of paddle shifters away from winning a race, and that’s only true if “set of paddle shifters” is a magic code phrase for “talent, coordination, and ten years of uninterrupted driving instruction”. Nope, I think Ford has it right this time. The target market for this car doesn’t want to bother with paddles and there’s a Focus ST coming to serve the go-fast guys.

Those of you who are interested in a bit of the old maximum street speed would be well-advised to buy a Cg-Lock and two-pedal your way down fast roads. The PowerShift will reliably grab the lower gear when presented with a throttle roll on corner exit and it does it quick-like. After about twenty minutes of self-shifting I decided to let the transmission do its job and our over-the-road pace didn’t suffer one bit.

Almost any small car looks good on California back roads, but the Focus Titanium puts enough rubber on the road for the actual cornering limits to be pretty high. More importantly, it’s a fundamentally stable platform. Rebound damping is adequate — and that is almost never the case in cars without an explicit sporting intent. Dry-road ABS engagement is predictable; this is a good car in which to learn the art of brake modulation. If you cannot average sixty or seventy miles per hour down a twisty road in the Focus, you aren’t trying very hard.

I will go to my grave thinking the 2008 Focus was the right car at the right time, regardless of what the mouth-breathers think. It was affordable, it was well-made in a way that the previous version was not, and it has provided dependable service for a few hundred thousand customers. There simply wasn’t a market for $27,000 Ford compacts then. There may not be one now, either. You can buy a pretty decent V-6 Fusion for that kind of money, and most Americans are likely to do just that.

With this new Focus, and the arrival of the premium-priced Fiesta, Ford’s clearly decided to stop competing on price in this end of the market. It’s probably a smart move; a German-engineered, Michigan-made car simply can’t fight a Monroney battle with Korean compacts assembled using Korean or non-UAW Southern labor. If anybody buys this new Focus, it won’t be because it’s a cheap car. Rather, they’ll buy because it’s good. Is it good? Yes. Right now, it’s the best compact car you can buy here, no matter which model you choose.

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117 Comments on “Review: 2012 Ford Focus SE Sedan and Focus Titanium Five-Door...”


  • avatar
    mountainman

    It’s still a Focus.  27G ?  No way.  That is just nuts man.

    • 0 avatar

      $27,000 is the Titanium right? Same model costs the equivalent of $29,500 over here in the UK and they sell by the bucket load.
       
      It’s a fair price for what it is, you’re just used to a market where compact = crappy. To coin a phrase this isn’t your Dad’s compact car.

      • 0 avatar
        jplew138

        Well, first off, this isn’t the UK, where space and parking are at a premium…that’s one reason they can get away with charging that much for them over there. And even the Brit press, who apparently aren’t all that impressed with this Focus, have a problem with the price, and bucket load might be a slight exaggeration, if what I’m seeing on Top Gear is accurate. And another problem is that $27,000 will just about buy a fully optioned out Hyundai Sonata Turbo…with comparable fuel economy and 114 more horses.

    • 0 avatar

      If you want a lower price, order a car with less stuff. I need to put together a thorough price analysis. But the comparisons I’ve run so far suggest that when features are equivalent the Focus isn’t price much differently than other compacts. For example, compared to the Hyundai Elantra the Focus is about $1,100 more at MSRP and $500 more at invoice after adjusting for feature differences.
      To quickly run some comparisons:
      http://www.truedelta.com/prices.php

    • 0 avatar
      Steve65

      I just optioned out a decently equipped 5-door w/automatic for under $22k MSRP. I haven’t looked at the pricier versions yet, but I suspect most of the price difference is for gewgaws I wouldn’t want anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      Acc azda atch

      Mountainman:
       
      You are missing the point.
      FORD FINALLY has the BALLS to take the name.. and put a credible CAR behind it. This FOCUS.. isnt the U.S one that has been shitting around for years as the low ball attempt at a C segment sedan for the U.S.
       
      Its finally a achiever from EUROPE, with the handling, suspension, interior design and FEATURES that you CAN GET in a car of the C segment size.
      Ya don’t HAVE to go and buy the larger car just for the features.
      27g for a hatch, with every feature I could ever want.. is a fine price. Step up into Fusion or Taurus for the size and I’m sure its comparable.
       
      On top of..
      Focus = C1 frame CAN and WILL underpin about 15 separate vehicles, that will cover the globe, from a CUV, to 2 TRUELY minivans, to a convertible, to a 4wd compact 3dr Rally-able hatch!
       
      THIS is the RIGHT CAR.. and I hope to god in Christ that people give it the time of day, you’d be stupid not to.

    • 0 avatar
      BobJava

      Last year I drove both a low mileage mid-level 2010 Focus and was pleasantly surprised with how solid it felt and how quiet it was on the freeway compared to previous Focuses. Later that same year I drove a higher mileage (32k) 2009 Focus SEL, premium sound, seats, etc. It sounded like it was falling apart. It buzzed and rattled constantly. I can attribute some of this to the trim level — more stuff to go wrong, but I can’t rule out that they’re still not screwed together very well. I’d have the same reservations with the new one.

      Conversely, I spend some time occasionally in a Little LS400 sibling (Prism) and seems as quiet as the day it was made. Those cars were gems.

    • 0 avatar
      karnoldy

      I know $27k seems like a lot, but I just went to the Chevy site and built up a Cruze at over $26k and it is missing a lot of the options this Focus comes with.

    • 0 avatar
      neevers1

      Starts at what 18.7, which for what it is, the best compact car on the market, is a good deal.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    O Brave New World, that has such automobiles in it!

    By Ford! I think the Focus will sell well in AF 103 and beyond. 

  • avatar
    RGS920

    How was straight line performance?  Is this really a 9 second 0-60 car like the print rags are “estimating”?

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Nice write-up, makes me want to check out this car.  My tastes may be representative of no one, but would be interested in a small, domestic-brand car that isn’t built to an absurdly low price, with additional content tacked on to justify a higher price.  For so many domestics, that seems to be the story when it comes to small cars.

    I take it from your comments, that you prefer this car to the Fusion, regardless of model?

  • avatar
    gessvt

    Excellent review.
    I’ll bet that educated consumers (yes you, Syms patrons) will wait a couple years for a nice, freshly off-lease Focus Titanium.  There will be scads of them up here in A-Plan Land.

  • avatar
    NN

    well done, Jack.  Ford is smart to have the base SE model still be affordable.  If they can get the quality right (unlike when they launched the original Focus) they could build some great customer goodwill over this product.

  • avatar
    jmo

    You can buy a pretty decent V-6 Fusion for that kind of money, and most Americans are likely to do just that.

    Then if/when they start rioting in Saudi Arabia, Ford will be perfectly positioned as American’s join their European cousins in finally appreciating premium small cars.

  • avatar
    deanst

    I thought Ford was calling this a 2012 model………………….

  • avatar

    Jack,
    While I am aware that the upcoming Focus ST will be the enthusiast’s choice of the Foci lineup, do you feel that the trim levels other than the ST will be “fun enough” for the Foci Faithful (and other car people) to be a viable choice?
    Do you think that enthusiasts will spend money on aftermarket performance parts on this new platform?
    When do you get to wring one out on a racetrack?
    Tony D
     

  • avatar
    N Number

    Wouldn’t this be a 2012 model?

  • avatar
    kurtamaxxguy

    A pity AWD’s not available for the Focus.  AWD on the Titanium would make it an Audi A3 buster, at a far more affordable price.

  • avatar
    mjz

    NM: Base Focus is S sedan, starts below $17,000, but has only one option (auto) and 15″ wheels with wheel covers. Only five exterior color choices, one interior choice. SE is the mainstream model.

  • avatar
    banker43

    Great write-up on these two trim levels.   Please tell me the traction control has a defeat button and I’m sold.

  • avatar
    mjz

    I’m not sure America is ready for the $27,000 Focus (or the $20,000 Fiesta for that matter). If gas hits $4-5 per gallon, Alan Mulally will be hailed as a genius. In the $2-3 range, I think there will be price resistance. Americans are used to equating small with cheap and only exhorbitant gas prices will force a change in their mindsets.

    • 0 avatar
      karnoldy

      Fiesta is selling at an average price of around $19,000 so there are a good number of people that are going for the $20k option, and I bet there will be a good number going for the $27k Focus as well.

  • avatar

    “dignified poverty” – having owned an E36 318iS (and having loved it, save for very poor acceleration), I know exactly what you mean, no need to describe the interior in any other way. Thanks.

  • avatar
    mike978

    Great write-up especially seeing both top-spec and the mainstream model. Ford has it covered, if $27K for the Titanium (with all the options added) is too much then get the SE Hatchback (with the same engine) with the sports pack – giving you a similar if not the same suspension setup to the Titanium. You’ll get the basics and miss out on “luxuries” like Fordtouch, climate control etc. Will be very interesting to see if the US market is ready, big time, for a European compact. The Golf is the only other real competitor – GTi vs ST – quite a match up.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s too early to tell but it will be interesting to see what MyFord Touch will be worth on the used car market. Will Fords that don’t come with MFT get dinged on resale?

    • 0 avatar
      cackalacka

      Here here-
       
      Had the launched this a year ago, I would have probably scooped an SE rather than my GTI.
       
      Having sat in my friends new Ford a couple months ago, and chortled at my friend encountering the “Vladimir Ashkenazy” vs “Renee Fleming” issue noted by Mr. Baruth above, I could learn to live without such amenities.
       
      As a lover of hatches, and an American, I applaud Ford for offering a versatile and attractive example.

  • avatar

    I’m most concerned about the handling. Have they heavily prioritized ride quality as in the Fiesta, or does the Focus manage to feel sharper and tighter than the smaller car?

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Michael, you and I will have to disagree as regards the Fiesta’s handling ability. I believed that the Fiesta was a capable and balanced handler… and given that my first shot at Ford’s timed 65-second-ish autocross run in the Fiesta PowerShift was 3.5 seconds faster than any other journalist’s result, I don’t think I was going easy on the car.

      The front spring rate in the Fiesta (and this Focus) is fairly soft to begin with but the progression is sharp and you can’t always afford to combine sharp initial spring with low-profile tires away from the world of real race cars.

    • 0 avatar

      One thing I’ve noticed about excellent drivers is that they can make just about anything (within reason) perform well.
      Do you find that you have a larger advantage over other drivers when the cars in question have higher or lower capabilities? Or maybe the car just doesn’t matter?

    • 0 avatar

      One thing I’ve noticed about excellent drivers is that they can make just about anything (within reason) perform well.

      There’s a classic jazz recording of Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Charles Mingus, Max Roach and Charlie Parker at Toronto’s Massey Hall on which Parker played a plastic sax. Some accounts have him pawning his regular sax for heroin, and picking up the plastic instrument just to play the gig, but it may have been more like a promotional thing with Grafton, the maker of the instrument. I’ve seen the story told with a “toy saxophone” but the Grafton wasn’t a toy – put it was much cheaper than a regular horn. Still, Michael Bloomfield sounded great on a crappy guitar or on his Les Paul.
      Like all tools, it takes a craftsman to get the most out of any instrument.
       
       

    • 0 avatar

      Jack -
      you only beat me by 1.5 seconds :) but that was after a few runs with your coaching.

    • 0 avatar

      @Matt Please give us your impression of the 2012 Focus as you participate in the Focus Rally.
       
      Go Team Red!!
       
       

  • avatar
    ninja14blue

    Sorry, but $27K for a Focus is nuts.  I’m sure I’ll get to drive plenty of these because it seems that’s what Enterprise always gives me when I fly out to Portland, OR to visit my daughters…of course, it will most likely be a SE or SES sedan with an auto.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    That car would have been a much better choice than the Corolla my wife and I drove up, down and around Coldwater Canyon Blvd. a couple of years ago! Will a de-contented Focus be near as good? I certainly wouldn’t pay 27K for that. I’ve never paid more than 22.25K for any vehicle (yet).

    Helicopters. That’s the first thing I think about when I hear “Brave New World”, Aldous Huxley’s book. Oh, and the 1969 Steve Miller Band album of the same name I bought on reel-to-reel tape back in the USAF!

    • 0 avatar

      Living In The USA, my favorite Steve Miller song, is the only tune that I know of that mixes in the PA announcer for a drag race, a real race apparently.
      “And he takes it in the Howard Cam Special!“

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      Whenever I hear “Brave New World” I think pneumatic breasts, though it’s been so long since I read the book that I don’t remember if the phrase was actually in the text or if I’m extrapolating.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Yeah, Ronnie, I liked ”Living in the USA” too. I got a kick out of the line “give me a cheeseburger!”, but my favorite song was “Space Cowboy”. Just before I entered the service. What a long, long time ago! BTW, I never knew “Howard Cam Special” was what was said. Never could make that out! Glad you did. I’ll have to give it a listen again.

  • avatar
    GrandCharles

    Loved the Office Space reference! Seems like a home run, i will check it out…too bad GM is not playing anymore…Guess they will not compare the cruze directly to the new focus…

  • avatar
    Jedchev

    Jack, you are quickly becoming one of my favorite automotive writers. Your remarks about the 1992 Corolla put a smile on my face. I have it’s de-contented sister, the ’92 Geo Prizm as my station car. It’s reliable, has a great engine with adequate power for the weight of the car and has an attractive, spare design with lots of glass area. Frills are limited to A/C and an automatic trans. It’s a good handler in wet and dry, a great snow car with the tall tires on 13′s and was a great buy at $500 with $500 worth of exhaust work. Is it a mini LS400? I would have to say no. While it runs well, the metal is paper-thin and the door bottoms have been savaged by rust. The inner and outer handles are made of brittle plastic attached to coat hangers. Luckily, replacements are cheap and available.

    As far as those LS’s, my friend’s wife has an original 92 Lexus (no LS400 badging in ’92) with 221k on it and even in the snowy and salty northeast, it’s absolutely rust-free, runs like a dream and looks more tasteful than anything made by Toyota in the last 10 years.
    Maybe the 92 is the ES250 of Corollas, but I wouldn’t say LS400.

  • avatar
    slance66

    Glad to see that Ford is finally doing what it should have some years ago and selling the same car (more or less) here, in Europe and in Oz.  Now if only the Fusion was more Mondeo like.
    I think tastes are changing and people will pay for this.  Hell they buy scads of overpriced Priuses. This car beats that one on every count but mileage.  Europeans have always had more upscale small cars, and I think the U.S. is ready for them as well.
    Jack, given the price point is similar, the Focus Titanium or Acura TSX (ignoring the 5 door form factor)?

  • avatar
    86er

    Do my eyes deceive me or is that a 4-spoke steering wheel? 

    All hail the return of one finger driving!  (index finger in the bottom right spoke).

  • avatar
    aspade

    There may be a place in the world for a $25,000 compact car but Ford has sold two million $15,000 reasons it should be called something else.
     
     

  • avatar
    akitadog

    $27K for a Focus hatch…um…OK. I suppose I can see that.
    However, what I’m afraid of NOW is the entry price for the ST. I imagine it starting somewhere near where the Titanium ends, say 25-28K, and ending above 30-32K when optioned up.
    THAT will be a very hard sell. We can see how VW will do with the Golf R to get an idea of what kind of prices Ford can command for the sportiest trim.

    • 0 avatar
      faygo

      I wouldn’t assume that an ST would be more than a Titanium.  perhaps pricing of the ST vs other trim levels in other markets would be instructive.  or not, I have not looked.  it would be foolish for an ST to be priced too far from a GTi or MS3.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    I have far too much recent Ford experience to buy one, but I was really disappointed to learn that the hatchback has less rear seat headroom than the sedan in order to have its fashionably stupid sloping roofline and uselessly small back window. That would make the sedan the smart choice, but Ford intentionally made the sedan less rigid than the hatchback, inspite of the inherently greater strength of a sedan over a hatchback due to its rigid rear deck and fixed rear window which both reinforce the body compared to a rattle prone hatchback. Ford compromised the utility of the hatchback and the dynamics of the sedan. People should be fired.

    • 0 avatar
      faygo

      where does it say that the sedan was made intentionally less rigid to meet a lower level of dynamic capability ?  or made less stiff intentionally ?  obviously there are tradeoffs in weight vs stiffness to be made in all vehicles, but stiffer = better for crash = better for dynamics.  there isn’t a different benchmark for hatch vs sedan, so dumbing down the sedan as you imply is an illogical assumption.
       
      I’m also not sure there’s been back-to-back evidence that your proported lack of sedan stiffness turns it into a ill-handling mess vs a hatch.  until someone who can actually comment on such things intelligently (Jack for instance) drives sedan and hatch back-to-back with the same set-up, you’re speculating or comparing different varieties of apples.

    • 0 avatar
      srogers

      Every car is a compromise between style and utility. If the back seat doesn’t have enough head room for you, buy a different car.
      I’d be curious how many compact car buyers regularly have 6′ passengers in the back seat. In the 7 years that I’ve owned my current compact, I’ve had exactly zero 6 foot passengers back there.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/car/11q1/2012_ford_focus_u.s.-spec-first_drive_review

      “Consider yourself free to ignore the slightly frumpy sedan. “Well, strangely, it’s the sedan that achieves a 0.297 coefficient of drag,” Callum points out, although he counts it as a pyrrhic victory. Ford’s engineers confessed that the hatchback is torsionally stiffer than the sedan, a trait they claim lends it “sharper handling, with a slightly clearer sense of straight ahead.”  We thought so, too.” – John Phillips

      It is illogical, but they did it. Don’t feel too stupid about your post though, because the actions of Ford that you were defending are illogical enough to require proof to believe. Like I said, those involved aren’t worthy of their responsibilities. What a joke.

    • 0 avatar

      CJinSD,
      How do you get from
      Callum points out, although he counts it as a pyrrhic victory. Ford’s engineers confessed that the hatchback is torsionally stiffer than the sedan,
      to this:
      but Ford intentionally made the sedan less rigid than the hatchback,
      ?

      The sedan was engineered first. The fact that they later managed to make the hatch version stiffer doesn’t mean that they intentionally made the sedan less stiff. In a way it makes sense. Though the hatch as a bigger hole in the back, there’s also some triangulation going on that a three box sedan doesn’t have.
      With almost all cars, they develop convertible, two door, 3 door and 5 door versions from the four door sedan. Sometimes they end up with a stiffer car.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Ronnie,

      Read my earlier post. Sedans are inherently stiffer than hatchbacks because of their fixed rear windos, fixed rear decks, and absence of huge holes in their structure right where one would be torsionally compromising. Why would the sedan be developed first? It is a bit player in most Focus markets. Why doesn’t Ford have the tools for parallel development? How much heavier is the hatchback if Ford decided to go past addressing its inherent weaknesses and make it stiffer than the sedan? Weight doesn’t matter with CAFE creeping up? Why is the sedan so flacid that John Pillips could sense it from the drivers’ seats? There isn’t any triangulation going on with a hatch that is lacking in the sedan. Look at the sedan photos. It barely has a horizontal trunk lid, such is the proximaty of rear window base and rear corners. Ford has a track record of not making sense, just look at how they’ve intentionally run the Focus brand into the ground in the past several years only to turn around and try to use it to market a premium priced product.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      The Focus brand hasn’t been run into the ground, in fact it’s one of the better selling small cars, and doesn’t depend on fleet sales for the numbers for the most part.
       
      A hatchback still has fixed C pillars, so there is no reason a hatch should be inherently less rigid than a sedan.  Given that the US market is larger and more important to Ford than the EU, and that this Focus is being sold in the US market, it makes some sense to start development with the sedan as that will be the volume seller in the US.  Also, Baruth drove a sedan first in the review, and I don’t see any reference to body flex.  The C&D review notes that the Hatch is stiffer than the sedan, but not that the Sedan seems wiggly or too soft.  So really, you have a case of the sedan already been excellent, and the hatch being nearly perfect, not a case of the sedan being bad.

    • 0 avatar

      Hatches tend to have less structural rigidity because they have a bigger hole in the back of the car.
      But sedans give up some of their inherent advantage if the rear seat folds.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Nullo Modo, thank you for writing that a hatchback still has fixed C pillars, so there is no reason a hatch should be inherently less rigid than a sedan. This is a very informative post. Unfortunately, the information is entirely about your credibility rather than about cars.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      CJ -
       
      Maybe you would like to explain why you think a Sedan should inherently be more rigid than a hatch.  Convertibles vs coupes/sedans makes sense – you chop the top off and you have less bracing.  As for a Hatch vs. a Sedan, modern vehicles have safety cages that run through the roofline and are braced by the pillars, so given that a hatch and a sedan both have a line that goes up the A pillar, over the roofline, and down the C pillar, there is no reason a hatch should be less rigid.  As Michael says yes, the opening is bigger, but when you lift the trunk of a modern sedan and fold the seats down you will see there isn’t a whole lot going on there between the sides of the vehicle.  A sedan or a hatch could probably be helped by a rear strut tower brace, but very few vehicles come with those.  You are basically expecting the rear glass on the sedan to have a major impact on chassis rigidity, and it doesn’t.

      Basically, whatever minimal impact on chassis rigidity the rear shelf (that is mainly used as a place to mount speakers and maybe the CHMSL) adds could easily be replicated in a hatchback with extra crossbracing at the top of the rear roof and in the rear floorplan. In fact, with a hatchback having the rear roofline more or less on the same vertical plane as the structural elements of the rear unibody, it might even be easier to design it in such a way that it’s more rigid than a sedan where the rear roof ends several feet in front of the rear unibody floorplan.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Nullo Modo,

      I’m not sure what your game is, but obviously I’ve described why sedans are more rigid than hatchbacks a number of times in this very thread. Saying that hatchbacks are inherently as strong because they both have C-pillars is like saying a Justy is as powerful as a WRX because they both have cylinders, or that a hardtop is as rigid as a sedan because they both have C-pillars. It is a meaningless statement because it ignores other important factors. Rear decks aren’t there just to make mounting accessories more convenient. There is a photo of the new Focus sedan on this very page, and it clearly shows that your beloved C-pillars meet the fenders aft of the rear wheels, which shoud make tying together suspension transferred forces easy, and there is a rear deck ideally placed for tying together strut towers, right where there is nothing but air in the case of the hatchback. As for your claim that the bonded back window of a sedan isn’t important, take a look at this thread: http://forums.autosport.com/index.php?showtopic=132140&st=0

      Keep in mind that the Greg L. being quoted as saying that bonded glasswork contributes about 30% of the total rigidity of a modern car is Greg Locock, currently a FORD CHASSIS ENGINEER. I’m done with this. Tell it to someone who doesn’t know any better.

    • 0 avatar
      MrIncognito

      There was an interview I read recently with a Subaru engineer who said they originally moved the WRX to hatchback only because it was inherently easier to make a hatch lighter and more rigid than a sedan.
       
      It’s probably possible to make either platform sufficiently rigid, but the hatch has a pretty sizable weight advantage that can be used to add extra bracing.
       

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      CJinSD, there is no way that John Philips, or anybody else on the C/D staff, could tell the difference between a sedan and a hatch without looking over their shoulder. That’s the power of suggestive thinking at work.
      Ignore the fact that these cars are on street tires, which mask all sorts of chassis issues. Ignore the fact that none of those guys are really hot shoes or sharp knives. We are talking about a distinction which would require multiple A/B comparisons for anyone to get it. Anything else is pure fantasy on the part of the writer.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      CJ -
      I may have originally stated my point poorly with regard to the C-pillars, I was using those as a statement of inherent sedan and hatch rigidity vs. convertibles, even folding hardtop convertibles, which have no fixed rear pillars that  can be braced across.
       
      I’ve heard the same thing as what MrIncognito has, that the WRX engineers went to the hatch because it was easier to make it more rigid than the sedan, and if you look at rally cars, many are hatchbacks, there has to be some benefit.
       
      The rear deck might offer a little structural support, but if you actually look underneath at most of them in non-sports cars you’ll see that as far as metal goes, it’s usually just a think piece of stamped steel.  My ‘game’ as you put it was just to bring up the valid point that you could easily put structural supports across the top and bottom of a hatchback that would have just as much an effect, if not more, at strengthening the structure of the car and increasing rigidity as having a rear deck does for a sedan.
       
      While sedans might have at one point in time had an advantage is rigidity, when talking about modern cars, built with high strength and born steel, it’s possible to achieve the same or greater rigidity without having to have a brace or support running across the middle.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      While sedans might have at one point in time had an advantage is rigidity, when talking about modern cars, built with high strength and born steel, it’s possible to achieve the same or greater rigidity without having to have a brace or support running across the middle.
       
      I’ll just add that increasing the tensile strength of steel does not increase its stiffness.
       
      All else being equal, a sedan is stiffer.  But all else is rarely equal anyway.

  • avatar
    ajla

    From the reviews it seems that the new Focus has much more of an enthusiast slant than either the new Elantra or Cruze.  Which is nice and all, but is this Ford good enough to get people out of their GTIs, BMWs, and Mazdas?  Is the SE trim gentle and quiet enough cruiser to grab up Elantra, Corolla, and Cruze intenders?
     
    Plus, I can already see that common perception is “The new Focus is very expensive”.  Maybe Ford should have waited and not released the Titanium trim level at launch.
     
    I’ll be interested to see if this works out for Ford.

    • 0 avatar
      srogers

      You’ve got a point about holding off on the Titanium. Just look at all the clowns here hung up on that “$27k”, while ignoring that the Focus starts at $17k.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Ford spent the last several years making Focus synonymous with bottom feeding rental lot fodder. Ford has forgotten more about making and selling cars than they currently know.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      I agree that they maybe should have held the Titanium model till the rest of the automakers are introducing their 2012 models. That would make people Focus on the lower price models now and give them a bit of a wow factor when the other 2012 models are coming out to get it back in the press so it isn’t seen as a last years model.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      The S, SE, and SEL trims aren’t much more than the current Focus as far as base price goes, though actual transaction price will be higher due to the lack of incentives at launch.
       
      While the Titanium can get to $27K, it starts at $23K, and most Focus sales aren’t going to be Titanium models.  Chevy has a two tiered strategy with the Cruze and Verano, which are basically the same car, Ford is just doing it all under the same brand covering essentially the same price range.

      • 0 avatar
        jplew138

        Ok, I just optioned out a Focus SE sedan, auto, with the SE sport package, and 17 inch wheels. The price…$21,705…not too bad, seeing as the main difference between it and the SEL is automatic climate control and that Sync is standard on the SEL, that’s about it.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        Unlike the GM badge-engineering of yore (not to mention Mercury — and even some of the current Lincolns), the Verano is more than just a trim level. Unique sheetmetal, interior design and completely different engine choices make it effectively a different car, even if it shares the Cruze platform: this more like the VW/Audi branding strategy than the traditional North American one.

        And ajla’s point was that delaying the Titanium would have reduced the initial Focus sticker shock. (The Buicks are also sold by different dealers than the Cruze, so its pricing causes no Cruze sticker shock.)

  • avatar
    Verbal

    A quote from Scripture, but no tales of skirt.  Has Baruth turned a new leaf?

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I *have* been playing for a church band these past few weeks… but the Devil can quote Scripture, you know.

    • 0 avatar

      Verbal,
      I’d imagine that simple cultural literacy would mean knowing some key passages in the New Testament. With a lot of idioms, they trace back to either Shakespeare (or some other big shot Brit writers), the NT or the Tanach, the Hebrew Bible. One problem with the politically correct curricula on campuses these days is that a lot of the foundational elements of western civ are ignored or, even worse, denigrated.
      Also, if you want, I can supply you with biblical tales of skirt in the original Hebrew. Yehuda [Judah] & Tamar is one, David and Batsheve is another. With less noble protagonists, there’s the story of Zimri and Cozbi.
      Hell, though I can’t recite it from memory, I’d be able to pick out the Sermon on the Mount (nice sentiments but utopian), and I’m not a Christian.
       

    • 0 avatar

      I *have* been playing for a church band these past few weeks… but the Devil can quote Scripture, you know.
      David Bromberg, in addition to learning a ton about finger picking from him, used to take Rev. Gary Davis on his rounds on Sunday morning goin’ to church.
      Heck, I even like gospel as long as they don’t mention the J word. Keep Your Lamps Trimmed And Burnin’ is a great tune.
      Much of the world’s greatest music has been sacred music. Johann Sebastian Bach and Naftuli Brandwein could probably have jammed together (and, who knows, they might be jamming together now).

    • 0 avatar
      Verbal

      Ronnie:
      Concur on David and Bathsheba. 2 Samuel 11 has it all: voyeurism, extra-marital affair, drunkenness, and conspiracy to commit murder.  Awesomeness.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      @Jack: You should have no shame playing in a praise band. That’s been my steadiest gig for the last five years or so, and the people I’ve played alongside have been some of the best I’ve ever encountered. This summer one of our members celebrated a baptism, his whole musical family flew in from out of state to play at the ceremony. They had no drummer, I was asked to fill in. We got the service music worked out in about an hour, we spent the rest of the evening jamming. It was most fun I’ve had in many years.

  • avatar

    Sounds like it’s everything it needs to be, and then some. Can’t wait to drive one myself.

  • avatar

    After about twenty minutes of self-shifting I decided to let the transmission do its job and our over-the-road pace didn’t suffer one bit.
    Jack, that’s my experience with paddle and tap shifting automatics. For the vast majority of street driving, letting the transmission shift itself works just fine. I know that’s heresy from a member of the row your own club, but modern ATs and DCTs are very sophisticated and well programmed. When I drive a car with paddle shifters, with the possible exception of grabbing a lower gear now! I find them to be a distraction.
    Now on a track or a winding road I might feel differently, but modern engines have so much power and torque and 6 speed and higher automatics and dual clutch units work so well that you can really just leave it in drive and your driving enjoyment won’t be degraded much.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    Does anyone actually read the articles before commenting??  All I ever hear is $27k for a Focus.  Thats for the TOP OF THE LINE LOADED UP model folks!  You dont have to pay that much.  I saw a GTI yesterday at the dealer… stickered for $32k… does that mean the GTI is a $32k car??  No… just dont get all those stupid options.

    • 0 avatar
      Philosophil

      I don’t understand it either. The Focus is in the same price range as the Civic, Cruze, Mazda3, and so on. It sounds like a very good, extremely competitive compact to me.

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      mnm4ever: “…just dont get all those stupid options.”
      I agree, but I’ve passed by cars that bundle options that I actually need (8-way power seat — I’m 6’4″) with leather, sunroof, etc. — the nice adjustable seat now costs 2-$3000.
      I understand that “ala carte” raises costs for the automaker, but if a customer can buy exactly the options that they actually *need*, then the customer could actually save money. Oh wait.
       
      That said, the Focus is a nice car, and putting an efficient drivetrain in such a mainstream model is a good move.
       
      My particular niggle about the new model is the location of the handbrake — like the Civic, where a tall driver’s right knee will rest on it.

    • 0 avatar
      Acc azda atch

      Philosophil:
       
      Lets look at the class as it stands… and their options without getting into features.
       
      Ya got Civic — with a coupe or sedan, and Corolla — with a sedan and a hatch.
      The Civic is a little better in the driving experience if ya go for the 2ltr Si — Civic wins in the end here.
       
      Then ya got the Cruze which will prob only have 1 body style and a host of GM only prevalent features. Its going to take.. 5+yrs for the Cruze to be credible for the concept that GM has a history of offering shit C class cars. On top of.. the world gets the hatch… U.S wont. And it will be sold along side the Cobalier. The car is “GM GOOD” but not enough to go that EXTRA step.

      Civic still wins…
      Take the Mazda3 also built on the C1 frame has the option of a hatch (next to the gutter stripper sedan) with a standard 2.5 or a turbo 2.3 and Mazdaspeed3 / Mazda3hatch takes CIVIC for base power, and having a hatch, ntm a better interior.

      Mazda3hatch / Mazdaspeed3 wins..

      Now ya got the Focus which is coming right from Europe with plenty of options not just in the vehicle itself, but the frame its going to be on. The sedan and Hatch are first, with probably the wagon next, with the replacement for the Escape / Kuga coming, the C/Smax/Galaxy next, the ST after that and a convertible with much more after that.
       
      In the end, as I see it..
       
      Focus in its versions and the Mazda3 with its hatch/turbo stand HIGH above Civic and or Cruze. It would be more credible if Civic and Cruze both had hatches, with a sport / turbo / SS versions for both… but Gm / Honda are both soft in performance for a vehicle of this size.. for the U.S market.

  • avatar
    FrozenCanuck

    The review was one of the best I have read on this site. Makes you want to run down to your local Ford shop and start shoveling cash over the sales desk. I saw a handful of the ’12s  at our local car show last month, and while they *sigh* always look better in the promos, they still look like a well thought out car. I first drove the European 1st Gen model in Germany in ’01, and then waited until they learned  out how to build them on this side of the pond. The wait was worth it and I never tired of the ’04 ZX5 I bought. However the rear suspension was prone to failure, and the remedy was always expensive. Now that they have the world car available here, will the Blue Oval be able to lure me out of my Civic coupe?

  • avatar
    creigs9

    Jack that was the best review I’ve read yet. Thanks. Foci can be modified any way you want, so if there is something your not really crazy about, mod parts are plentiful and inexpensive.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    27 grand for an econobox with loads of useless gadgets and NO performance gain over the outgoing model. No thanks! I’ll take that V6 SE Fusion FWD with the current discounts and laugh all the way to the bank with a far superior and roomier car to boot.

  • avatar
    Philosophil

    This is yet another positive review I’ve seen of the Focus. It sounds like a very fine automobile, actually, and I’m looking forward to seeing it (the hatch, of course).
     
    Great review as well.

  • avatar
    seanx37

    As said above, this car makes no sense. For $27k, you can get loaded V-6 Fusions. Or well equiped Malibus,Accords,Altimas,Mazda 6s, Turbo Optimas,and Camrys. More importantly, a Sonata Turbo. Or a Nissan Rogue. Or a totally loaded Nissan Juke and a vacation. Or two Kia Souls.  It might be a nice car come summer when the dealers are putting $8k on the hood to get them out the door. This car is going to be a disaster at that price.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      You can buy a larger car for the same money as the top spec Focus, but it won’t come with nearly as much stuff.  Some people value options and equipment more than size, and for those, the Focus will be an appealing option.  After all, if you drive alone in your car 90% of the time like many people do, do you really need more back seat room?
       
      And again – I’m sure Ford realizes that most Focus sales will not be $27,000 top spec Titanium models.  The $16,000 – $19,000 SE models will be the volume sellers, as they have always been for these kinds of cars, but for those who want a loaded up compact, they now have the option.

  • avatar
    RRocket

    Yikes…$27K??  For about $25K, you can get a WRX which in the long run will prove to be far more amusing than a Focus…

  • avatar
    Joss

    Great review. Fiestas not bringing in the sales in NA. Focus reads to be new c-seg leader. But will price just push more buyers to Fusion?

  • avatar
    Z71_Silvy

    This is one horrid looking little appliance.
     
    The interior is a mess, the front looks downright vulger, and the rear looks Chinese.  Once again, Ford really F’d up a great looking car (last gen Euro Focus…the one we should have had…not that warmed over turd we got).
     
    Comparing this one to the old Euro model, the old one wins every time.  It’s no wonder they don’t really like it in Europe.  For us, it’s just another ugly, throw-away appliance that Ford is overcharging for.  It’s full of compromises that Ford is trying to cover up with half-assed, mediocre electronics that don’t work.
     
    Just like with the Taurus, Fiesta, Explorer, Flex and Lincoln…back to the drawing board…and come up with something that is worth writing about.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Thanks for your opinion, Silvy (ya gotta feed him and he goes away….).
     
    While I don’t see these going out the door for MSRP after the initial “gotta haves” get theirs, I can see them averaging +/- $20k for the SE/SEL models…which will be several $K more than the outgoing model.  Meanwhile, a great driver’s car apparently, and a challenger to the Golf.  Kudos to Ford & Mullaly for giving us the Focus we clamored for, and now it’s up to the ‘clamorers’ (??) to step up and grab one.
     
    Great looking car I gotta say….

  • avatar

    I just built a Focus Hatchback SE with everything I really want (proper manual, sport package with sports suspension, alloy rims, disc brakes, and sport seats) and kept the rest of the standard options.  Out the door for $19,880.  $27k for a Focus is excessive but then again do you really need all those options? If I need the iPod connectivity and the stock radio doesn’t supply it, I’ll get an aftermarket head unit and call it a day.  Call me old fashioned (and at the ripe old age of 27 I’m already feeling this way) but is all this technology really that necessary?

  • avatar
    mr_min

    Nice review, The Focus is a nice car.
    But its going to tank… (No I’m not trolling)
    When 20,851 people buy a decontented Toyota Corolla in Jan 2011.  It tells me that lots of people are buying transport, not vehicles (No I’m not a Toyota basher, I think Toyota understand their target market better than most car makers).
    I expect Ford will suffer the same apathy from the market that they suffer from in Australia where the Focus is also on sale. 

  • avatar
    Higheriq

    I don’t care how good this or any other automatic gets, I refuse to drive one.  Since the last Focus ST sold in the U.S. was a 5-speed only, is it safe to assume that the forthcoming model will be manual trans only?  And where is the convertible Focus like what Europe has (had)?

  • avatar
    Acc azda atch

    P.S
     
    Jack ya do a solid review.. a little more attitude than others. Much appreciated

  • avatar

    “It’s recognizably German from the driver’s seat the same way the Cruze is recognizably Korean from across the street.”

    Ford’s marketing department should immediately adopt this as THE catchphrase for all Focus ads.

  • avatar
    hurls

    Great review Jack… I was hoping you’d do this one, remembering your contrarian review of the previous model.
     
    I remember that Corolla well. Didn’t own one, but my wife had a Camry around the same time, when they were also built like a brick outhouse as well. Glad someone’s doing that now in this market segment.

  • avatar
    kstills

    I see a lot of folks are balking at the 27k price, but I am not one of them.
    I’m 52, love the styling and I’m looking for a stylish, fully loaded car that will get ~40mpg highway and ~28mpg in the city. Something with very good handling and a good mix of luxury items.
    Usually, that means a used vehicle, but one where I would have to sacrifice fuel economy.
    There are several cars in this class nowadays, but the Focus has held my attention since I first saw the design. It will certainly be on the short list of vehicles that I consider buying.
     
    BTW, couldn’t care less about the rear seat leg room. I will never sit back there. Ideally, they will offer a 2 door before I am ready to buy.
    160hp is a tad low, but according to this excellent review, not a deal breaker. Foci have had the ability to have power adders installed almost since day one, so again, that shouldn’t stop anyone from buying.
    Overall, I’m impressed with Ford and this car. Good job, and great review.

  • avatar
    tuckerdawg

    Awesome review. BTW, every time a hatch is reviewed why does no one talk about how/if the rear seats fold?? So my question is, do the seats fold flat on the focus hatch? I don’t know if anyone can beat Honda Fit’s configuration but it would be nice to know just how much utility one gets out of the hatch design. Thanks

  • avatar
    mshenzi

    Thanks for the review; it fits what I’d been thinking from the teasers over the past year.  I needed to replace my car last summer, or this would have been way up my shortlist.  The Titanium’s price wouldn’t have slowed me down much– I got a TDI Golf in essentially the same price range, (6-spd manual; DSG and the full range of options can make it tickle 30K).  Perceived quality in fit/finish/driving composure is worth it to me, since I keep a car for a long time and want to enjoy it.  I only hope Ford finds lots of buyers willing to do likewise.

  • avatar
    findude

    Sounds great. I’ll wait for the wagon.

  • avatar

    Luckily, my local Ford Dealership also sells VW’s… try out both this and a Golf/GTI.

  • avatar
    PeregrineFalcon

    “bus trip with the socially awkward penguins of the blogger media”

    Excellent meme usage, Jack.

  • avatar
    changsta

    I’m not sure why everyone is so worked up over the price of this new Focus. Yes, in Titanium trim, it is expensive. However, you are also getting a number of features that you can’t get elsewhere in the class, namely MyFord Touch. If it is not worth the money to you, buy a lower trim level.
    Ford is smart to offer this in my opinion, because it is the options and features in a vehicle that can make it stand out over another. Just picture someone that is not a “car” guy or girl shopping for a compact car, heading to the Ford dealer, sitting in a new Focus with MyFord Touch and thinking, “wow, the (insert name of another compact here) doesn’t have this!”. It is definitely a selling point. I remember that just a few months ago, many were saying that the new Fiesta was far too expensive, but in reality, Ford is selling more loaded Fiestas than they are base ones.
    I am personally very excited for this new Focus. I used to own a 2004 Focus ZTW, but ultimately sold it because of the poor build quality, and the fact that it turned into a rattle trap over 100,000km. If this new focus has the steering feel, a more sorted suspension, and a high quality interior, then I’m going to have a hard time not buying one!
    Oh, and make sure mine has MyFord Touch!

  • avatar
    lobo5

    Great review.  I was waiting for this Focus, but an accident forced me to get a new car sooner than I wanted.  Got a 2010 Mazda3i Touring (new)–very pleased.  One question, in referring to the “little LS400″ do you mean the ’93-’97 Corolla/Prizm? The ’92 was the last year of the ’88-’92 series. . .

  • avatar

    Really terrific review. I’ve been driving an ’02 Focus ZX5 since ’03, and on the whole, it’s been very good to me. I was baffled when Ford made the decision to pull the hatchback from their lineup a few years ago — but I caught a glimpse of the 5-door SE in an ad the other day and have been daydreaming about it ever since! Great to see it’s gotten so many positive reviews (generally speaking). I’m saving my pennies!
    (Minor note: the word you’re looking for in that first paragraph is “teems.”)

  • avatar
    flgatorfan

    Minor note: the engine and transmission are a team, not a teem.

  • avatar
    txo

    I’m clearly a target buyer.

    Just ordered 5 door Titanium Hatch at 27,485 list 24750 out the door with incentives. I owned a loaded 325i; traded in after a year for a loaded mini cooper S, now trading in for the Focus. Electrical problems on the BMW were insane. The cooper has been great if expensive to maintain, but now that I’m 50 years old and with all the kids trained on a manual I’m ready to move to an automatic. Plus it turns out those damn run flat tires and sport suspension do not make for comfort over urban potholes. Less than 48K miles and I’ve replaced all four twice. At $250+ apiece. And premium gas? Been over $4 a gallon where I live for the past year. As a tech geek I’ve been hearing the Ford message on every podcast I listen to. And I’ll finally have an american nameplate for the first time in 30 years – my first car was a used 1972 Chevy Nova with 5L V8. Mileage sucked on that thing, but gas was $1 a gallon and it’s still the only car I’ve *ever* owned that never once failed to run. It’ll be nice to drive american again.

  • avatar
    Deacon Blue

    Just bought a 2012 5-door Titanium. Got the dealer down to $24k with the 401A options included. This car is the real deal if you enjoy the driving experience. Don’t buy it if getting from point A to point B is your only objective. Space in the back seat is cramped w/ taller driver/passenger in front, but this car isn’t for long road trips w/ the in-laws in tow. Performance, handling, gas mileage, finishes including awesome leather seats, and MyFord Touch make this car the one! Nice work Ford.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Just returned from a test drive of the SE hatch with sport package, 17″ wheels and 5-speed. Not a dragster, but an enjoyable drive. All of the good things said about the clutch/tranny combination are true; and the engine loves to rev.

    My only complaint is that the car feels a little tight inside (even in front), given its exterior dimensions. It’s funny, I don’t remember having that feeling with the sedan that I rented and drove for several hundred miles 6 months ago. Maybe that car didn’t have the sunroof that my tester had . . . and I’m 6′ 3″ so the loss of an inch or so of headroom is not trivial.

    My wife was along, and she also commented favorably on the clutch/tranny combination. And, as I suspected she would, she did not like the feel of the DSG gearbox, which we also drove. The shift quality wasn’t quite as soft as in my rental, but the box seemed very “busy” even driving around town and it still exhibited that “nibbling” behavior when creeping along at parking lot speeds.


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