By on March 31, 2011

When Chevrolet announced a few months ago that its new Cruze compact sedan would start at $16,995, more than a few people (who likely had not had a chance to personally experience the new car) were shocked. The Cobalt, which the Cruze replaced, had been priced nearly $1,300 lower—and had required incentives to sell at that price. Now Ford has announced pricing for the totally redesigned 2012 Focus, and it starts at…$16,995.

So it seems that Ford has matched Chevrolet’s pricing. But an interesting thing happens when you compare the two cars (along with the Hyundai Elantra and Volkswagen Jetta) using TrueDelta.com’s car price comparison tool:

MSRP Feature Adjustment Adjusted MSRP Difference
2012 Ford Focus S 16,995 0 16,995
2011 Chevrolet Cruze LS 16,995 -1,485 15,510 -1,485
2011 Hyundai Elantra GLS 16,800 -1,285 15,515 -1,480
2011 VW Jetta S 16,765 -435 16,330 -665

It turns out that the base Cruze has about $1,500 in additional content. Features standard on the Chevrolet but not the Ford include:

  • a sixth cog in the manual transmission
  • power rear side windows (front only in the Focus S)
  • knee airbags
  • satellite radio
  • OnStar
  • trip computer
  • center armrests front and rear
  • manual height and tilt for both front seats (driver height only in the Ford)

Most of these features are minor, but they add up. Not factored into these calculations: an additional 24 horsepower in the Focus from its larger (2.0-liter vs. 1.8) four-cylinder engine.

Once you add the Popular Equipment Package to get A/C, the Hyundai Elantra isn’t priced much lower than the other two. Adjust for features, though, and it ends up VERY close to the Chevrolet, and well below the Ford. Its 148-horsepower engine neatly splits the difference between the other two.

The base Jetta manages to undercut the Hyundai by a few dollars. Adjust for features, and it splits the difference between the Hyundai and Chevrolet on one hand and the Ford on the other. With only 115 horsepower, the Jetta’s antiquated base engine is easily the weakest of the bunch.

The picture changes when comparing fully-loaded (over $26,000!) compacts:

MSRP Feature Adjustment Adjusted MSRP Difference
2012 Ford Focus Titanium 26,985 0 26,985
2011 Chevrolet Cruze LTZ 26,780 +840 27,620 +635
2011 Hyundai Elantra Ltd. 22,795 +3,140 25,935 -1,050

Why the $2,000 swing with the Chevrolet? Three major reasons. First, upper trim levels of the Focus includes SYNC, which bundles more features than OnStar while similarly impacting the bottom line. Second, Chevrolet charges $1,995 for nav, while Ford charges a much more reasonable $795. Third, while all four Focus trim levels share the same engine, the Cruze LT and LTZ have a turbocharged 1.4 liter instead of the LS’s normally-aspirated 1.8. The uplevel engine makes about the same amount of peak power, but is considerably stronger at lower rpm. It also adds about $800 to the car’s price. Apparently turbos aren’t free.

A fully loaded Elantra is much less expensive than a fully loaded Focus or Cruze, but this is mostly because far fewer features are available on it. They Hyundai does have one feature the others don’t: heated rear seats. But it doesn’t have many things the Focus does, including a parking guidance system, front and rear obstacle detection, dual-zone automatic climate control, SYNC, and a power driver seat. Adjust for these features and the Elantra is $1,050 less at MSRP and a mere $258 less at invoice, which can be more indicative of actual transaction prices. The Hyundai is less expensive, but the difference isn’t nearly as large as it initially appears.

MSRP Feature Adjustment Adjusted MSRP Difference
2012 Ford Focus Titanium 24,995 0 24,995
2011 VW Jetta SEL 24,865 +1,350 26,215 +1,220

It’s not possible to include the Jetta in the same table with the others because far fewer features are available with it. When the Focus is equipped as close as possible to a loaded Jetta the list prices are very close. But the Focus has about $1,350 in additional features, including dual-zone automatic climate control and SYNC. Compare invoice prices and the gap widens to nearly $2,000.

At first glance, the Ford Focus and Chevrolet Cruze look very expensive. And they do cost quite a bit more than the cars they replaced.  But compared to two cars known for low prices, the Hyundai Elantra and Volkswagen Jetta, the differences aren’t so large once feature differences are adjusted for. Hyundai and Volkswagen, recently known for the number of features included in their cars, have been decontenting while Ford and Chevrolet have taken a big step in the opposite direction. The Cruze looks especially good when comparing lightly equipped cars, while the Ford looks best when comparing loaded ones. A $27,000 Ford Focus that turns out to be a good value—who saw this coming?

Michael Karesh operates TrueDelta, an online source of automotive pricing and reliability data

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125 Comments on “Pricing Analysis: 2012 Ford Focus...”


  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Before anyone makes any snide comments about a $27,000 Focus and how you could get a Fusion/Sonata/Used 5-Series/Etc, I highly suggest simply sitting in the Titanium trim model for ten minutes
     
    I did, and what went through my mind was “Yeah, ok, I see now”.  It really is a very, very well-appointed and trimmed car.  It also happens to be smallish.  So what?

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      I also suggest going to the “build your own” tab at Ford’s website.  I like that many Focus options can be “cherry picked” and there aren’t too many options that only come as part of a “package.”  Oh that and the fact that you can get the uplevel features on the SE hatchback model without ditching the manual trans.  As soon as you start to add very many options on the Hyundai they make you take the auto trans.  I’ve played with the “build your own” tool and been able to bring a nicely equipped manual trans model with the 2nd best stereo and heated front seats and side mirrors for a few ticks over $21,000.  Yeah that’s not as cheap as a Cobalt or an old Focus but shoot the new Focus is a heck of a lot nicer.

      • 0 avatar

        I believe you can negotiate a new car like you negotiate any thing else right? After all we are dealing with dealers (not the manufacturers themselves) and apparently they get more money from financing through interest or commission for selling the loan. I would like some advice on how (if possible) you can negotiate car prices, especially for a new car.

    • 0 avatar

      Hear, hear.  I went to my local Ford dealer this weekend to take a look and while they didn’t have any new Foci, they did have a new Fiesta.  If the Focus’ interior is even a little better than the Fiesta it’s going to be a nice interior.
      I’ve priced out a Focus SE hatch with a stick, SYNC, the sport package, and the cold weather package and it’s nicely equipped and reasonably priced at a little over $21,000.  If I were in the market for a new car this is what I’d probably be buying.

    • 0 avatar

      Darn it Dan, you beat me to it.  Also, since it’s a Ford you can order exactly what you want straight from the factory.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Also, since it’s a Ford you can order exactly what you want straight from the factory.
       
      Almost like you could do with every other car maker on the planet before the realized people were stupid enough to pay say $3,000 for a navigation system that only came with leather they didn’t want, or pay $3,000 for leather they wanted even though it came with a nav system they didn’t want.

    • 0 avatar

      Almost like you could do with every other car maker on the planet before the realized people were stupid enough to pay say $3,000 for a navigation system that only came with leather they didn’t want, or pay $3,000 for leather they wanted because it came with a nav system they didn’t want.

      Are you sure that’s true?  I’ve tried in vain to order a Toyota and an Acura from the factory, and the dealers say the best they can do is a locate, or keep an eye on what’s coming out of the factory.  I’d love to order all my cars from the factory if possible.  I thought only the domestic and german manufacturer’s offered factory direct.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Are you sure?
       
      You Sir are finding arrogant dealers and need to widen your search.  That’s bull$hit that they’re throwing at you cause they’d rather sell you what they already have.  You can’t order factory direct (please see my rant) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/03/prototype-chrysler-store-under-attack/
       
      Dealers can order specific cars from the factory.  For my next vehicle my plan is to go to dealers, test drive engine trans combos that I’m interested in and then order the vehicle in the exact color with the exact options I want.  And if a dealer doesn’t want to work with me… I’ll keep looking till I find one that does.  If I’m gonna keep a car for 10 years I want it to be perfect – FOR ME.  Yeah I know I’ll miss out on rebates and incentives and other crap but I want what I want!

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      Actually Dan, I think CarGuy is right, at least with those 2 companies.  I have shopped Honda many times, and Toyota twice.  As far as I know, Honda (or Acura) dealers cannot specifically order individual cars for buyers like Ford or Chevy can.  They request certain trims, and may or may not get them, and only get them when the factory determines it is time to make them.  Since Honda only offers relatively few options, mostly in packages, and mostly in limited colors, its not too hard to get what you want “located”.

      Toyota works basically the same way as far as I can tell, although in FL I have to deal with the dreaded Southeast Toyota Distributorship, which is sort of like the Evil Empire of Toyota dealers.  They have very specific rules, different option packages than the factory, different prices, etc.  Real Toyota dealers in the rest of the country (free world) might be able to factory order.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      You jogged my memory on a “horror story” I heard from the local Toyota dealer who has never been able to sell very man “mini” Toyota trucks of any generation.  Back in the good old days (1980s) Toyota REFUSED to sell him extended cabs with bench seats even though it was technically listed on the options sheet.  He wanted them because in my area (Northwest New Mexico) the lower socio-economic classes wanted as many seats as possible in the truck because they were going to fill the cab up with people anyway.  (Paraphrasing him, not my words.)  He explained this to Toyota and they resolutely told him they didn’t think he would be able to sell trucks configured like that.

    • 0 avatar
      anchke

      Aye, there’s the rub, and succinctly stated, too. Do you see the car choice decision as a financial/functional one or an “I like” one? And, if the latter, what drives the “like?” Personally, I think the Focus/Cruze/Civics are about the right size for a sedan, especially for mostly suburban use. But I weigh in at 160, give or take a few. Put all three members of the family aboard and we’re looking at under 400 lbs of people. Many of the folks I see waddling through shopping malls probably weighed in at 160 in 7th grade. I think that’s the practical answer to the Q, “Small? So what?”  VW may not have been complimentary to the U.S. market in the design of the new Jetta, which, unfortunately, isn’t the same thing as saying that they’re wrong.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Do you see the car choice decision as a financial/functional one or an “I like” one? And, if the latter, what drives the “like?”

      With my next purchase I’m trying to hit the sweet spot between “like” and finance/function.  There’s a little piece of me that’s trying to recapture the sweet spot of my 1997 Escort wagon that was taken from me in a divorce, I loved the car, she hated it, but guess what, it was paid for so she took it! 

      I also want something with utility that’s not a freaking CUV/SUV which I despize for the fact that those vehicles killed the wagon and allowed Detroit to ignore the holes in their product portfolio until Death himself was knocking at the door.  I also have some sedans on my “must test drive” list but they’re all midsize.  I could handle compact car if it was a hatch or a wagon. 

    • 0 avatar

      I really like the idea of premium compacts. Although I have my doubts as to whether they’ll catch on in the US (I guess it depends more of gas prices than anything), it’d sure be nice to pick up a used one for cheap in a few years.

    • 0 avatar
      MrKiwi

      Except for the uber-cool “make me feel safe and warm and cozy” ambient lighting. Only comes with the SEL trim! Boo. At least it has the option, unlike the Elantra.

      Hey…these things matter.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    Satellite radio and On-star do not add any value, in fact if you actually use them the cost you extra money over time.

    • 0 avatar
      potatobreath

      That simply means satellite radio and OnStar do not add any value for you, but not necessarily everyone else. I would continue subscribing to satellite radio, because I find value in it.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      @Patatobreath, The facts as I’ve read them is that the number of people who pay for On-star after the free period is less than half, granted I don’t have any hard facts to base that on. Again from what I’ve heard the continue rate for Satellite radio isn’t much better. You state you “would continue” satellite which sort of implies you’ve never actually had satellite radio, so how can you state it is of value to you equal to or greater than the subscription fee? But no matter how you cut it if you want to continue it past the free period you have to pay eating up any “purchase value” those options added. I think you’ll also find that with the current generations of smart phones navigation is on it’s way out as a desired feature and most people aren’t going to be willing to pay anywhere near the prices that mfgs have been charging for that feature.

    • 0 avatar

      First of all, smartphone navigation is finicky, and in some cases dangerous. It does not make use of steering wheel controls, rarely makes good use of voice recognition and has little to no safety features (as in, don’t fiddle while you drive). Also, smartphones make you worry about battery life, so its not a complete win.
      As for Onstar, I tried it in a Cruze, and I would probably pay for it. It gives you the ease of navigation when you need it without a lot of extra cost. For that, I would be pleased.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      You are confusing features that add value vs features you would use.  The Focus can park itself.  But if you never use the feature, is it a value add?  The Elantra has heated rear seats, but if you never sit back there…  Does everyone use a trip computer?
       
      There are also features that could save you money like an oil life monitoring system.  But that isn’t included in this either.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      @Echild I guess a lot of it depends on which smart phone were talking about the one in my Droid based phone works great and is no more distracting than a dash based system and if you have SYNC it’s even better. I don’t worry about battery life, there are these new fangled things called car chargers and again if you have SYNC you can charge through the USB port with your data cable.

    • 0 avatar

      I set default values, but TrueDelta members can customize these. It’s even possible to set a feature’s value to a negative value, if you’d pay money not to have it.

    • 0 avatar
      potatobreath

      @Scoutdude I don’t own a running car at the moment, but if I did I would pay for satellite radio. Currently, I use satellite radio in rental cars that still have a current subscription. No ads. When you pay for it from the manufacturer, the hardware is hooked up to receive satellite radio. That’s part of the price you pay; not all of it is for the first year of service. It’s probably much cheaper to get the hardware installed through aftermarket, but it may look out of place depending how picky you are.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      Electronics change too much and too fast for built-in infotainment systems to keep up.  Throw in used car values, cars lasting longer than ever, etc, and its a losing battle.  I am simply not in my car long enough and often enough to justify the cost of sat radio, or even to bother keeping my iPod loaded with music.  I use nav maybe once a month, tops.

      What I would much rather see available in cars is a custom-fitted mobile phone (or tablet) mount.  I would gladly pay a few hundred $$s to not have to mar up my dash and safely hold my phone… with built in nav, music, internet radio, places, etc etc.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      When we got our G6 in 2009, it came with OnStar and XM. We kept the OnStar, we use it every week for sure, sometimes three or four times a week. We liked the XM, but our commutes are short. My wife is the primary driver of the new(er) car and has a daily commute of 5 miles. Total. The XM would be great for long commutes or if we traveled a lot, but we don’t have either situation. it’s all what you’re accustomed to using. I personally like the services OnStar offers, I think I’d like the other telematics offerings from other mfrs, too.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      The first time I drove from Maine to NJ listening to a series of NPR programs continuously I was hooked on sat radio. It is an absolute MUST have on my primary car from here on out. Well worth the very small cost per month. 

      OnStar I could care less about, I never used it, and when my free year was up I got rid of the buttons in my Saab.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      @geo, just curious… what you you use OnStar for that often?? 

    • 0 avatar
      MrKiwi

      I’ve never understood the appeal of navigation built in. It adds hundreds on and I’m stuck with those features. Why not just buy a Garmin for $150? Bonus – when I travel on business and have to rent a car I can take my GPS with me which I know how to operate properly. (Once drove several miles on a dark wet night somewhere in Indiana before realizing the rental GPS was fibbing to me.)

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      @mnm4ever: Even after 12 years of living here (Grand Rapids, MI), I still get lost occasionally. I’ve lived in four major cities in the South and Midwest of the US and sometimes all of the streets have similar sounding names. Much of the use is for directions to places I can’t immediately recall how to get there. For example, I went to funeral last week and couldn’t quite remember what side of the street the church was on. I started using a new vendor last week and needed directions to his office, stuff like that.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      OK, fair enough, you use it for directions, in which case a nav would work the same, but no monthly subscription costs.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      @mnm4ever: To be fair, portable nav units need updating occasionally, and that’s not entirely free. I don’t know what happens with the smartphones, but I have to imagine the cost for updates is built in the service somewhere. There’s no free lunch, IMO.

    • 0 avatar
      potatobreath

      @geozinger It depends on the aftermarket navigation unit. You can get units with lifetime map subscriptions now, and they don’t cost much more than the cheaper units. I kinda wish my father waited a bit before getting his Garmin, since Canadian maps can be really out of date (GPS tells us we’re off-roading).

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      @potatobreath: It seems I need to look at GPS’s again. Having OnStar I haven’t paid attention to them for a while. It makes sense that at some pricing level, some company came up with a lifetime subscription. I have to imagine that it won’t be one of the cheap-o units.

    • 0 avatar
      Jimal

      @Scoutdude, the “value” isn’t in the free subscription but in the cost of the head unit and other satellite radio equipment, which is different (and I assume more expensive) than a non-satellite radio capable head unit.
      I have Sirius in both of my cars. It is so much better than over the air radio and to me totally worth the subscription fee. I’m driving from Connecticut to Virginia and back at the end of April. Being able to take that drive and only need to change stations because I want to listen to something else and not because I lost signal makes it worth while.
      “Value” doesn’t mean “free”. If you like something and the cost is reasonable for you then you have value.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      Thats true for some portable units, and if you use them as much as you do, you would want the updated maps.  I dont use mine very often, havent updated it in 3 yrs or so, havent had a need for the 3 or 4 times a year I use it.

      My phone is always updated, as it uses Google maps which are constantly updated (well, as much as Google maps online is updated anyways).  No fees, always updated… iffy signal though.

    • 0 avatar
      Zombo

      Satellite radio is good if you listen mostly to talk radio , but their audio quality for music (especially Sirius) isn’t as good as a clear FM station – let alone CD quality . And the more stations they add the worse it gets as bandwidth for each channel shrinks .
       
      http://news.cnet.com/8301-13645_3-9860284-47.html

    • 0 avatar
      Jimal

      @zombo, I’m not an audiophile. If I’m not listening to music by satellite radio in my car I’m listening to it through headphone from my iPhone or computer, or through computer speakers. I do listen to a mix of talk and music, but when I listen to music it is for evocative or emotional reasons and not technical. The sound quality of satellite radio isn’t objectionable to me and more than worth the trade-off of carrying a bunch of CDs or hunting for FM stations on a road trip.
      My experience is that the continuity and consistency of satellite radio makes long road trips far more bearable.

    • 0 avatar
      donkensler

      At least for me, sat radio adds value (at least equal to what I paid for it plus the monthly) because the over-the-air radio stations in Detroit really, really, bite, and I’ve never bothered to get an iPod.
       
      AM radio in Detroit is talk, talk, talk, sports talk, and news that repeats every half hour.  FM radio is classic rock, soft rock, classic soft rock, soft classic rock, smooth jazz, and NPR.  I swear if I had to listen to any of that in my car on a regular basis I’d have to shoot the radio to put me out of my misery.
       
      With the sat radio I get twelve presets, so if I can’t find anything to listen to on my primary six I just switch to the secondary.
       
      But hey, your mileage may vary.

  • avatar
    HoldenSSVSE

    Oh my, I can see people stroking out reading this.

    So the Cruze in Eco trim gets the best MPG (LLN reported they got 44-1/2 MPG in 75 MPH highway driving, and 28-1/2 in the city), turns out in the land where most customers will buy, closer to the bottom is the best deal, and has the class leading interior. And ironically, the Cruze Eco is the most sporting of the available trim levels.

    Hell has truly frozen over – I can see some brains exploding when they read this.

    Great work as always Michael – and Sync does add a ton of value to the Ford vehicle line up.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Doesn’t the Cruze Eco drop the independent rear suspension?  Not that I care, but for some that dents the sporting cred.

    • 0 avatar

      With an automatic you get the independent suspension.  With a stick, not so much.  Personally I’d give up the suspension for the stick, which adds far more sporting cred.

    • 0 avatar

      I drove the stick Eco this past weekend. My brother and I were both extremely impressed. It felt solid, smooth, refined and did very well on the highway. Based on that experience, I’d recommend the stick Eco to anyone looking for a small but very capable highway car.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      I think the Eco part of it loses the sporting cred, but that is just me.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      One of my coworkers’ father drove a new Cruze over the weekend, and was very impressed with it.He didn’t say what they’ve been comparing to, however.
       
      I’ve been interested in the Eco version since I heard about it, something about having the best mileage and the motorhead items stuffed into the same car appeals to me. Fun to drive and green… not a bad combo.

    • 0 avatar
      Bimmer

      @ Holden
       
      Except that Cruze is not available as a hatchback (at least in NA market), unlike Focus.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    The Jetta is known for being low priced? One round of bait and switch ads with a no-content stripper model doesn’t make a reputation. Low quality and low priced aren’t synonyms when it comes to German brands.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      I know we rag on the auto magazines around here but even Car and Driver was smart enough to rank the Jetta dead last in a comparo between a Jetta, Elantra, Cruze, Mazda 3, and Focus.  They actually said that the VW had sunk in interior quality to the point the Big 3 used to be at.  They further commented that VW seems to be going for the cheap seats while everyone else has upped their game.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      They seem to have read their customers very well. I see the new Jettas all over the place.

    • 0 avatar
      Jimal

      @CJinSD, I think that will be a short term gain. The VW regulars are very aware of the move down market and my guess is they’re being replaced with the “Wow, now I can afford a Volkswagen!” group.

    • 0 avatar
      Advo

      Let’s hope VW has improved quality enough to retain those new, cost-conscious buyers if they look to buy a more upscale car as their next one.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Jimal,

      VW has been playing a numbers game ever since Audi taught them how to make a radiator and how not to make an electrical system. Jack Kevorkian has more repeat customers.

    • 0 avatar
      Jimal

      CJinSD, Volkwagen has a loyal following that rivals any of the other brands, despite not selling the volume that Toyota, GM or Ford sell. My concern is the move down market in the name of volume will alienate that fanbase while disappointing the new buyers. I equate it with when they changed the Golf name back to Rabbit. Bad move.

  • avatar
    TEXN3

    I don’t need all of those options, SYNC quite honestly has no value to me either.

    Just looked at both on their respective “build your own”, I think I’d go with the Cruise ECO model. We have a wagon, so a sedan is fine with me. But for under $20k, you get the little turbo and the manual.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Have you had a car with SYNC? It is a value added option once you’ve used it.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      Sync is really cool, but not really needed which is why it doesn’t add value for some people.  I think the younger you are, the more likely you are to use it.  The older, not so much.

    • 0 avatar
      TEXN3

      Yes, several rentals… I don’t have a smartphone but can still access Outlook on my dumbphone (Casio), which is all I need (besides calling, texting). It’s a matter of personal preference.

      Really, the only time I use NAV is when it’s factory installed on a rental car, Hertz also includes it with my membership level… it is convenient when I’m in an unfamiliar place. Otherwise, I’ve never had a real use for it either.

      I do like having sat radio, have 2 subscriptions: the Subaru and the Denon (home).

      And I’m only 28.

    • 0 avatar
      bill h.

      When I did some checking on the Cruze about a month ago, it seemed to me that the ECO model with the manual tranny only had the NA 1.8 engine, and you could get the turbo only with the automatic.  Did something change?

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      I think the differentiator is whether or not a feature is something I would base my buying decision on.  SYNC seems really cool, I have no doubt I would use it.  But I am not going to buy a certain car just because it has SYNC.  Plus, I resent having to purchase the higher trim options just to have the ability ADD options like SYNC to the car.  Its a different freakin radio that fits in the same dash opening as any other Focus, why not make it optional for all models?

    • 0 avatar
      TEXN3

      The ECO comes with a manual and turbo, the 1LT, 2LT, and LTZ come with an automatic and turbo.

      http://www.chevrolet.com/vehicles/2011/cruze/features.do

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      The ECO only comes with the 1.4L Turbo engine, but can come with a manual or automatic.

    • 0 avatar
      Norma

      The Eco with A6 is rated EPA 26/37, while other non-Eco with A6 is rated EPA 24/36 (according to fueleconomy.gov) And I think, according to Autonews, few dealers intend to stock in Eco (Chevy)/SFE (Ford Focus) model.

  • avatar

    forget the price, that thing is butt ugly…reminds me of an Asian Carp.

  • avatar
    friedclams

    I was going to criticize you for that remark but after looking at it I agree! And I’m no ichthyologist.
    None of these compacts are beauty queens, though.
    One last observation: I am seeing a LOT of new Jettas around Boston. Someone must be taking the bait.

  • avatar
    marjanmm

    I cross shopped euro focus mk II and chevrolet cruze a month ago. No hatchback was a big minus for chevrolet but what really surprised me is how small chevrolet’s cabin is. The focus i ended up buying is so much roomier front and back. Also you could only get steering wheel reach adjustment in the most expensive chevrolet trim which is important as I am quite tall and without the reach adjustment I had to move the driver’s seat back so much that there was almost no knee room at the back at all. Not limited knee room, almost none at all.

    I haven’t tried the new Focus yet but if the cabin room is comparable to the old one it must be so much roomier than the Cruze. From Michael’s reviews I can only deduce Jetta is in a different league space wise and therefore has a unique selling point.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    “power rear side windows (front only in the Focus S)”

    Wait a minute – what is this, England? I know that is somewhat common across the pond, but front-only power windows with crank rear? C’mon, now, this ain’t the British Empire. The heresy of it all! I don’t like the car in question, either, but that’s just me. Make mine a Galaxie 500, er, a 500, er, a…Taurus(yuck), please!

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    Most everything in that list isnt a deal breaker, except no power rear windows!  It was stupid when the Neon did that, and I now Ford thought that was a good idea??  What could they have possibly saved??  $100 per car?  Not to mention having to crash test ones with and without power rear windows?  And really no way to fix it, that just screams of forced upgrades for profit.  Really pisses me off.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      I remembered the Neon as I finished writing my comment above, but as the rear windows only rolled down one-third of the way (just like the roach-mobile Caprices and Impalas in the 1990′s), why bother? So, for asinine design, GM wins in the USA again, in that sense!

    • 0 avatar
      TEXN3

      Wasn’t the rear windows not rolling all the way down, a short-lived Federal mandate/regulation? GM was not the only one to include such a feature, our Taurus/Sable(s) did the same. So did our 84 Volvo.

      My current vehicles, a 98 Acura and an 07 Outback both have frameless windows but the rears stick up at a slight angle when down “all the way”.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      “…rear windows not rolling all the way down, a short-lived Federal mandate/regulation…”

      I think that question was brought up, but I don’t think so. But I don’t know why this was done, but I alway relate the “GM half-way mentality” followed by “no way” mentality as a big reason why I dropped GM for over 20 years! Of course, others followed suit – idiots! At least the Japanese cars didn’t go along with that. The Subie rear windows roll down that way due to the convoluted Rube Goldberg apparatus necessary to allow them to go down as far as possible – credit to Subie! Much the same mechanicals used by GM in the heyday of 4 door hardtops. The glass had to angle down, back up, pivot, and then roll down to fit inside the door. Always amazed me how they figured that out, too!

    • 0 avatar
      TEXN3

      Well, it works for me…like I said the Acura (98 TL, a rebadged Vigor and shortened Legend) operates the same way since it’s frameless. Kinda cool that both cars are, except the Acura is starting to suffer from wind noise in the cold temps.

    • 0 avatar
      mikedt

      I thought rear windows that wouldn’t go down all the way was a function of the rear door shape having to clear the wheel well. Cut out in the door meant there wasn’t an area for the window to retreat to.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      The Focus S model is going to be an extremely low volume loss leader type of car, don’t expect dealers to carry many, or for many people to go for that trim level.  The volume trims will be SE and SEL.
       
      The previous S model didn’t have any power windows at all, so, adding power for the front two is an improvement.  Also, since AC is standard, how often are your rear windows going to roll up and down?

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      What do any of us care NulloModo?  The hatchback isn’t sold in S trim so none of the people who post here will ever have to worry about wanting to buy an S model.  :) 

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      Dan -
      More than just enthusiasts, I’ve sold many, many, Foci, but as far as I can remember, I think I’ve only sold two or three S models.  Just like the hypothetical sub $10,000 new Versa or Elantra, the base model Focus is something that looks pretty from a price perspective in the advertisements, but it isn’t something that most people actually want to buy.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    “A $27,000 Ford Focus that turns out to be a good value—who saw this coming?”
    A $27,000 C segment car. This is not a happy thought. I don’t remember the exact price for my 2000 Honda Accord LX V6, but it was around $22,000. According to the BLS CPI calculator That is equal to $27,000 now.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, but your Accord didn’t have leather, navigation, or many of the other features on one of these $27,000 cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert Schwartz

      No it didn’t but, how much could those features be worth.* I could have gotten most of them in an EX at the time for maybe $2000 more, but they are D segment cars. A V6 is is still much nicer than a four. And a D-segment car has a lot more interior room than a C.
       
      *Their value to me was and is zero. I hate leather car upholstery, Built in sat nav has lost all value and was never much value to me — I like maps. Sun roof? We don’t see the sun for months at a time around here.

      It is like getting 4 oz of tuna in a can instead of 6.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      Then Robert, as a guy who likes cloth seats and foldable maps, you would never be looking at the $27k Focus Platinum in the first place.  You sound like a guy that would be more than happy in the approx. $19k Focus, if of course you were in the market for a C-segment car.

      I am guessing you are also one of those buyers who puts a premium on largeness, therefore a D-segment car is better than a C, etc etc.  I dont like big cars, so having the ability to purchase a smaller car that still has the features and quality of a “nicer” car is a bonus to me.  Ditto the V6, I dont think a V6 is automatically better than a 4cyl.  For a Honda, esp a 2000 Accord, I would much rather have the 4.

      Its more like comparing a 6oz can of tuna to 4 ozs of Ahi IMO.

    • 0 avatar
      TEXN3

      The Mazda3 has been touching that price point for 6 years now…a loaded out wagon with the S Grand Touring trim and a few options will get you there. I guess it’s a premium compact wagon then, getting close to the Audi A3 non-quattro in price, size, and performance (I think…not sure).

      Alot of money for a small car, no matter the level of features. I think it’s great that you can get more premium features in a smaller car, as opposed to the old way of thinking…luxury meant space, pace, and grace.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      TEXN3, I think the cheapest A3 is still about $28k, and they are pathetically stripped for that price too.  At the dealerships most are in the mid $30s… making the GTI actually seem like a bargain.  But even those, at least locally the new GTI has $2k in ADM for it being “limited availablility”?!?!  They literally have 10 of them on the lot… whats limited???  A GTI with the Autobahn pkg stickers for $33k, and I think its equipped about like the Platinum Focus.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert Schwartz

      Sorry, A V6 is smoother and better sounding than a four any time. Yes, more cylinders are better. The 3 liter Ferrari V12 was the very peak of civilization.
      Also, $19,000 for a C segment car is too much. I am a big guy, and I am happier in a bigger car. The idea of spending more than than $25,000 on a c segment car makes me blanch.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      So you are saying that a GM 3.1 V6 wheezer sounds better than a Honda b18??

      Dont think so… but this America, and more is always better!!  Go USA

    • 0 avatar
      Robert Schwartz

      “After feeding my cat what I thought was her usual 6.5-ounce can of food (half a can, twice a day), she began to protest. Nothing organized, of course, but she kept letting me know that she was hungry, although she had just been fed”
      “Eventually, I read the can and saw that it had dropped to 5.5 ounces. Not only was there no notification, but the instructions for feeding, one can a day, were still the same.”
      http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/01/opinion/l01food.html

    • 0 avatar
      Robert Schwartz

      mnm4ever: No, It is a Honda Honda comparison.

  • avatar
    mtr2car1

    I get what Michael is trying to do with his price comparision but for me it seems like he is nipping at the fringe of logical math.
    What price do would you put on an exta cog in the gearbox?  Same thing for the extra airbag – if the ford doesn’t need them to pass the same crash test, why give the chevy the extra feature credit?  After that, $1500 for a handful of items (the ford btw has tilt and telescope, so whats the price difference on that….$200, $800??)

    Why not use the tool to give us something realistic to talk about, VW freely admits that ~2% of Jetta’s sold are the base S, let’s discuss the models most like to be bought.
     
     
     

  • avatar
    Steven02

    I think the rear crank windows are only the bottom trim.  Pretty lame though.

  • avatar
    eldard

    The Volkswagen Jetta wins of course. What with its horn with EMP.

  • avatar
    Higheriq

    Older drivers see no value in SYNC?  Must mean older than 50 (I’m 50); I wish either of my Fords (09 Mustang and 05 Escape) had SYNC and you can bet your @%& that my next Ford WILL have SYNC.  Especially since they no longer offer CD changers in new cars.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    I’m kind of stupid here. Can somebody explain the difference between MSRP and invoice? I hear the terms all the time and can never figure it out. I know that invoice is generally lower than MSRP, which makes me wonder why the MSRP is so high to begin with.  Perhaps people with more experience buying new than I have can shed some light.

    Thanks. I’m going to go hide now for being a dink.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Cars are one of those weird things were listed price has little bearing on reality unless your at Car Max or get in a time machine and head to a Saturn dealer in the late 1990s.  You recently bought a new Kia, how did the sticker relate to the transaction price?

    • 0 avatar
      tankinbeans

      Dan –

      I don’t know if a comparison with my experience is the best. I took a little bit of a hit due to being a little upside down on my Pontiac, which I couldn’t feed. I believe the sticker was $14995 and they gave me a $1000 rebate, which ate up most of what I was upside down. I ended up skating out for $156xx before taxes license and fees were factored in. I’d have to look at my paperwork to be positive.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      MSRP is “Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price”, i.e. the price on the window. “Invoice”, in theory, is what the dealer paid for the car (though it often really isn’t). So the dealer’s gross profit is the difference between Invoice and MSRP (in theory).

  • avatar
    Z71_Silvy

    $27 Grand for that small and ugly is outrageous.  Ford must be smoking the good stuff.
     
    And, it seems to be, that Ford is trying to out do themselves in building an uglier vehicle than the last one they releases.  This Focus just follows Ford’s mantra that this vehicle HAS to be uglier than the last one.
     
    Ford can now truthfully state that they are the only full-line automaker that cannot come up with a decent design.  Everything they have looks as if it was designed by a blind person.

    • 0 avatar

      And no thread that touches on Ford is complete without Silvy’s completely impartial and unbiased opinion.
       
      So what was the triggering event? Did you come home from school to find your mom in the sack with a Ford salesman? You display such visceral hate for Ford that goes so far beyond normal fanboy antagonism that there has to be a story in there. Were you left at the altar by a girl for a guy with a Mustang and a mullet?

    • 0 avatar
      bizzarodave

      Ronnie, I’m convinced its some kind of performance art.  Its like David Blaine, only he’s crazy for Ford, not hanging out in a plexiglass box.

    • 0 avatar
      Silvy_nonsense

      $27 Grand for that spacious and good looking is perfect. [sic] Ford must be smoking the good stuff.
       
       
      And, it seems to be, that [sic] Ford is trying to out do the competition in building an better looking vehicle than the last one they releases [sic]. This Focus just follows Ford’s mantra that this vehicle HAS to be better looking than the last one.
       
       
      Ford can now truthfully state that they are the only full-line automaker that can come up with a decent design. Everything they have looks as if it was designed by an a sharp-eyed person.

    • 0 avatar
      Almost Jake

      You think the last model of the Focus is better looking than the new one? Who’s smoking the good stuff?

  • avatar
    Z71_Silvy

    So what was the triggering event? Did you come home from school to find your mom in the sack with a Ford salesman? You display such visceral hate for Ford that goes so far beyond normal fanboy antagonism that there has to be a story in there. Were you left at the altar by a girl for a guy with a Mustang and a mullet?
     
    As usual…you’re wrong.
     
    It’s actually just the infectious drive to tell the truth.  Some people (clearly including you) don’t like to hear the truth…and as such, you launch into a tirade of personal attacks.  That’s fine by me, because it accurately shows your maturity level…

    • 0 avatar
      Silvy_nonsense

      So what was the triggering event? Did you come home from school to find your mom in the sack with a Ford salesman? You display such visceral hate for Ford that goes so far beyond normal fanboy antagonism that there has to be a story in there. Were you left at the altar by a girl for a guy with a Mustang and a mullet?
       
      As usual…you’re right.
       
       
      It’s actually just the infections drive to attack a competitor that is executing much better than GM. Some people (clearly including you) don’t like to listen to lame attacks, constantly repeated…and as such, you launch into a tirade of highly accurate factual observations. That’s fine by me, because it accurately shows your ability to spot a troll.

    • 0 avatar

      As usual…you’re wrong.
       
      I’m pretty sure that I’m correct at least half of the time.
       
      As for Ford, I have no dog in that fight. I’ve never been a Ford guy or a Chevy guy. Each company has made some good vehicles and each company has screwed the pooch a few times as well.
       
      As for infections, maybe you should see a doctor about that.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      If I may defend Z71_Silvy, he did own a Crown Victoria and likes the Falcon, so it isn’t like he 100% hates everything to do with Ford.
       
      I also don’t know where the “Silvy is GM Fanboy” line of thinking came from.  Is it just because of his screen name? I’ve seen him praise plenty of other auto makers.  He is much more of a Ford hater than a GM lover.
       
      Although I do think his comments are rather trollish, he generally avoids personal attacks, Ed and the other editors haven’t seen fit to ban him, and I think it’s better to just ignore him rather than to engage him or openly mock him for his posts.

  • avatar
    colin42

    This is simple. Focus = Hatchback = Winner

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      I’ve been having the same thoughts since Baruth drove one – http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/02/review-2011-ford-focus-se-sedan-and-focus-titanium-five-door/

    • 0 avatar
      MrKiwi

      Why do car enthusiasts overwhelmingly like hatchbacks? Is it just the extra utility and usefulness, or is there something else that I’m missing? I understand the passion for manual transmission, but I don’t get what it is about hatches…

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Utillity for me.  If it was available as a small wagon (you know a little extra room behind the rear seats like my old Escort wagon) I’d be dancing for joy.  I once hauled a 27in (not flatscreen but old school cathode-ray tube) TV home (STILL IN THE BOX) in the back of my Escot wagon without putting the seats down.  That made me smile.  I carried a cheap dining room table and chairs kit home from K-mart in that sucker with the seats folded down and the “hatch” shut.  That’s the utillity factor for me. 

    • 0 avatar
      donkensler

      The utility of the hatch does it for me.  Once upon a time I accompanied a co-worker who was buying a second-hand bureau.  He had a ’78 (pre-Panther, even) Marquis, and we couldn’t secure the bureau in the trunk adequately.  So we went back to his place, got my ’79 (Fox) Mustang hatch, and the bureau slid right in, we tied down the hatch, and got the bureau back to his place safe and sound.  Also, I took several camping trips over the years in which we put three people, three backpacks, food for the trip, a tent, and a large cooler in a Fox Mustang hatch.
       
      I’ve never understood the aversion Americans have to hatches.

  • avatar

    And how many of them can be had with a hatch?
     
    Case closed.

  • avatar
    zeus01

    I do like the nose treatment on the new Focus: Snarling. Aggressive. It’s the Anti-Mazda….

  • avatar
    Acd

    Ford had to leave room for the inevitable $2000-$4000 rebates combined with 0.9-4.9% financing (see dealer for details).

  • avatar
    changsta

    The new Focus really isn’t priced too badly, especially when you compare it with the competition. In my case, I was comparing the pricing on a Focus Titanium Hatch, and a VW Golf Sportline. The VW is absolutely lacking in features next to the Focus, yet is more expensive!
    I was pretty excited about the new Focus until I read Car & Drivers’ review of an SEL sedan with the dual clutch automatic. They wrote that the transmission on their test car was already chattering… which does not seem to bode well for long term reliability. Does anyone on the board have a new Fiesta with the dual clutch auto? I’m looking to buy a new car soon, probably with auto (manual is fun, but not in bumper to bumper commuter traffic), and I’m now worried about the durability of the dual clutch…

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      The track record for dual clutch trannys hasn’t been great as of thus far.
       
      VW DSG…go to VWVortex or another VW forum and read what owners have to say about them. Plenty of trans problems there.
       
      BMW SMG: in the BMW community it’s known as “Serious Money Gone”. Link here.
       
      http://sandiegobmw.wordpress.com/2011/01/24/smg-serious-money-gone-on-your-bmw/
       
      I hope Ford manages to make a reliable dual clutch tranny. I’d greatly prefer one to the dim-wittedness of even the best torque converter based automatic transmission.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      C&D seemed to think Fords dual clutch was a little dimwitted in it’s logic too.  Personally part of me wants to buy a real manual trans for my next car so I can tell my grandkids; “I remember when cars had transmissions that you had to shift for yourself.” ;)

    • 0 avatar

      Dan, that’s a scary thought.
      I’ve heard bad things about Ford’s dual clutch transmissions when used in the Fiesta, although as of yet nothing about those used in the new Focus… I guess time will tell.

    • 0 avatar
      changsta

      This makes it so difficult to actually purchase the car though… I certainly don’t want to end up with a big repair bill on their dual clutch tranny… plus, the Titanium only comes with auto, and the SEL with manual,you can’t order the sport package!

  • avatar
    anchke

    The C&D comparo picked the Focus as Numero Uno (2 Mazda3 3 Elantra 4Cruze 5Jetta), but the descrip of the dual clutch transmission (“numerous disconcerting clunks and jolts”) wasn’t encouraging. Meanwhile, over at True Delta, most (I think) of the Fiesta’s reliability woes were connected with dual clutch crankiness.  Some of the predictions I’ve heard re longevity of dual clutch (and CVT) transmissions wouldn’t offer comfort to buy and hold types. Make mine a manual, barkeep.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Never mind the option jungle. How goods the actual car? NHTSA results? Insurance quotes? What about the Venetian blind grill how much to replace – is it only 36 month on the warranty? How’s that dual-clutch shifting about? Ford cashes in on the early birds. Remember all the Focus hype last time and look where it landed.

    • 0 avatar
      MoppyMop

      What the hell do insurance quotes have to do with how good the car is?  If anything, the shittier the car the cheaper it will be to insure as the residual value will plummet like a rock.

  • avatar
    Almost Jake

    Am I the only one who thinks the eco model (with the closing vents) is a bad idea in cold weather states? I know this winter was brutal in MI. Wouldn’t ice and snow prevent the vents from opening and closing correctly? To me, the effort to keep them “free” isn’t worth the couple MPG saved. The vehicles MPGs will fluctuate more from different driving habits.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    Regarding the Focus Titanium’s value at $26k.  We paid about the same amount in  2003 for a Volkswagen Passat (B5) GLS,  with similar equipment (with leather, stick, heated seats, 170 horsepower engine). The the old Passat and the new Focus weigh about the same and are similarly sized inside. The Passat was 24-35 EPA on the old scale which would be something like 22-32 on the current scale.  It was a nice car and worth the money.
    Like Michael Karesh, I was surprised to find the Cruze seemingly overpriced for highly-optioned models but very competitive at the base level. In fact the base and Eco Cruze are on my short list with the Focus for my next car.
    What I really want to know is how MK has enough time to test drive and write up all these cars, do independent research, run True Delta and raise a family.  I think a time turner must be involved.

  • avatar
    johnny_five


    Both cars are top notch, but the study is missing a few “features” on the Focus (specifically the base version comparison).
    1.        Focus auto gets 15% better gas mileage than Cruze
    Focus S Auto – 31mpg combined
    Cruze LS Auto – 27 mpg combined
    2.       Focus has 17% more horsepower than Cruze.
    3.       Focus has fully independent rear suspension, Cruze has “semi” independent compound crank.
    Call me crazy, but better mileage, more power, and better ride and handling, those are all  features that add value to a car.


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