By on September 12, 2012

 YouTube Preview Image

Today, we’re trying something new. Alex is doing his review in video-only format. Let us know how you like it.

Ford provided the vehicle, insurance and a tank of gas for this review.

Specifications as tested

0-30: 2.93 Seconds

0-60: 7.61 Seconds

1/4 Mile: 16 Seconds @ 86 MPH

Average Fuel Economy: 30.5 MPG over 679 miles

 

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73 Comments on “Video Review: 2012 Ford Focus SE Sedan...”


  • avatar
    crm114

    Speaking only for myself, I pretty much always prefer my content in written form with photos. It’s faster to consume the same amount of information and I can read in many more places and situations than I can watch videos.

    • 0 avatar
      tuffjuff

      +1

      Video only = can’t actually consume the content, as I primarily visit TTAC while at work.

      Not that they’ll care – they’ve already gotten the page visits/ad impressions just by me signing in to post this comment. ;)

      • 0 avatar
        KalapanaBlack

        +2. I read TTAC on my phone or at work. My phone doesn’t get 3G coverage inside many buildings, which means I can load the page when/where I have 3G and then read it later. The video will be forever buffering.

        At work, I read on a computer with a slow internet connection (again, buffering) and no speakers (no sound).

        Both my phone and (inexplicably) work computer have data usage caps, and streaming videos use quite a bit of that cap up quickly. This seems like the wrong time to have given this a go. Several years ago, the internet was unlimited in most places. These days, phone/tablet visitors are up against the data usage caps that nearly every phone company has introduced, and it looks like traditional wired internet providers are heading in that direction in the near future, as well.

        I greatly prefer to read my reviews rather than try to watch/listen to them unsuccessfully.

        Thanks.

      • 0 avatar
        KalapanaBlack

        Also, hosting them on Youtube means stupid ads even if you can watch them.

        Look at Yahoo!’s experimentation with videos versus typed news stories. The videos get far fewer clicks, and the comments sections are always heavily laden with negative comments about the fact that it’s a video instead of a print story that can be read. Those are <3 min. videos.

        Trust me guys, this is a bad move.

      • 0 avatar
        Astigmatism

        +3. Another work lurker; I clicked through here this once to ask that this not happen any more, but generally I just don’t bother clicking through to the video stories on MT, etc.

        So Alex, what did you think of the car?

      • 0 avatar
        tonycd

        Same work comment applies here.

      • 0 avatar
        FuzzyPlushroom

        @KB:

        Adblock Plus (adblockplus.org) in Firefox or Adblock (chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/gighmmpiobklfepjocnamgkkbiglidom) in Chrome will solve that ad issue on a desktop, assuming you have permissions to install ‘em.

        Now, as for ability to skim through a review with music in the background, video just can’t compete there…

      • 0 avatar
        AKM

        +xx. Another work lurker. I like double reviews. Euro c

      • 0 avatar
        AKM

        +xx. Another work lurker. I like double reviews. Euro car sites do both video and written form, with pretty much the same text. IGN does the same for videogames. That way, you get the choice. It’s a little more work, but not much really, since I assume the reviewer speaks from a script

    • 0 avatar
      ivyinvestor

      Another for not being able to read the SE review during lunch at work: boo/hiss.

    • 0 avatar
      Dave56

      +4, I prefer the written word with videos as extras. Actually I didn’t even watch the video, what did you think of it?

      • 0 avatar
        Freddy M

        +next

        Although I’m cool with my IT department and “can” get away with watching vids at work, I think as a whole the Video reviews should be supplementary.

        Good review though.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      +4

      For the reasons already mentioned, plus I speak for everyone straight that says we don’t want to watch dudes reviewing cars (no offense, Alex) — we just want to read cleverly written prose with accompanying photos of the car.

      We’d probably make occasional exceptions and want to see video reviews by hot chicks with big racks and small waists, even if they know nothing about what they speak, or even if they just stand there, next to the car, half-naked, saying nothing.

    • 0 avatar
      jeffzekas

      Alex: Well done!

      Question: how QUIET is the Focus inside? It seems that reviewers never talk about interior noise- this is important to me, because my wife is partially deaf, so she needs a quiet car, in order hear the music and talk (her favorite “quiet car is Lexus RX350, naturally).

      Maybe ALL the reviews on TTAC could include a sound test, or else a subjective “talk with your buddy in the left seat with music playing” type of test?

      I vote for video AND written- written for when I am in a hurry- video when the old lady isn’t home, and I can listen at leisure.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    “Today, we’re trying something new.”

    Don’t try it anymore, please. :(

  • avatar
    dts187

    Not a fan of video only. It makes lurking TTAC at work very difficult.

  • avatar
    Alex L. Dykes

    Thanks for the input everyone, you raise a good point about the “work lurkers” that can’t deal with videos.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Video isn’t a bad idea, just include the print as well.

      • 0 avatar
        carguy

        +1 Love the video portion of your reviews but print is sometimes better when on the road or at work.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        Agreed. Videos add context that you can’t get from text, but alone they suffer. My problem with video-only is that I often reread several parts of an article to make sure I absorb everything. It’s much harder to do that with a video.

        As for the car, I had a Focus SE for a couple weeks recently. The car parts were superb, but the user interfaces & gadgets were just frustrating: nested menus for the trip computer? reseting trip miles & mpg separately? putting outside temp in the trip display? no usb? no fast-forward/rewind within a song? a dome light that could never make up its mind on how it wanted to work? Seriously Ford?

        I also found I didn’t like the stereo staying on after the car is off & key removed (till the door is opened). I’m sure others like it, but I just don’t see it as an improvement over traditional systems.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    i’m in two minds about this…

    firstly why visit TTAC when you can go to youtube to see the complied works of Alex Dykes?

    I like to read a bit but too much is too much.

    Also I think too much video is also too much video. I think the total combined videos on the new Accord is upwards of 20 mins? And to be fair, there’s a lot of information to get thru so whether its print or video, you want to keep people entertained i guess for that 10-15 mins.

    Ok to the car… is 5 spd manual enough these days? Does it need a 6th gear for marketing?

    As a C segment, does one have the assumption, like in Europe, that this car can pass as a family car for say a couple and two kids?

    I think the Cruze has the same problem. Here’s a car that is over 3,000lb but seems to have very little rear legroom…

    • 0 avatar
      Freddy M

      In Europe the Fiesta is considered a family car. I think it must be a young family though, 2 parents and 2 young children.

      So by comparison, the Cruze and Focus must seem like limos.

  • avatar
    Alex L. Dykes

    A 6th gear would likely help fuel economy at higher speeds, the engine seems to have enough torque to handle a taller gear. I would call it suitable for a family of four, depending on how tall the adults are. If you’re 6′ and under, then you’ll be OK with child seats in the rear but if you are much taller rearward facing seats would not fit.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      I recently drove a Focus all around CO, up-and-down mountains with a fair amount of gear. I felt the power was more than adequate, and for the whole trip averaged around 38-39 mpg with the auto. The decision-making of the transimssion was more decisive than most–on climbs it never got confused about which gear it should go to and stayed in a lower gear rather than shifting up, stalling, shifting down, speeding up, shifting up, ad nauseum.

      • 0 avatar
        Duncan

        Redav – I’m shocked by your observed fuel economy. I recently had a new Focus and the computer reported average fuel economy under 20 mpg for most of the trip, after a long trek on the highway, I ended up with a tank average of 23 mpg on the computer. When I filled it up, I calculated 27 mpg.

        I was both suprised by how poor the observed fuel economy was and that the computer was under-reporting by more than 10%.

        My experience with the automatic was also quite the opposite. I found it spend most of it’s time in a state of confusion. It would kick up into a very high gear early in city driving, if I needed to accelerate, it would always need to downshift, then it would hold the lower gear when I lifted off the throttle and cause the vehicle to surge. I was mostly doing city driving though, I’m sure mountain roads would be more satisfying.

  • avatar
    redliner

    I have no problem with videos at work, but it seems I’m in the minority, and admittedly, I have a somewhat unique office/work environment where I will be alternately flooded with a ridiculous amount of work, or doing absolutely nothing at all. When I’m at working, but not in the office, I have unlimited data on my tablet and phone, so data caps are a non-issue.

  • avatar
    86SN2001

    God that is one hideous car. What were they thinking?

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      It does have a pretty big maw, but it kind of grew on me. Not sure if that’s good or bad yet myself.

    • 0 avatar
      kam327

      That’s totally subjective. I find it to be one of the best looking cars in the class and the Elantra, Veloster and Civic hideous.

      • 0 avatar
        86SN2001

        There is nothing even remotely attractive about this car. Like all new Fords (and the Lincoln rebadges), it looks like a fish that swam a tad too close to the nuke plant.

        There is no design fluidity from front to rear. It’s as if there was a team to design every panel, light, etc and none of them talked to each other.

        But the front is the absolute worst. It rivals the Lincoln rebadge of the Flex in terms of horrid design. What was the design meeting like:

        “Ok folks, we need to come up with a very offensive design that incorporated two very large triangles in the front grille”.

        It’s been clear for some time that Ford does not have one designer that should still be employed.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      When the first photos were available of this Focus, I posted them on Autosport’s F1 website as being the new US model. All the Europeans laughed at us for getting such a hideous piece of crud until I told them they were going to get it too. I don’t think the sedan looks as bad as the hatchback, but that face looks like something Chris Bangle would dump out.

      • 0 avatar
        FromaBuick6

        I recall Top Gear UK scoffing at it when they first saw it as well. Not that they’re a great authority on anything or even remotely serious, but they really liked the Fiesta, the previous Focuses and even the new Mondeo. This Focus, unlike the Fiesta which was merely dumbed in the U.S. market, has been dumbed down for everyone. It appears to be selling well, but it’s no longer the European critical darling it once was.

        Of course, the hacks in the American press are either too dumb or too well-bribed to pick up on that.

        The original Focus was a much more advanced and compelling car relative to the competition when it first came here in 2000. This is an also-ran. What’s worse is that new car has inherited the old car’s record for safety recalls and poor reliability, problems which Ford has utterly failed to correct in 12 years. How many non-fanboys will make the same mistake twice?

      • 0 avatar
        TonyJZX

        i rememeber first seeing this iteration on Top Gear and thinking it looks awesome… because it was black and hence the giant holes in the front couldnt be seen… and it had the Euro style snowflake wheels… and it has the ecoboost 1.6 turbo 6 spd. man. which isn’t available elsewhere (as yet)

        but in white? nah… and it has a horrible interior IMO… the Cruze for all its dowdiness beats it there and IMO continues to set the scene for interior design for the money if not absolute build… too bad it looks how it does on the outside

      • 0 avatar
        kam327

        “The original Focus was a much more advanced and compelling car relative to the competition when it first came here in 2000. This is an also-ran.”

        Wow, lots of Chevy fan boys on here. You could say this of any compact car on the market today thanks to ever increasing safety and fuel economy regulations. The fact that it’s the best selling car in the world so far this year shows it’s still the best overall package out there in its class.

        “What’s worse is that new car has inherited the old car’s record for safety recalls and poor reliability, problems which Ford has utterly failed to correct in 12 years.”

        Well this is just factually wrong. The ’00 Focus has 18 recalls. The ’12 Focus has 1. Try again Chevy boy.

      • 0 avatar
        FromaBuick6

        @kam327: Wow, I’ve been called a lot of things, but “Chevy Fanboy” isn’t one of them.

        You do know that there are more than two manufacturers of automobiles…right?

        I give the GM guys on this site a pretty hard time, but they come nowhere close to the head-in-sand denials and general cluelessness of the Ford guys.

        I have to admit, though, I’d buy a Cruze before I bought a Focus.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        WAIT. So the current U.S. Ford Focus is not the same Focus that has been praised as premium compact car in Europe, by the likes of Top Gear (I know they’re more enter than info tainment, but still…)?

        I never did like the interior materials, gauges or design of the dashboard in the new Focus, the rear seat has less legroom than many competitors, the ‘PowerShift’ transmission is absolutely horrid, but I at least thought the suspension, motor and guts of the vehicle were the same for U.S. versions now as that which sold well in Europe?

      • 0 avatar
        outback_ute

        I think they should have used this front end for the ST, and something more like the Focus EV or the new facelifted Fiesta. I’d expect this has been “too much” for some, and lost sales.

        @Deadweight, Europe gets different engines at least, such as the 1.6 Ecoboost and soon the 1.0 plus of course diesels.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      Focus has one ugly, cheezy front end. Just about worst in class looks-wise.

      Its destiny is to be a fleet queen.

  • avatar
    kam327

    Alex, you mentioned the $1,100 package, which I assume is the Sport Package, includes only leather wrapped steering wheel and shifter and spoiler. But you omitted the 4 most important things in the package: more supportive ‘sport’ seats, rear disc brakes, firmer suspension, and alloy wheels. For all of that stuff $1,100 is a bargain.

    Of course it’s a moot point since the Sport Package was replaced by the differently-equipped Appearance Package for ’13.

    Which then begs the question, why didn’t you review a ’13 model which just hit the dealer lots within the past couple of weeks?

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Somehow Ford managed to get a number of reviews for this particular press car in the past few weeks. Motor Trend has one on their website too, even though it is basically an obsolete trim level and who cares about the Focus anymore anyway? It has been reviewed to death and nothing significant has been improved. Very odd.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        This trim level was a program that just hit production. Basically a BOM released mid cycle. The preproduction units were put in press fleets, thus you get this. I can assure you it wasn’t a ‘lone car.’ Most likely 5-15 units depending on the budget.

  • avatar
    jgcaulder

    Much like other posters, I visit this site while at work, so it’s not likely I’ll watch any of these videos with the boss always lurking around the corner.

  • avatar
    Monty

    Alex – thanks for the comprehensive review. The information about the Sync and electronics was a welcome addition to my limited knowledge of such systems.

    A few questions, though. I own an 05 Focus ZX5 SES hatch with the manual, and have found it one of the best cheap car transmissions I’ve ever used – is the transmission and clutch combo as slick shifting in the newest iteration? Also, how would you define the noise level, especially on the highway? That’s one of my very few complaints about our Focus – the road noise can be draining on an extended highway drive.

    I, like others have commented, would appreciate the text version of the review. I don’t always have the ability to view a video all the way through in one sitting, whereas it’s not so much of a problem to read the review in multiple sittings.

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      The new Focus is very very quiet, almost eerily quiet you might say (for a compact car). I found the 5 speed to be an excellent companion. The shifts aren’t terribly short but they aren’t long either and the clutch is on the better side of average for the segment.

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    Not a fan of the video format either. Alex does a pretty good job with the video, but written reviews are much faster and easier to consume.

    There must be a large group out there that prefers video, since it seems like every website has more video content at the expense of written. Very frustrating.

    • 0 avatar

      I just don’t like videos and very rarely watch them. As others have said, I prefer reading because it is fast.

      The contents of this review will forever be a mystery to me unless someone posts a summary.

      I appreciate the experiment, but my feedback is a single thumb, pointed down.

  • avatar
    stottpie

    i was pretty excited about this review, as i have EXACTLY this car, except in black. same wheels, same sport package, same sync package, same manual transmission, sedan.

    for the most part i agreed with Alex. while the buttons certainly look busy at first, you’ll find that they are very logical and there isn’t a single button that i would want to get rid of to clean it up. the voice recognition is at least a generation ahead of Siri. it works so much better.

    i’ll echo what you said about the rear seat space. i would not recommend this car if you often find yourself with adult rear occupants. it just isn’t suitable for that.

    the sport seats, which you didn’t mention (!) are very good. furthermore, this car truly handles well. i can easily take turns faster than i’d be comfortable taking in a newer mustang GT. it’s very nimble.

    i work at an automotive firm and get to test drive tons of different cars as well (had a 2013 fusion last night). the reason i leased my focus is because i got to drive it at work and truly loved the way it drove.

    i do not like the automatic in the focus though. it is tuned more for economy, and isn’t very smooth.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Almost 12 minutes is way too long for a car review video. Then again, I don’t watch a lot of the videos on TTAC. They’re almost the same level of torture as having to watch videos of Lil Bobby’s baseball game. A few gung-ho advocates and a small fan base. I’d much rather read the write up at my leisure and comment as I feel. Videos are the secret sauce, not the hamburger patty.

  • avatar
    FromaBuick6

    I’ll pass on the video reviews, as well. It just so happens I’m playing hooky today, but I typically read TTAC at work on a not-video-friendly computer.

    I’m not saying you shouldn’t do videos, but an accompanying transcript would be better.

  • avatar
    CompWizrd

    Among other things, it’s not friendly to deaf/HoH without captioning.

  • avatar
    fincar1

    Because of my old G4 Mac and my satellite internet connection I simply don’t watch videos. Occasionally the short (1 minute or less) video will play more or less okay, but that’s about it. So, this video is wasted on me.

  • avatar
    sketch447

    OMIGOSH, he actually squeezed himself in the trunk!! Who is this guy?? Mr. Dykes, you are now my favorite automotive journalist. Good looking, excellent diction, and you go the extra journalistic mile for your viewers.

    • 0 avatar
      CompWizrd

      My friend and I chucked about a 6 year old into the trunk of my wife’s ’11 Focus to show him the trunk release.. got about 10 seconds before he started screaming after we closed it.. friend hopped in trunk to demonstrate the trunk wasn’t an evil place, and then the kid and his younger sister both wanted to hop in the trunk… so an adult and two kids fit in a 2011 Focus.

      The kids mother came over to see why her kid was screaming, and we had to explain we were doing a child safety demonstration, and told the kid in front of his mother to never do this.

      She wasn’t as impressed as we expected. She brought it up at my friends wedding last week, “i know you guys are going to be great parents, despite putting my kid in your trunk”, etc. :)

      • 0 avatar
        Freddy M

        LMAO brilliant story :)

        A friend recently had a Chevy Malibu as a rental. When he off-handedly remarked about how large the trunk was I told him I absolutely HAD to jump in and find out. — What does that say about me? :$

        It was enormous. And I had great fun searching for the emergency release… only to find out the bastard was sitting on the trunk lid. I guess I was asking for that.

  • avatar
    tonykaz

    Dykes is Superb ! the video is all I ever look at , I’m never going to buy any of these cars but these Video reviews keep me up-to-date on the progression of the Transportation Industry . Now-a-days , TTAC is providing all the insight that Car & Driver should’ve been reporting all these years ( I barely bother to flip thru a Gar Glossy if I find one laying on a waiting room table ( the floor mats ads are probably the most believable thing in the mag anyway ) . Steve Lang is Brilliant , JB is always a good read despite his Ford biases , I miss the guy from Oregon , that junkyard stuff is a bad dream from decades ago that I’d just rather got melted down and turned into Toyota hubcaps , all you guys are doing great work !!! Big News : Our Gross Domestic Profit is at the 15 Trillion Dollar level , all time high from the 2008 level of 14.2 Trillion , you guys should be folding this into your “Context” . My best regards , Tony
    ps , great work Alex !!

  • avatar

    Be honest with us, Mister Dykes…you just didn’t feel like writing today, did you?

    It’s okay–I’m a novelist and so I completely understand…

  • avatar
    tbhride

    There are so many videos out there that I’ll probably never get around to viewing this one. I definitely prefer the written word on my car reviews.

    Video is nice but only as a supplement – there if you want more. For instance I loved the Track videos that Jack did recently about the “Bargain Basement Bolides” – most of the time however I won’t bother with video at all.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    If I wanted to watch video reviews of cars, I would watch Motor Week on TV. Please no. Not compatible with reading TTAC when not in my home office, which is 80% of the time.

    • 0 avatar

      Like most everyone else, I’m -1 for the videos. Nice as supplements but I’d hate for them to be the only review source.

      As to Motorweek, that show (or I) must exist in some sort of wormhole. Every “new” episode will have one or two segments that are new to me with the rest things I’ve seen before. Case in point the most recent “new” episode: a Focus electric review that was new to me, but the Passat story, the Merc blurb and the flood damaged cars segments were things I’ve seen two or three times recently.

      I’d much rather read in depth reviews here and save video for the HD big screen where action can be showcased.

  • avatar
    Clarence

    There are certain things that come across better through video – like the back seat space. I say bring on more video reviews, but lose the intro and maybe go easy on the spinning transitions.

  • avatar
    dougjp

    In my opinion, videos are for…..surprise….motion. If there has to be talking it can be describing how the understeer is taking the car off the road while its happening, but in as few words as possible, we are listening to the tires and engine :)

  • avatar
    mfgreen40

    I like this type of review

  • avatar
    denvertsxer

    -1 on the video-only reviews. I work at home and could sit in my underwear watching videos all day if I wanted. But I’d still rather read a car review. Short videos as a supplement? Yes.

    And thanks for asking. And for all the great articles.

  • avatar
    Joss

    How much does that Focus snout with moving slats cost to repair/replace? Audi/VW?

  • avatar
    Dimwit

    I liked the video but can understand why there’s resistance. I think that TTAC needs to stick to show and tell, not just show.

  • avatar
    James Courteau

    The video wont even show up, so no content for me!

  • avatar
    Polar Bear

    Alex is a good and motivated presenter. I like him. Room for improvement: Try not talking so fast. I noticed the speed was fastest in the beginning of the video. Check the words per minute rate they use in broadcast TV. A lower words per minute rate makes the video easier to follow and it looks less busy and more professional.

  • avatar
    maxmingus

    I would like the written review in addition to the video review. One suggestion would be to offer the video in sections of 2 to 3 minutes each. That makes it more digestible for those of us at the office, and lets us skip to the parts we’re interested in.

  • avatar
    daveainchina

    Don’t mind a video review, but I’d rather see the written review. That way i can take it in bits and pieces if I need to, trying to find the place you left off in a video it just too difficult.

    I also find video reviews to be less coherent than written ones. I get more information and more of an impression from written ones, which I’m sure seems odd.

  • avatar
    C170guy

    And look at that. Proof that you don’t need an exhaust manifold living right next to the radiator. The engine is installed the right way around.

    Shame about the rest of the car though. Electric steering and not knowing what the wheels are doing is 180* opposite of what you should find in a Focus, earlier forms had this in spades. If you want bad steering go drive a rusty Silverado. They should have changed the name to the Bogus. (Klingon dashboards don’t help.)

    If you own a new one, don’t ever drive an older one where the steering wheel is actually attached to something -and not a bad video game controller. You’ll have buyers remorse big time. The old one was mliles ahead of anything else out there. The old one was fun and precise to drive where the new one is kind of a corollabuick. Meh.

    By some measures it’s a great car, but it’s not a real Focus.

  • avatar
    wstansfi

    I like the video reviews. If there is a video review I don’t usually read the text because it’s all in the video. Also, I can watch these during lunch or while sitting on the couch at home. Sure, you can’t consume the info as fast, but the video does communicate more than the text and photos. Besides, I feel for this guy going through all the trouble of making a video review, then having to write out and the text.

  • avatar
    tmport

    I love Alex’s video reviews, and prefer them to the text-only reviews. (I read TTAC from home, though, so I don’t have the issue of not being able to watch videos from work.) I’d much rather see the car “in person,” so to speak, though I also appreciate the fact that written reviews can often provide information and feedback more efficiently. A blend of the two is probably the best way to go.


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