What's Wrong With This Picture: Maximum Focus Edition

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
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what s wrong with this picture maximum focus edition

Ford previews its next-generation Focus C-Max. As a global product, it should be one of several Europe-derived models heading stateside in a few years. Maximum Bob Lutz could not be reached for maximum comment.

Edward Niedermeyer
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  • FreedMike FreedMike on Sep 05, 2009
    Wheatridger : September 5th, 2009 at 10:49 am to FeedMike- Even with an ailing turbo and 140K on the clock, my TDI VW will cruise up the highest, steepest Interstate highway in the USA at 85 mph. What more “performance” do I need? So will my '05 Focus ST. All I have to do is drop it into fourth. But the difference is that a Jetta TDI costs $22,270 base, and my Focus cost me $14,500 brand new, fully loaded. For eight grand, I'll downshift now and again. Mileage-wise, my Focus gets 25 mpg around town, in a mix of freeway and surface street driving. Car and Driver tested a Jetta TDI and got an average of 36 mpg. So, from an economic standpoint, given that mileage and gas (or diesel) at $2.50, and annual mileage of 15,000, it'll take me 18 years for the investment in the Jetta to pay off. And in the meantime, my Focus is reasonably economical, and frankly, I've lost count of how many TDIs I've blasted in the Stoplight Grand Prix over the years. There are some performance advantages to diesel - torque at highway speeds is one, as you correctly state - but I can buy a lot more performance for a lot less money with a gas compact car. Diesels just don't make economic sense for compact cars in our country at this point.
  • Wheatridger Wheatridger on Sep 05, 2009

    Small sample sizes here, so our argument may not mean much in the grand scheme. And if you're bragging about the "Stoplight grand prix," sorry, my friend, that's idiotic. You're welcome to beat me to the next red light, and I'll catch up to to you there. So what? But you should know these facts. My TDI, an '02 model, averages a consistent 44 mpg. It's far quieter than a VW gasser at highway speeds. I know this because I've owned quite a few of those. And it'll be worth a lot more than your Focus -- a car I like, BTW-- come resale time. Based on my experience, all of it in the USA, I don't look forward to buying another gas-powered car, ever.

  • FreedMike FreedMike on Sep 06, 2009
    Wheatridger : September 5th, 2009 at 4:20 pm Small sample sizes here, so our argument may not mean much in the grand scheme. And if you’re bragging about the “Stoplight grand prix,” sorry, my friend, that’s idiotic. You know, I don't call YOUR automotive priorities idiotic...do me the same honor, will you? I like to drive quickly - that's my thing. The car I bought is a better tool for doing that than your car. That's why I bought the one I did. You may have your own priorities. And, OK, let's look at depreciation on each car. The Jetta probably retailed for about $20,000 in 2002; the Focus sold for $14,500 in 2005. We'll also assume both cars are in pristine condition. The Jetta has 140,000 miles; the Focus has 52,000. Per Kelley Blue Book, the retail on the Jetta is $9,430; the Focus is at $9,875. Depreciation per mile, Jetta: $.076 Depreciation per mile, Focus: $.088 Not exactly a massive difference. For an extra penny a mile for depreciation, I prefer a car that goes fast. The major advantage of the Jetta will be fuel economy, and that's a no-brainer, but then again, the Jetta is four seconds slower to 60 than my Focus ST, and that's a huge advantage as well. Again, it'll cost me more to run the Focus, but frankly, I really enjoy the performance, so it's worth it to me. The difference in cost per mile is not compelling enough for me to seriously consider a diesel, particularly at a higher sticker price. I'm not alone, which is why diesels don't sell in this market segment in this country.
  • Wheatridger Wheatridger on Sep 06, 2009

    C'mon, FM- let's compare like to like. Not a Jetta vs. a Focus, measured in "depreciation per mile." That's not a common criteria, and your mileage certainly varies from mine. I do almost 15,000 miles a year driving my kid around, before I count my own errands. Take my car.. please! Though I know you wouldn't. My 2002 New Beetle GLS, 5MT & diesel is valued by KBB at $9,165/$7640 (EX - FAIR condition, private party value). The same car with the base 2.0 gasser is now worth $6,540/$5,400, so I'm seeing a $2,000-$2,500 price premium for the diesel. That's about equal to the MSRP spread between them originally. Even the high performance Beetle, the 1.8 turbo, lags $1,600 in value behind the diesel in used value. The resale advantages of diesel only increase with age. There's a tradition of buying diesels with six-figure odometer readings, but a gas car doesn't get much respect after 150K. So I believe I'm saving plenty of coin with my diesel. But all that wouldn't matter if I didn't enjoy the drive. And I haven't even started in about the large HP increases you can get with a little performance tuning.