By on January 25, 2012

Photo courtesy of The Creampie Press Club

TTAC’s initial review of the current Ford Focus was an enthusiastic one, and a year later I’ll still stand by that enthusiasm. Today, there’s a new reason to be enthusiastic about Ford’s chic, Continental, and cher compact.

Ford has apparently read my Christmas wish list and decided to work on Wish #3. Multiple websites are reporting this morning that the Focus Titanium, previously available solely with Ford’s somewhat star-crossed PowerShift twin-clutch automatic, will have a manual transmission available for order.

Will it be the five-speed which can be had on the SE model, or the six-speed that will reportedly accompany the Focus ST? Don’t bet on the latter. With the addition of a manual transmission, Europhiles should find the Titanium to be the perfect car. It’s expensive, luxurious, small, economical, available as a hatchback, and not “overpowered”. What are you waiting for? Another question: What was Ford waiting for? Our guess: the Dodge Dart’s agnostic approach to transmission availability forced the Blue Oval’s hand.

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63 Comments on “Ford Focus Titanium, Like Luke Skywalker, Is Switching To Manual Control...”


  • avatar

    About time ford smartened up!

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Yeah! A small victory for those of us who prefer manuals!

  • avatar
    mike978

    It seems that they listened to some car buyers – that is to be applauded. It doesn`t hurt that the price of a Titanium now drops $1000!

    • 0 avatar
      alluster

      With inventories building up ford has started to discount the Focus according to Truecar, which is a good thing considering how pricey the units on dealer lots were. The average savings now is 2.9% off msrp.

      Only the Cruze has been able to keep its price premium. Average saving is only .4%, the only compact with ATP higher than MSRP and the top of the line Cruze transacting at $23,300 compare that to the Focus Titanium at $21,700 or the top of the line corolla at $17,000.

      The Corolla has so much cash on the hood for an already low MSRP It must be keeping Toyota exces up all night.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        Average transaction prices do not include fleet sales. Over 20 percent of Cruze sales are to fleet customers, so its “price premium” may not be all that it seems.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Time will tell if this move will turn this into a game changer.

        I like the Focus, but even with its premium-ness relative to the segment, still think it’s pricey, and that near goodness can be had at far more affordable rates.

        It’s going to be interesting to see how the soon to be sold Dodge Dart, with 3 engine choices, and a manual transmission available in each one, does relative to the Focus and Cruze.

        If some of the less optimistic (and often correct in the past) auto analysts are right in their revised estimations, incentive cash is going to have to be piled higher, nearly industry wide, in order to move a yet-again-growing inventory of metal (IOW, channel stuffing seems to be coming back in vogue, for a variety of reasons, some of them apparently political?).

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        Alluster – For dis offering $2000 on all SE and above models. That is a hefty discount on a $20-27K car.

        On a side note. Is the manual coming for the 2013 model year? Any information on other changes for that year, since the 2012 model year will have been very long with the early 2011 introduction. I would think they would make some changes, hopefully including an ecoboost engine. Any information?

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Average transaction prices do not include fleet sales.

        I’ve told him this before. It doesn’t help. He’s going to keep mangling statistics, regardless. That’s just his shtick.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        Well, you can keep trying. In the end, the truth will rear its head…as it always eventually does, whether we like it or not. The last few years have proven that one.

        For the record, I like the Cruze, and think it is GM’s first really good small car. I’d still take a Focus, though.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Let’s remember that it’s not like the Corolla doesn’t have its share of fleet sales as well.

        Toyota sold 240,259 Corollas last year but the Corolla failed to make the 200K retail sales mark (so we’re talking at least around a 17% fleet sales % for the Corolla).

  • avatar
    SV

    That’s great news, which I assume applies to the SEL as well (Canada was already able to get the SEL with the 5-speed, inexplicably).

    I just hope Ford fixes MFT with the new vernon. A manual Titanium for $21,700 would be a good deal, though I would probably opt for an SEL manual for another grand less to avoid MFT. Since, from what I can gather, the base Titanium doesn’t have any suspension changes over the SEL (the early features lists contained a “touring suspension” but it looks like there wasn’t anything different about it), I wouldn’t be losing much other than some cosmetic differences.

    • 0 avatar
      Bimmer

      That’s a great price! In Canada starting price for a Titanium is $23,999 for a sedan and $24,599 is for a hatchback. That works out to after taxes, fees and rebates to $28,927 and $29,605 respectively (in Ontario). And that is without any additional options!

  • avatar
    SV

    That’s great news, which I assume applies to the SEL as well (Canada was already able to get the SEL with the 5-speed, inexplicably).

    I just hope Ford fixes MFT with the new version. A manual Titanium for $21,700 would be a good deal, though I would probably opt for an SEL manual for another grand less to avoid MFT. Since, from what I can gather, the base Titanium doesn’t have any suspension changes over the SEL (the early features list contained a “touring suspension” but it looks like there wasn’t anything different about it), I wouldn’t be losing much other than some cosmetic differences.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      I think the Titanium has the “sports” seats like the SE with Sports package.

      • 0 avatar
        SV

        Ah, a good point. I’d prefer the sports seats, but the SEL’s are pretty nice (unlike the base SE’s which are cheap, cheap, cheap)

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        With the Titanium Focus pushing 30k, Ford has blurred its own pricing lines, not to mention the much more clearer lines of other manufacturers, in terms of category/classification pricing.

        If a compact car is going to cost near that amount, it had better bring the performance goods as past Evos & WRX STIs did, and the Focus doesn’t ring the bell of anyone with a penchant for…say…a 2007 STI.

        A Focus Titanium with a 8.6ish 0-60 and 16.5ish quarter mile time has nowhere near such goods to ring any bells. Will the upcoming ecoboost 247 hp motor (hopefully with a better suspension and brake package at a reasonable price) remedy this dilemma? Only time will tell.

        Just my free opinion, so treat it accordingly.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        I don’t believe Ford is going after the Evos or WRX STI market with the Titanium versions of the Focus. Ford is testing the market for more luxury-oriented small car.

        At any rate, the SEL is quite nice, and has a sticker price of less than $25,000.

      • 0 avatar
        SV

        A Focus Titanium WITH EVERY OPTION BOX CHECKED is pushing $30k. If you spend that much on a Focus willingly, you have no right to complain – you should have passed up the self-parking option, or the leather seats, or the handling package, etc.

        Someone going for a top-drawer Focus is not cross-shopping it with an STI, obviously, because not everyone in that price bracket is looking for a hardcore 300hp rally car. You may as well say that a $30k Camry is poor value because it can’t match the STI’s handling. The Focus ST should start around $25k, but even that’s more directly comparable with the WRX/GTI crowd than the STI.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Ford is testing the market for more luxury-oriented small car.

        It really is as simple as that. Europeans have long been buyers of well-equipped smaller cars, and Ford is trying to see whether some Americans may be willing to do the same.

        If Ford can niche the compact segment, and identify a group of buyers within it who will purchase a buck’s worth of options for two or three dollars, then the difference is (arguably) almost entirely pure profit. It probably can’t hurt them to try, although I doubt that the audience for this will be large.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        I hope the Titanium version sells well. It’s about time that we receive the deluxe versions of this size of car.

  • avatar
    brettc

    3 pedals will be a nice addition and I have to applaud them for offering it as a choice. Any word on when the TDCi will be offered? (haha!)

  • avatar
    Ubermensch

    I just wish they would offer the PowerShift automatic transmission in the Focus ST.

  • avatar
    carguy

    I hope that doesn’t mean that they’ve given up on fixing that awful twin clutch automatic.

    • 0 avatar
      MrWhopee

      Probably one of the reason they now offer the manual on Titanium models too. They want the big profit that comes with such a loaded version of the Focus, without losing it all at a later date to warranty costs on the twin clutch auto.

      Whatever the reason, though, they listened to their customers, and that’s a good thing.

  • avatar
    stryker1

    in other news, Ford misses the bad old days where their small cars sat on lots forever until they could push them off at a deep discounts.

  • avatar
    azmtbkr81

    Now if only Ford would add a diesel option we’d have the TTAC dream car!

  • avatar
    getacargetacheck

    Lack of a manual transmission is not this car’s biggest problem. High price for what it is and tiny backseat are. Cars this small just aren’t very useful. Hard to believe this car has more room on paper than a 1980s Escort — just doesn’t feel that way.

    • 0 avatar
      bryanska

      Yeah that rear window is way too steep.

    • 0 avatar
      N8iveVA

      I think the price of the Titanium with the premium feel and high end options is priced ok, but i do agree on the rear seat room. I’m 6 ft and with the drivers seat set for me, the person behind me would have his knees jammed into the back of the seat. It wasn’t like that in the previous model which seemed smaller on the outside than the new one.

      • 0 avatar
        Rental Man

        Load up the Titanium and you reach 30K Or buy Acura TSX for very little more. Back seat in the Focus and Cruze are too tight. Sad to say Corolla and Civic still got them there. Have not seen the Dodge in person. New Impreza seems good in the back seat. I’m over 6ft. and my seat goes back. Way back.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        I can buy a new Hyundai Genesis Sedan 6 cylinder for just under 30k or a 2012 Chrysler 300 3.6 liter Limited for about 26.5k (Huntington Beach Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram), excluding TTL.

        I know they’re in completely different categories than the Focus, but WTF is still what I’m saying.

      • 0 avatar
        N8iveVA

        Seriously guys, comparing a loaded Titanium Focus MSRP with a TSX, Genesis V6 or 300 Limited that are some special deal and NOT MSRP is BS. Let’s look at the starting MSRP’s for each.

        Focus Titanium starts at $22K MSRP
        TSX starts at $29K MSRP
        Genesis V6 starts at $34K MSRP
        300 Limited starts at $32K MSRP

        if you’re gonna be fair, be fair. Base prices and what you can make a “deal” at make all these as comparing apples to oranges

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        Deadweight –

        You’re comparing full MSRP on an ‘every option box checked’ Focus to a ridiculous sale price on a 300. I couldn’t find the limited for $26.5K on that dealer’s site, but here is another 300 with a MSRP of $37,210 they are offering for $29,000:

        http://www.hbchryslerdodgejeepram.com/new/Chrysler/2012-Chrysler-300-5e6016890a0a00650004815e2589d817.htm

        Except that when you read the fine print you see that $1,000 of the rebate is limited to current lessees of competing vehicles, $1,000 is limited to current lessees of Chryco vehicles, and $500 is limited to active duty and recently retired/discharged military personnel. So yeah, if you’re in the military, have a Chrysler vehicle about to go out of lease, and also lease another vehicle from a competing brand, you can get that price.

  • avatar
    majo8

    Score one for the manual enthusiasts.

    Now……… let’s see if Ford is listening to those who would like to see the three door Fiesta here, preferably in ST trim.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Nobody is going to buy these. It’s just good marketing

  • avatar
    JCraig

    I really like everything about these but the interior. It may be solid and made from good stuff, but it’s just so wildly ugly IMO. Maybe they’ll updated a little more tastefully in a year or two like they did the last Focus.

  • avatar
    ringomon

    Now some of you manual enthusiasts got to get out there and buy them **NEW** or no right to complain about the lack of manual options in the future.

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    Enthusiasts will be lining up none-deep to buy these…..

  • avatar

    Now let’s bring on the manual, the station wagon version, and the panacea – the diesel manual station wagon Focus. They will automatically become the best selling variant evar!!

    • 0 avatar
      Rental Man

      +1 @Car Spy Tweets
      Lot’s buy only used and complain others did not buy the new cars they hoped they did leaving the market without intresting options.

      We all have reasons. Some real some imaginary. Some just mistruths.

      1. She won’t drive stick
      2. No stick Minivan (Shut up Mazda 5. No more then lowrider 2WD SUV)
      3. VW makes most dreams yet they will fall apart & are $$ to keep
      4. If Toyota made a stick Venza you still must call shorty an SUV
      5. Ditto Honda Crosstour only ugly
      6. Volvo is no longer cheap, wagon, manual
      7. Must we swing for a Bimmer just to get our unicorn option pkg
      8. Saab just died and no major player is seriously resuscitating
      9. Diesel SUV/Wagon stick 4WD LowRange & 40MPG & sporty & softride
      10. Add your own

  • avatar
    Doug

    People miss the point, this is a small, $21-$26k, 30-35 MPG automobile. The back seats are fine if you are 5’10” 170lbs & acceleration is adequate. It’s not a BMW but a solidly built, good looking car. It drives & handles well and, was manufactured by an American company…the 1st I have bought new in 20 years. The availability of the manuals in the upper level cars means you will be able to combine it with a decent factory sound system.

    • 0 avatar
      VA Terrapin

      People are not missing the point. The economy still sucks, so not many people are going to buy a Focus for the same price as a good midsize car.

      At the price Ford is asking for a Focus Titanium, it offers nothing compelling. If you want performance, a GTI a Mazdaspeed3 have a lot more power. If you want good fuel economy, a Prius is much better.

      • 0 avatar
        AKADriver

        The GTI and Mazdaspeed3 can’t compete on price, and their extra power comes at the expense of fuel consumption. A 5-door GTI with the Autobahn package (to bring it up to the equipment of a Focus Titanium) is over $30,000.

        The Prius can’t compete on price, either (a comparable Prius Five model is also over 30 grand), and its fuel consumption comes at the price of being criminally dull to drive and look at.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Jack’s enthusiasm for the manual tranny and clutch combination on this car is fully justified, IMHO, having test-driven one. Ultimately, I didn’t pull the trigger, electing to keep my 10-year old low mileage BMW — potentially a mistake given that it now may need a repair beyond my modest skills which reportedly takes a skilled mechanic about 4 hours, and this after spending about $700 and 6 hours of my time replacing all of the cooling system parts.

    That said, because I was looking for the manual and because my wife, after a test drive, shared my dislike for the way the DCT operated, I was not considering the spiffier SEL or Titanium trim levels. So, I don’t know whether they would have added sufficient value to justify the price of an SE with the Sport Package and more modest electronics package of the model I was testing.

    I have to say that, even with the hatchback, the car seems small inside, given its exterior dimensions . . . and this from a guy who drives a Z3.

  • avatar
    DubTee1480

    I looked at a Focus over the weekend, but wasn’t really ready to buy a new car so I didn’t. Glad I didn’t now, knowing that I can soon buy one with a 5-speed AND dual zone climate control.

  • avatar
    Orangutan

    Why won’t they just give it a six-speed manual? They’re pushing powertrain updates, so why use only a five-speed?

  • avatar
    dglynn

    Like any of you guys buy new cars.

    But we all agree it will make a nice used car, right?

    No wonder car companies don’t build to this commentariat’s desires.

    Congratulations Ford! You have built a car this crowd will advise their friends to buy when it comes off lease.

    • 0 avatar
      DubTee1480

      Did you read the story or just the title? The title implies that Ford is dropping the auto for the manual but the joke would kind of lose it’s effectiveness if it said instead “Like Luke, Ford Is Offering Manual Control”
      You’re very unlikely to see many of these on dealer lots, the availability of it is due to people like me bitching on Ford’s site about the lack of availability of a stick across the board. We have two Ford dealerships here, of the 13 SE’s in stock at one, 2 are manuals. At the other dealership there are 32 SE’s in stock… only 1 is manual. None of the manuals on the lots have premium features, they are all steel wheel, cloth interior, no My Ford Touch. Ford’s not going to force a bunch of 5-speed fully loaded Titanium’s down the sales channel.
      And regarding your “no one here buys new cars” comment, it might be effective if we were talking about manual shifted sport wagons that start north of $35K (as if) and not economy cars. Not many people are going to buy a $25-30K optioned economy car, but Ford isn’t going to make many of them unless they are special order either.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Speak for yourself. There are at least two of us on this forum who have bought >$35K manual-transmission RWD Sport Wagons brand new in the past year. One of each of the two such available in the US.

        The thing with manual transmissions is that the folks who want one will NOT settle for an automatic. So you lose the sale. Ford is only being smart in offering it in the top trim levels, even if it is effectively special-order only. Some of us are perfectly willing to wait when spending large sums of money.

      • 0 avatar
        DubTee1480

        krhodes1:
        Wasn’t really trying to step on any toes there, it’s just been a point I’ve heard brought up on this forum several times in the past (correctly or not) so I thought I’d drag it out as an example. Enjoy your car man :). I thought they started a bit further north than $35K but I didn’t want to highball my figure. Thus the “as if”… probably should have chosen better wording.

        I am one of those will not settle for the auto customers that you’re referring to (I mentioned it further up on another comment) so I fully agree with your second comment… that was kind of the point I was trying to make.

  • avatar
    DarkSpork

    Maybe I’m a minority, but I’d like to see the Titanium with a 2.5L engine + Manual (direct injected or not). I know there would be a hit in fuel economy from the greater displacement, but the boost in torque should make it feel like there’s a noticeable improvement in acceleration over my 2006 Focus.

    I imagine that it could be had for under $25k if I don’t select all the features.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      The 2.5 liter seems to be on the way out. It’s only offered on limited trims on the upcoming Fusion and Escape, and likely only there to appease those who are afraid to buy the 1.6 liter EcoBoost due to some fear of turbocharged engines.

      The 1.6 EB should have a better torque curve than the current DI 2.0, which I imagine is also capable of more output, both torque and hp, than it currently makes. The future Focus engine lineup will probably be the current 2.0 as the base engine, the 1.6 EB as an upgrade, and the 2.0 EB available in the ST, possibly eventually in the Titanium as well.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        Nullo – any idea if Ford will for the 2013 model year introduce the 1.6 Ecoboost engine? They are making the Ecoboost engines available in many other Fords like the Escape, Fusion and Taurus. The ST will be a niche model so I don`t count that on getting turbo engines out there to the masses.

  • avatar
    solracer

    About time, though the Focus I am most interested in doesn’t have a transmission at all…

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