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Ford Focus

Vehicle research for the new Ford Focus

The Good

The 2012 Ford Focus is alert and handles very well. It has every bit as much practicality as a five-door hatchback, in a much sportier package, and offers a smooth, quiet ride at high speeds.

The Bad

The automatic transmission is sluggish and tends to double-clutch. Touch-screen controls are unresponsive. Unless you opt for the turbo package, you may be wanting for power and pickup.

The Bottom Line

The 2012 Ford Focus is a solid entry in the compact car market, with a futuristic feel and excellent styling. However, given the major redesign, Ford has some kinks to work out for future models.

Price

From a percentage standpoint, there’s a significant spread in the price range of the 2012 Ford Focus. At the high end, you can opt for the Titanium trim package, which offers hatchback body styling.

MSRP: $16,500 to $22,700

Average paid: $15,635 to $21,112

Performance

Acceleration and power

Without the optional turbo package, the new Ford Focus comes with a 2.0 L inline-4 engine that generates 160 horsepower – plenty for a car this size. Thanks to the favorable horsepower to vehicle weight ratio, the 2012 Ford Focus is able to sprint from 0 to 60 miles per hour in just 7.5 seconds, which is one of the leading acceleration times in its class. On the whole, the vehicle accelerates well and has enough torque to power you through traffic at highway speeds without feeling like you’re struggling to keep up.

Handling and braking

Practically all Ford Focus reviews are united in their praise of the car’s handling, particularly the smoothness of its responsive suspension. As a sporty compact, the new Ford Focus handles very well and displays excellent cornering stability. Cornering is further enhanced by a feature known as Torque Vectoring Control, which just touches the brakes on the front inside wheel when cornering to provide a safer, sharper turn.

Front disc/rear drum brakes are standard, but higher-end models come with four-wheel disc brakes. Brake assist and anti-lock braking are both standard. In road tests, the brakes functioned reliably, so you can have confidence in the vehicle’s safety.

Interior

Seating

As you might expect from a car this size, headroom, shoulder room and legroom can all be a little on the tight side for taller or fuller-sized adults. While the 2011 Ford Focus was a class leader in front and rear legroom, the new Ford Focus has actually sacrificed a little legroom, even though the vehicle’s body has been extended by three and a half inches! While there is seating for five passengers, it’s not really practical to expect to comfortably fit more than four grownups into this car.

Front seats are comfortable and supportive, made of cloth upholstery that is soft to the touch. The rear of the vehicle features 60/40 flat fold seats, which can be partially collapsed to boost storage and cargo space.

Features

The 2012 Ford Focus offers plenty of standard technology features, but many of the most useful and desirable ones are optional. An in-dash single CD player, MP3 capability and an auxiliary input jack are all standard, but even basics like Bluetooth compatibility are optional (or, in the case of the base model, not available at all). The vehicle also offers WiFi connectivity – but only when you’re parked. The instrumentation configuration is intuitive; everything is clearly marked and very easy to read.

Cargo space

With the rear seats intact, the 2012 Ford Focus offers a scant 13.2 cubic feet of cargo space. However, if you collapse the 60/40 rear seats, you can boost the vehicle’s overall storage capacity to 44.8 cubic feet – a fully respectable total for a car this size.

Safety

The 2012 Ford Focus has uniformly posted good scores in comprehensive crash and safety tests. Frontal and side impact airbags are in place in the front, with side curtain airbags protecting rear-seat passengers. A low tire pressure gauge, panic alarm and child safety locks are standard safety equipment on all models.

Specifications

Compared to the 2011 Ford Focus, the new Ford Focus is totally redesigned. It is available as both a four-door sedan and as a five-door hatchback, with all new exterior styling and interior tech toys, but maintains the sense of fun and energy that the car built its brand on.

  • Transmission: 5-speed with overdrive (manual or automatic)
  • Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive
  • Engine Type: Inline-4
  • Engine Size: 2.0 L
  • Horsepower: 160 @ 6500 rpm
  • Torque: 146 @ 4450 rpm
  • MPG, City: 26 MPG
  • MPG, Highway: 36 MPG
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