Very high quality feel: detailed review/comparison inside
This review is written in my first week of ownership. Nothing has gone wrong.
The purpose of this review will be to state my initial impressions. Modeled after another review I saw on here, I will be updating periodically in the comments. If others begin to comment on this review, I will preface my updates with my middle name in brackets (widmer) to keep it organized.
If you wish I would cut to the chase, just know that my initial impressions are fantastic, and move on to the next review (LOL). A "more detailed" account follows:
My recent driving history includes a 2009 Civic LX, 2004 Outback, and a 1998 Voyager, all of which I have been driving regularly in the past few years. Obviously, I have meanwhile been a passenger in myriad other cars as well, including late model Audis, etc.
The primary reason I decided to purchase a Focus, was because my search for a sensible car with a reputation of reliability and fuel efficiency pointed me toward it. I'm a third-year pharmacy student who will be starting rotations in a few months, so these factors are absolutely necessary.
So I found and purchased one with the features that I wanted (FYI international readers: It seems that only 1 out of every 20 2008 model Focuses in the US has a manual transmission). Having owned and driven it for about a week, I have been absolutely astounded by the quality of ride/refinement that they pack into this "sensible commuter car". Examples:
- Very comfortable seats.
- Clean and stylish looks.
- Very quiet cabin, cannot hear the engine.
- Fun backlighting scheme at night, reminds me of the movie Tron
- Plenty of low-end power.
- Nice audio interface.
- Remarkable propensity to continue to roll while in neutral (hyper-milers take note).
- Several small misc. conveniences/niceties like tilt steering wheel, remote trunk release, cool blinker sound, slow-fade cabin light, etc.
The most reasonable comparison I could make with this car would be to my significant other's 2009 Civic LX. I have either driven or been a passenger in this car every week for the past couple of years. I have come to regard the Civic as a very well-built, fun to drive, and clearly dependable car. But given the choice, I would certainly not trade my Focus for it, and I'm pretty sure I'm not just suffering from new car syndrome. My primary reason for saying this is that sitting in the Focus feels much different than sitting in the Civic. I believe this is primarily because the window line is much higher on the Focus, and it therefore envelopes you more, and confers a more comfortable and luxurious feel. However, by this same metric, the Civic does feel a touch more sporty.
To be fair, the Civic I am referencing has a beige interior, and the Focus has a black/gray interior scheme, as well as the "chrome package", which causes miscellaneous hardware like the door handles to have a nice chrome finish. This clearly also contributes to my impressions of refinement. But in my own objective comparison I can say this:
- The Focus cabin is quieter.
- The Civic handles better around corners (less body sway), and might have better 0-30 acceleration (hard to confirm yet).
- The Civic also feels more prone and peppy, while the Focus feels more solid and stable.
- The Civic interior is more open, the Focus interior is more comfortable and "feels like a glove".
- Each has its own constellation of niceties, no clear winner here. An example equal exchange would be that while the Civic has the fun big digital speedometer, the Focus has the nice digital center island with various readouts.
- The Civic is a bit roomier for rear passengers, while the Focus has significantly more front head room.
Some of these differences are subtle, while others are dramatic.
In closing, the features that I feel the need to highlight in the Focus seem to illustrate an interesting sign of the times: It seems that the objective line between "sensible" and "luxury" cars is much finer than it used to be. If I blindfolded a series of people and put them in the Focus (front seat only, LOL) to ride all over town, I would imagine a pretty even percentage of them would guess it's an Audi vs. a sensible domestic car. This is based on the sounds and comfort of the ride.
I will continue to update, which if nothing else should be a good record of the reliability of this car.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 6th January, 2012