2012 Ford Focus Titanium 2.0 I4 from North America
By far the best car in its class
Ford uploaded a new program to the transmission. I never had a problem with the old one, but they sent me a letter, so I let them do it.
I was wanting a vehicle that could do it all. Comfortable enough for long trips, great gas mileage, ability to carry larger objects. I am a member of the SCCA, and needed my car to also perform well at autocross events on weekends. I checked out a number of small hatchbacks, and the Ford Focus Titanium blew me away. Having now put 5,000 miles on it, I know I made the right choice.
While it does not have the HP of the Mustang (or gas bill), it is quick enough in straight lines to allow me to pass or merge in traffic without issue, and be a fun car to drive. Take a corner though, and this car starts to show off.
The cornering is very precise and predictable. The modest horsepower means you can be sloppy with throttle control and still not get into that much trouble. Get really silly and the computer will jump in and help out. While many people complain about that, I have to admit, every time I have hit the brakes only to find them already applied, the car has been right. "Yeah, I should have hit them back there."
At autocross events, I am often asked by sports car owners that can't catch me, "What mods did you do to it?" Got a second set of wheels with some performance tires is all. It is FWD and it will push, but I have yet to feel any torque steer, and it is far more balanced than any other FWD I have driven.
Trying to find a Titanium with a manual trans was like looking for Bigfoot, so after a "spirited" test drive in the automatic, I decided to take a chance and go that route. Glad I did. Put the trans in Sport mode and it lets me run clear to red line in any gear. Need more power coming out of a tight turn, I can hit the minus button and drop down a gear.
The transaxle is a basically a dry clutch manual that is shifted by computer. The shifts are quick (faster than a human can shift) and barely noticeable, but like anyone that has ever driven a manual knows, sometimes at slow speeds you will feel a shift. People that have only ever driven slushy automatics have be bothered by that.
Went from my home in central Kansas to Colorado, and all the way to the top of Pike's Peak, and never complained about comfort. Was able to pack anything we wanted, and knew it would fit.
If I watch my driving style, I average 29-30 MPG and can get 35-41 on the highway doing 75mph; wind being the variable. Poor planning on my part left us desperate for a gas station once, so I dropped it down to 65mph and stayed behind a truck, and it stayed around 50 MPG.
When I sat down in the Focus and hit the start button (keys are so old fashioned) and saw the 4" screen light up in the middle of the gauges and the 8" touch screen come alive in the dash, I actually said, "Wow". The voice activation is not perfect, but works well enough in most cases.
If my Focus got totaled today and I needed to buy a replacement, I would be right back at the Ford dealer to get another one.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 11th July, 2012
Keys are so "old fashioned"?
I'll have you know that some of the first cars built used start buttons instead of keys.
I also purchased the hatchback 2.0 SE with the Sport Package. The only issue I have with the transmission is that you have a toggle style gear selector when deciding to go manual. The toggle feels too much like a video game to me.
Otherwise, yes this little hatch is fun in the twisties. I love to drive CA 58 through the Tehachapi's in Manual.
Ford did a lot right with this car. Only wish I had waited for the ST.
Love the Focus, but frankly I hate the silly push button starters on the new cars. It reminds me of my first car (a 1949 Ford). I prefer the key starter myself. I hate bringing back old features, just to have some supposedly new gimmick.
I love the new Focus and just helped a good friend of mine buy one. The styling is very sleek and sporty, and the performance is great for a car in its class. As for push-button starters, the biggest advantage with the new ones is that you can keep the keys in your pocket (if it's equipped with the proximity sensor). I personally prefer just using my keys, but that is just a personal preference.