*The* value choice under 20k USD
No mechanical problems at this time.
I had been eyeing the new Ford Focus for over a year, and I finally took the plunge. It was difficult to choose the model, as I was tempted to get the "ST" in North America, which has a turbo, but in the end, everyday practicality and comfort won out. The SE hatchback I purchased with the upgrade package was literally a *steal* off the lot with the level of discounts/incentives and dealer negotiation... I test drove the current Mazda3, Volkswagen Golf, GTI, and ST, before purchase. Loved the ride handling balance (a bit stiff over bumps with the 17" rims and upgraded suspension, but always puts a smile on my face around the corners :).
What I love about this car:
1) Value: so much car for the money.
2) Very stylish exterior and interior.
3) Lots of features and technology for the cost (even Hyundai cannot beat it).
4) Drives like a European sport sedan... for the price of an econobox car!
5) Good quality parts designed for low maintenance (synthetic manual tranny lube, ceramic brake pads, platinum/iridium plugs... Ford is going to put the dealer out of business!).
What I don't like:
1) The interior is a bit cramped. Center console is too big, rear seat could be redesigned to have another inch or two of leg space.
2) Door-sills have cheap plastic rather than soft touch.
3) Engine idles a bit rough at lowest idle speed (might resolve with break in or maintenance?).
4) Ford dealers - ugh! More on that later...
MPG: Driving home on long highway trip right after purchase, was getting about 35 MPG at about 75mph... very impressive with the engine not even broken in. Did a test the other night on open/flat highway; got 41.5 MPG at 65 with cruise control, and about 38 MPG at 72mph. I do need to calibrate the computer... it may be off. From all reports, this engine needs several more thousand miles to complete break in and give the best numbers.
Ford dealer who sold me car let it go without a small plastic 'pin' on the hatchback to hold the trunk cover cable... told me I could get one at any dealer for free if I give them VIN number for warranty... ha ha... went to two different local dealers, both wanted to either charge retail or schedule a 'warranty service' to diagnose the issue. Finally purchased the part, had the service rep put in, but then said he can't cover the cost without a 'broken part' to claim under warranty. Left feeling like dealers just want excuses to charge labor and parts, and it's best to (if at all possible) do my own maintenance! (have on all my other cars).
In the end, it's not a perfect car... it *is* an economy car, with some faults, and in America at least, the Focus/Escort lines still have a bad reputation in many people's minds... but with this new design and build, Ford has really upped the ante, and you should at least consider this car if you are looking at this price range. This car beats the current Toyota Corolla, Volks Golf, and Mazda 3 hands down!
And it never fails to put a smile on my face when I go around a turn at fast speed... wonderful handling... this car would be comfortable on the German autobahn.
This is a new car, so I will update my review in the future.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 16th June, 2013