Toyota Yaris Forums - Ultimate Yaris Enthusiast Site
 

 


 
Go Back   Toyota Yaris Forums - Ultimate Yaris Enthusiast Site > Members Area > Off-topic / Other Cars / Everything else Discussions
  The Tire Rack

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 02-03-2011, 05:36 PM   #1
Kal-El
 
Kal-El's Avatar
 
Drives: 07 Yaris S Sedan 5-Speed
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 2,179
First Drive: 2012 Ford Focus

Ford Proves It Can Build A Compact With A Pulse

by Zach Bowman, AutoBlog

Quote:
We should no longer be surprised by the notion of a compact car with big-sedan features and eye-popping fuel economy. New creations like the Hyundai Elantra and Chevrolet Cruze have gone about making the compact segment one of the most hotly contested arenas in the market, rankling the chains of long-time fighters like the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla in the process. But while the Cruze and Elantra have proven that big content can come in small packages with smaller price tags, there's a growing sense that the fun-to-fling small car may be on its way out in favor of commuters that have inherited the soft-riding genes of their bigger brethren.

In a way, the change was all but inevitable. Whereas the compact segment once served up a cornucopia of rides that were low on power but big on handling, the market has proven that above all else, buyers in this neck of the woods want value. In an effort to pinch every last copper cent, both Hyundai and Chevrolet have scrapped the independent rear suspension in their respective compacts in favor of the considerably cheaper torsion-beam design.

So when Ford announced that American buyers would finally be able to get their hands on the global Focus, our ears perked up. The last Euro-Focus had built a reputation for being a smart handler, and if this latest version could make it across the pond without becoming too watered down in the process, compact buyers would once again have a vehicle that's as fun to drive as it is responsible to own. Now we get to find out if Ford pulled it off.

From the exterior, there's no mistaking the 2012 Ford Focus for a flat-line commuter. The FoMoCo designers graced both the four-door and five-door body styles with a menacing fascia that makes use of massive faux air-inlets on either side of the main grille, and the blacked-out treatment is plenty sharp in the flesh. That's especially true when the Focus wears the optional 17-inch painted alloy wheels of our sedan tester. Ford is planning to offer a whopping total of 11 different wheel variants, with 18-inch, multi-spoke rollers topping the charts.

Wrapped headlights carry your eye around the side of the Focus, where a sloping shoulder line and subtle strake help give the car a sense of movement in four-door guise. Out back, the sedan wears a remarkably short trunk deck, though the wrapped tail lamps go a long way toward helping everything feel cohesive. We couldn't really drum up a complaint with the appearance of the sedan, but the five-door variant is far and above the looker in our book.

While the hatch makes use of the same front bodywork as its four-door kin, the five-door presents a much more sorted rear. Tricks like a fuel door that's integrated into the tail lamp design and an attractive roof spoiler go a long way toward making the Focus hatch one of the more creatively styled compacts.

Inside, the Focus offers up an interior that, while nice, isn't going to redefine what buyers have come to expect from small cars in America. Base trim delivers comfortable cloth seats with acceptable bolstering, though the two-tone grey on black cloth of our sedan tester was more than a little cringe-worthy. The good news is that the higher you climb on the option sheet, the better those thrones become. Ford does offer handsome leather buckets with contrasting stitching if you can't stomach the thought of parking your keester on the low-rent seats.

Seating material aside, the Focus uses stylish, easy-to-read gauges that are supplemented by a small LCD screen nestled between the tachometer and the speedometer. The screen can be set up to display everything from fuel economy to your trip meter, average speed and a host of other information. Handy controls on the steering wheel make the screen easy to use and easier to set up, though we wouldn't recommend flipping through the categories while on the road.

The center stack on the Focus offers more buttons than you can shake a stick at, and at least half of them are tangled up in the same number pad found on the Fiesta. Lower trim levels are stuck with HVAC controls that feel right at home in this segment, though buyers opting up for the Titanium trim level are rewarded with more upscale kit.

For now, the 2012 Focus is only available with one engine option a 2.0-liter, naturally aspirated direct-injection gasoline engine with 160 horsepower and 146 pound-feet of torque. Buyers can have the mill bolted to either a five-speed manual or dual-clutch transmission, and while the EPA hasn't quite wrapped up testing on either configuration, Ford tells us that we can expect at least one variant to eclipse the 40 mpg barrier. That means that unlike the Hyundai Elantra, which manages to hit 40 mpg no matter the trim, the Focus will only be able to pull off the fuel-economy stunt with a special package just like the Chevrolet Cruze Eco.

Still, that doesn't mean the standard Focus is a slouch at the pump. Ford packed in plenty of learned lessons from its successful EcoBoost program into the 2.0-liter, including a specially-ported intake manifold to increase air flow and twin variable valve timing. Even with plenty of hammering during our time in the cockpit, we saw around 32 mpg in mixed driving, and we're curious to see exactly what the vehicle can return under more sane conditions. Considering that Ford is shooting for an 18-percent increase in fuel economy compared to the 2011 model, the standard 2012 Focus should land somewhere around 30 mpg city and hit high 30s on the highway.

While it's a little disappointing to hear that not every Focus model will be able to return 40 mpg highway, we're bolstered by the handling that Ford has managed to bake into its new compact. The Blue Oval made use of a MacPherson strut set up in the front with a hefty 23.5-millimeter stabilizer bar, and out back, the Focus delivers a multi-link independent rear with a 19-millimeter bar. The result is one of the most well-planted compacts in the segment. Really lean on the Focus and it will serve up sharp turn-in with very little understeer, and the five-speed manual transmission is perfect for banging your way through the gears. With one fell swoop, the 2012 Focus has managed to knock both the Honda Civic and the Mazda3 off their fun-to-drive thrones.

Unfortunately, if you want the Titanium Handling Package package that throws in 18-inch wheels, stickier summer tires, revised dampers, springs and sway bars, you're stuck opting up to the Titanium package. If we were looking for a quality commuter that's fun to sling down our favorite set of twisties, we'd opt for an SE with the five-speed manual and spend the money saved on a new set of tires.

At this point, you're probably thinking that a dual-clutch transmission makes perfect sense on a sport model. You'd be right, only Ford has programmed this cog box to handle shifts just like a standard automatic. While you can technically coax the transmission into a gear of your own choosing by clicking the tiny rocker button on top of the shift lever, gear swaps are slow and soft. If you're really looking to cover some ground with a vengeance, you're better off opting for the manual 'box.

That's not to say that the dual-clutch transmission is lackluster for fielding commuting duty by any means. On the street, the shifts are perfectly smooth, and while the transmission tends to hold gears a bit longer before down shifting than we'd like, the truth is that this piece is a huge improvement over the old automatic.

Ford has priced the 2012 Focus Sedan starting at $16,995 in S trim, though opting up to the five-door in SE guise will set you back $18,790. If your pockets are a little deeper and you like the look of the more polished interior, Titanium trim will go for $22,995 for the sedan and $23,490 for the hatch. That base price puts the Focus at over $1,100 more than the 2010 Honda Civic sedan, though with more horsepower and better theoretical fuel economy, buyers will get what they pay for with the newest addition to the FoMoCo family.

Ford has made it clear that it doesn't intend to be left out of the new wave of high-quality compact vehicles, and the 2012 Focus manages to bring a level of sophistication, comfort and handling that we've never seen from the automaker's efforts in this segment. The Focus has finally grown into a genuine top pick in a field that's already packed with strong contenders. Our only complaint is that we have to wait a full year before the high-horsepower Focus ST model finds its way to the streets. Consider yourselves warned, Civic Si and MazdaSpeed3.

The bottom line is that the 2012 Ford Focus is a compact car with a pulse. With its more youthful exterior and sharper handling compared to either the 2011 Hyundai Elantra or 2011 Chevrolet Cruze, the Focus is perfect for buyers who want more than transportation from their vehicles. And with available goodies like MyFord Touch and a hatchback body style, the Focus also delivers a little extra usability than either of those offerings. If you're willing to give up a few miles per gallon for a few extra giggles per apex, it's hard to do better than the Focus.








Kal-El is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-03-2011, 06:37 PM   #2
fnkngrv
Mr. 155 and climbing
 
fnkngrv's Avatar
 
Drives: Seriously Modded 07 Sedan
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: In The Hotbox
Posts: 4,742
hhhmmmm
__________________
Team Tiamat Racing on Facebook


Youtube Channel: Team Tiamat Racing


Class record holder in Land Speed @ 154.5mph for 1.5 mile and 145.5mph in the mile in the F (2.016 to 3.014 L), G (1.524 to 2.015 L), and H (1.016 to 1.523 L) classes.
fnkngrv is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-03-2011, 08:28 PM   #3
severous01
 
Drives: 2008 yaris, stripped, red
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: SE Texas
Posts: 977
yeah...i think it might be time for a new car. too bad it's got the blue oval on it...i'll have to seriously consider it.

after what they've done with the new f-trucks and mustangs....all new engines and completely redesigned transmissions in their 6 and 8cylinders....woa, i may have to actually consider them now. my wife wants a new truck, and it may be a ford. and if she gets one, i'm gonna want one.
severous01 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-2011, 04:35 PM   #4
Thirty-Nine
Small cars are a big deal
 
Thirty-Nine's Avatar
 
Drives: 2007 Yaris Liftback
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 3,144
Send a message via AIM to Thirty-Nine
I got to sit in a 2012 at the Portland Auto Show. It's a very very nice interior. I think the car will be a big hit. Nice vehicle.
Thirty-Nine is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-2011, 08:17 PM   #5
tk1971
 
tk1971's Avatar
 
Drives: 08 2Dr LB Base, Silver
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: SG Valley, SoCal
Posts: 237
I though I'd never own a Ford myself after helping a fellow lab-mate put out a car fire in his Taurus.

Bought a former rental 07 Expedition at the end of 07 for almost half the price new. 6 speed auto tranny is very slick. Got it up to 22mpg on the highway.

I remain very impressed with Ford's comeback. Saw a SHO the other day and had to do a double-take.



The SHO is a very stylish vehicle. I don't know if it's $40k nice, but it's a very nice car.
tk1971 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-2011, 10:09 PM   #6
detroiter
 
detroiter's Avatar
 
Drives: 2008 Polar White LB Auto
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Metro Detroit
Posts: 1,238
$23,000 for a Ford Focus with "titanium" handling? For $23,000 I'd rather
go plop that down on a RWD turbo Hyundai Genesis R spec, a car that would
wreck that Focus in every way possible. Good job charging rediculous prices
again Ford.
__________________
I live my life a quarter pounder at a time. And for those 500 calories or more, I'm free. I need FRIES! Two of them. The big ones. Oh, and I need them tonight. You're lucky the double shot of BBQ sauce didn't blow the seam on your nugget box. There she is, 2 pounds of pure beef. My dad ate it in 9.0 seconds flat. Check it out, it's like this. If I lose, winner takes my happy meal. But if I win, I take the burger and the toy. To some people, that's more important.
detroiter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2011, 10:47 AM   #7
Thirty-Nine
Small cars are a big deal
 
Thirty-Nine's Avatar
 
Drives: 2007 Yaris Liftback
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 3,144
Send a message via AIM to Thirty-Nine
Quote:
Originally Posted by detroiter View Post
$23,000 for a Ford Focus with "titanium" handling? For $23,000 I'd rather
go plop that down on a RWD turbo Hyundai Genesis R spec, a car that would
wreck that Focus in every way possible. Good job charging rediculous prices
again Ford.
Right, but I doubt there are few people cross shopping the Focus and the Hyundai Genesis R Spec.

It's a bit like saying why would you buy the $23,000 Focus, when for the same price you could get an F150 that can haul way more stuff.
Thirty-Nine is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2011, 01:40 PM   #8
kou
 
Drives: 08 lb
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: nj
Posts: 935
I like how this car was developed in europe not the USA and has been the staple for years. now they bring a shitty version of both the fiesta and focus with everyone thinking there awesome and trying to save the planet, big woop.Any car brought to the USA gets pu##ed down.
kou is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2011, 04:39 PM   #9
Kal-El
 
Kal-El's Avatar
 
Drives: 07 Yaris S Sedan 5-Speed
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 2,179
Quote:
Originally Posted by kou View Post
I like how this car was developed in europe not the USA and has been the staple for years. now they bring a shitty version of both the fiesta and focus with everyone thinking there awesome and trying to save the planet, big woop.Any car brought to the USA gets pu##ed down.
This has often been true but is becoming less so.

The Fiesta and new Focus are virtually the same worldwide under Ford's new global product strategy. There are only minor differences and Americans are no longer going to get the watered down junk that was the first and second generation US spec Focus.

As a result, the new US Fiesta and Focus are pricier than Americans are used to paying for sub-compact and compact economy cars. Now, those complaints are coming in. Seems Ford can't win either way.

The difference has always been that Europeans always were willing to pay premium prices for small cars which is why they've gotten the goods. Americans associate size with premium price tags which is why we've always gotten stripped small cars. It's not necessarily the automakers fault, just a market and economic reality.

Ford's now betting the American market is ready to pay for great small cars. We'll see.
Kal-El is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2011, 06:35 PM   #10
kou
 
Drives: 08 lb
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: nj
Posts: 935
Well the USA missed out on the allwheel drive focus with 300hp and i think they will skip the new RS model also.
kou is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2011, 06:36 PM   #11
detroiter
 
detroiter's Avatar
 
Drives: 2008 Polar White LB Auto
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Metro Detroit
Posts: 1,238
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thirty-Nine View Post
Right, but I doubt there are few people cross shopping the Focus and the Hyundai Genesis R Spec.

It's a bit like saying why would you buy the $23,000 Focus, when for the same price you could get an F150 that can haul way more stuff.

because they are trying to make a "sporty" car. A f150 isn't sporty, it's built for hauling. So a comparison to a genesis is a very fair comparison, since it also is a "sporty" car.
__________________
I live my life a quarter pounder at a time. And for those 500 calories or more, I'm free. I need FRIES! Two of them. The big ones. Oh, and I need them tonight. You're lucky the double shot of BBQ sauce didn't blow the seam on your nugget box. There she is, 2 pounds of pure beef. My dad ate it in 9.0 seconds flat. Check it out, it's like this. If I lose, winner takes my happy meal. But if I win, I take the burger and the toy. To some people, that's more important.
detroiter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2011, 07:00 PM   #12
Kal-El
 
Kal-El's Avatar
 
Drives: 07 Yaris S Sedan 5-Speed
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 2,179
Quote:
Originally Posted by kou View Post
Well the USA missed out on the allwheel drive focus with 300hp and i think they will skip the new RS model also.
Those would probably be $30+K. They just wouldn't sell enough to justify. Although it would be good competition for the WRX/STI & Lancer EVO. Those established models have a hard enough time selling as it is.
Kal-El is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-11-2011, 08:27 PM   #13
tk1971
 
tk1971's Avatar
 
Drives: 08 2Dr LB Base, Silver
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: SG Valley, SoCal
Posts: 237
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal-El View Post
Those would probably be $30+K. They just wouldn't sell enough to justify. Although it would be good competition for the WRX/STI & Lancer EVO. Those established models have a hard enough time selling as it is.
I whole-heartedly agree. At the end of the day, very few regular Joes will be willing to spend $30k on a turbo AWD car based on an Econo-box chasis.

These cars don't get any better in the used market. Trust me... Try selling a 2 year old EVO IX for about $25k privately... The kind of people who know what these cars are, won't have $25k to buy a used car. With all the supposed fan base that these cars have on the internet, I suspect most of them are under aged fan-boys driving around in their parents' Volvo and dreaming of the EVO / STI.
tk1971 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2011, 10:14 PM   #14
TickleTimeTim
Free Mustache Rides
 
TickleTimeTim's Avatar
 
Drives: 2007 Yaris HB
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 1,247
yeah, you def have to think about the market and the consumers. SHO's are amazing, but I'm also still not completely sold on Ford. My sister-in-law got a 2011 focus after crashing her aveo, and i like it; but i've seen too many junk fords, typically their larger vehicles like the explorer.
__________________
Club SHIFT
TickleTimeTim is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-24-2011, 05:49 PM   #15
Kal-El
 
Kal-El's Avatar
 
Drives: 07 Yaris S Sedan 5-Speed
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 2,179
Pricing info released from Ford

http://www.ford.com/cars/focus/2012/pricing/

Base sedan starts at $16,995
Base hatch starts at $18,790

Top Titanium model tops almost $24,000

Ford is trying the new premium small car approach (this along with Fiesta), much like Europe has always gotten. Let's see if it works in the US. Traditionally, it has not.
Kal-El is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2011, 02:30 PM   #16
Thirty-Nine
Small cars are a big deal
 
Thirty-Nine's Avatar
 
Drives: 2007 Yaris Liftback
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 3,144
Send a message via AIM to Thirty-Nine
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal-El View Post
http://www.ford.com/cars/focus/2012/pricing/

Base sedan starts at $16,995
Base hatch starts at $18,790

Top Titanium model tops almost $24,000

Ford is trying the new premium small car approach (this along with Fiesta), much like Europe has always gotten. Let's see if it works in the US. Traditionally, it has not.
Fiesta is, thus far, selling quite well vs. other subcompacts.
Thirty-Nine is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2011, 02:32 PM   #17
Thirty-Nine
Small cars are a big deal
 
Thirty-Nine's Avatar
 
Drives: 2007 Yaris Liftback
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 3,144
Send a message via AIM to Thirty-Nine
Quote:
Originally Posted by detroiter View Post
because they are trying to make a "sporty" car. A f150 isn't sporty, it's built for hauling. So a comparison to a genesis is a very fair comparison, since it also is a "sporty" car.
I think lumping a FWD four-door compact in the same class as a RWD two-door sports car isn't a fair comparison, but that's just my two cents. I also don't believe there will be many people cross shopping the two.
Thirty-Nine is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2011, 04:39 PM   #18
fnkngrv
Mr. 155 and climbing
 
fnkngrv's Avatar
 
Drives: Seriously Modded 07 Sedan
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: In The Hotbox
Posts: 4,742
Has the car really changed that much from the 2011? I am just curious because the car rental that I have this week is an 11. I am honestly not any more impressed that driving my Yaris...actually like my sedan more. Maybe I am smoking crack, but my car seems to get up and go faster as well as feeling more nimble than the focus. Lastly I get much better mileage even if I drive mine hard. I really despise the total intergration of the radio into the dash. I know that it has it's purpose, but in all honesty a company should NOT hamstring their customers by forcing them to keep what they are offering from the factory. This is especially true for those buying the "top" titanium model. You would have to think that if someone is going to drop that kind of cash on the top model then it is at least a 60% chance that they would want to customize the head unit. Shrugs...just my opinion.

Case in point. I would LOVE to have this head unit. It runs Ubuntu 10.1 and oh yeah, by the way, it has a built in 3G modem so you can listen to Pandora, Slacker, etc natively.

http://www.vic-ltd.com/hardware-prod...ubuntu-3g.html



Plus there are those that like the Pioneer AVIC series, etc...
__________________
Team Tiamat Racing on Facebook


Youtube Channel: Team Tiamat Racing


Class record holder in Land Speed @ 154.5mph for 1.5 mile and 145.5mph in the mile in the F (2.016 to 3.014 L), G (1.524 to 2.015 L), and H (1.016 to 1.523 L) classes.

Last edited by fnkngrv; 02-25-2011 at 04:59 PM.
fnkngrv is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
2012 Ford Focus ELECTRIC Kal-El Off-topic / Other Cars / Everything else Discussions 11 02-11-2011 11:34 AM
Ford has a good idea. MyKey *MAD DOG* Off-topic / Other Cars / Everything else Discussions 16 03-19-2010 01:17 PM
Ford unveils 2011 Focus! Kal-El Off-topic / Other Cars / Everything else Discussions 25 01-12-2010 12:23 PM
2011 Ford Fiesta Test Drive Thirty-Nine Off-topic / Other Cars / Everything else Discussions 28 06-23-2009 03:57 AM
2008 Ford Focus: Ugly is as Ugly does Yaris Revenge Off-topic / Other Cars / Everything else Discussions 32 01-15-2007 01:01 AM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 05:21 AM.




YarisWorld
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2024, vBulletin Solutions Inc.