Review: 2012 Ford Focus Titanium

Posted on 04. May, 2011 by in Auto News

Yes, this is a $ 27,340 Ford Focus. And another $ 795 would nav As a Ford Focus could possibly be worth that much? Read on.

As with the smaller Fiesta, there is a lot going on in the exterior design of the 2012 Ford Focus. But to manage all the curves and folds, to come together to form a coherent whole which looks both upscale and sporty, especially in the top Titanium trim the $ 595 18-inch alloys and $ 495 "yellow blaze metallic tri-coat" paint form. Some would prefer clean, simple lines, but among the current crop of consolidating this looks the best to my eyes. Unlike many complicated designs, it should not be bad, the age, as the proportions are good and none of the many details seems excessive or irrelevant. (The large rear lights closest to crossing that line.)

Within the focus remains aesthetic complexity, and not quite as successful as with the exterior. The design is struggling to successfully combine both gunmetal and black piano lacquer trim, chrome highlights, contrast stitching on the seats and outstanding colorful display. Like the exterior, the interior looks both sophisticated and aggressive sporty. In the upper trim levels and construction materials are as good as they get in this segment, and far, far ahead of those in the new Honda Civic. But on repetitive commutes or long drives it can help for an interior, be reassuring. This is always sharply dressed for a night on the town. It's not a place to kick back and relax.

Reviews of the latest and greatest Ford controls were mixed, at best. The touchscreen looks fantastic competitor control systems appear from comparison and it's fun to play. But it is not easy to use while driving. A very good voice control reduces the need to use the touch screen, but this is not a valid excuse. Fortunately, well-designed buttons and keys are provided for the HVAC controls and heated seats are available. There is a physical power control for the audio system, but I could not find at first, it-it's the small button at the left of the CD slot.

As in the new Honda Civic, though for different reasons, the instrument panel is surprisingly large. I had to turn up the seat to easily see over them. Fortunately, the windshield is not as far back as some down, and they flank the columns are not overly thick. Spotter mirrors help rear visibility, a good thing, as the back cover is high. The front seats are excellent, both with ample padding for comfort and great strengthens companies for lateral support. Maybe Ford learned a thing or two from Volvo?

A disadvantage of the large front seats: There is hardly enough space behind it for the average adult. This could be a deal killer for some. A shame, as the rear seat is mounted high above the ground for a good thigh support and visibility to the front and beautifully formed. The strain is a little larger than the class average, although conventional hinges used in the still cut.

Start and start the four, and the first impression is of a heavy, well-insulated car. When the speed increases, the car feels lighter and more compact, but never quite tossable. Even with the Titanium Sport suspension and the optional ultra-low-profile high-performance tires ride quality is very good, just a touch more abrupt than some minor bumps. The quantity and quality of the noise in the cabin enters suggest a premium car. The new Focus sounds and feels like money.

Even for the best performance optioned, dealing with the new Focus undisclosed athletic. Like some high-end European sedans, the new Focus is a bit lazy feel in casual driving, but rises to the occasion on a difficult path. 235/40WR18 the Michelin Pilot Sport. 3 summer treads to avoid the optional 18-inch wheels to handle a ton, and the well-damped chassis composure Perhaps due to the sports suspension, there is nothing of the on-center squishiness suffering Fiesta. The steering feels quick and well weighted in the city, but borders on twitchy at highway speeds. As is almost always the case, could be better feedback through the thick, heavily padded edge. For a direct, delicate and nuanced sense feedback remains a Mazda3 the way to go. While certainly fun to drive, the Focus Titanium is a luxury car first and second a sports sedan.

The drive train, the car could be weakest link. The direct injection 2.0-liter four kicks out a very respectable 160 horsepower at 6,500 revolutions per minute, but it is struggling with more than 3,000 pounds of curb weight. Consequently, while the acceleration is just adequate, it is just exciting. The sound of the engine is also a bit from the series to the rest of the car. Though not unpleasant, and largely suppressed, the shrill buzz is clear that a minor is four, and seems better suited a less luxurious feel lighter car.

During a five-speed manual transmission offered in the lower trim levels, with a six-speed dual-clutch gearbox is dry clutch automated manual is mandatory with the SEL and Titanium. This transfer does not behave well when I sampled it in a Fiesta, with too often, sometimes clunky shifts. This time new box Ford behaved much better, more or less mimics a conventional automatic transmission. What not to do: help a sporty driving experience with lightning fast, shifts the way for companies of Volkswagen DSG dual-wet does. Unlike the Fiesta, it is at least possible, the gears manually via a rocker switch on the shift knob. While for the classes and such, moving the lever and paddle better flanking the steering wheel would do would be ideal.

By manually switchable dual-clutch transmission, the Focus earned EPA ratings of 27 city and 37 highway, very good numbers for such a well-equipped, rock-solid, pretty fast car. The Hyundai Elantra makes a few mpg better, but it has a less refined, felt less granitic. The Focus weighs a few hundred pounds more, and this has advantages and cost.

Reliability could be a problem. Based on responses to the True Delta Car Reliability Survey, the smaller Ford Fiesta has started off to a rocky. Many of the reported repairs included a malfunctioning electrical ground, so the car would not start, or the transmission not go into gear. In some cases, the dual-clutch transmission will be shared with the Focus suffered a big mistake. Hopefully Ford spent more time working the bugs out of the 2012 Focus.

Then, of course, there's the price. The sticker just tops $ 27,000 if you get the top-level trim Titanium and load it with options, many of which are not even on competitors. For the functions and contain the car's premium look and feel, not the price of the series. Creating the new Focus SE as the $ 21,255 2012 Honda Civic EX, and lists for $ 21,165. The main outlier: an Elantra Limited lists for $ 20,700 and includes leather seats in two rows. Even adjusted for differences with True Delta car price comparison tool, the Hyundai is $ 1,300 less at MSRP and $ 700 less accounting-to-bill (Ford dealers have to play bigger margins). The Ford higher price seems justified: it rides and handles better than the Hyundai, and just looks and feels like a more expensive car.

Overall, the new Focus is very impressive, with the look, feel and features of a premium car, but also very good fuel economy. By most metrics, it is the best car in an increasingly competitive segment. The Mazda3 is more fun to drive, and the Elantra costs a bit less. But most people pay more attention to driving than handling, and will be willing to pay a little more for the Ford advantages over the Hyundai. The big question mark: reliability. Time will tell. Help with owner True Delta and TTAC-will initial reliability. Statistics for the new Focus in November

Frank Cianciolo, an excellent salesperson at Avis Ford in Southfield, MI, provided. The car for this review Can be reached at 248-226-2555 frank.

Michael Karesh operates True Delta, an online source of automotive pricing and reliability data.