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2012 Ford Focus Titanium Review & Test Drive

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‘FOCUSING BETTER IN THE COMPACT SEGMENT’

With the introduction of the all-new 2012 Focus compact sedan, Ford is utilizing its European team of designers and engineers to bring a better built compact sedan with higher levels of performance, craftsmanship, comfort, occupant safety and innovative technologies to better compete against the imports in this growing segment.

The all-new Focus sets a new standard in the small car segment by offering more technologies and features than many more expensive European cars, while delivering up to 40mpg on the highway.  This new Ford Focus hits the mark in dynamic design, outstanding driver engagement, unmatched levels of technology and impressive fuel economy.

Following an unprecedented global development program under the company’s One Ford strategy, the all-new 2012 Focus is set to continue this successful tradition.  The new Focus demonstrates how Ford can scale to meet the universal needs of worldwide customers, while fine-tuning to suit regional preferences.

Distinguished by its sleek and sporty design, Focus is packed with more affordable technologies and features than the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, and even the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.

The Focus four-door sedan has a sporty character marking the next evolution of Ford’s acclaimed kinetic design form language.  With a striking front end, sleek profile, dramatic rising beltline and athletic stance, the new Focus signals the rewarding experience awaiting any driver.  I was truly impressed with the handling, design and interior comfort plus the innovative technologies offered by Ford in this ‘bottom level’ automobile segment.  True, the Titanium model that I tested is the highest trim with all of the goodies being offered by Ford.

The dynamic quality of the Focus is reinforced by the distinctive design inside featuring a modern, cockpit-style interior with a stylish, easy to use center console, comfortable bucket seats, perfectly placed stick shifter and sporty, leather-wrapped, tilt/telescoping steering wheel for the perfect fit.  The space combines functionality with outstanding craftsmanship. Bold and contemporary graphics, the sculptured shape of the soft-touch instrument panel and superior trim materials unite to give the driver and front passenger a premium class experience.  Focus brings C-car interior space to a level that rivals larger vehicles.  It offers more first-row shoulder room than an Audi A4 and more front headroom than a Toyota Camry.  In the spacious second row, Focus provides more hip room than the Audi or Toyota.  Further making a very pleasurable drive is that the noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels have been reduced and driving dynamics improved by the increased stiffness of the body structure, with 30% greater rigidity than the previous Focus model by utilizing more high-strength steel and crossmembers and braces underneath. Also of note is the Focus features a windshield with a special acoustic layer, which significantly reduces wind and road noise.  The windshield is complemented by increased side and rear glass thickness for extra quietness.  You getting the picture now about how much more Ford has devoted into building this C-segment vehicle to better compete with the imports.

Besides comfort and a great looking interior, Focus raises the benchmark to target class-leading driving quality, blending

communicative steering with significantly improved ride quality.  Focus chassis design is complemented by a new electric power-assisted steering system that has been carefully tuned to deliver precise response at highway speeds while remaining light and manueveralble at lower speeds for ease of parking.  The fully independent suspension features MacPherson struts, gas-shocks and a 23.5mm stabilizer bar up front.  The independent rear features a control blade multi-link setup with coil springs, gas-charged shocks and 19mm stabilizer bar.  Your control is even better as Ford engineers have enhanced cornering agility and stability with a standard toque vectoring control system that behaves like a limited-slip differential to constantly balance distribution of torque between the driven front wheels.  This results in reduced understeer, improved traction and better turn-in.

Focus features a completely new 2.0 liter DOHC, all-aluminum, four-cylinder engine that combines high-pressure gasoline direct injection and twin independent variable camshaft timing for enhanced performance and fuel economy.  With 120hp at 6,500 rpm and 146 lb.ft. of toque at 4,450 rpm, this new engine brings fuel economy improvement of more than 10%.

This engine is mated with the latest six-speed Ford PowerShift automatic transmission.  It is a high-efficiency dual dry clutch design it also features SelectShift automatic functionality when you want to hold the revs to almost redline to get your heart pumping faster.  For those consumers who prefer a stick shift and clutch pedal, Focus offers a five-speed manual.

The 2012 Focus four-door has a drag coefficient of just 0.295-lower than Chevy’s Cruze and Volkswagen’s Jetta.  A streamlined shape, a steeply racked windshield and active grille shutter system combine to significantly reduce drag and help reduce Focus wind noise at speed while contributing to improved fuel efficiency.

Focus was designed to exceed global safety standards and pedestrian protection.  Featuring next-generation front and side airbag technologies to tailor deployment to individual occupants.  Focus includes segment-exclusive Safety Canopy curtain airbags.  The driver’s airbag uses a reconfigured curve-shaped tether system that pulls in the lower section to create a ‘pocket’ to help lessen the impact of the airbag on the driver’s chest and ribs in frontal crashes.  Innovative side airbags feature unique shoulder vents that stay open and reduce pressure for small occupants who typically benefit from reduced forces.

High-strength steels comprise 55% of the Focus body shell, with ultra-high-strength and boron steels making up more than 31% of the skeletal structure.  These advanced materials help Focus meet crash regulations across world markets while minimizing the vehicle’s weight and contributing to fuel economy.

Ford offers SYNC with MyFord Touch which replaces many of the standard buttons, knobs and gauges with clear, colorful LCD screens and five-way buttons.  The screens can be personalized to display information relevant to each driver using a simple button click, voice command or touch screen tap.  MyFord Touch is powered by a new generation of the company’s award-winning SYNC system, which includes a sophisticated voice control system for vehicle functions, connected Bluetooth devices, Wi-Fi hotspot, MP3 players and a wide variety of external media.

Focus offers a comprehensive range of smart technologies and features including: Active Park Assist, SYNC with Traffic, Directions and Information, HD radio with iTunes Tagging, Ambient lighting, rearview camera, Intelligent Access with push-button start/stop and Wi-Fi access.

Standard equipment in my Titanium model not mentioned above included halogen headlamps, foglamps, front splitter/rear spoiler, cruise control, illuminated entry, ambient lighting, AdvanceTrak with electronic stability control/traction control, 60/40-split rear bench seat with pull-down armrest and dual cupholders, sport-tuned suspension, easy fuel capless filler, universal garage door opener, Sony premium sound system with 6-speakers, dual-zone climate control, power windows/door locks, dual map lights, dual lighted vanity mirrors, self-dimming rearview mirror, power-remote sideview mirrors, and thick cut-pile carpeting with floor mats.  My Titanium model also came equipped with Ford’s Navigation system and Ford’s Parking System with Automated Parking Assist that self-parks the car.  The Titanium model I tested was painted custom Yellow Blaze Metallic Tri-Coat.

Sales of the all-new 2012 Focus are straight-up the charts with consumers finding out for themselves when test driving the all-new Focus that it fits their every need of great looks, comfort, performance, functionality, innovative technologies and safety.

Copyright: 2012 Harvey Schwartz

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Base Focus Sedan $22,270.00 / As-Tested Focus Titanium $26,870.00
  • Engine: 2.0-liter DOHC 4-cylinder 160 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm / 146 ft-lbs. torque @ 4,450 rpm
  • Wheelbase: 104.3in.
  • Total length: 178.5in.
  • Total width: 71.8in.
  • Total height: 57.7in.
  • Track: f/r-61.2/60.4in.
  • Fuel tank: 12.4 gallons
  • Turning circle: 36 ft.
  • Headroom: f/r-38.3/38in.
  • Legroom: f/r-41.9/33.2in.
  • Trunk: 13.2cu.ft.
  • Curb weight: 2,935lbs.
  • 0-60 mph: 8.3 seconds
  • EPA mileage: 27mpg/city, 37mpg/highway

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