As soon as the 2012 Ford Focus reached showrooms, the automotive website Edmunds.com declared it “the segment’s new benchmark.” A primary reason for this instantaneous accolade was the remarkable, class-pacing 40 mpg fuel economy offered by the Focus. The new Focus was inspired by a mandate to deliver the space and performance of a midsize car in a sleek, fuel-efficient compact package, and to provide standard and available features that greatly exceed buyer expectations.
Jim Hughes, chief engineer for the new Focus, summed up the reasoning behind such a complex mission in one simple sentence: “People are downsizing their cars, but not their expectations.” Given the car’s overwhelming success straight out of the blocks – sales in March were up 65 percent compared to the same month last year – it’s clear the Focus team met their mandate. Even more impressive, later this year the Focus lineup will gain a new, ultra-green model designated the Electric, a five-door sedan powered solely by an electric motor and delivering a combined 105 MPGe (miles per gallon gasoline equivalent) – more than the Nissan Leaf.
Ford offers the 2012 Focus in S Sedan (MSRP $16,500), SE Sedan, SE 5-Door, SEL Sedan, SEL 5-Doo, Titanium Sedan, Titanium 5-Doo and Electric Sedan versions. Each delivers unprecedented value to buyers looking to make every penny count.
The Focus ups the ante in this segment by offering first-in-class features such as Torque Vectoring Control, which sharpens turn-in under cornering by applying a slight amount of brake pressure to the inside front drive wheel, allowing more torque to flow across the axle to the outside wheel, which has more grip. The available Active Park Assist system actually searches for an available spot, determines the proper trajectory then controls the steering to park the car in as little as 24 seconds. All the driver needs to do is work the pedals.
Another segment exclusive is the hands-free SYNC® telematics system, which provides voice-activated control over phone, music and vehicle information. Choosing MyFord Touch™ nets you a navigation system, HD Radio™ and an eight-inch touch-screen mounted in the center stack.
All gasoline-fueled models in the Focus lineup boast an all-new, 2.0-liter inline-four-cylinder featuring direct injection and Twin-independent Variable Cam Timing (Ti-VCT). Such advanced technology helps this thrifty powerplant deliver a spirited 160 hp and 146 lb/ft of torque. A five-speed manual transmission comes standard; the available six-speed PowerShift™ automatic uses a dual-clutch design for smooth, instantaneous gear changes. With the six-speed’s available SelectShift™ feature, drivers can manually change gears with the touch of a button.
Fuel economy reaches 38 mpg on the highway with the six-speed automatic. Opting for the SFE package on the SE Sedan raises that highway figure to 40 mpg, thanks to a host of active aerodynamic enhancements complemented by low-rolling-resistance tires and special wheel covers.
As mentioned, the upcoming Focus Electric serves as the ultimate antidote to rising fuel prices. Pairing a 107-kilowatt electric motor with a liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack, the Electric is the most fuel-efficient five-passenger car on the market, delivering 110 city MPGe and a driving range of 76 miles from a single charge. The Electric comes standard with a 120-volt convenience cord for household charging. Choose to install the available 240-volt charging station and a full recharge takes as little as three to four hours (about half the time required for the Nissan leaf).
Edmunds.com praised the “sharp handling and refined ride” of the new Focus, likening its suspension tuning to that of costlier European sedans. Credit goes to the car’s MacPherson-strut front and multi-link rear suspension configuration, as well as its Electric Power Assisted Steering. The top-end Titanium models offer a Handling Package that further tightens the suspension for nimble cornering without sacrificing over-the-road comfort.
Reinforcing driver confidence at speed, the Focus features AdvanceTrac Electronic Stability Control and antilock brakes – a system that monitors driver responses and changing road conditions, and then when necessary adjusts engine torque and brake pressure to keep you headed in the direction you mean to travel. Another confidence boost: the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has awarded the new Focus a “Top Safety Pick” rating, citing the car’s six standard air bags – including front and rear side-curtain units – and extensive use of Boron steel in the body shell.
Speaking of confidence, Ford welcomes compact-car buyers with outsized expectations. That should come as no surprise when you consider that the list of available amenities includes such upscale items as heated, leather-trimmed seats, push-button start (part of the intelligent access system), a power moonroof, 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels, automatic quad-beam halogen headlights and a rearview camera. Soundscape aficionados will appreciate the available 335-watt Sony sound system with a 10-speaker setup that includes a subwoofer. SiriusXM Satellite Radio with a free six-month subscription is also on hand, providing more than 130 channels of sports, news and entertainment.
When comparing the Focus to its competition, Edmunds.com declared that the new Ford compact “stands above them all by being a well-balanced and highly refined small car that seems like it should cost more than it actually does.” Experience the compact car that exceeds all expectations by scheduling a test drive of the all new 2012 Ford Focus.