Finally, the Real Ford Focus Comes to America

I’ve been waiting for the 2012 Ford Focus for a very long time. Even as Ford was rolling out the red carpet on the last generation Focus compact in 2007 I was waiting for this car. Heck, my anticipation goes back a decade.

Well, it’s here and in usual Ford fashion Focus arrived in a flurry of product placement as it has been driven on nearly every reality TV show this year.

I first saw the latest Focus in its new plant last December as Ford allowed us an insider view of the assembly facility it had completely rebuilt specifically for Focus. Funny thing about it, it is right across the parking lot from the old Focus plant.

The new NEW Ford Focus has actually been available in every market around the world except for this one prior to MY2012. And Focus critics (myself included) have been constantly asking Ford why they had not yet brought the global Focus to the U.S. yet.

OK, it’s here now and arrives in four-door sedan (meh) and five-door hatchback versions. I am a big fan of the hatch model, and think it one of the most attractively-styled vehicles available right now, from any automaker.

For now, and this will change soon, all Focus models are powered by a totally new 2.0-liter DOHC four-cylinder engine with direct injection for 160hp and 146 lb. ft. of torque. Fuel economy is good at 27 mpg city and 37 mpg highway with the six-speed PowerShift automatic gearbox that our test vehicle saw. (A miserly SFE model can attain up to 40 mpg.)

But oh, that PowerShift transmission and its dual clutch funkiness – everything was going gangbusters until I put the car in gear. Right off I thought the gearbox had been seriously thrashed with adaptive shift logic tuned for Ken Brock, just lacking the guts.

After a week with the automatic, I still was not enjoying the experience in either drive or sport mode, and was wishing they had given me a stick, which by the way is an option

I also was not too happy the subscription had run out on the SYNC/MyFord Touch satellite radio and Sirius Travel Link infotainment system. I had used this system in other Ford/Lincoln vehicles so was familiar with the technology and most recently happy to see Ford announcing a system overhaul coming soon to new and existing models.

And while no reflection on Ford itself, my test vehicle did present an unusual odor every once in a while that saw me driving around most of the week with the windows open, which was no problem as we have been enjoying a wonderful autumn here in North Texas.

So pushing past the recurring odor, cancelled subscription and cantankerous transmission, do I still like the Focus? Absotively and posilutely YES – but I would order mine with a manual.

Pricing for 2012 Ford Focus (sedan) models begins at under 18 grand with our SEL hatchback tester carrying a base MSRP of $21,065. It features Torque Vectoring Control and AdvanceTrac stability control along with a host of airbags and other safety equipment and for those “parking-challenged” individuals the new Focus offers Ford’s Active Park Assist.

And for those not content with the base powertrain output there is the sporty ST model coming next year as well as the Focus Electric. Hmmm, I guess here “ST” would imply “stay tuned…”

Categories: Autos, Reviews

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