The Ford Focus is completely new for 2012, with an all-new design, more fuel-efficient powertrains, and improved handling, along with a host of new technology features. Ford is recognizing that with the possibility of higher fuel prices, small, more fuel-efficient cars will be more appealing, so it's added a top Titanium model that has many of the top-tech features from Ford's larger, more expensive models. A limited-availability battery-only Focus can be had in some markets for 2012.
The new Focus is offered in 4-door sedan or 5-door hatchback forms, in S, SE, SEL and Titanium trims-although hatchbacks aren't offered in base S form. S and SE models can be had with either a 5-speed manual gearbox or 6-speed PowerShift dual-clutch automatic transmission. SEL and Titanium models only come with the automatic.
All but the electric Focus include a new 2.0L direct-injection 4-cylinder engine, making 160 horsepower and 146 pound-feet of torque. Ford's Ti-VCT variable valve timing system helps provide stronger response through the rev range while saving fuel at other times. Ford anticipates up to 40 mpg on the highway.
With a 4-wheel independent suspension-combining a semi-isolated front subframe and a control-blade multi-link rear suspension-along with 4-wheel disc brakes in all but the S and SE models, the Focus has stronger performance credentials than most small cars. The suspension is tuned to be quite firm yet has enough give to soak up heaves and potholes; Ford's electric power-steering system provides good steering weighting and responsiveness as well. In addition, a new torque vectoring system, included with the standard stability control system, balances torque delivery between the front wheels for better poise out of corners.
With an all-new shape influenced by what Ford calls 'kinetic design,' the new Focus sedan and hatchback employ some of the same design attributes ahead of the rear doors, with a crisp, narrow grille, lower trapezoidal intake, steeply sloped windshield and a deeply sculpted hood and front fenders. Deep creases running along the doors also accent the wedge-like stance.
Front seats in the Focus are supportive buckets, with even better, firmer bolstered ones provided with the Sport Package. Both the sedan and hatchback have about the same back-seat space-just ample for most adults. Cargo space is quite generous in either model, with a relatively wide trunk opening in the sedan. In either model, the back seat folds forward nearly flat.
The Focus S model is quite basic, but includes air conditioning, a tilt/telescopic steering wheel and CD sound. SE models add fog lamps, larger wheels, cruise control, and Ford's MyKey system; SEL trims get SYNC, dual-zone climate control and upgraded trims. A Sport Package, including a stiffer suspension, larger 17-inch wheels, summer performance tires and sport seats is included with the Titanium and available on the SEL.
All Focus models but the base S come with Sync, which provides voice-command-based connectivity with phones and media players and can perform other actions such as reading texts. A new feature called MyFord Touch is included in all Titanium models (optional on SEL) and brings a huge, colorful eight-inch touch-screen display, which can also be controlled through steering-wheel buttons. This system includes more advanced voice control for climate control, entertainment, and other vehicle functions, and can also turn the vehicle into a wireless hotspot with a USB-based cellular data modem. It's also packages with an upgraded Sony sound system, as well as satellite radio and HD Radio with an iTunes Tagging function. Other available features in the Focus include multi-color interior ambient lighting, a rearview camera, push-button start, and an Active Park Assist system that steers the car into a parking spot while the driver only modulates the brakes.
Ford has made a limited number of battery-powered Focus models available in some markets for 2012. The Focus electric is very similar to the conventionally powered model, includes 17-inch wheels, a Sony audio system, SYNC and a choice of cloth or leather seating. Base prices start around $39,000.