THE 2012 FORD FOCUS HATCHBACK REVIEW
Full Review by Andy: A Foreigner in Our Lands
The story of the Ford Focus begins not in Detroit, Michigan but in Hamburg, Germany, where Ford Motor Company set up a parts assembly plant in 1912. Ford’s presence in Germany ballooned thereafter, and in 1939, Ford of Germany reorganized as Ford-Werke. Overseen by Robert Schmidt, Ford-Werke quickly went from building civilian vehicles to using slave labor to create armored carriers and other technology for Nazi Germany in World War II. Ford-Werke produced turbines used in V-2 rockets that killed thousands of British civilians. It was overhauled after the fall of the Third Reich.
Two Enemies Collide
Twenty years after World War II ended and past grievances apparently set aside, Ford-Werke merged with Ford of Britain to form Ford of Europe. The first car unleashed by Ford of Europe was the Escort, built in England and Germany. The Escort vanished in 1998, when its successor, the Ford Focus, debuted in Europe. One year later, the Focus washed up on American shores, and the five-door hatchback arrived in 2001. Within a few years, the Focus resurrected the Blue Oval in Europe. However, in its second generation, the American Focus was developed apart from the European model and was not as well received. The year 2012 marks the first year for the third-generation Focus. Developed in Germany, introduced at the North American Auto Show, built for the UK, and sold worldwide, the all-new Ford Focus has come full circle.
Lean & Mean
The 2012 Ford Focus is the Blue Oval’s latest iteration of Kinetic Design, an artistic style developed in Europe based on the theme of “Energy in Motion” and first seen on the Iosis concept. Trademarks include a swept beltline, a blacked-out trapezoidal grille, and stretched headlamps. Hatchbacks often appear portly, but the Focus is lean and aggressive, crafted to slide under the wind.
(See 80+ images of the interior and exterior of the 2012 Ford Focus hatchback.)
Power and Shift
Guzzling power from its 160-horsepower four-cylinder engine, the Focus routes torque through its front tires onto the tarmac. A slick-shifting five-speed manual transmission is standard on the base model, and a six-speed PowerShift dual-clutch automated manual is standard on upper trims. The PowerShift has no paddle shifters but does offer plus/minus buttons next to the gear shifter. Fuel economy with the manual transmission is unimpressive. The PowerShift gearbox bumps up figures across the board by two and is eligible for a Super Fuel Economy upgrade that allows the Focus to achieve up to 40 mpg on the highway.
Slug or Sprint?
More or less, the 2012 Ford Focus hits all the lofty targets expected by professional drivers. It has a fully independent suspension, tight and communicative steering, strong braking with the Titanium Handling package and a class-exclusive torque vectoring system to aid and abet cornering. The new platform is 25 percent stronger than the outgoing version. A few drivers complain of lackluster acceleration, but the Focus has 0-60 times better than the class norm: high 8’s with the automatic and low-to-mid 8’s with the manual. Some testers note that the Focus is less fun to toss about than the Mazda3. This is ironic considering that the Focus and Mazda3 share the C1 platform, although only 10-20 percent of the platform parts are shared directly with Mazda.
Switching Premium for Practical
The 2012 Focus five-door hatchback is not the most economical or practical compact car. It has less passenger space and 5-15 cubic feet less cargo room than segment leaders. However, numbers do not tell the entire tale.
If not practical, the Focus is at least plush. Its striking, energetic interior design is one of the best in class as are interior materials. The seats are uncommonly comfortable and have ample support, and the cabin is as serene as a trickling waterfall. Most importantly, the interior of the Focus integrates many features that are unavailable in econobox competitors. When optioned with MyFord Touch, the Focus adds a gargantuan eight-inch center touchscreen with voice control. SYNC is also available. Those who prefer physical controls or more space may want to look at the Honda Fit and Hyundai Elantra Touring.
The 2012 Ford Focus hatchback is available in three trims: SE ($18,300), SEL ($21,300), and Titanium ($22,700). The SE is the mainstream model and is outfitted accordingly. The SEL has fobs like ambient lighting, cruise control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and more. The Titanium model rides on a sport-tuned suspension and has MyFord Touch, a ten-speaker Sony audio system with satellite and HD radio, upgraded interior materials, etc. A multitude of comfort, convenience, and safety features are optional.
The 2012 Ford Focus hatchback: an international superstar.
Engine: 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder: 160 hp @6,500 rpm/146 lb-ft of torque @4,450 rpm
Transmission: five-speed manual, six-speed dual-clutch automated manual
Fuel Economy: 26/36 – 28/40 mpg
Base MSRP: $18,300
Need More Information on the 2012 Ford Focus Hatchback?
video: 2012 Ford Focus Hatchback
vehicle eBrochure: 2012 Ford Focus Hatchback
Find a 2012 Ford Focus for Sale in Your Area
Dealer Quote for the 2012 Ford Focus Hatchback
More>>> Car Reviews
Copyright © 2010-2012 zAutos All Rights Reserved. Watch car videos at zAutos.com