The 2012 Ford Focus will be different in a number of ways, but the biggest is how it will be launched in the U.S and Europe at the same time – something that did not happen with the current Fiesta. The Detroit automaker has a lot riding on this car, as we all know how competitive the hatchback market is. We have known the specs for some time now, but only now are some auto websites getting the chance to review this latest addition to the Blue Oval family.
Zach Bowman from Autoblog notes that the first and most important thing is how the new 2010 Ford Focus will compare to the likes of the Hyundai Elantra and Chevrolet Cruze; both of which have managed to put the fear up Honda and Toyota with the Civic and Corolla respectively. The current Focus has been popular in the UK for years now, so you would assume that the new-generation model would do as well. However, I was a little shocked when I watched last Sundays episode of Top gear, where all three presenters agreed that it did not offer much and was just plain boring.
The Focus will offer many features not often seen in compact cars, including blind-spot alert, automated parallel parking and a rear-view camera. The turbocharged Focus ST cranks the excitement up several notches with around 245 horsepower and a six-speed manual transmission. The suspension and stability control were re-tuned to provide better handling and control than is customary in high-powered front-wheel drive cars.
At the rear, there’s an independent multilink suspension, and at the front, the ABS has been tricked to serve as a limited-slip diff. On gyrating Route 94, the Focus offered gratifyingly precise turn-in and steady path control. Just as Ford promised, the damping rates felt similar to the A3’s, lending the car an agile, button-downed, purposeful persona. Note, however, that we sampled only the Titanium handling package ($595), with its heftier bars, springs, and 18-inch rubber.
Too bad the Focus’s steering doesn’t more faithfully replicate the A3’s. As is true with many manufacturers, Ford is still coming to grips with electrically assisted steering, “endlessly mixing and matching 250 programmable parameters,” as one engineer somewhat wearily put it. The steering is adequately weighted and satisfactorily accurate—with a column adjustment for reach and rake—but there’s a steady whiff of artificiality about it, not to mention a quickness just off-center that may pester persnickety pilots.