I've been working and living (in an Embassy Suites) in Columbia SC 5 days a week for the past few weeks and because it seems I will be doing this for the foreseeable future and my old accent has over a 100K on the clock and was never that comfortable on the highway, I broke down and bought a new car. I purchased a 2012 Ford Focus Sedan and I'm so impressed I feel obligated to review it to the foosters.
Simply put, it's a brilliant small car. If you're looking for small car this should definitely at the top of your list. First, it drives wonderfully. It handles well without giving up ride comfort. It's quick enough with a 5 speed but still fuel efficient. This morning I drove from Atlanta to Columbia at 80+mph and averaged 37.5 mpg door to door. The seats are comfortable, the trunk is a good size for a car in this class, and it looks great. The dash is a nice soft-touch plastic that feels like it came from a more expensive car. In fact the car on the whole gives you the feeling your driving a bigger and sportier vehicle. It's simply a joy to drive. How did Ford manage to design this wonder? Well they let the Germans design the car and it feels like it. If this thing were RWD and had say 20 more horsepower and 40 ft-lbs of torque coming in lower this thing would be a 1-series killer.
Of course all is not perfect. The interior isn't as airy as it's competitors. I've seen less complicated radio stacks in airplanes and if you've got people in the front seats that are taller than say 5'5" the back seats are useless to adults. The engine has a 12:1 compression ratio and with that diesel like compression ratio the engine is a little noisy when cold. And speaking of the engine it's a 2.0 four banger that makes a 160 hp and 143 ft-lbs of torque which is great except that max HP is at 6500 rpm and the torque curve peaks at 4,450 rpm. As a result it feels a little pokey off the line unless you're super aggressive.
But these things don't take away from the overall brilliance of the car. Then there's the price, you'll hear a lot about how the focus is overpriced but that's only if you want the top of the line models. I went with the mid-range SE model, in part so I could get the five-speed and it came to a very reasonable price.
How reasonable? I paid $16,500 (18500 before a $2,000 rebate) for an SE sedan with option group 203a (which includes nicecities like cruise control power windows satellite radio and stuff). For that price the car's a bargain.
Before making my decision I test drove the following cars: