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Old 08-13-12, 05:48 PM   #1
bikebuddha 
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Unsolicited Car Review

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:
Hyundai Elantra
Hyundai Accent
Ford Fiesta
Chevy Cruze
Chevy Sonic
Mazda 3
Fiat 500
Kia Forte
Dodge Dart
Honda Civic
Honda Insight
Toyota Corolla
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Old 08-13-12, 05:52 PM   #2
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I love fords it is what id spend my moen yon if i got a new car.It would either be the festiva or focus
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Old 08-14-12, 08:10 AM   #3
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I love small cars, but I am 6'3". So, I lived in denial about my height vs. car cabin for years. I was forced to rent a huge SUV once, and boy was that comfortable for my height. So, we compromised and I get to drive a minivan now. Best thing for my height and bad back since I was a kid.

I am very excited to see people enjoying small cars since I can't anymore (at least until my kids are our of car seats and I can just remove the front seat and drive from the back).
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Old 08-14-12, 09:09 AM   #4
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I love small cars, but I am 6'3". So, I lived in denial about my height vs. car cabin for years. I was forced to rent a huge SUV once, and boy was that comfortable for my height. So, we compromised and I get to drive a minivan now. Best thing for my height and bad back since I was a kid.

I am very excited to see people enjoying small cars since I can't anymore (at least until my kids are our of car seats and I can just remove the front seat and drive from the back).
Wimp. One of my friends was 6'9", and he used to drive an original mini.
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Old 08-14-12, 09:21 AM   #5
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Which Dart did you drive? I'm very seriously considering the 1.4T Rallye one and wanted your thoughts.
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Old 08-14-12, 10:28 AM   #6
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But can you fit the bike into it without removing anything?
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Old 08-14-12, 11:23 AM   #7
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My dad has a '11 Fiesta and he loves it. Ford is definitely doing something right with their small cars.
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Old 08-14-12, 11:27 AM   #8
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C&D calls the Focus the "Best front wheel drive platform since the last Integra." If you've driven an Integra, that's high praise indeed.
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Old 08-14-12, 11:32 AM   #9
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My wife & I test drove a 2012 Ford Focus Hatchback before we decided on getting a 2012 Hyundai Veloster. We liked the Focus, except for the lack of leg room in the front. I'm 5'9", my wife is 5'8". Both of us felt like our legs were wedged into the car. The Veloster, on the other hand, is extremely comfortable, has a much more intuitive infotainment system, and was cheaper than the Focus when similarly optioned. I still like the look of the Focus. If it had been roomier, it would have been a tough choice.
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Old 08-14-12, 12:20 PM   #10
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My wife has a 2005 Focus and loves it.
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Old 08-14-12, 03:18 PM   #11
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Which Dart did you drive? I'm very seriously considering the 1.4T Rallye one and wanted your thoughts.
SXT w/ 1.4 turbo. It was definitely a fun to drive car and I could almost sense the Alfa underneath it's skin trying to get out. It was certainly quicker off the line than the Focus. But I thought the shifting wasn't slick (which is weird because I also test drove a fiat which was great and I'm pretty sure they use the same transmission) and it didn't ride as nice on the expressway which is a big deal for me right now considering I'm doing twice a week 230 mile jaunts to home.
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Old 08-14-12, 03:30 PM   #12
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I currently drive an Elantra (2005). I have a long history with Fords though and really wanted to buy a Focus, but in 2005 the Focus wasn't near as good of a car as the Elantra was, not even close. If I were to buy today, though, I think the Focus has caught up and surpassed the Elantra. I'd probably look at a Fiesta though; I don't really need the room anymore. I test drove the Fiesta earlier this year and it was almost as nice as my much larger Elantra.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 08-14-12, 03:31 PM   #13
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(which is weird because I also test drove a fiat which was great and I'm pretty sure they use the same transmission)
Nope. They used a Japanese transmission in the Dart.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 08-14-12, 03:32 PM   #14
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My dad has a '11 Fiesta and he loves it. Ford is definitely doing something right with their small cars.
Yeah, they're bringing over their Euro designs and not messing with them.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 08-14-12, 03:42 PM   #15
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Yeah, they're bringing over their Euro designs and not messing with them.


+1 on that.
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Old 08-14-12, 03:53 PM   #16
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I'm not joking either. They brought the previous Focus over from Europe (ca. 2000) but they econo-boxed it. It didn't ride well, it was noisy, it was just cheap. This time I think the left some of the Euroness in it.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 08-14-12, 03:58 PM   #17
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I think I may pick up a focus hatch for my next car. the hatch is a nice looking car.
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Old 08-14-12, 04:23 PM   #18
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I've been getting a Ford Escape @ the rental agencies recently. Very impressed by this car / mini-SUV...
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Old 08-14-12, 05:07 PM   #19
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You test drove 13 cars? What a hard working guy.
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Old 08-14-12, 05:20 PM   #20
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Whatdo you think of the new to come BMW i3 electric drive MegaCity vehicule in 2013? Would be a good alternative for use for everyday car for work and for long range with th REx technology?
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Old 08-14-12, 05:23 PM   #21
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Ford is doing a lot of things right. I think the f150 is tops in it class as well. I know of at least 4 traveling salesmen that have traded 3/4ton dodges and Chevys for ford f150s with the twin turbo v6. My wife and I also got a fusion last year and have been very pleased. It drives well, fits four adults, and was a pretty good value.
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Old 08-14-12, 05:28 PM   #22
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I've had a Focus for a ZipCar a few times, very nice.

... and I did see an electric Focus on the road the other day.
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Old 08-14-12, 05:31 PM   #23
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You test drove 13 cars? What a hard working guy.
Trust me for a purchase this size I do my homework. I'm cheap.
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Old 08-14-12, 05:32 PM   #24
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I think I may pick up a focus hatch for my next car. the hatch is a nice looking car.
I would have preferred the hatch but I couldn't justify the the price difference.
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Old 08-14-12, 05:49 PM   #25
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My son totaled my Honda Accord (he walked away with barely a scratch - I was totally impressed with the crash worthiness of that car) so the rental company has me in a 2013 Ford Mustang. A real muscle car and I'm impressed with the package - not that I would even consider one for purchase. For all it's power it is smooth...

I think Ford may have a real handle on the market again.

I'll go look at a Focus.
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