It’s nice to see that Ford has finally come around and is offering American consumers something more than gas-guzzling SUVs and monster pickup trucks.
I refer specifically to the all-new Ford Focus, a small car with a wonderfully fresh design, high levels of craftsmanship and occupant safety, an exceptional array of smart new technologies, and an EPA-rated 40 mpg on the highway. On top of all that, Focus delivers solid handling and an overall excellent driving experience.
Focus is powered by a new 2.0-liter DOHC four-cylinder engine that combines high-pressure gasoline direct injection and twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) for enhanced performance and fuel efficiency. How about 20 horsepower more than the previous Focus engine and a fuel economy improvement of more than 10 percent?
The new engine is mated to the latest six-speed Ford PowerShift automatic transmission with a high-efficiency dual dry-clutch design. The advanced transmission also is offered with SelectShift Automatic that allows you to shift gears manually. A five-speed manual transmission is available.
With a sleek and sporty design, Focus is available in hatchback and sedan models — S, SE, SEL and Titanium trim levels. The four-door sedan and five-door hatchback models mark the next step of Ford’s kinetic design form, and more than 10 million units have been sold worldwide since Focus was launched in 1998.
Focus has a striking front end dominated by a wide-mouth grille and slanted inset headlights. A sleek profile and a dramatic rising beltline emphasize the athletic stance. The stylish exterior is matched by a modern, cockpit-style interior with a stylish center console. Bold graphics, a sculptured soft-touch instrument panel and quality trim materials give the interior a premium look.
Noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels have been reduced and driving dynamics improved by the increased stiffness of the body structure, one with 30 percent greater rigidity than the previous Focus. Also, there’s a new windshield with a special acoustic layer that significantly reduces wind and road noise. The windshield is complemented by increased side and rear glass thickness for extra quietness.
Focus also offers SYNC with MyFord Touch, which replaces many of the usual buttons, knobs and gauges with LCD screens and five-way buttons.
The screens can be personalized to display information relevant to each driver using a simple button click, voice command or touch screen tap.
MyFord Touch is powered by a new generation of the company’s popular SYNC system, which includes a sophisticated voice control system for vehicle functions, connected Bluetooth devices, a Wi-Fi hotspot, MP3 players and a variety of external media.
Focus offers a wide range of smart technologies, including active park assist, HD Radio with iTunes Tagging, rear-view camera, Intelligent Access with push-button start and Wi-Fi access.
Starting price on the 2012 Ford Focus is $17,295.
Ron Beasley is the automotive editor for Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277, ext. 261, or by addressing email correspondence to LetsTalkCars@aol.com.