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2012 Ford Focus

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Comments

  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    edited April 2011
    I just don't remember many US auto writers raving about the Focus in ride quality, steering feel or amenities until this 2012 model which is what this discussion is supposed to be about.

    Car&Driver immediately gave it "10 Best" award since the beginning. Since this is really a German car, it had (a matured, very well developed non-intrusive) optional stability control (Advance Trak) in this country since 2001. That's ahead of all competitors!

    Consumer Reports gave the 2006 Focus SES sedan high marks in steering feel, ride comfort & handling (including accident-avoidance maneuver) as if no body else does them better! Even the early Focus SVT hatch trumped just about everything else on the road w/ very high overall score, beating the Mini Cooper in both ride & handling.

    The old Focus only charged just over $100 for the optional heated front seats. The tilt-&-telescopic steering column had optional remote for the in-dash 6-disk changer stereo w/ MP3 player, subwoofer & Sony speakers.

    The new Focus may be quieter, but its extra bulk of un-compact width combining w/ shrunkened rear leg room worse than even many tiny cars is quite laughable, though.
  • samm43samm43 Posts: 195
    And hanging off most of them (but especially CR) instead of your own seat-of-the-pants test is amusing, but generally not much more help than that. I have seen them contradict themselves often depending on what the flavor of the week/month/season was that year (or whether enough green was slipped under the table upon contract signing when the host cars are picked up).

    And I sure don't support any believe that just because CR has no advertisements, that their reporting reputation is neither consistent or squeaky clean. I have seen their reporting off and on for at least 4 decades. Their FOR (frequency of repair) charts seem to have the most merit and usefulness to a car-shopper. Through my own knowledge I have seen trends that they reported similar findings. But when I see them do a "Not Recommended", I will decide that for myself, thank you very much. I have seen too many of those with vehicles that lost that recommendation over silly things that were never actually substantiated beyond their slanted tests.

    Above comments, are my opinion but have a pretty good feeling they will not be met with much concurrence among a group who hold auto mags in high regard.

    Whenever I read about noise-levels (and if they elaborate on wind versus road, engine, at certain speeds and pavement surfaces, all the better) ride and steering feel (which is a tough one due to varying tactility preferences, that you basically have to build upon due to a certain writer's style that you can relate their previous reporting on that you were able to relate to on personal experience and then see that pattern) then I am always interested and look for a trend among all the reporting.

    I am very interested to check out the Focus when I get a chance. Hopefully the base, or near base trim still has enough niceties that it could be a contender for my next car. I was interested to read that it has higher profile tires than the equivalent trimmed Elantra. It may be a small item to some but is one of importance to my comparisons. I still long for the return of the custom optioned car order. I'll take heated leather seats (and wheel), no power but same adjustability, wind up windows, keyless entry, cruise, high-end audio, no sunroof, a stick, no auto headlights, dimming rearview mirrrors, climate controls, 15 or 16" rims, and I don't want to read that trailer towing (even a 1000lb light duty trailer) is "Not Recommended" and if so, then tell why so I can make my own deductions of whether I am risking my warranty, because no doubt they will use that as an escape clause on a claim no matter whether it was the culprit or not. This recent heads-up came to light when reading the fine-print on the 'Eco' Cruze.

    I really like the styling of the Focus from any angle I have seen it so far. Has that wonderful steering feel been accomplished without electric assist? If so, I am even more onboard with that.

    Sam
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    edited April 2011
    And hanging off most of them (but especially CR) instead of your own seat-of-the-pants test is amusing, but generally not much more help than that. I have seen them contradict themselves often depending on what the flavor of the week/month/season was that year (or whether enough green was slipped under the table upon contract signing when the host cars are picked up).

    Even after taking the bribe, they can still give you the hint if you read b/t the lines. When they were bribed to shut up, then they can't reveal what's wrong w/ the product, but can still compliment the other products instead. When any negative comment were revealed, they are likely to be telling the truth & that's where one should pay much attention to. Using these info to remind you is especially useful when test driving the car yourself.

    I was interested to read that it has higher profile tires than the equivalent trimmed Elantra.

    I really prefer the set up on the Rabbit -- 205/55-16, & decided to apply this formula whether it's an '07 Focus or '99 BMW E36.

    Has that wonderful steering feel been accomplished without electric assist?

    The new Focus is switching to pure electric assist, therefore not as much feel as before. But even the pure-electric-assist steering in the RX-8 is very confident inspiring despite not providing the very detailed stuff the way my '90 Protege DOHC does.
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    edited April 2011
    But the Elantra has been well regarded for many years, e.g. #2 in C/D compact face-off of 2002 models, 1/2 point behind Protege, and in recent years CR's top-rated small car. Which is where the 2011 Elantra sits now.

    I was aware of how the redesigned '01 Civic w/ front struts got ranked behind the Elantra by CR. That's why I also collected an '00 Civic. Having these Double Wishbones all around is amazing -- even w/ only 185/65-14 T-rated Michellin Hydro Edge tires & std suspension, the car holds the road really well & drifts very evenly w/ no surprises. Only the slow-ratio light steering w/ no feel ruins the fun.
  • m6userm6user Posts: 3,048
    (or whether enough green was slipped under the table upon contract signing when the host cars are picked up).

    Any proof to offer? It amuses when people do this and accuse the auto mags of fraud. I agree they might not be the best and sometimes make mistakes but to accuse them of outright fraud? I've never seen anyone bring any proof that this goes on other than that the mags may contradict themsleves sometimes which may even be because two different writers may have differing opinions. IMO it's just childish to keep perpetuating these accusations unless they can backed up. There has never been any study or expose that major advertisers in auto mags make payoffs of any kind or that any of the mags is directly influenced by advertising dollars. Many of these mags have been in business for decades and not one disgruntled employee has ever came out with "the dirt". Strange isn't it.

    Same with CR, they may not be the best in the auto testing arena but not being "clean" is quite an accusation. Being inconsistent or even wrong is totally different than "accepting bribes under the table". Those kind of accusations are just sickening to me and really don't belong in an adult discussion.
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    edited April 2011
    I've noticed how some car magazines are afraid to criticize things like ride comfort or steering feel. If you test drive the Mazda3 after reading some car magazines, most likely you will be shocked by the ride, which feels like the tires are made of concrete. A lot of times we hear how precise Audi A4's steering is, but that's only 1/2 the story. Drive the car yourself & you'll find out how lacking the feel is, unless you're coming from a Toyota.

    When I test drove the Focus, the steering feel was great if I was driving my Corolla on the way to the Ford dealer, but not when arrived in my Protege.

    When the E46 BMW first came out, the base model w/ 15" rims was ranked a close 2nd place behind the A4 by Car&Driver. They never criticized Audi's lack of steering feel, but did compliment BMW's steering feel.
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    Believe me, if the older Focus was the best thing since sliced bread it would have had a lot larger following as it was huge in the rental car world and had plenty of exposure.

    Rental models are the cheaper SE, which does not have SES's rear sway bar w/ softer springs. This means the SE is worse than the SES in both ride & handling. Besides, early Focus' w/o Japanese designed engine are so problematic that people are staying away for rest of their life.

    & after my expensive experimentations w/ different combination of parts, I've found out that the best "ride/handling compromise"suspension tuning for this car should be the '06/07 ST model w/ aftermarket Monroe Spectrum shocks. The '05 ST rides too hard.
  • placido08placido08 Posts: 1
    edited April 2011
    i like the style of honda cr-v, i want to buy it.
    i like good quality car like BUICK, i think the Japanese car is not as good as America car.
    link title
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,784
    If you test drive the Mazda3 after reading some car magazines, most likely you will be shocked by the ride, which feels like the tires are made of concrete.

    Yes, I think it's funny how some cars get a "free pass" in reviews in some areas as long as the car handles well. For example, a mag like C/D might say the Mazda3 has a "firm" ride, then they go on and on about how other cars without as crisp of handling "crash over bumps" or "are made of jello", both of which are hyperbolic statements if I've ever seen them. But then, they are honest about their bias towards handling in favor of everything else.

    I favor cars with a nice blend of handling and compliant ride. I thought the old Focus was quite good there, especially in the early years before the refreshes, so I look forward to driving the new one. But handling is not #1 for me as it is for some mags and some buyers. I want safe, predictable handling, and the crisper the handling (if not at the sake of a comfortable ride) is great--but not all-important. So the Focus, for me, has to measure up in other areas, including driving position, ergonomics, fuel economy, crash safety, quality/fit-finish, back seat room, NVH, powertrain smoothness, and of course price. If the Focus is a great small car but I can't get one nicely optioned (all the power accessories at minimum) for well under $20k, I'll look elsewhere, including mid-sized sedans and the slightly used market (e.g. Rabbit/Golf).
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    edited April 2011
    I favor cars with a nice blend of handling and compliant ride. I thought the old Focus was quite good there, especially in the early years before the refreshes, so I look forward to driving the new one.

    So this particular C170/C1 platform does not have very long suspension travel in the front.

    The C170 platform, which is used in the old Focus, has less subframe isolation for comfort but also provides more steering feel. Other than that, the suspension travel should have the same length as the C1 platform used in Mazda3 & S40/V50.

    I've checked out the S40 w/ std & sport suspension. The std feels like floating in the air & therefore a little too disconnected. It's front suspension even crashes over taller speed bumps. The sport is just too rigid for comfort.

    The (early) Mazda3 is not as rigid as S40 sport, but still too firm for comfort, plus the rebound motion is too quick/nervous for a relaxing ride. I'm sure installing Monroe shocks will calm down this nervous rebound motion.

    The ride of the '06-07 Focus SES is at least as squishy as the S40 std, as if Ford of USA is trying to sastisfy grandma's who have been driving Lincoln Continentals.

    The ride of the '06-07 Focus ST, despite having high comfort rating from CR, still has that Mazda3-like nervous/quick rebound motion. My first attempt to replace the shocks w/ Gabriel units only made it totally rigid as if the coil springs have become leaf springs! My 2nd attempt was using the OEM SES shocks, & the car ended up sort of like the SES squish mobile except w/ less body roll & squat/dive due to ST's firmer springs. But, at least, for the first time I get to glide over bumps like a luxury sedan until it crashed over tall speed bumps/dips. Since Monroe always tune their shocks just a little firmer than the typical OEM's, this will be my final solution to fine tune my '07 Focus ST into "perfection".

    Ideally, having adjustable shocks that changes b/t the OEM SES & the Monroe setting on my '07 ST would be perfect. I can cruise like a "limo", then hit the "firm" button right before encountering a deep dip or speed bump. The Mazda 626 had this feature since 1983.
  • samm43samm43 Posts: 195
    Ideally, having adjustable shocks that changes b/t the OEM SES & the Monroe setting on my '07 ST would be perfect. I can cruise like a "limo", then hit the "firm" button right before encountering a deep dip or speed bump. The Mazda 626 had this feature since 1983.

    Interesting, I didn't know that. Do they use electrically charged particles in the shock oil whereby you choose (via a 3 position switch) more restrictive orifice routing depending on how the particles are aligned? I think Corvettes used this tech many years ago. Now even some bikes use this feature. BMW comes to mind.

    Sam
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    I'm not sure if "electrically charged particles in the shock oil" does it like an on-off setting. The one in the first FWD 626 also only has 2 settings -- a mechanical screw dail it to close down the flow opening. Maybe mechanical devices do wear out, so "electrically charged particles in the shock oil" should be more reliable, but does not provide the choice on controlling the compression or rebound separately I guess.
  • samm43samm43 Posts: 195
    edited April 2011
    Re the mech screw dial, oh, I thought you could change the settings on the fly. I think I misunderstood?

    I'm not sure how reliable the charged particles system is. I guess the weakest link would be a wiring connection in as corrosive an environment as an ABS sensor. And I forget how it worked, but I suspect it was done with varying voltages (or maybe different current draws?). The greater the voltage, the more 'lined up' or directionally oriented the particles, therby through design could flow more easily or with greater restriction through the orifices. Technically, while it would make for a more complex (and cost) shock body area, I don't see any reason why the system couldn't be expanded upon to manage rebound activities also.

    I meant to add, that regarding an on-off setting would simply be a simpler (cheaper) setup. Particles charged, switch on, or non charged, switch off. Multiple voltages would just give greater flow (or restricted flow) characteristics. Or, possibly a multiposition switch, may involve different sized particles altogether, but still activate by charge. i.e. A smaller particle (representing a softer ride) may be allowed to go through a specific orifice regardless of whether it is charged or not. Sort of like taking a pencil and dropping it through a 1 inch hole. if the pencil is chopped down to 3/4" it doesn't matter whether it is lined up with the hole or not. I am speculating with you here, putting out that possible theory on the varying ways it could be handled.

    That would be very trick if Focus was to offer such a set up in future. Get the edge on Hyundai who would usually be the first to offer such goodies in an attempt to rob more sales from the domestics. Ford would, of course, reserve that option for a more sport oriented trimmed car. And a price to match.

    Sam
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    edited April 2011
    Re the mech screw dial, oh, I thought you could change the settings on the fly. I think I misunderstood?

    Yes, the "driver adjustable shock" button on the Mazda 626/Ford Telstar (sold in the Pacific region) gives you the choice of either "soft" or "firm", plus "auto", which is in soft mode until 50mph, then only the front switches to firm above that speed.

    The car boasted many distinctive features, such as push-button adjustable suspension (which it shared with its 626 sister car), and a digital instrument cluster (which it did not), and was Wheels magazine¡¦s Car of the Year for 1983.

    Technically, while it would make for a more complex (and cost) shock body area, I don't see any reason why the system couldn't be expanded upon to manage rebound activities also.

    I believe it affects both compression & rebound the same way. I thought I heard from Koni that their adjustable screw on each shock only changes the rebound firmness, which is a good way for drivers to tailor the compression/rebound ratio.

    I personally prefer more rebound control for a more deliberate, less nervous ride motion. & of course, the price to pay is not being able to extend quick enough in time for the next bump, thus more compression firmness is needed in order to compensate. The end result can be some lumpy ride motion & still somewhat too slow to react in some situations such as racing, slalom...

    In case you wonder why these "zoom zoom" cars like the E46 BMW starting in 2001.5 & all Mazda3/protege have a nervously quick rebound motion to ruin the ride comfort.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    In case you wonder why these "zoom zoom" cars like the E46 BMW starting in 2001.5 & all Mazda3/protege have a nervously quick rebound motion to ruin the ride comfort.

    You know, you routinely trash other cars with very negative statement; statements that might suggest A) you've never once driven the cars you're trashing, B) don't have a clue what you're talking about, and C) are just parroting what you've read in various publications.

    The fact is that I've owned an E36, an E46, and an E39 BMW as well as a Mazda3, and none of the bilge you have spouted about these cars is even remotely true. Please, in the future try to qualify your comments with only what you've experienced personally, and then write it along the lines of, "...for my tastes (or needs, wants or desires, you choose), I've found that car "X" does (or feels, or doesn't; you choose again)..."

    If you subscribe to this method of writing you will no longer run the risk of being dubbed a "Troll".
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    edited April 2011
    Wait a minute here. Just b/c I'm a picky person... I've been enjoying reading some UK car magazines b/c they are not afraid to criticize cars!

    First of all, these Mazda's & 3-series are my favorite cars. & I've experienced a lot of them (FYI, I've driven FWD Mazda's since dawn &, as an inexperienced teenager, even rolled over an '83 626 when switching the shocks to soft while going above 55mph doing very abrupt lane-change test :sick: ). I've also been attacked in these Edmund forums since late '03 when I defended for the Mazda 3 & 6, as a few Honda-fan readers couldn't stand me in the "Mazda6 vs TSX" forum for being on the Mazda side. So I'm not really trashing them; I'm just pointing out which particular detail on particular models have anything negative. That's why I kept modifying my Mazda & BMW in order to improve closer to perfection! Actually I am more likely to trash other cars such as Toyota's, & that's b/c I've own them, too.

    You must realized that I should have been awarded PhD degree regarding to these cars. Because I have compared 6 different sets of shock absorbers on my Protege alone, w/ my own $ of course, & I paid mechanics to do all the work.

    First, lets get to the E36 & E46 issue here. I finally decided to collect an E36. & that's after convincing my brother to buy 2 E46 ('02 & 04) AWD. & that's b/c after I test drove the lowered sport suspension, the AWD w/ 17"s, etc., what I noticed was when the E46 was first available with the std suspenion & 15" alloy, it rode even smoother than the C-class while providing better steering feel. But two-&-half years later, the new suspension set up, at least on 2WD models, has a quicker, more nervous rebound motion. It was quite an embarrassment for me when I convinced my cousin to lease an '04 2WD but was disappointed w/ that ride quality!

    I chose to own the E36 (had to buy it used, as it was no longer in production) for having more steering feel than the E46 (plus wider rear visibility) & a more playful rear end for drifting when special differential was added, but the steering ratio was too slow. So I had to do enough research & changed the rack w/ the unit from the 4-cyl Z3. & especially after my brother found out how disppointing my '99 328is w/ sport package drives & rides compare to my Focus ST, I knew I had to prove to the whole world that (besides quicken the steering rack), by changing my 328is' lowered sport suspension into std suspension plus using the slow-motion Monroe shocks, the car will no longer feel painful to ride (or clumsy to steer) compare to my inexpensive Focus ST.

    Now my cars are so close to perfection & able to satisfy a perfectionist like me. I'm even more likely to trash other cars whenever I get to compare them. My opinion may be bluntly honest, but then truth hurts. Just don't take it too hard. :)
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "but then truth hurts. Just don't take it too hard."

    Exactly my point, what you write makes it seem as if your truth should be considered by the rest of us to be a universal truth, and the truth is, it ain't nuthin' of the sort. As I wrote before, if you simply qualify your words as your truth (and only your truth), then no issue.
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    & funny thing is that some materialistic people in LA actually trash my cars for being old or inexpensive. Look what they're driving -- numb-steering cars that don't even ride comfortably. Oh well, this may be my standard, whether others agree or not.
  • samm43samm43 Posts: 195
    if you simply qualify your words as your truth (and only your truth), then no issue.

    this isn't my debate here, but hopefully you won't mind my opinion on this, as I have noticed this becomes a point of contention on most forums I have read online but it is even quicker to surface here on Edmunds. There seems to always be this big deal made of using "IMO" so that in a political correctness way, it satisfies all those who like to split hairs.
    So I propose that we call it like it is, and admit that when we offer our opinions here in a forum (especially on topics that we may be especially passionate about) surely by now it is not out of line to just assume that all posts are automatically assumed to endorse a caveat prefaced with "IMO" or "for my tastes" etc. There are enough real problems in the world without sensationalizing the need for, what most of us, (especially if put on a lie-detector test) would admit to unnecessary political and the-microscopic-written-word correctness.

    FWIW, I have read a few of both of your previous posts and respect you both in many of your posts, even if i don't totally agree with every word. The same (hopefully) can be said about mine. I write on topics that I am (mostly) passionate about and I'm sure others do too. I think a little bit of poetic (or writer's)-license is not too much to ask from each other on topics that we all are interested in.

    Sam
  • m6userm6user Posts: 3,048
    edited April 2011
    So I propose that we call it like it is, and admit that when we offer our opinions here in a forum

    The problem is that a lot of people don't post as if it is their opinion and come across as if it's fact when indeed it is just their opinion. I don't find it as taking anything away from an appreciation for the problems in the world to call them on it.

    I find it beneficial to have both facts and opinions in a discussion and I certainly like to be able to ascertain (to a degree of course) the difference between the two. If we are to assume that everything people post is absolutely just their opinion than the forums become much less useful and interesting.

    Of course all of the above is just my opinion. ;)
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,913
    Although it is reasonable to suggest and expect that members differentiate opinion from fact, I sincerely doubt that anyone will be materially harmed by the lack of distinction. It's unlikely that anyone will make a purchasing decision based on the posts of a sole member.

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  • mikey38mikey38 Posts: 141
    That's about 25 posts without much mention of the forum topic..2012 Focus.

    Any first impressions from folks who have driven the car?
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    edited April 2011
    One time in one of the 4-cyl compact forums, I happened to mention that the IS300 is a powerful car. Then another member questioned me this statement. (Duh, it's your different standard) So I refuted by saying that even the Miata is powerful enough (to have fun) b/c it can power oversteer the skinny tires w/ limited-slip differential.

    For example, people who have never driven the Focus will probably be happy w/ Elantra's level of ride quality & steering feel.

    In the year 1999, I was taking a girl who drives an '89 Camry to go test drive some new cars. She was interested in the Solara b/c of the looks. I explained to her that it's only a Camry coupe, but she insisted trying it out. When we both rode in the back seat, I pointed how how crappy the ride quality is. She disagreed. But minutes later when we tried out the truly comfortable E46 w/ 15" alloys, she totally agreed w/ me :P

    So people who disagree w/ your opinion now won't necessarily disagree w/ you later.

    When others have very different opinions from yours, rather than assuming they made them up, you should try to understand where they're coming from. Short-leg people are used to quick little steps when walking & thus might prefer the typical ride motion found in traditional Japanese cars. My childhood memory concurs this. But as I grew taller & walked with slow-motion strides, a calm steady (slow motion) suspension tunning became my cup of tea, even if it thumps occasionally like how a tall dinosaur would do.
  • m6userm6user Posts: 3,048
    , I sincerely doubt that anyone will be materially harmed by the lack of distinction. It's unlikely that anyone will make a purchasing decision based on the posts of a sole member.

    I didn't say they would and totally agree with you.

    I consider it common courtesy to let people know if what you're saying is based in fact or is just an opinion. I certainly realize we're not dealing with scientific papers, etc but it makes the discussion clearer and I hope that we would all want that. Again, and I know this gets old, but this is just my opinion and I don't expect anyone to agree with it. In other words I'm not trying to shut anybody up. Everyone should be so considerate.

    I also apologize to all those that tuned in to discuss the 2012 Focus and found all this blather.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,784
    Short-leg people are used to quick little steps when walking & thus might prefer the typical ride motion found in traditional Japanese cars. My childhood memory concurs this. But as I grew taller & walked with slow-motion strides, a calm steady (slow motion) suspension tunning became my cup of tea, even if it thumps occasionally like how a tall dinosaur would do.


    That is one of the (weirdest/strangest/oddest/fill-in-the-blank) posts I've seen in over 10 years in Town Hall.

    Just my opinion.

    Focus, anyone?
  • spyderonespyderone Posts: 54
    I agree...I came here to read about the Focus, but no one seems to talk about that lately. I just stopped by to look at a hatchback about an hour ago and it looks smaller than it does in pictures and on tv. It is a nice looking car and fit and finish is very good. I didn't have time to take it on a test drive, but I will on Thursday. I sat in the car and I thought it was very roomy. In a prior post someone who was 5' 6" said there was no leg room. I am 5' 10", put the drivers seat all the way back and could barely touch the gas pedal. When I positioned the seat to where I felt comfortable to drive I then sat in the backseat behind the driver and my knees were about an inch from the drivers seat back. I will give my input when I test drive on Thursday.
  • ivan_99ivan_99 Posts: 1,677
    heh :)

    Made me laugh though...now is that fact or opinion.

    Focus...
    I haven't driven the Focus yet; only seen one on the road being test driven.

    The ST really is what interests me...seems once you get the Focus price to mid 20's my desires are directed elsewhere.
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    edited April 2011
    Made me laugh though...now is that fact or opinion.

    That was Autombile magazine's front-page opinion in the late '80's. If I claim it's my opinion, then that would be plagiarism. They were wondering why, comparing to the Sterling (Rover 800) British clone, the Acura Legend was superior in every way except ride comfort. Then they concluded that Japanese people w/ shorter legs prefer to ride that way.

    It finally explained why this very short lady neighbor who drives a Sentra was arguing w/ me that the '86 Mercedes 300E rides uncomfortably. I can imagine that the typical thumping found in German cars' ride motion does not exist naturally in small human's world.

    I was glad I found the answer. I'm pretty sure some people might just prefer the way the Elantra rides over the Focus?
  • m6userm6user Posts: 3,048
    edited April 2011
    Has anybody actually driven both the hatch and the sedan? If so, any diffence noted?
  • markus5markus5 Posts: 102
    edited April 2011
    RE: Trim level availability
    I posted some anecdotal impressions last week regarding new model against my '04 Focus ZTS. (# 255). Bottom line, I will need to take another drive on another road without the Sales Rep hovering about. The last Focus I bought was made substantially on the basis of the test drive experience.
    There was an interesting piece of information on the sales rep's internal "cheat sheet" regarding the distribution of trim levels in the Focus line that they intend to build, which I saw when he went to answer a phone and left it on the table. If I read it correctly, it said that the SE trim line will account for over 65% of the entire Focus build. (in this group there will be about 50/50 between sedan and hatch).
    It was somehow disconcerting to me to find that standing right up next to the hatch it appears to be much smaller than the 7 inches on the spec sheet. I understand that the configuration of the hatch gives it more "usable space". Sedans can be OK in this attribute if the openings are big and the rear seat folds flat. On the new SE sedan it is a full (not 40/60 split) folding seat back. Ford took the decision to make the 40/60 available only on higher trim levels. I did not check out to see how flat the seat went down. ( I remember Fiesta does not fold down quite flat)
    I told the Sales rep not to bother giving me a price just yet. Nothing hostile here, I have a long history with these people and they understand that I will be around again
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