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2012 Ford Focus

1101113151644

Comments

  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    edited April 2011
    So did Mercedes & Chrysler, but what about "the next-generation Mercedes ML platform for all-new Grand Cherokee"?

    Just b/c Ford improved Volvo's old S40's "Mitusbishi Carisma" platform & old S80's platform by replacing them with the "Focus II" C-1 & enlarged C-1 platforms, respectively, that doesn't mean Volvo or its new Chinese owner can't continue to use this technology or parts supply!

    Speculators think Ford should worry about their cost-effective high-tech Focus-suspension technology being...

    Just to give you an idea, (w/in the last decade) VW had to hire the original Focus engineer to design their FWD Jetta/GTI/A3/Passat's suspension w/ the Control Blade mutilinks.

    & just before that, BMW was considering using Focus' original C-170 platform, but later (according to one of the UK car magazines) designed their own 5-link rear suspension by applying similar principle found in Focus' 4-link Control Blade suspension.
  • The hatchback I drove didn't have MyTouch and it looked fine...no
    blank space that I noticed.
  • I took a test drive in the hatchback today. SE trim with winter package and moonroof with an MSRP of $21,650. Just a few thoughts:

    Driver's seat was comfortable to begin but I have low back problems and after only
    a short drive my back was aching. I probably could have found a good seat position but
    I didn't have alot of time.

    I thought the dash/controls looked sharp and were easy to read/reach. It was a warm
    day, upper 80's and the ac worked well.

    Headroom was OK. I'm 5'11" and if I were taller my head might have been bumping.
    The seats were black but the roof liner was white/off white....I think maybe to make it
    appear more roomy. Concerned that it might easily become stained. If the liner had been
    black I may have felt like I were in a cave. I had sufficient legroom in the drivers position.

    Rear seat leg space is tight but I think it has more room than the Chevy Cruze. I don't
    think you could comfortably get four 6 foot tall people in this car.

    I thought the drive was good. Handled well, smooth transmission, quiet and had good power.

    The car was smaller than I expected from seeing the ads.

    I like the styling and drive but I think it is overpriced now that I've seen it. I would probably
    buy with a good price.
  • iwant12iwant12 Posts: 269
    Steve, I'm curious, what type of vehicle do you drive now? I too have some lower back problems and getting in/out of a car does seem to bother it. Thanks.
  • bricknordbricknord Posts: 85
    I was excited to see that my local Ford dealer had a couple of new Foci in today. I stopped by, and one happened to be unlocked. I think it was an S or SE, and was a sedan. Today's mission was to check out the new Elantra, and the new Focus. I figured those are the top two contenders for our next car, and have been eagerly awaiting both. Actually, I was more interested in the Focus prior to today.

    Three things occurred to me immediately.

    First, the exterior of the Focus was better looking that pics I had seen on the web. Pleasant surprise. Stick shift! Awesome!

    Second, the interior of the Focus seemed much more low-rent than I anticipated. Now, granted, I sat in a relatively basic car. It stickered for $18k, though, and the Elantra for $18500, so close in price. Anyway, there seemed to be more hard plastic in the Ford, and of a cheaper looking grain pattern. The ambience inside the Focus felt about $2000 cheaper than the Hyundai, not $500. It wasn't bad, but in context of the Elantra GLS, a big difference.

    Third: I can live with the interior, though, so more importantly how is the back seat room? Shocker. It was terrible. I'm 5'10, and with the front seat where I would have it, the rear legroom was awful. The Elantra felt light years roomier inside. I don't know what the actual measurements are, but the "feel" is nowhere close. The Focus reminded me very much of the current Mazda3 in rear seat room. Not good. If you have kids in car seats, or haul adult rear passengers much at all, I think the Focus would be a tough sell. It felt smaller than the Cruze, to me, as well. The 2009 Civic we used to own felt a lot roomier in the rear than the Focus I sat in today.

    Anyway, I was so taken aback by the tight rear quarters I didn't even bother to drive it. It won't work for us, and this comes from someone who likes smaller cars. I should have driven it, just for education purposes, but the salesperson that approached me was kind of a jerk so I didn't feel like dealing with it.

    When I have time someday, I'll go back and drive the Focus. For all I know, it is spectacular. We have a child in a forward facing convertible seat, though, and the Focus would maybe work in a pinch but would be too small back there for that to work on a daily basis. The Elantra has way, way more usable rear seat room. The Focus may indeed be significantly more fun to drive, and if there were only two of us, I'd still consider it. For 3 or 4 people, I think the rear seat room is a major weak point. I'm actually surprised Ford brought it out with things that tight back there.

    Just my 2c.
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    edited April 2011
    As I mentioned before, these 2 cars are not really comparable. (Interior) size-wise, there's no comparison.

    A heavily equipped Geman-engineered agile-handling NEW Focus is at least as wide as the Lexus IS250 outside, & just as cramped inside when comes to rear leg room... So therefore they are actually quite comparable.

    It may be impossible to convince average people in this country to compare the new Focus to the IS250. But some (average?) reader in Europe actually thinks the Lexus IS is not good enough to compare to the new VW Passat, which has transversely mounted engine, based on a platform w/ the Control-Blade rear suspension designed by the original Focus engineer & therefore definitely not based on the Audi A4 or A6:
    "PARENTAL GENES SHOW WHO IS BOSS!
    Depp, you seem to either forget or not actually know that, the Lexus is exactly the same as the Toyota Attessa, with changes to badges! On the other hand, the Passat has its roots from Audi. Which would you rather drive, a Toyota washing machine or an Audi automobile?

    By CyprusYid on 4 March, 2011, 10:03am"


    Even after this AutoExpress comparsion test pointed out that despite "a firmer ride. Disappointingly, there¡¦s precious little feedback through the major controls. However, while the VW isn¡¦t fun, it does make financial sense. Not only is it cheaper...", this reader still insisted that the new German Passat, which has poorer ride/steering compromise, is better than the Japanese IS. :D

    This time, one big reason AutoExpress concluded that the IS loses is due to lack or rear leg room (for a sedan). & you can insist that the Elantra is better than the new Focus for the same reason. :P
  • bricknordbricknord Posts: 85
    The Focus and Elantra are going to compete relatively closely in the US market. I'd venture a guess that a lot of people cross-shop them as I did. Focus, Cruze, Elantra, Civic, Mazda3, Corolla, and others. They all have their strong and weak points, and I'll bet a lot of people shop some or all of these when looking for a compact car.

    I'll go out on a limb without having driven it, and say the Focus is likely to handle better and be more fun to drive. My point is that a lot of small families will be looking at the Focus and the other cars I mentioned. Rear sear room will be fairly high on the list for these people as a purchase criteria. A relatively roomy rear seat, in the compact car class, is a big selling point. A cramped rear seat is a big hurdle to overcome. It's a competitive world out there, in the car biz.

    I sold MK4 Jettas for years when I worked for a VW dealer. A big Achilles heel for us was the poor rear seat legroom of that car. If you had an infant seat or rear facing child seat, forget it. Lost sale most of the time. People really liked how the car performed, but it just didn't fit their lives. I guarantee you, having sold cars, that Ford salespeople are going to get a lot of negative reaction to the rear seat room in this car from shoppers. That's not to say that there are not other strong points of the Focus. For most small sedan shoppers, though, practicality is really high on the list of priorities. Price is also high on the list.

    Ford is not aiming for a niche car to appeal to driving enthusiasts without kids in the Focus. They are aiming for a mass volume mainstream small car. This means they want to sell a lot of them to a wide base of customers. I guarantee you what VW would deem a good sales year for the Jetta and what Ford would deem a good sales year for the Focus in the US are two different things. Ford wants a lot more volume. I think the poor rear legroom is a serious handicap.

    The car may drive great. I'll probably try to go drive it tomorrow when I get time. A Miata drives great, too, but is impractical for my family.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Have you taken a look at one of the new Jettas? Monster leg room, way more than any other car in the class.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,042
    Have you taken a look at one of the new Jettas? Monster leg room, way more than any other car in the class.

    But with with a pretty poor interior for a VW. Yes I know, they had to take away something to get to the price point.
  • puffin1puffin1 Posts: 276
    You need a Lumbar support vehicle Mazda dropped it and Ford also doesn't offer it. I have a VW Golf it has it and mutilevel heated seats for driver and passenger on seperate controls.ford or Mazda doesn't have it. I luv my lumbar seats too as I have lower back problems.
    The focus to me is way over priced. I have all the bells and whistles and paid less than what a loaded SE cost. I don't need sync.I have blue tooth and just swap my Nuvi from car to car. :shades:
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    edited April 2011
    Does the new Jetta have an interior as nice as the new Focus (especially the full-Zoot versions)? Nope, not by a long shot. That said, the interior of the new Jetta is nicer than what's in my low end 2009 Mazda3 i Touring Value Edition.
  • bricknordbricknord Posts: 85
    edited April 2011
    Yes, I used to sell Volkswagens for 5 years. Quite familiar with VWs...have probably owned 25 of them from a 412 to Vanagons to all Jetta and Golf gens 1-6. Diesel, gas, you name it.

    I have driven the new Jetta. I'm not a fan. I don't really care for the 2.5L engine, and the MPG on the new Jetta is subpar compared to the competitors in the Jettas size range. Yeah, you can get a diesel Jetta, but having owned several TDI cars in the past that were excellent, I'm not into how complex they've become, with high pressure common rail pumps that have a hard time with ULSD, particulate traps, etc. The current Jetta to me has no unique value proposition other than the name Volkswagen. To get a decent trim level, you have to get the 2.5 gasser, with poor MPG and mediocre performance...not to mention the Elantra now has a nicer interior than the Jetta. I'd actually buy a 2.0L stick shift S trim car as those are antiquated but stone reliable...but you can't get cruise at any price, a major oversight in my opinion. You are correct, though, the legroom in rear is great. I'm familiar with VW reliability too, from the inside selling and owning many of them...not the greatest.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    For my part, the diesel availibity in the Jetta is a key factor in my potentially buying one. Why? Well, Mrs. Shipo may be taking a new job several states away, and (assuming we move to a location which would make her commute easy) for me to keep my current gig I'd need to change offices and then commute 85 miles each way per day.

    I'm thinking a Jetta or Golf TDI with a 6-Speed manual would fit the bill perfectly. That said, the first thing I'd do if I was to buy either would be to have the door panels and seating material replaced with leather, perforated leather in areas that contact the body. :)
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    edited April 2011
    A Miata drives great, too, but is impractical for my family.

    That's why you should compare the new Focus to the Miata :P

    Actually the old Focus (SVT, ST, etc.) is more like the Miata -- noisier & even more fun than the new Focus, despite having adult-size rear leg room :)

    The Focus really doesn't belong to the economy family compact-sedan class -- it's price is too high begin with, & adults sitting in the back will find this car obsolete.

    The new Focus is like a fun-to-drive 2 seater, not unlike the the Lexus IS250 or BMW 1-series.

    If you keep comparing cars base on price alone, then the Fiesta 1.6 is also quite comparable to the new Jetta 2.0, which feels like twice as big inside...

    Just b/c the cars all have 4 doors & similar price, that doesn't mean they are that comparable.

    It is correct that Ford doesn't really have a true sedan in the compact economy class now. Instead, the new Focus is a premium sporty car.

    Like how VW Jetta (front, rear) & Golf (front, rear) continued w/ the previous generation in Canada, etc., just bring back the roomy & inexpensive Focus SVT or even a Focus SVT sedan!
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    edited April 2011
    You need a Lumbar support vehicle Mazda dropped it and Ford also doesn't offer it.

    You sure?

    This German engineered car had it since dawn, but US consumers were too cheap to pay for it. So it disappeared for a while...
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    edited April 2011
    I'd actually buy a 2.0L stick shift S trim car as those are antiquated but stone reliable...but you can't get cruise at any price, a major oversight in my opinion. You are correct, though, the legroom in rear is great. I'm familiar with VW reliability too, from the inside selling and owning many of them...not the greatest.

    For the first time in VW history, Consumer Reports gave the made-in-Germany 5-cyl Golf high mark in reliability. Yes, you can have both cruise & reliability in a VW. Turbo & turbo diesel just won't cut it. Reliability is more important than fuel economy, at least it's financially true.

    The rear seating in the new Jetta has more than enough room for my 5'11" frame, but the cushion is uncomfortably low for my "long" legs. The low chair in the back of the new BMW 5-series may not provide any more room, but at least the rear cushion is angled upward to support my thighs.

    The current Golf is still roomy enough for me in the back while providing the right high-chair seating position, so therefore way more comfortable than the new Jetta! & yes it has high quality made-in-Germany interior to compete w/ the new Focus. So hurry & collect this last premium-interior VW if you don't mind less steering feel than the Focus.
  • bricknordbricknord Posts: 85
    Thoughts:

    Of course I don't compare care on price alone. Price, however, is a factor, and market segments are defined by price to a certain extent, as well as physical size, function, etc. Jetta, Civic, Focus, Elantra, etc, are all fairly direct market competitors. You don't think people are going to cross shop the Focus and Elantra along with the Civic and Jetta? Really?

    Diesel VW? I've owned 5 or 6 of those. The last one I would own with my own money was made in 2006 or 7. Once they went to common rail, I'm out. My research indicates that the CR system VW uses is unsuited for long term durability on the diesel fuel we have available in the US. Too little lubricity in our ULSD. Bosch, Continental, Denso, Delphi, and other suppliers have weighed in on this subject. Basically, to have components perform reliably long term, you need to supply the components fuel with a better lubricity rating than what we have available in the US, i.e. lower wear scar rating. I've talked to some service people I trust, who have current dealership service experience with the new VW diesels, and they told me to avoid them as they stand now. I can't go into it more here, but I worked at a dealer for quite a while, and know enough people still in the VW business to get accurate advice. Techs and service managers. So no TDI for me, as they are now.

    2.5L Golf? Great car. Just about ideal for me, actually. In the days of $4 gasoline, I can't justify a car that gets 30 mpg highway at best. My new minimum would be high 30's. If the Cruze Eco can do it, the Focus can do it, and the Elantra can do it, it's obviously possible to get 40 mpg from a compact car. Civic is also close. VW is way behind in fuel economy from gas engines, at least here in the states.
  • bricknordbricknord Posts: 85
    Very familiar with VW reliability. In addition to having 5 years experience selling them, I've owned more VWs before, during, and after my sales stint than I have fingers and toes. 1966 models through 2009. Gas and diesel. I'll need more than one or two CR ratings before I think they've got it down anywhere near the territory of Honda, for instance.
  • bricknordbricknord Posts: 85
    Getting off topic with Focus, apologies. I intend to drive the Focus tomorrow if I can find one that's test driveable, and post my impressions. I like enough about the car so far to give it a chance if I can make the rear seat work, assuming it's a sweet drive. Enough on the merits of VWs, or lack thereof, on this thread.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 6,088
    Yep... got to maintain Focus!

    :shades:

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  • bricknordbricknord Posts: 85
    Ok, I went and drove a Focus today. SE manual transmission sedan. I also drove a Jetta SE 2.5L with stick shift. I drove an Elantra GLS and Cruze Eco recently. I have not driven the newest Civic but owned a 2009.

    Impressions on the Focus:

    Felt very VW. I sold VWs from 2000-2005, and the Focus reminds me a lot of the VWs of that era as far as the steering and suspension. Great balance of ride quality and handling. The suspension feels a light years more sophisticated than the prev gen Civic or current Elantra. It has a firm but not jarring feel that is very hard to match. For instance, the Honda Fit Sport we used to own had what I would term a harsh suspension. You ran over a dime in that car and you felt it. The Focus feels more like Audi designed the suspension. Just right, like the 3 Bears' porridge. Impressive. The Cruze felt a little less compliant and harsher than the Focus but was still good. The new Jetta suspension disappointed. The front seemed noticeably softer than the rear. Over larger highway bumps the rear felt stiff and the front tended to pogo. Not as cohesive as the other cars. The Elantra has a perfectly acceptable suspension but was less firm and sporty than the Focus or Cruze. I'd rank them Focus, Cruze, Elantra, Civic, Jetta if I had to rank them.

    I also give the steering tops in class. I would say the Civic we had probably was close. The Cruze, in comparison to the Focus, felt too nervous on center and darty--you were always going slightly left or right unless you paid 100% attention. The Jetta steering is good, but not quite as natural in feel as the Focus. The Elantra has the most vague and least precise steering. It's the Buick of the bunch in steering feel. Again, the Focus has the best compromise of quick steering but not too darty. Good job, Ford. My steering/handling rank would be Focus, Civic, Jetta, Cruze, Elantra.

    Interior. The Elantra and Cruze are both very impressive and defy expectations. The Focus is good, but had some low-rent elements show through. The seats were not as firm as the Cruze or Jetta. The Focus seats do sit a little higher off the floor than the Civic, which allows for a more natural driving position rather than sitting on the floor with legs straight out as the Civic tends to make you do. The Elantra had good seats but not the best. I saw some exposed flashing on plastic trim parts on the Focus. The rear door panels on the Focus are of the same low rent variety as the new Jetta...but the front panels at least have some cloth inserts. The curve of the dash in the Focus juts out at the outer edges, just waiting to catch a knee when you enter the car. Rear legroom is best in the Jetta, then Elantra, then Civic, then Cruze, then Focus. Focus is surprisingly tight in the rear, which may be a deal breaker if you have kids. Elantra has a gorgeously appointed interior for the class and price. Overall interior ambience rank: Elantra, Cruze, Focus, Civic, Jetta. Overall interior passenger space and versatility ranking: Jetta, Elantra, Civic, Cruze, Focus.

    Engine/power: Focus had plenty of zip even with the AC on, and you could hear some engine growl but it was the pleasant kind, not harsh. Elantra didn't strike me as particularly bad, but the noise you did hear from the engine was not as pleasant as the Focus. The Cruze has very low engine noise intrusion into the cockpit, very nice. Jetta has a relatively agricultural tone to the engine, and the growl you got when you accelerated was more truck than sportscar. However, the Jetta with 5cyl and stick shift was quite quick when pressed, the fastest here. I have not driven the new Civic, and the main area it supposedly differs from the last gen is NVH. Compared to the outgoing Civic, the Focus is much quieter and feels more solid and substantial--less "tinny". My Civic had mediocre power and sounded fairly thrashy at high revs but this may have improved currently. Rank in power: Jetta, Focus-Cruze tie, Elantra-Civic tie. Rank in engine NVH: Cruze, Focus, Civic-Elantra tie, Jetta.

    Overall, I liked the Focus best, the Elantra second...then it's probably a hash out between the Jetta, Cruze, and Civic depending on what mood I'm in (MPG, power, quiet, etc.).

    Biggest Achilles' heels of all the cars IMHO:

    Focus: rear seat room is worst of the bunch, some low rent plastics.
    Cruze: steering is twitchy and too light. rear seat room mediocre at best
    Elantra: worst steering feel of the lot...low fun to drive factor
    Jetta: suspension is not a cohesive unit front vs. rear. low rent interior. iffy MPG.
    Civic (old): tinny. road noise. not very torquey.

    Biggest pros of each IMHO:

    Focus: sweet suspension and steering.
    Cruze: nice interior. very quiet.
    Elantra: interior seems from car a class up-best in class. overall value for the $
    Jetta: lots of power with 2.5L and 5 spd. interior space leads class.
    Civic: steering is quick and accurate. resale. good value for the $, but watch out for Hyun.

    My personal faves are the Focus and Elantra. The Focus is a lot more fun to drive and feels German. The Elantra gives you way more equipment for the money, and had a nicer interior.

    If you had a car that drove like the Focus with the Hyundai interior and feature set/pricing, you'd have an ideal small car. As it is, you have to decide whether you can live with the crummy rear seat room of the Focus to gain the great driving experience, or go the Elantra route and sell fun to drive down the river to gain usable rear seat space and better bang for the dollar.

    The Focus was a sedan SE stick shift that had an MSRP of 17,995. It had no cruise control, no bluetooth, no alloy wheels, and of course no automatic transmission. The Elantra I drove was $18,500 and had automatic, cruise, bluetooth, steering wheel controls, and alloy wheels. In other words, for virtually the same price, you get a lot more equipment and a better warranty on the Hyundai. That being said, the Focus was lots, lots more entertaining to drive, and if you're an enthusiast without kids in the back, the Focus would be the clear choice. Young families who value practical considerations over driving dynamics...Elantra is the way to go.

    Oh, one last thing I forgot to mention. On all three of the Foci I saw on the lot, I noticed inconsistent panel gaps. The gaps between front and rear doors also seemed larger than what I expect from modern cars. On one car, the passenger front door was noticeably out of alignment a couple of millimeters, sagging a little at the rear and the trailing edge sticking out a hair at the bottom corner. On a second car, the gap between the front fender and front door was different on the driver's side versus the passenger side. Not the end of the world, but my impression after studying all three examples with a critical eye was that the QC process is not super stringent. You'd never see t
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,784
    Great report! Way more useful than the reviews in some auto mags, e.g. the recent C/D comparo where they go on and on about the Elantra's styling (which is subjective and which we can all see for ourselves) and don't say much about the car itself.
  • gambit293gambit293 Posts: 406
    You left out the Mazda3. That is unacceptable.

    Just kidding. Great write-up.

    Interesting comments about the Jetta. I am seeing a fair number of negative comments about the relative quality of the current Jetta, both in user and professional reviews. This would seem to indicate that VW really missed the writing on the wall. While most makers are trending their small cars upwards, VW actually tried to bring the Jetta (one of the only semi-upscale small cars available years ago) down market at the same time.
  • bricknordbricknord Posts: 85
    edited April 2011
    Regarding the Mazda3:

    I've driven it. The Focus reminds me a lot of how the 3 drives. Very nice. The 3 is one of my favorites. We drive a Mazda5 currently, so I like Mazdas. The issue to me is similar to that of the Focus, only worse. The rear seat in the current 3 stinks! If you have a child seat, you might as well forget it. The old body style M3 had much better rear seat room. Other than that, though, great car, love how it drives, very nice suspension and steering, and lots of upscale options if you want them. Equal to the Focus, with actually probably a nicer interior. Super cramped rear seat kills it for me, sadly. Oh, the other killer is poor MPG by today's compact standards. I understand that will be remedied soon, though. Currently, I'd hate to be selling the 3 against Foci and Elantras with 38 mpg...tough sell.

    VW did what they had to do to sell cars. When I sold VWs we lost a LOT of sales because our car, although more upscale, was too expensive relative to the competition. Also, the rear seat was too small (MK4 Jetta) for people with car seats. To stay relevant, VW had to decontent the car enought to be price competitive with the major players. Unfortunately, their timing was bad. They went downmarket right before everyone else went upmarket. Oddly enough, when you drive a new Cruze, Focus, or especially Elantra, you are greeted with a nicer interior than the Jetta. Never thought I'd see that day.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    edited April 2011
    The issue to me is similar to that of the Focus, only worse. The rear seat in the current 3 stinks! If you have a child seat, you might as well forget it. The old body style M3 had much better rear seat room.

    Interesting, I currently drive a Mark 1 2009 Mazda3 and have been in a couple of Mark 2 Mazda3s, and from my perspective at least, there is if anything, more overall leg room in the newer car. Granted my kids are no longer in car seats, but having been down that road in the not too distant past, I'm well aware of the issue and the size constraints when child seats are in the back.

    To take it one step further, compared to the new Focus I sat in last weekend, there's no comparison between it and either generation of the Mazda3 (with the Focus coming out on the worse end of that measure), and as such, the Focus is no longer in the running for me for my next car.
  • bricknordbricknord Posts: 85
    Interesting post and I thank you for it.

    Next time I have spare time, I'm going to go back and check out the Focus and M3 the same day.

    My only M3 memory is that I rented an old gen car a couple of years ago and thought it was decently roomy. I drove a new one back when they came out and remembered thinking the rear seat felt tiny, at least with the front seats adjusted to where I'd have them, with a forward facing car seat.

    I really like the new Focus. It is a really sweet drive. It will be unfortunate if I have to cross it off the list due to a cramped rear passenger area.

    Maybe I'm crazy or senile. I will go back and check the Focus and M3 out as soon as I get a chance for rear seat kid compatibility.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Please keep us posted when you do decide to have another look-see at the Mazda3. I say that because if Mazda makes good on their threat to equip the Mazda3 with their new SkyActive (sp?) system, or better still, a diesel (both cars would of course have to be equipped with a 6-Speed manual transmission) then that car will instantly shoot to the top of my list (now that the Focus has taken itself out of contention).
  • bricknordbricknord Posts: 85
    edited April 2011
    Ok, since the Mazda dealer is about 3 miles from my house, I couldn't stand it and drove down there real quick to compare the rear legroom to the Focus.

    It's a close call. Without the Focus right there beside the 3, almost impossible to tell. I can say that neither is even remotely as good as the Elantra or Jetta, and both are probably a little tighter than the Civic. I can fit a forward facing car seat in the 3, but it's still tight, and likely my daughter would constantly be kicking the back of the seat driving someone crazy.

    You could fit an adult back there for a limited time without them wanting to kill you, but not for too long.

    I would say the new Focus and current M3 have just about the same real world rear legroom, with maybe a smidge of an edge going to the Mazda. Maybe the seat cushion is lower, maybe the front seatbacks are scooped out a little differently in the Mazda to make it seem a tad roomier. I think Ford could have done something different with the front seat backs to carve out the perception of a little more room back there.

    Next time I have a chance, I'll actually take the child seat over to Ford and install it in the Focus to see for sure whether it would work or not.

    I did notice that the 3 seemed to have a little more upscale interior feel than the Focus, but the Focus is not bad in this regard...minor difference.

    The Focus had a little heavier, Euro feel to it. Hard to describe this, but having owned Audis, VWs, Mercedes, Volvo, etc, you get that kind of vibe from the Focus. The competitors, other than the Cruze, all have a lighter, ever so slightly more fragile feel to them that I find typically in Japanese cars. Subtle difference. I prefer the feel of the Focus. The Cruze feels heavier but not in such a good way, and the steering is ridiculously light .

    The Focus is so good it almost makes you yell "WHY?!" when you realize that an inch or two more rear legroom and you'd have an ideal car, including hauling kids. Maybe a year or two into the production run, they'll reshape the front and or rear seat slightly to gain a smidge of knee space. I'd bet some money that Ford salespeople are quickly going to get sick of hearing that the back seat is too small (legroom).

    I don't know. I'll try to figure out a way to make a car seat work in the Focus, I liked how it drove that much better than the Elantra. I sure wouldn't feel like I settled, with the Hyundai, though, or as you mention with what I call SkyNet that Mazda is coming out with. Sorry, SkyActive reminds me too much of the Terminator.

    If you haven't driven the new Focus, I recommend doing it even if you think the rear seat is too small. It's that good. Granted, I drove a manual, and I've read mixed reviews of the dual clutch auto, and can't speak to that from personal experience.
  • m6userm6user Posts: 3,048
    Interesting. Did a comparison of the 2003, 2009 and 2011 Mazda3 on cars.com all rear seat measurements are very similar(within a tenth of an inch) except the 2004 has a little over an inch more hiproom. The 2011 Focus is very similar in all measurements to all the Mazdas except the legroom. It is short by 3 inches which in a compact car is a pretty good difference and probably accounts for the reports of a cramped experience.
  • bricknordbricknord Posts: 85
    Interesting, I had not dug into the stats yet. I don't know if all manufacturers measure the same way, so within a car brand the measurements might be good, but front seat travel can vary, measurement methods, etc, to where I don't know how much stock to put in numbers.

    Your numbers, though, back up what my knees and car seat tell me about the Focus. Tight in back. Thanks for the info.

    I'll rarely ride adults in the back of whatever we buy, so if I can get a car seat to work without cramming my little girl's feet into the back of the Focus seat, I'd sure like it to work out.
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