Test Drive: 2012 Ford Focus Titanium 5-Door Hatch

?Ford Focus ? All-new for 2012 in two configurations?

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For those nay-sayers who predicted the fall and demise of the once popular hatchback, I can only say ?guess again? folks. The five-door hatchback is back with a vengeance. Let?s face it, five-door hatches are generally mini-wagons that are fun to drive due to their agility and economical as well.

Ford?s all-new 2012 Focus lineup not only offers a 5-door hatch, but also a 4-door sedan. Both configurations are front-wheel drive and are available in four progressive levels of trim ? S, SE, SEL and a new Titanium trim that delivers an unprecedented serving of luxury. Featured throughout the entire Focus stable is an appealing and expressive design quality inside and out, combined with refined driving dynamics and an impressive inventory of smart new technologies.

Focus happens to be Ford?s most significant global nameplate, with over 10 million vehicles sold worldwide since its 1998 introduction, and despite the small car?s economical operation (EPA estimates up to 40 mpg), it still manages to deliver a dynamic and engaging driving experience. This latest iteration Focus was developed under the company?s One Ford philosophy, and demonstrates how the global Blue Oval team is able to fulfill universal needs of worldwide consumers while tweaking to satisfy preferences in varying regions. Focus is safe, green and smart along with registering very high on the visual appeal scale.

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The 2012 Ford Focus 5-door hatch displays a sleek and aerodynamic overall form. The body rides low over the 18-inch five-spoke alloy wheels shod with low-profile performance rubber that fills the pronounced wheel wells nicely. The nose houses a bold trapezoidal lower grille, with active shutters, flanked by triangular air intakes, with a floating bar upper opening showcasing the oval Ford logo. The hood slopes upward from there featuring dual character lines and stylish, integrated headlamps. The sharply angled windshield flows into the roofline, which continues to the downward-curving rear end with large, jewel-like taillamps outboard of the hatch, which incorporates an integrated rear spoiler. Both the ?B? and ?C? pillars are blacked out, producing an elongated coupe effect. A chrome beltline trim piece runs from the ?A? pillar, and sweeps up to the rear spoiler suggesting motion even when standing still.

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The interior is equally attractive and symmetrical, with controls and switchgear optimally placed for functional ease. Class exclusive technologies and first-to-market features include: hands-free SYNC with voice-controlled Traffic, Directions and Information; MyFord Touch? driver connectivity; push button start; a six-speed PowerShift automatic transmission and heated, leather-trimmed seats.

The power source for the new Focus is a front transversely-mounted all-new?2.0-liter Ti-VCT DOHC, 16 valve inline four-cylinder engine with Direct Gasoline injection that makes 160 horsepower at 6,500 rpm along with 146 pound feet of torque at 4,450 rpm. The engine mates to the latest version six-speed Ford PowerShift automatic transmission, offered with SelectShift Automatic? that allows for manual gear selection control. A five speed manual gearbox is available. All Focus models are front-wheel drive and deliver 20 more horsepower and fuel economy that?s improved by 10 percent.

The cornering and stability of the Focus are enhanced by a standard torque vectoring control system that operates in similar fashion to a limited-slip differential, constantly balancing torque distribution between the front wheels, resulting in reduced understeer, improved traction and enhanced turn-in.

 

My test Ford Focus was a five-door hatch model in Titanium trim with the latest six-speed PowerShift automatic transmission. It sported a Kona Blue metallic exterior finish with a Gray and Black interior accented by satin silver-finished trim. The base price was set at $22,765, while extras such as: the Rapid Spec 401A package with the Titanium Premium Package, Rear Parking Aid Sensor, front Rain Sensing wipers, and 6-way power driver?s seat; Parking Technology Package with automated parking system (as in ?Look Ma ? No Hands), rear view camera; 18-inch alloy wheels; sport suspension; MyFord Touch; HD Sirius satellite radio and navigation system; and Destination and Delivery charge elevated the final count and amount to $26,870.

SUMMARY:? The 2012 Ford Focus Titanium five-door hatchback is a winner. It performs admirably on all levels with almost no noticeable torque steer, healthy and responsive acceleration, combined with a pleasant ride quality. It?s firm but not harsh, comfortable and not mushy. Basically, it?s FUN, but let?s not forget function either, or safety for that matter ? the Focus is loaded with the latest in safety features, seats five comfortably, and the rear seat backs fold flat for added cargo flexibility.

The automatic parking feature performs flawlessly and is actually entertaining, and the SYNC? with MyFord Touch? replaces what would otherwise be an excessive number of traditional buttons knobs and gauges, with clear, colorful LCD screens and five-way buttons which feature available personalization relevant for each driver.

The Ford Focus is produced at Ford?s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan, and should you want to spend less, the Focus sedan starts at $17,295.

 

 

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