Monday, June 27, 2011

2012 Ford Focus

Engineered primarily by Ford of Europe in Germany, the 2012 Ford Focus is available here in both four-door sedan (as tested) and five-door hatchback configurations. Sharing nothing with its immediate predecessor in North America, it is essentially an updated and reconfigured version of the outgoing Euro-spec second-generation Ford Focus. Buyers in North America missed a generation, instead receiving a badly warmed-over version of the first-generation model. It was bad. Really bad.

But things are off to a good start with this car, which bears little in common other than a name and a general place in the market with its predecessor. We like to be surrounded by nice things, so we anted up for a well-equipped Focus Titanium sedan, the range-topping model in the U.S. Although buyers here want four doors, Ford realized that the two-door coupe Focus it briefly offered here was a flop – so a hatchback is also available once again.

At $25,805 as tested, the Focus Titanium is at the opposite end of cheap. But Ford is banking on buyers moving en masse to compact cars as gasoline prices continue to climb, so it felt the need to offer more luxe than is normally associated with the compact class. It’s a theme we encountered first, arguably, with the Focus’ Mazda3 platformmate, and it’s something we’re also seeing from the Chevrolet Cruze and the Hyundai Elantra.