It hasn’t been a secret, but the idea is pretty bold, nonetheless. Ford Motor Company’s introduction of the all-new 2012 Focus – bigger, heavier, and more fuel-efficient than the previous generation Focus – brings along with it a heavy concentration (ah, shall we say, focus) on high-end touches more commonly seen in luxury makes.
That’s by design – literally.
As reported in USA Today and other media outlets, Ford executives say they’re betting that U.S. consumers will be willing to pay more for better contented, fuel-efficient small cars. While that’s been the case for the Focus in European and other world markets, it’s a new concept for Americans who have traditionally expected small cars to be inexpensive transportation for various members of the family.
Shedding their gas-hungry SUVs and larger sedans for higher mileage smaller cars doesn’t mean consumers here want any less comfort and convenience features in the replacements, however. So Ford figured why not pack in such luxury touches in its second small car – and completely differentiate it from the subcompact Ford Fiesta?
A sleek profile, an aerodynamic front with active grille shutters, and a new 160-horsepower 2.0-liter gasoline direct injection four-cylinder team up for enhanced performance and projected fuel economy gains of up to 10 percent (over the 2.0-liter Duratec engine in the North American 2011 Focus). Ford expects the Focus with the six-speed automatic transmission to achieve 40 mpg highway. A five-speed manual transmission is standard on the S and SE sedan and the SE five-door hatchback.
Available features and technologies for the 2012 Focus include active park assist, ambient lighting, torque vectoring control, SYNC with real-time traffic, directions and information, HD radio with iTunes tagging, 355-watt Sony audio system with 10 speakers and subwoofer, rearview camera, and Intelligent Access with push button start.
Titanium models offer a number of different packages. The Parking Technology package (also available on SEL sedan and hatchback) comes with a rearview camera, front parking sensors and Active Park Assist, which uses ultrasonic sensors. When activated, the Focus can parallel park itself with almost no input from the driver – and do it nearly three times faster than competitive park assist systems, according to Ford.
The Titanium Handling package includes 18-inch alloy wheels, optimized sport suspension system, low-profile summer performance tires, and full-size spare tire. A Titanium Premium package – a $1,295 option -- has leather-trimmed seats with six-way power driver’s seat with manual lumbar, reverse sensing system, rain-sensing wipers, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and rear armrest with storage.
Ford expects only about 10 percent of the 2012 Focus sales will be the base S model, with a starting sticker of $16,270. The Focus lineup includes sedan and five-door hatchback models. S is available in sedan version only, while in SE, SEL and top-of-the-line Titanium trims are available in sedan and five-door hatchback. The price variance between base S and Titanium is fairly substantial. Titanium sedan carries a starting sticker of $22,270 while the five-door hatchback starts out at $22,765. Add in all the available options/packages and the Titanium sedan and hatchback top out at around $28,585.
Compare that with the starting sticker for the entry-level Audi A3 five-door at $27,270, the $29,450 for the BMW 1-Series coupe or the coming Lexus CT 200h hybrid’s $29,120.
The all-new 2012 Ford Focus goes on sale in the U.S. this spring. Check out Bengt Halvorson’s first drive of the new Ford compact in The Car Connection.