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2012 Ford Focus: Looking Fab At 40 (MPG)


Photos and information on the redesigned 2012 Ford Focus aren’t news, but certification by the EPA of 40 mpg highway is. Specifically, Ford confirms EPA certification of the 2012 Ford Focus SE with SFE (Super Fuel Economy) package and six-speed automatic transmission at an estimated 28 mpg city/40 mpg highway.

What’s the big deal?

In two words: a lot -- especially if gasoline prices hit $5 per gallon anytime soon.

Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president of global product development, said in a statement, “Our customers tell us that fuel economy is the top reason for purchasing a Focus.”

In fact, with the 40-mpg Focus, Ford now has four models in its portfolio that achieve 40 mpg or greater. Beside Focus, the others include the subcompact Fiesta SE with SFE (29 mpg city/40 mpg highway), the mid-size Ford Fusion Hybrid and Lincoln MKZ Hybrid (41 mpg city).

But two small cars, Focus and Fiesta, each with 40 mpg highway -- isn’t that a little bit of a marketing dilemma for the Blue Oval?

Not really, according to Ford statements in the Automotive News article. The two cars attract very different buyers. The subcompact Fiesta is targeted toward customers in their 20s, while the compact Focus is aimed at an older buyer.

The 2012 Ford Focus is expected to go on sale in March, available in four-door sedan and five-door hatchback body styles. The Focus SE sedan carries a starting price of $17,270 and SE five-door hatchback begins at $18,065, both with manual transmission. (Note: the 40-mpg rating is for Focus SE with optional six-speed automatic transmission and SFE package.)

2011 Hyundai Elantra

2011 Hyundai Elantra

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Of course, there is competition outside the company as well. The chief rival to Focus is the 2011 Hyundai Elantra, which gets an EPA-estimated 29 mpg city/40 mpg highway.

2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco

2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco

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And the all-new compact 2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco achieves an estimated (but not officially confirmed by the EPA) 28 mpg city/42 mpg highway.

2012 Honda Civic

2012 Honda Civic

Enlarge Photo
2012 Honda Civic

2012 Honda Civic

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There’s also the all-new 2012 Honda Civic HF, launching this spring, targeted to achieve 41 mpg highway, and the 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid, estimated by the automaker to achieve 45 mpg highway (a 4-mpg increase over the 2011 Civic Hybrid).

So, it looks like interesting times ahead for small cars with big fuel economy and good news for consumers who want to save at the pump and drive in style at the same time.

For another perspective on the 40-mpg 2012 Ford Focus, see this story in All Small Cars.

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[Automotive News, Ford, Honda]

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