After driving thousands of miles in more than 200 new vehicles in the past year, and rating each one independently, High Gear Media's editors have chosen a winner.
TheCarConnection's Best Car To Buy 2012 is the 2012 Ford Focus.
Each year, our team rates each new vehicle we review based on styling, performance, utility, safety, and features. As the year progresses, we begin to see some winners emerge from the usual pack of 50 to 70 brand-new or significantly updated vehicles we drive each year--at home, or around the world.
To pick our Best Car To Buy winner, we sift through the numeric ratings to find the highest-scoring new car from the current model year. We also set a base-price limit of $50,000, since most car shoppers who come to TheCarConnection already know how we feel about the Astons, Maseratis and Ferraris of the world. It means some excellent cars don't stand a chance--but keeps us well aware of value, a critical piece of the puzzle for shoppers.
The Focus' win over vehicles like the Range Rover Evoque, Hyundai Veloster, Mercedes M-Class and Chevy Sonic, comes down to personality. Even in a day where dull, droning econoboxes are the exception rather than the rule, the 2012 Focus grabs attention, both for the way it looks and for the way it handles. That's held true for each of the more than half-dozen differently-equipped Focuses our editors have sampled.
The Focus' winning styling earned a 9 from our editors, as much for its aero-crisp exterior as for its flamboyant interior--and though we prefer the sleek five-door, the four-door sedan's rendered about as well as anything in the class. The Focus also earned a score of 8 for performance, a high rating for a compact car with just 160 horsepower on tap. Even before a turbo ST edition arrives, the Focus feels alive, with sweet steering and a sporty ride overcoming its lackluster optional automatic transmission.
It's compact in the European sense, which makes the back seat more snug than some vehicles in its class, but the Focus gets great front seats and class-leading safety features, like an available rearview camera. And when it comes to luxury and entertainment features, the 2012 Focus goes well beyond the state of the art, with an array of options that include Sony sound systems, active parking assist for tight parallel parking spots, and MyFord Touch and its voice- or touch-controlled interface.
In the balance, the 2012 Ford Focus is an engaging, premium-feeling compact car that nudges into sport-sedan territory--and we can't wait to drive the 240-hp ST.
Congratulations to the Focus, TheCarConnection's Best Car To Buy 2012--and also to our other winners. MotorAuthority, our performance and luxury-car destination, has chosen the 2012 Porsche 911 as its Best Car To Buy this year, while Green Car Reports has named the 2012 Toyota Prius family as its Best Car To Buy.