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The 2012 Ford Focus represents a major model update for the car, not only in styling but in cabin and efficiency technologies. And as a car that ranges around the $20K mark, it should be a big seller for Ford.
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The front gets a big, aggressive-looking air intake and nicely styled grille. Contour lines down the sides reflect the Kinetic design language Ford initially unleashed on the Fiesta.
A direct-injection 2-liter four cylinder only makes 160 horsepower, suggesting Ford tuned it for fuel economy.
The Focus can be had in hatchback and sedan form. Seating feels surprisingly roomy, given the size of the car.
The Focus' suspension softens jolts from the road well. In cornering, its body roll is kept under control by sway bars.
The hatchback provides good utility, allowing a large cargo area. Ford puts a cargo cover over the back, giving it trunk-like privacy.
The interior of the Focus, although designed for economy, does not feel cheap. There are some hard plastic surfaces, but most high-touch areas use soft materials.
An electric-power-steering unit provides boost, and it lends some comfort to the car. Buttons are well-integrated around the spokes for controlling infotainment functions.
Along with audio buttons on the spoke, another set of buttons below the spoke controls phone and voice command functions.
A small display on the instrument cluster shows trip information.
The car's six-speed automated manual includes Sport and Manual modes. This transmission occasionally turns in a clunky shift.
The rearview camera not only shows distance indicators, but also includes trajectory lines.
The navigation system shows some 3D buildings when in perspective mode. GPS tracking can get thrown off by high buildings or trees.
The destination screen offers quite a number of options, but reaching it can be difficult, as the LCD is set far from the driver.
Sirius Travel Link brings in fuel prices, traffic information, and other external data sources.
Bluetooth streaming is one of the audio sources. As per most implementations, it includes minimal controls.
The audio screens show available sources in a strip down the left side.
The stereo indexes MP3 tracks by tag, categorizing by artist, album, and genre.
With the optional Sony audio system, a subwoofer sits in the cargo area, providing rich bass.
Small auxiliary mirrors eliminate blind spots down the side of Focus.