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2012 Ford Focus Titanium (photos)

Ford's new Focus is a major upgrade, and comes with new efficiency technologies to get fuel economy in the 30s. The exterior has been restyled, and the car gets the company's latest cabin tech.

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Wayne_Cunningham.jpg

Wayne Cunningham

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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.

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A direct-injection 2-liter four cylinder only makes 160 horsepower, suggesting Ford tuned it for fuel economy.

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The Focus can be had in hatchback and sedan form. Seating feels surprisingly roomy, given the size of the car.

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The Focus' suspension softens jolts from the road well. In cornering, its body roll is kept under control by sway bars.

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The hatchback provides good utility, allowing a large cargo area. Ford puts a cargo cover over the back, giving it trunk-like privacy.

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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.

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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.

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Along with audio buttons on the spoke, another set of buttons below the spoke controls phone and voice command functions.

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A small display on the instrument cluster shows trip information.

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The car's six-speed automated manual includes Sport and Manual modes. This transmission occasionally turns in a clunky shift.

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The rearview camera not only shows distance indicators, but also includes trajectory lines.

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The navigation system shows some 3D buildings when in perspective mode. GPS tracking can get thrown off by high buildings or trees.

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The destination screen offers quite a number of options, but reaching it can be difficult, as the LCD is set far from the driver.

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Sirius Travel Link brings in fuel prices, traffic information, and other external data sources.

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Bluetooth streaming is one of the audio sources. As per most implementations, it includes minimal controls.

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The audio screens show available sources in a strip down the left side.

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The stereo indexes MP3 tracks by tag, categorizing by artist, album, and genre.

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With the optional Sony audio system, a subwoofer sits in the cargo area, providing rich bass.

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Small auxiliary mirrors eliminate blind spots down the side of Focus.

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