FORD FOCUS SFE
For several years now, Americans have been stuck with a generally mediocre and out-dated compact sedan called the Focus, while the folks over in Europe have been enjoying a next generation Focus that just looks and performs at a different level. All of this changes with the new 2012 Focus, which marks the return of one global Focus platform, and finally gives us the goods that we’ve been missing.
Offered in both sedan and 5 door hatchback models, all versions of the Focus are powered by a peppy 2.0L 4 cylinder engine that produces 160 hp. Our test sample featured Ford’s six-speed PowerShift automatic transmission, which worked quite well, although downshifts were a bit slower than we would expect from such a high-tech dual-clutch unit. Out on the road, the new Focus performs exceptionally well, with composed handling, a balanced ride, and the kind of presence you don’t expect from an inexpensive compact car.
Add the $495 SFE package, which stands for super fuel efficiency, and the Focus earns an impressive 40 mpg highway rating from the EPA. This is accomplished through 16-inch steel wheels with aero wheel covers, active grille shutters, and high-efficiency tires. Although some cornering grip is sacrificed with the tires, the overall package is still quite sporty and offers hybrid-worthy levels of fuel efficiency. Combine this superior performance and efficiency with a class leading interior and catchy exterior design, and the new Focus should convince more than a few compact car buyers to pass on stalwarts Civic and Corolla.
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