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2012
logo OVERALL RATING 7
out of 10
Small cars really don't have to be so boring and banal, and Ford has nailed that point home with its all-new 2012 Focus.

The 2012 Ford Focus is an entirely new, more exciting-looking vehicle inside and out—now either a sharp four-door sedan or curvaceous five-door hatchback. On the outside, the Focus is crisply styled, dashing, and well-detailed. The interior is definitely a departure from what you'll find in other Ford vehicles, or other small cars for that matter, with a complex, sculpted look paired with classy, tailored details, trims, and finishes that belie its affordable price.

With 160 horsepower and 146 pound-feet of torque from its direct-injection 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, the 2012 Focus doesn't have impressive specs. But it all feels better from the driver's seat. You have to keep the engine revving a bit to access its perky side, but the new six-speed PowerShift dual-clutch automatic transmission does a great job with that, pulling off quick, snappy shifts when needed. An especially low first-gear ratio also makes takeoffs feel quick and confident (though it stumbles sometimes in city puttering). If you stick with a manual, the gearboxes offered in the 2012 Focus only have five speeds, and with a long linkage they could feel a little more sporty to match the rest of the car's character.

Handling is one of many areas where the Focus won't disappoint; we think it's about the best handler in this class—as athletic, and nearly as communicative, as the Mazda3, yet with a more compliant, livable ride—which is one of the key reasons, along with its overall sophistication and tech prowess, that it earns a 7 out of 10 and stands up against much more expensive vehicles. A standard torque-vectoring feature for the stability control helps the Focus feel especially surefooted in tight corners. Meanwhile, the Focus' electric power steering has a quick ratio yet feels nicely weighted and quite settled on the highway.

Small car surely doesn't mean 'economy car' anymore, and the new Focus seems to be the poster car for this idea. By stepping up to the SEL or Titanium trim and checking some option boxes, you can get items like the iPad-like MyFord Touch system with voice control, an Active Park Assist system, or a full-on Sport Package.

For more, see the full review pages covering the 2012 Ford Focus over at The Car Connection. And eagerly await next year's 2013 Ford Focus ST performance model.

 

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UPDATE2012 Ford Focus ST Live Photos: 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show

And now, Ford has made it official, with the first showing of the 2012 Ford Focus ST this week at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Read Update

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The 2012 Ford Focus ST will make its debut at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show alongside a host of other new cars. Read Update

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UPDATETanner Foust Drives The Ford Focus RS500 On The Nordschleife: Video

The Ford Focus RS500 isn't for U.S. consumption, but it still one enviable little hot hatch, as this video of Tanner Foust driving it at the Nurburgring shows. Read Update

UPDATE2012 Ford Focus ST Hatchback Live Photos: 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show

Live photos of the upcoming 2012 Ford Focus ST from the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show give us a taste of what to expect when the car arrives here in the U.S. Read Update

UPDATE2012 Ford Focus ST-R Race Car: 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show

The 2012 Ford Focus ST gets a racing variant, which can be ordered as a turn-key setup straight from Ford dealers here in North America. Read Update

UPDATE2012 Ford Focus ST Preview: 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show

The 2012 Ford Focus gets a high-performance hot-hatch variant in the form of the 2012 Focus ST, revealed in Frankfurt and on its way to the U.S. Read Update

UPDATE2012 Ford Focus ST To Show At Woodward Dream Cruise

The 2012 Ford Focus ST adds some hot hatch magic to the new Focus's range. Read Update

Specs: Select a Trim

4-Door Sedan (4) MSRP Invoice MPG City MPG Hwy
S Specs $16,500 $15,635 26 36
SE Specs $17,500 $16,380 26 36
SEL Specs $20,500 $19,110 28 38
Titanium Specs $22,200 $20,657 28 38
5-Door HB (3) MSRP Invoice MPG City MPG Hwy
SE Specs $18,300 $17,108 26 36
SEL Specs $21,300 $19,838 28 38
Titanium Specs $22,700 $21,112 28 38
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