One of the best looking affordable cars on the market
Today I am going to talk about my time in the 2012 Ford Focus SE. I spent a week driving this little car around and I will say that when I was first asked to check the car out I didn’t expect much. I remember the Focus from years ago and never thought twice about the car. The new Ford Focus is a completely different animal than the Focus of yore. When the delivery guys pulled up and dropped the car off the first thing I thought was that the car looked very cool.
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To say I was shocked when I looked over the window sticker and saw that the car was only a touch over $20,500 and well equipped for that price would be an understatement. My test car was Sterling Grey metallic, and it is a very nice color. It was a four door coupe (the car comes in hatchback as well) and was the up level SE version. This car starts at around $18,000. The front end of the car is very attractive and even my 10-year-old son said the car was "cool." Coming from a kid that lives to play driving games packed with exotic cars and generally only gets excited about Ferraris and muscle cars, cool is a high complement.
My test car was a manual transmission car with the rapid spec 203A package and the SE sport package. Those two packages added about $3,000 to the price of the car. The 203A package adds cruise, perimeter alarm, MyFord and Sync, and a 6-speaker stereo with Sirius. The SE Sport package added a leather wrapped steering wheel, spoiler, and leather shift knob. The car was also optioned with the $495 alloy wheels in 17-inch size.
The options made the car look much more expensive than it really way. You can opt for an automatic transmissions in all versions of the Focus. The transmission in this car is a 5-speed manual rather than the 6-speed manual transmissions that Ford is using in other cars. The throws are long by sports car standards, but the transmission feels smooth and slick with no clunking or grinding with normal driving.
The engine in the car is a 2.0L inline 4 and it is very smooth. You won’t mistake the car for a Mustang, but it has the power to get you into traffic. This isn't the car you can lug or lunch at low RPMs and expect to get anything similar to acceleration out of it. When you get the engine around 3,000 RPM and slip the clutch a bit the little Focus will move into traffic with verve with slight torque steer.
I have always noted that I have a lead foot in my reviews, so take that into consideration when I talk fuel economy. I didn't drive this car like an economy car; I drove it at higher RPMs and speeds than some would. I took the Focus on a road trip from my home to the Dallas area, roughly a two hour trip each way and watched the fuel gauge closely. The Focus averaged 31mpg on the highway at 80mph cruise speeds. In the city with me driving the car in traffic, I averaged 24mpg. I was able to drive the car for an entire week and used only half a tank of gas counting the nearly four hour road trip.
On the inside, the Focus is very attractive and comfortable. It has a sporty feel that means younger drivers or teens getting a first car won't be embarrassed to roll the Focus up to school or work. At the same time, it's not so high tech and sporty that older drivers like my mom would feel out of place. On the road, the car is comfortable and surprisingly quiet. You do get road noise and you can hear the engine, but it's not overwhelming and you can still talk without shouting even at 80 mph on the highway. The car also rides very well considering how cheap it is.
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The 2012 Ford Focus is one of the nicest low price cars I have ever been in. If you are looking for a car that can be had with a long list of options for a bit over $20,000 the Focus needs to be one of the cars you consider.