First Drive: 2012 Ford Focus

One Ford Turns Out Another Winner
January 27, 2011 / By Scott Evans

For as long as any of us care to remember car fans have been kvetching about the amazing, world-beating, do-no-wrong Ford products that Europe gets while we Americans sit here and stare like kids locked out of a toy store. No more.
Thanks to the much-lauded “One Ford” initiative, we’re finally getting a taste of what Ford of Europe has been cooking, and boy, can they cook. Enter the 2012 Focus, a car so radically improved from what we’re used to that it’s surprising the name stayed the same.
That’s not to imply that the old U.S.-spec Focus was a bad car — just an outdated, uninteresting one. It looks better, drives better, and offers more content than the old car could ever hope to. What’s not to like?
Not much, really. The new MyFord Touch infotainment system isn’t the most intuitive and it takes a bit of playing to figure out that the joystick-looking thing in the dash is just the volume knob, and the screen is touch-sensitive
The rear seat is slightly cramped and the seats don’t fold flat. The rear seats can’t be dropped from the trunk/cargo area, and the optional subwoofer stashed in the trunk looks like an afterthought.
And that’s about it.
Going down the road, the 2012 Focus is a solid, confident performer.
Set course for the apex and hold on, because the Focus will turn in and take a line better than any economy car should, even if you don’t spring for the Sport model or the Titanium Handling package. It really is a joy to drive this car hard, even if that’s not the point. Push too hard and the front tires will start to give way to understeer, but it’s mostly avoidable if you set up the corner right. The trade-off, should you go for one of the sportier packages, is a ride that is firm by economy car standards, but not punishing.

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