Replace the Blue Oval on the front grille and the new 2012 Ford Focus Titanium Hatchback looks like a premium-priced competitor for the Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz B-Class. In truth, the high-end Focus equipment lines do drive the price up to uncomfortable levels, but the Focus is so well-equipped in the mid-$20Ks that it shouldn’t matter.
Any new car buyer willing to accept the fact that they don’t need a humdrum midsize sedan or an overpriced entry-level luxury car will be able to accept the Focus’s sticker price. On handsome multi-spoke wheels or aggressive five-spoke rims, the 2012 Ford Focus Titanium certainly appears to be a classier proposition than a mid-range four-cylinder Fusion.
Class has a lot to do with the Focus’s Good 12 selection. In styling terms – perhaps not in texture – the Focus’s interior feels a notch above most of its traditional compact rivals. Rear seat comfort is much better than in the Chevrolet Cruze. Hatchback practicality is something you won’t encounter in the 2012 Honda Civic. The engine’s refinement and torquey nature won’t have you wishing for the Civic’s lesser-powered 2.0L, either.
Outside of the upper trim levels, the Focus, particularly in sedan form, retains its attractive lines but is fitted with impoverished exterior trim and cheapskate wheel covers. As an S or SE, the Focus looks like a rival for the Nissan Versa sedan, not the Hyundai Elantra. Move up the ladder and the kitted-out Focus Titanium commands a second and third glance. That’s the kind of response that makes you think living with a domestic compact car could be free of compromise and sacrifice.
Engines: 160 horsepower; 146 lb-ft of torque from a 2.0L four-cylinder
Base USD/CAD Price: $22,700 / $25,099
City Fuel Economy: 27 miles per gallon
It’s Not Perfect: It’s not a feeling shared by everyone who sits in the driver’s seat of the 2012 Focus, but it’s distinctly possible that you’ll feel as though the low roof, nicely-bolstered seats, and wide centre console will invade your personal space. The car is roomy. The cockpit, regardless of its technical dimensions, might lead you to believe you’re sitting in a Fiesta or Ka, not a Focus.
Sales Stats: It’s not overly surprising that U.S. Focus sales fell 41% between 2002 and 2010 while Canadian Focus sales slid 13% between 2005 and 2010. The Focus was an aging model, not really inspiring anyone to spend money in the latter years of its lifecycle. The new Focus is another story, and despite limited supply, U.S. and Canadian sales were up 1.1% and 11%, respectively, through the first eleven months of 2011. Those figures are still down substantially from what they were a decade ago. Monthly and yearly sales figures for the Ford Focus range can be viewed here.