2012 Ford Focus:Blue Oval blowout?
By Don Hammonds You probably know the 2012 Ford Focus, which just had its Los Angeles International auto Show debut, is pretty cool looking. And you probably know it's not that different from what Europe gets--and what we've been waiting for since forever. Well it's here, and as we say in the article just below this one about the 2011 Hyundai Elantra, it's walking into a real rumble in the jungle. And it's well prepared for it, too, just luike the Elantra. The winners of course, are us--all of us who are compact car lovers will have a lot to crow about over the next couple of years. First, the 2012 Ford Focus will come in an almost bewildering number of models, variations and colors-- all the more to blanket the market and render some of the other competitors irrelevant--unless they get wise and bring out new models, too. It will go on sale in early 2011 in S, SE, SEL and Titanium trim series levels. That's the Titanium, the luxury model, below. Key points to remember: The Focus is for sale in over 120 worldwide markets, and given much tighter fuel economy standards, higher garsoline prices and demand for better equuipped compact cars, Focus is arguably one of Ford's two most important products. the other being the Fiesta. “One of every four new vehicles sold in the world today comes from this small car segment, which we anticipate will see further growth in North America,” said Jim Hughes, chief engineer. “We’re aiming to stretch Focus’ ‘brandwidth’ by adding a premium Titanium series with luxury levels of convenience and comfort, appealing to an ever-expanding spectrum of buyers.” By the way, Ford is promising 40 miles per gallon on the highway with the new Focus. The Focus has the advantage of looking more exciting and more contemporary than many of its competitors, which is important because style still draws customers into the showroom. A Ford release says, "Both Focus body styles share a sporty character, marking the next evolution of Ford’s acclaimed kinetic design form language. With its striking front end, sleek profile, dramatic rising beltline and athletic stance, the new Focus signals the rewarding experience awaiting a driver." The release adds, "The all-new Focus four-door has a drag coefficient as low as 0.297, compared to the current model’s 0.320. This is a lower drag coefficient than Chevrolet Cruze and Volkswagen Jetta. The slippery Focus shape and steeply raked windshield contribute to significantly reduced drag. Optimized aerodynamics help to reduce Focus wind noise at speed and contribute to improved fuel efficiency." "Focus features new active grille shutters to block airflow through the cooling system when not required. In addition to an aerodynamic improvement at higher speeds, active grille shutters reduce underhood temperatures at low speed, increasing thermal efficiency." Of course, SYNC® with MyFord Touch™ is a highlight of the Focus interior. Ford satys that it replaces many of the traditional vehicle buttons, knobs and gauges with clear, colorful LCD screens and five-way buttons. The screens can be personalized to display information relevant to each driver using a simple button click, voice command or touch screen tap. MyFord Touch is powered by a new generation of the company’s award-winning SYNC system, which includes a sophisticated voice control system for vehicle functions, connected Bluetooth® devices, MP3 players and a wide variety of external media. The interior is reportedly pretty roomy, too, with more shoulder room than Audi's A4, and more front headroom than Toyota's Camry. The interior features lots of sculptured shapes for the soft-touch instrument panel, and a big upgrade in interioro materials. The Focus's key features--both standard and optional, include active park assist ,SYNC with traffic, directions and information, HD Radio™ with iTunes® Tagging, ambient lighting, torque vectoring control, rear view camera, Intelligent Access with push-button start and other features. Power comes from a completely new 2.0-liter gasoline direct-injection four-cylinder engine that combines high-pressure direct injection and twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) for enhanced performance and fuel efficiency. We'll clearly have more to say about Ford's new Focus, one of the most important new products of the year, in days to come.