• 2012 Ford Focus - Blurring Small Car Expectations

    2012 Ford Focus – Blurring small car expectations

    Bokeh is a photographic term originating from Japan, which means “blur quality.” A picture of a sharp subject with a blurred background is just such an example. It is a technique photographers use to make their subject stand out from the rest of the photograph. Perhaps Ford should have considered “Bokeh” as a potential name for the 2012 Ford Focus because for such a sharp looking car, it certainly blurs the perception of what a small car represents.

    The 2012 Focus proves that fuel economy and fun are not mutually exclusive. It also proves that an affordable car need not be devoid of features and amenities. From its bold, sporty exterior design to its tenacious grip and respectable acceleration it defies conventional econobox expectations.

    With an EPA fuel economy target of 40 MPG and class exclusive features the 2012 Ford Focus combines key technologies to provide an ownership experience never before available in the C-Segment class.

    Nestled between the strut towers of the 2012 Focus S, SE, SEL and Titanium is a new 2.0L engine that is one of the most powerful naturally aspirated 4-cylinder engines Ford has ever developed.

    The combination of direct fuel injection, a high 12:1 compression ratio and twin-independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) helps the 16-valve engine produce 160 BHP @ 6,500 RPM and 146 lb.-ft. @ 4,450 RPM. The engine is smooth and responsive, eagerly pulling to the 7,000 RPM redline when spurred on.

    An all-electric Focus with a range comparable to other electric vehicles will be released in late 2011. This version of the Focus will recharge fully in 3 to 4 hours using the 240-volt wall-mount charger that is installed by Best Buy’s Geek Squad at the customer’s home. A 120-volt convenience cord is also included with the car.

    The five speed manual transmission shifts smoothly and easily with gear ratios that work well with the engine’s output levels. Pedal placement is spot on allowing easy heel and toe downshifts for when you’re putting the Focus through its paces in the twisties.

    For those who don’t want to row gears for themselves, Ford’s PowerShift, dual-clutch, six-speed automatic transmission has been borrowed from the Ford Fiesta. Beefed up for use in the heavier Ford Focus, this quick shifting unit utilizes two traditional clutches actuated by the engine computer. One clutch is connected to odd numbered gears, the other connected to even. This enables fast up and down shifts because the next gear engages while the previous gear disengages.

    Turn-in is crisp and responsive, and at the limits of adhesion, the advanced torque vectoring control system mitigates any tendency for understeer. Accelerate out of a turn and this system applies braking to the inside wheel to send power to the outside wheel, mimicking the effect of a limited-slip differential. The reduction in speed of the inside wheel also helps to pivot the vehicle around this friction point improving handling and steering precision.

    Thanks to innovative technology like Electric Power-Assisted Steering (EPAS), Ford engineers are able to fine tune steering feel for different situations. This means effort free turning while scouting for a parking space at the mall. At speed, the EPAS provides higher steering effort without being overly burdensome. But get the Focus onto the back roads and the steering wheel becomes a precision scalpel for carving up the asphalt without becoming overly burdensome.

    The 2012 Ford Focus has other tricks up its sleeve as well. With a ground up redesign the Focus is significantly more evolved than its predecessor. Improvements in aerodynamics yield a 7% reduction in drag with a coefficient of 0.295 when compared to 0.320 over the outgoing model Focus. This is accomplished through a steeply raked windshield, front under tray and active front grille shutters that close at speed further reducing aerodynamic drag. The side benefits to these improvements are a reduction in wind noise and improved fuel economy.

    The upgrades don’t just stop at aesthetics on the exterior sheet metal and underpinnings. Inside the car sports features normally reserved for vehicles much farther up market like Active Park Assist. On PowerShift equipped cars Active Park Assist utilizes the 2012 Focus’ front and rear ultrasonic proximity sensors and the EPAS to parallel-park the car.

    Press the park assist button and drive along a row of cars and the 2012 Focus will alert the driver when it finds a spot that it can fit into. Once a suitable place has been found, the driver stops and engages the appropriate forward or reverse gear as the system prompts on the car’s instrument cluster display. The 2012 Ford Focus automatically turns the wheel to steer the car quickly into the spot for a perfect parallel park every time.

    The 2012 Ford Focus has a class exclusive 8-inch touch screen SYNC navigation system.Another class exclusive feature found in the 2012 Ford Focus is an 8-inch touch screen navigation system. Connected to the latest version of Ford’s SYNC system the display is the main interface for the MyFord Touch system. Additional input can be made using the two five-way controls on either side of the steering wheel, or through expanded voice commands.

    For technophiles and their friends, the 2012 Ford Focus can turn into a rolling wireless hot spot. Plug in a wireless Internet access card from your favorite provider and everyone in the car can have Internet access.

    Ford has concentrated class-leading features, excellent fit, finish, and comfortable, usable interior space inside an economy car with a sharp looking aerodynamic exterior. Bokeh, the quality of blur, would certainly seem to be a more fitting name for a car that blends features, style and fuel economy into a sharp looking package like the 2012 Ford Focus.