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Posts Tagged ‘2012 Ford Focus’

Countdown: Top 10 Cars of 2011 #6 and #5

December 21st, 2011

Here we count down the top 10 cars of 2011 that had the greatest impact on the industry this year, be that through technological innovation, critical acclaim, outright sales dominance or a combination between all three.

#6 – 2011/2012 Chrysler 300

2011 Chrysler 300 Best Cars of 2011

Chrysler redesigned its big bruiser muscle sedan with the new 300 and 300C making their debut early in 2011, carrying on the brash but refined theme of the first-generation car while receiving a thorough modernization. The new 300 makes a strong case for Chrysler as a company capable of building true luxury cars.

The new car features a more steeply raked windshield with a main body line flowing more naturally into a nip-tucked rear, but doesn’t shy away from the square-shouldered, “baby Bentley” look that made its predecessor such a success.

Chrysler’s now-familiar 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 brings 292 horsepower, while upgrading to the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 offers a stirring 363 horsepower. For 2012 Chrysler added a new SRT8 model with a 470 horsepower 6.3-liter V8. Also new for 2012 is a ZF 8-speed automatic transmission to go with the V6, raising fuel efficiency to a quite-respectable 19 city/31 highway mpg.

Inside is where the real story is, with the new-generation 300 featuring an interior much more befitting of its luxury image than the old model. Chrysler’s new-generation UConnect touchscreen infotainment system is on board, and while it doesn’t offer any real groundbreaking connectivity features, it functions well for handling navigation and entertainment duties.

Though 2012 sees a few key updates, either the 2011 or 2012 model Chrysler 300 and 300C make a nice bold alternative to other tamer full-size premium cars like the Toyota Avalon or Ford Taurus. Pricing for 2012 starts at $27,170 for the base 300 and tops out at $47,170 for the SRT8.

#5 – 2012 Ford Focus

2012 Ford Focus Best Cars of 2011

The Ford Focus is all-new for 2012 fresh off a redesign that takes it from also-ran status in the compact segment to an efficiency, comfort and interior technology leader.

The Focus is a product of a new attitude at Ford, simplifying R&D by creating models designed to have international appeal. No longer do Americans get to stand and watch as Europeans putt around in a better-handling, more-interesting Focus.

Let’s talk powertrains. The standard Focus gets propulsion from a more-than-adequate and thrifty new 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder, making 160 horsepower and 146 lb-ft. of torque routed through either a 5-speed manual or 6-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission.

Those are high figures for the segment, made better still by the fact that the Focus returns 26 mpg city/36 mpg highway/30 combined mpg with the manual transmission and 28/38/31 mpg with the automatic. Adding an extra-cost SFE package further raises efficiency to 28/40/33 mpg, near the top of the class.

The new Focus’s interior feels more expensive than its class should allow, offering seating for 5 (rear seat room is a little lacking compared to the best in the class) with nice materials devoid of the dirt-cheap feeling of the previous Focus. Step up to the higher trim levels and you get Ford’s updated SYNC with MyFord Touch infotainment system and available navigation. The mighty little Ford’s connectivity features best most luxury cars.

Ford isn’t done yet with this exciting new platform. The 2012 Ford Focus Electric just entered production, and calendar-year 2012 will bring a high-performance turbocharged ST variant as well. Pricing starts at $16,500 while the Focus Electric starts at $39,995.


2012 Ford Focus Buying Outlook: Low Supply Hurting Sales

September 7th, 2011

2012 Ford Focus

Ford’s totally redesigned 2012 Focus has debuted to generally warm reviews, but sales are not up to expectations even as GM’s competing Chevrolet Cruze continues to incinerate sales charts, Ward’s Auto reports.

Ford moved 14,093 units in August, down 12.4% over the same period in 2010, before the big redesign. Chevrolet sold 21,807 Cruze cars in August to lead all compact cars.

Ford’s George Pipas told Ward’s Auto that a supply shortage is the chief issue at work here. In July dealer supplies nationwide dipped as low as 5,500 units, far less than the 25,000-30,000 Ford would like to see. The Focus is built at a newly retooled Ford plant in Wayne, Mich., used until recently to produce trucks. New plant production hiccups and part shortages have meant dealers may not have the exact models consumers want in stock.

2012 Ford Focus Interior

The company anticipates ideal stock levels to return by Q4 2011. On a brighter note, the average Focus buyer is now 8 years younger than those a year ago. Total Ford sales were up 11.3% in August, riding on the success of the Fiesta, Explorer and soon-to-be-deceased Crown Victoria.

CarsDirect now offers comprehensive Expert Buying Outlooks for all new cars in our research channel. See up-to-date information about the 2012 Focus to help you decide when is the best time to buy.

Ford To Improve Engine Sounds for All Models

July 7th, 2011

Ford 1.6 EcoBoost Engine

Engineers at Ford decided their new 1.6-liter EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder needed a more pleasing sound with less turbo “woosh” and “whine” and more air intake “snarl” and “growl.”

To achieve this, the company has developed a new device called a sound symposer, “a sound box that harvests good, engine-generated frequencies from the air intake system and then sends these sound frequencies straight into the passenger compartment,” Ford says.

Sound Symposer

The small, mechanically simple device is mounted downstream from the turbocharger and has two chambers on the intake side and two chambers on the outlet side with a movable flap in-between. When the gas pedal hits the floor, pulsations from the engine-side chambers meet the flap, producing sound waves the driver hears through a sound pipe running from the outlet chambers, through the firewall and into the passenger compartment. Ford promises sound symposers fitted to its EcoBoost engines will improve their aural character at high rpms while maintaining a quiet cabin at low-to-mid rpms.

The EcoBoost 1.6 Ford Focus is selling like crazy in Europe, though American 2012 Focus buyers are still limited to the 2.0-liter, 160-horsepower naturally aspirated engine for now.


Top Ten Cars to Look Forward to in 2011 – Part 1

January 25th, 2011

It’s the beginning of a new year, and that means more new models to look forward to. So far, 2011 is shaping up to be our most exciting countdown yet. From fuel-sipping compacts to fully electric vehicles to all-out sports cars, 2011 seems to have it all. And our Top Ten list will highlight the very best this great year has to offer.


#10 — 2012 Fiat 500

Called the Cinquecento in Italy, the 2012 Fiat 500 recalls the styling of the original 500 of the ‘60s and ‘70s—which has become a pop culture icon in its own right.

After a 27-year absence, Fiat is returning to the U.S. market with the help of its new partner, Chrysler. And the Italian automaker couldn’t have picked a better car for its American comeback. The 2012 Fiat 500 is a small car with a lot of character and is aimed directly at quirky subcompacts like the upcoming Scion iQ and the much more expensive MINI Cooper.

With its 1.4-liter MultiAir 4-cylinder engine, the 500 delivers 101 horsepower while sipping fuel at a slow, steady pace. While the exact EPA mpg numbers haven’t been released yet, we believe the 500 should have no problem hitting 40 MPG on the highway.

But what makes this car so good is its price point. It was announced last year that the 500 will start at just $15,500 and will come with a 3-year complimentary maintenance program. If you’ve been waiting for your chance to own a fine Italian automobile, then 2011 may be your year.


#9 — 2012 Ford Focus

By making such conveniences as SYNC connectivity and MyFord Touch available on the Focus, Ford has taken a completely different approach to entry level cars. To Ford, the term “Entry level” no longer means settling for hand-cranked windows and an AM/FM stereo. That’s probably why many automotive bargain hunters have been eagerly awaiting the all-new 2012 Ford Focus. And the wait is finally over.

Starting at $16,270, the 2012 Ford Focus is surprisingly well-equipped. For that price, you get Ford’s own SYNC connectivity system, MyFord Touch in-car communications and entertainment, a Sony premium surround sound system and 17-inch alloy wheels. Yes, this is still a Focus we’re talking about here.ford_focus_hb

What’s more is that the Focus will also be offered in 5-door hatchback form on SE, SEL and Titanium trims—a body style that has been sorely missed in the current model lineup.

But the model we’re most thrilled about is the Focus ST—a sporty version of the Focus previously only available in Europe. With its turbocharged 2.0-liter Ecoboost 4-cylinder engine, the Focus ST puts out 247 horsepower. With this huge jump in power also come some significant improvements in the looks department, as the Focus ST comes equipped with larger alloy wheels, more aggressive front and rear bumpers and a larger rear wing.

All in all, the combination of great features, an affordable base price and sporty options make the 2012 Ford Focus a strong contender in the compact market.

Stay tuned as we continue our countdown with number 7 and 8!