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2011 Ford Focus Mini-Review

August 3, 2011

Due to my recent vacation a rental car was required. We requested, and received, a Ford Focus. While there was one 2012 focus on site we didn’t get it (which is probably fine, it was a hatchback and I liked the trunk better for hauling our things around vacation-wise, though the hatchback is cuter I think). Here’s a pseudo review of my experience with the Focus.

Outwardly it’s okay looking. However, I’m not even going to post a picture. I think the 2012 looks a little better in style, but that’s just me. Interior was pretty swank, though we had a higher level version and all leather interior. Seats were comfortable, though HerrTech didn’t like the head rests. Maybe because I’m short or drive like an old lady (leaning forward and 2 inches from the wheel) I didn’t notice. I did notice this weird angle sign below the drive gear. What the heck is that? I’ll never know. I drive a stick for a reason.


We hauled around a fair amount of stuff as well as some water (it was hot!). The trunk is a pretty impressive size considering the size of the car. I mean I haven’t factually compared its cubic feet space to other cars, but it has more trunk than it looks like it does.


Mileage anecdotally didn’t seem that fantastic. It’s supposed to get 24/35 mpg. We didn’t check it for the trip, but it had 8000+ miles on it when we got it and as far as I can tell about a 27 mpg average for that whole thing. In our few days of driving it on mostly long freeway drives we managed to bump that up to 31. However, maybe it had a small tank as it just didn’t feel as fuel efficient as the 2010 Hyundai Elantra I drove on a similar trek about half the distance in the past (which claims 26/34).

It has a fancy set of controls on the wheel. You can change CD tracks, change the volume, change the station, set the cruise control, answer your bluetooth phone…all pretty convenient. Again I think the 2012 set of this looks nicer (and might have more technological perks) but the fact that this is generally included even in the base model of the Focus is very nice.


My one major beef was the horrible dials. If you look for a picture of them online you’ll find only what they look like with the Focus’s fancy lighting effects.

Unfortunately, most of our trip driving (and most of my real life driving) is done during full daylight and the speedometer looks like this.


It’s so bad I couldn’t find photos online showing it except at this page which is specifically complaining about how hard to read it is. We know Ford can get it right, as seen by these stylin’ 2012 Mustang dial indicators and speedometer. Really I thought the heads up display in the 2012 Camaro nailed it for convenience sake.


(Thanks to Gaye Chevrolet for the photo). I do like the old style dials, but it’s nice to have a digital mph readout and in the window reducing how far your eyes have to travel to quickly check it is very cool. That being said, the 2012 Focus seems to fix the terrible dial issue and is much more readable with the more traditional hash mark system.

So that’s my opinion of all that. I think the 2012 Focus is definitely a car to watch if you’re looking for something in that price and size range. I would also definitely test drive the Hyundai Elantra. The couple year old rental I’ve driven a few times is a fuel sipper, it’s a nice ride, and the new Elantras look pretty nice. If you’re looking for a rental I say both can’t be beat.


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