Boston Globe Top Drives for 2012
160-hp I-4, 5-speed manual/6-speed auto, FWD, EPA 28/38 (auto)
The latest Ford Focus proves what Europeans knew all along: small cars can be great cars.
From the deft handling to the well-insulated cabin, the Focus sets the bar for the compact class. Its dynamics, all the way to the grip of the manual shift lever, are near-BMW in response. The elegant bodies are delicately formed, especially in hatchback form, and the soft-touch dash and attractive plastics set new quality standards for cars under $20,000. The Focus just feels right. It looks and drives like a much more expensive car, something the Honda Civic fails to impart.
Give the touch-sensitive controls and infotainment system a try, but only when Ford updates its complicated and slow MyFord Touch software. An all-electric version and 247-horsepower ST will make the Focus line even more appealing against the humdrum imports.