Wednesday, August 10, 2011

New Ford Focus Has European Style

The Ford Focus was a nice step forward when it debuted in 2000 here in the U.S. It was based on a European design, and although it was built in North America, it was taut and fun to drive. But despite some restyling, it was never the real European model, and as time went on, the folks across the pond got a better car while we got a restyled version of the old car here.

Well, that's over. The 2012 Focus is a new animal. The SE sedan I drove had a solid, strong feel on the road, was surprisingly roomy, and had more lines and curves on it and in it than anything I've seen since the smaller Fiesta I drove recently. Finally, the Focus has become the world car it was meant to be.

You can get the Euro-style five-door hatchback, but many Americans will likely opt for the sedan. It fits in as the second step in a four-sedan Ford lineup, anchored by the Fiesta. Above it are the midsize Fusion and the now fullsize Taurus.

The SE model I tested had a five speed manual transmission, adding to the fun. Most cars sold in the U.S. will be automatics, but these transmissions are much better than they used to be for efficiency and performance. I'll take the stick, though, if it's available.

No comments: