Ever Wondered How Ford Gets Its Point Across? Sometimes Excessively
|   Monday, October 29, 2012
Today, as we were watching our favorite local football team (okay, it's American football with all the padding and the league is the National Football League), we noticed an interesting add for the new Ford Focus.

Fortunately we like the Focus or we would have been all over the ad like a suit, but, this one was rather pushy, but cute and it made its point. It turns out that the ad promises every new buyer of certain models of the 2013 Ford Focus a special addition, a person to go with the vehicle.


The person that comes with the Focus was to point out all of the good points; the strong points; the salient points, and, okay, so it skipped a few of the lesser ones (torque steer, trailing throttle oversteer and the like – you think after three decades, they'd finally get rid of them, right, but not quite, however, they are beyond the scope of this review).

What isn't beyond the scope of the review is how Ford took its Mazda3 (yes Ford owns Mazda, just as it used to own Jaguar and Volvo – the C90 is a nice version of the Edge, isn't it?) and made it into a car that will hold its own against any car on the road.

For example, if you want good mileage there's a Ford Focus that will you great mileage – especially if you keep your foot off the gas – averaging 30-plus around town and in short-trip cold engine driving (the absolute worst in the world for mileage).

Or, if you want a bit more performance there are models are more performance-oriented and so on.

The cute thing about the Ford ad, though, was that the person was supposed to be there as part of Ford's standard equipment to talk you through the various aspects of the Focus.

For example, the person explains not only how to start the Focus up for top mileage, but also how to achieve the best mileage you can. It also explains how to take turns and corners with the Focus (don't be surprised if it fights you a bit on some turns because front-drive cars will do that – even the vaunted Honda line seems to have forgotten that between the 1980s and now. In the 80s, one autowriter noted you couldn't tell which "end of the car Honda pushed or pulled the vehicle." Today that's not true any more because Honda is guilty of just what every other automaker is guilty of, trying to make things more inexpensively and charging the most for them so, you have a Honda Civic with torque steer that, while it may not match the nasty of other front-drive cars, still requires you to be on your toes).

And, if you don't push the Focus too much from a standing start you won't even know what we are talking about (front-drive cars like to jump to the right on hard acceleration and that's called torque steer – it actually exists in rear-drive vehicles, too, but it's in the opposite direction and helps with ride and handling).

Speaking of ride and handling the new Focus (okay, Mazda3) is very good. It handles as every driver expects – people have been sold on the fact that cars are supposed to be understeering kings when they aren't but no one challenges it and the engineers have done a good job of dialing most of it out – and that means that through any corner the Focus holds the line you choose. Performance is excellent as the four has a broad power curve and if you line it up with the right transmission you'll find things are fine.

You will find there's a bit of a blindspot on the right and left rear and that they've still never really mastered the art of giving you a real indication of where the rear end is, but, with the right electronics, you have a blindspot warning system – this is the area where sideview mirrors and your rearview just can't see and if the sail pillar is large it just makes things more interesting which is why the blindspot warning system is a must.

The seats are comfortable and supportive and there's plenty of headroom for the driver and front-seat passenger while the rear is really best-suited for two, though three can sit there. The middle passenger will find things a tad on the bumpy side as there isn't really much padding in the seat and the seatbacks just happen to break in that area so you can have the 60/40-rear access through the trunk.

That aside, though, since most Focuses will only have two in them at any given time, it's not a problem. Indeed there are a few problems that you can't find solutions for on either the model sheet or options sheet.

The only thing we're really glad about is that the guy in the ad we saw today is just the figment of some ad guy's imagination because how could you tell the poor option he was fired?
PHOTO GALLERY
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