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Old 05-06-2011, 07:12 PM   #1
Focus Rookie
Join Date: May 2011
Fan#: 85549
Location: Fort Worth, TX
What I Drive: '03 BMW 540i / Nissan S13 Track Car

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2012 Focus Sport Package - Changes?

Thinking of replacing my 540i M-Sport with something I don't have to mess with every few weeks to keep on the road, so I went and looked at the 2012 Focus today. Usual story, sales guy was clueless, and couldn't answer any of my questions with any confidence nor let me drive a car I actually wanted (SE 5 door with sport package).

I drove an SE auto without the sport package, and the car was honestly too soft for me. It was comfortable and everything, but I could feel myself getting bored with it on the test drive. It felt like it had more body roll than my fiance's '06 Escape, not exactly what I'm looking for. The steering feel was also a little bit too light for me. I know it won't be anywhere near as heavy as my 540i (which has notoriously heavy steering with great feel for a recirculating ball box), but it was one oiled up finger on the steering wheel light with almost zero feedback.

I was under the impression that the sport package actually had some different suspension tuning, but the sales guy was adamant that it is just an appearance package with a leather steering wheel, 16" aluminum wheels, different seats design etc. He said multiple times that the suspension was the same sport package or not.

So any definitive info on if the suspension/steering assist is the exact same between a sport package SE 5 door car and one without the sport package?

Also, the sales guy couldn't answer my question on what type of screens on the dash/cluster come with the 201A vs. 203A packages. Do they both have the dual 4" screens, or does the 203A package get a larger screen in the middle of the dash? Still no nav from what I understand (I don't want it), but a larger screen would be nice for the extra $$$.

Thanks for any answers, as I think if I could find a knowledgable sales guy I'd have real answers to these simple questions.

As far as general impressions, the motor was nice if a bit gutless below 3k RPM (I only went up to about 4-4.5k RPM), but that's to be expected. I think the throttle mapping is very conservative for the first 50% of pedal travel to get better gas mileage figures. The auto was nice and smooth, but it was in a REAL hurry to get in a high gear, and did not like dropping down a gear in normal driving. There were quite a few 30 mph corners we came out of with it in a fairly high gear and below 2k RPM with almost no discernable power available on exit. It confirmed my fears that I don't think I could get along with any autobox after doing nothing but manuals for the past 13-14 years. The little rocker on the shifter would probably not do it for me either. Just not involving enough to actually make a difference over a "dumb" autobox.

Otherwise the car was very composed, if very soft in general. I could see it being fun on a daily basis revving out the little 2L to merge onto the highway with a manual. It seemed nice and quiet at the max speed we got it up to (about 50 mph).

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