I just brought the focus SE hatch base last week and was quite happy and impressed with the ride, handling, style, interior, and mpg thus far. After reading all the posts on this topic, I have to admit to feeling very uneasy about the transmission shudder that a lot of owners have reported and worst is that the dealers are not receptive to their concerns and get into the habit of brushing off these poor customers who have suffered a lot of anxieties, many sleepness nights, and a worrying car resale value that is plummeting. I have already gone to the dealer to ask them a simple question on air vent operation where I discovered that they are not very knowledgeable on the product they're supposed to service. I will not take a chance on having them service any future problems I may encounter. It's very pathetic that it requires Ford customer service intervention to get these dealers to take the customers seriously. I think will bypass dealer maintenance services and go find someone who knows more.
Fortunately for me, my car has the built date Nov 2011 and I have not encounter this drivability problem. I suspect that my tranny has all the latest software flashed. I am keeping my fingers crossed and just like all of you with this issue will have to live with future anxieties. Now on to the transmission. One of the reason I choose the Focus is due to its DCT. I have lusted after VW GTI for its handling and refinent for years but shied away because of the issues with DCT. Also, they were pricey around ($27K). Yes,VW had serious problems with them too that left customers stranded. Those transmission had to have its mechatronic module that costs $4K to replace. Fortunately for most of the customers, that problem occurred early before the factory warranty expires where they did not incur costs. There are lots of used GTIs with about 50K for sale now, probably because the owners don't want to deal with costly repairs beyond the factory powertrain warranty. I will not touch them.
Now that I own the focus, the ride, handling, refinemet, quietness is almost on par w/VW GTI and for almost $9K cheaper. I took advantage of Ford $3000K incentive (cash back, finance bonus, trade) and got the dealer to sell the car at cost to bring the total to $16,400 + tax/license. An added bonus is the DCT that allows the car to manually change gears automatically with the added benefit of getting good mpg. I believe so far I have put 250 mi with M2E being at 140 mi. I am hoping that would put me at 35mpg w/80% hwy & 20% city. After reading the horrible stories here, I drive like granny currently out of fear that I will experience the shudder and future tranny problems. Yeah, I know that it's going to take the tranny fuzzy logic a long time to learn my driving habit.
One characteristic I observed about the tranny is going slow up hill (30+ degree) like when I was creeping along searching for someone's house. I did notice the transmission starting to shudder and also I can hear a metallic noise to my horror. Later that day, I read the owner manual where I found a setting on the pp 275 under Overdrive cancel/Grade assist. It says that if you live in hilly areas where you're going up/down, it's better to employ this setting. Sure enough, hitting that transmission control button on the side of the gearshift did improve creeping uphill. Here's my theory. When I use the normal (default) setting, the transmission would shift too early to the next gear that would cause the powertrain to operate in the low RPM that is outside the torque range of the engine. If you're on flat surface, this would not be a problem. However if you're going up hill, it's putting stress on the powertrain in the sense that you're actually lugging the engine. If you ever drive a manual stick shift you know what I mean, and you would hold the gear longer while climbing. Well unfortunately, this DCT in the normal mode setting is trying to optimize fuel consumption and it is programmed to shift as early as possible. Now if you engaged the overdrive cancel/grade assist button, presto problem solved as this setting programs the DCT to hold the
gear longer before shifting to the next one. If you're in the default mode, you can trick the tranny to not up shift too early by gradually pressing down the gas pedal. Any slight pressure on easing off the gas will cause it to up shift. Both of these methods appears to work for me thus far. I hope it can help you too.