Focus Jr. Enthusiast
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Englishtown, NJ
What I Drive: 2012 Red Candy Focus SE Hatch
FF Reputation: 1
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (0
Well, I feel like I need to chime in here. I had an '06 Prius for about 6 years. I probably never should have bought it. In fact, I was driving home last night, and the thought "What the hell was I thinking, buying an automatic car?" popped into my head. I enjoy driving my Focus. I never enjoyed driving my Prius. But that wasn't the Prius's fault. For the most part, it does what it's supposed to do very well. If you're not a fan of what it's supposed to do, then you shouldn't buy it. However, there were a couple of glaring problems I had with it.
First, THE GOOD:
-Terrific mileage. I think the worst average mileage I ever got was about 48 mpg for a whole tank. I was usually in the 49-50 range.
-Outstanding storage. Lots of places to store things, and the hatch was enormous. I wish my Focus had more places to store things. I loved the two tiered glove compartment.
-Smart Key: Loved it!
Generally speaking, it was a very reliable car.
The NOT SO GOOD:
Annoying things not related to it driving like a Prius:
-The bladder. I don't like a gas tank that expands or contracts with the ambient temperature. It was impossible to gauge how many more miles you could go based on prior experience, as the car took a different amount of gas every time you filled it up. So, I filled it up whenever I got down to 1 pip. Generally, that meant getting 7 or 8 gallons of gas unless it was July. Too small.
-The alarm sounds: My Focus boops gently when I turn it on and don't have my seat belt on. With the Prius, the sound was shrill and loud. With the Smart Key, it would do that 3 times every time you left the car or opened a door/the hatch while it was running. A major nuisance in the winter.
-Before, but reasonably close to the last traffic light on my commute, there's a bump. If the light turned yellow right before that bump, I'd hit it while braking at 30 - 40 mph. At that point, the car would lurch forward, and it would feel like the brakes had failed for the half second or so it would take for me to hit flat ground and brake again. It was scary, esp. if there were cars in front of me at the light. My dealer told me that this was simply the Godawful traction control kicking in. They thought it was functioning properly. When Toyota had that issue with acceleration a few years ago, there was an article in the NY Times that discussed people who were complaining about similar problems. The article said that these people had also been told by their dealers that it was the traction control. This only happened to me a half dozen times in 6 years, but I remember them all.
-My Prius drove fine in the snow. It drove fine in the rain too. However, it was terrible after a drizzle. It wasn't a problem while you were driving along, but God help you at a Stop sign. There's one place on my way to work where I have to stop at the top of a hill at a pretty busy intersection. I live in NJ, so if there's a hole, you need to hit it with authority or wait a couple of minutes for the next hole. Because it was at the top of a hill, I had to accelerate a little more energetically to get over the top, then get through the intersection. If I tried this on a slightly slippery road, it would, as often as not, start lurching and sputtering as I helplessly tried to get across this intersection while cars were bearing down on me at 50 mph. So, here was my dilemma. Do I want to take my foot off the gas, let the car regroup, and try again, or do I try to limp along through the intersection and hope I make it to the other side? Which option will minimize the probability that I'll get broadsided before I reach the other side? It was ridiculous. I looked around at various Prius related sites, and the consensus seemed to be that the Gen II Prius had the worst traction control in the history of the world. It was designed to protect the engine/motor from damage resulting from excessive tire spinning. It seemed to be a lot less concerned about protecting the driver and passengers in the car. For the record, my sister-in-law in San Francisco has a Gen II Prius. A good friend in Colorado has one too. Neither has ever had the problems I experienced. However, neither one of those cars has traction control. So, I suspect that's what the problem was. I never had that issue at the same Stop sign with my Civic (the car I had before the Prius), my Focus, or even the clunky Corolla that I had to rent for a week last spring. At any rate, I decided in the spring that I wasn't going through another winter with that car. Perhaps my car simply had unusually bad traction control. However, Toyota didn't seem very concerned about the issues I was having when I brought them up. I didn't appreciate that.
2012 Red Candy Focus SE Hatch/MT/sport/winter/203A/moonroof