I can't judge what CR has to say about the Focus because I have not read it, but be aware that CR is more of a detriment than an asset to those who want a true feel for the product they are considering. That point was brought home to me a number of years ago when they basically did a hatchet job on the profession that I've devoted my life to (I'm a veterinarian).
I don't mind that they are critical of some of the things they review - nothing in life is above criticism, whether it be my profession, automobiles, or toasters. But the criticism should be fair and based on fact. CR's "reports" are researched and written by nonprofessionals going by the opinions of other nonprofessionals. Not that that in itself is so bad, but there should also be some real research involved and they should incorporate more unbiased professional input. That's what journalism is all about. In the case of the Focus, I understand that they did not even evaluate the basic car - they evaluated the car with optional equipment (MFT and DCT). I know that these options are in most Foci sold and so there is legitimate reason for taking that into account, but comparing DCT cars and standard automatic transmission cars is comparing apples and oranges. At least some (NOT all) of the consumer complaints about the DCT have come from car buyers who did not understand what they were buying - and Ford can be legitimately criticized in that regard as well. CR also does not take into consideration any improvements which may or may not have been accomplished since the early production run.
There is no scientific method to their "science". Nor do they intend there to be. They are only interested in generating lists, because that is what consumers want. But understand that their lists are steaming piles of subjective crap.
There are legitimate criticisms of the Focus, particularly in regards to the MFT and DCT technologies, and legitimate criticisms of how Ford has handled the introduction of the technologies into their vehicles. Do a little digging and understand all of the pros and cons, and then make up your mind. But don't waste your time on reading a CR "report". It will just be 30 minutes of your life that you'll never get back.
Last edited by drdab99; 12-13-2012 at 10:07 AM.