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Old 09-19-2012, 08:20 PM   #1
PainCakesx
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Possibly buying a 2012 Focus in a few days, a few questions...

Hello all,

I'm currently in the market for a new car and have had my eye on the 2012 Focus for quite a while. I've done some research and have found that common complaints revolve around MFT and the automatic transmission. The MFT won't really apply to me given the car I'd be getting wouldn't have it, but the transmission issues do concern me given I'm probably going to get the SEL model.

I test drove one the other day, and didn't explicitly notice any transmission problems, but given it was a relatively short drive and I didn't specifically look for that issue (wasn't aware of the specifics at the time), I can't really pass judgement yet. I'll be test driving more, so I'll be sure to look for it specifically in the future.

For those who have owned the car and have knowledge about this issue, is it a legitimate problem in the sense that it's broken, or is it simply a different transmission system that if driven properly, will act just as well as the normal automatic transmission?

Are most complaints exaggerated, or are they well founded? And if these concerns are legitimate, do they seriously detract from the car such that it's unbearable, or is it just nitpicking and not a major detraction from the vehicle?

I love the styling, the handling and the overall quality of the car, but transmission problems are obviously of concern with any vehicle.

Any insight would be appreciated!


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Old 09-19-2012, 08:33 PM   #2
John W
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The 5-speed manual in the Focus is great and easy to drive. But if you must have an automatic, you might also consider checking out a Mazda3 Skyactiv. It handles as well or better than a Focus and has a very good 6-speed automatic.
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Old 09-19-2012, 08:43 PM   #3
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You're going to get a lot of different opinions about the DCT.

Personally, I hated it until the most recent update, but now I find it acceptable, except for the grinding noise. Ford claims a grinding noise (while shifting between first and second) is normal, but it doesn't take a genius to know that a noise like that can only lead to failure. The noise didn't start until around 3000 miles. Before that the DCT was silent.

If you have only driven "regular" automatic transmissions, you may find that the DCT has trouble with city traffic. It has trouble around 40 mph, especially if the person in front of you accelerates to 35-40 and then slows down. In that situation you will hit a dead spot in the DCT as it cannot decide to down-shift properly. Most of us have taken to using Select-Shift mode in the city, which helps, or take control completely and shift the system manually.

IMO, Ford will be able to perfect MFT, but I don't trust the DCT. However, I do love the gas mileage it helps provide.

I drive an SEL with leather. I fell for the styling and the interior, which seemed very nice during the test drive. I would recommend you take a LONG test drive. Make sure the seat feels comfortable, your legs are comfortable, you can find a comfortable rest area for your left arm, etc. It takes about a week to realize that maybe the Focus doesn't quite fit you like you thought it would.

To make my Focus perfect, I would rip out the DCT, install a manual tranny, replace the seats with Ricaros from the ST, and somehow raise the arm rest on the drivers side door an inch and a half.
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Old 09-19-2012, 08:47 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John W View Post
The 5-speed manual in the Focus is great and easy to drive. But if you must have an automatic, you might also consider checking out a Mazda3 Skyactiv. It handles as well or better than a Focus and has a very good 6-speed automatic.
The transmission in the 3 skyactiv is not that good, but it is a very normal planetary automatic transmission with a tiny torque converter and a more aggressive multiplate lock up clutch for the torque converter.
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Old 09-19-2012, 08:56 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suss6052 View Post
The transmission in the 3 skyactiv is not that good, but it is a very normal planetary automatic transmission with a tiny torque converter and a more aggressive multiplate lock up clutch for the torque converter.
Why is it not good? It seems to be universally praised, has rev-matched downshifts, and the skyactiv 3 is getting stellar fuel economy with it?

The rest of the car is really dated though.
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Old 09-19-2012, 09:00 PM   #6
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The automatic in the '12 isn't nearly as bad as people make it out to be. I bought my SEL is Feb of this year and at first the transmission was odd, but after I had the dealer preform a recall software update for it, it runs totally fine. I'm pretty convinced that most people that complain about it have not had that software update. If I was to buy another Focus, I would buy the automatic again.

Just make sure that when you buy it have the dealer check to make sure its got the latest update. Don't let what people cry and cry about discourage you from buying the car, they are fantastic little cars.
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Old 09-19-2012, 09:00 PM   #7
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Why is it not good? It seems to be universally praised, has rev-matched downshifts, and the skyactiv 3 is getting stellar fuel economy with it?

The rest of the car is really dated though.
Reports and videos where it shudders worse than a broken DCT. Its a traditional torque converter backed automatic, torque converters suck the life out of driving, etc.
YouTube Video
ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8B2YAzmhMfE
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Old 09-19-2012, 09:06 PM   #8
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It's reasonable to have questions aboutnthe DCT. At its best, it is a wonderful device, being smoother, faster more engaging and mor economical than a convetional automatic. They can have quirks though, and much of what you read here is a hangover from the early days of production when they had a LOT of quirks.

Ford has made progress and I suspect then vast
majority of owners are happy with it. Much of what Ford has done is on the software side, so the good news is that updates are fast, easy and non-invasive.

My suggestion is to rent one for a weekend. Drive it in as many conditions as you can, be gentle, be aggressive, try to "surprise" it, etc. Even when operating precisely as designed it is different than a regular automatic. Just make sure it suits you.
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Old 09-19-2012, 09:08 PM   #9
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I love my focus and my DCT, yea, sometimes I get a funky shift, rarely, sometimes 1st to 2nd makes a VERY quiet "grind" (more like the usual sound of gears engaging" but it's solid and I reccomend this car
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Old 09-19-2012, 09:11 PM   #10
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I just wanted to note that when I say new, I actually mean used. So ideally, the car will be broken in a bit. Will this make a big difference?
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