Another one of those "help me make my choice" threads xD - Focus Fanatics
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Old 02-14-2013, 07:12 AM   #1
Vagabond142
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Another one of those "help me make my choice" threads xD

Hey all,

Been lurking around these forums for a while, trying to soak up as much information as possible as I am in the market for a new 2013 SE Hatch w/ SE Plus pack. WITHOUT MyFord Touch <_<

I have come up with a list of real world questions that, while there are threads with some information about them, I would love to ask here and get real world answers on:

1) Real world practicality: I drive a variety of roads to work. Suburban, what we would consider a freeway, major feeder road, then a twisty section to get to the train station. Being Calgary, Alberta, Canada, these roads are... well, not well maintained is putting it nicely. There are bumps, cracks, sudden minor elevation changes, rises, dips, high speed sweepers, low speed 90 degree turns... will my back be jelly and my head ripped apart by road noise by the time I get to the station? My test drive was only on, surprisingly, mostly smooth roads, so I really didn't get a feel for rough pavement. As well, I do love to visit the Ikea on the way home sometime. Is there much dynamic shift when there is a heavy load in the hatch? (my current Mazda is horrid for this, put a wet brick in the trunk and the front wheels are suddenly 10 feet in the air)

2) Winter! To reinforce the stereotype about us Canadians, yes, it DOES really get that cold up here sometimes. -40 C before windchill happens once or twice a winter (for the Americans, -40 is where both our temperature scales meet.... -40 C is -40 F). Yes, I know it's mental to live in a place that is winter 6 months of the year

So a very important thing for a Canadian is: how good is the heater?

I would like to start the car, do the ice scraping/snow brushing while the engine warms up (5 mins avg), and by the time I hop in the car afterwards, have at least some warm air coming out of the vents. Doesn't have to be tropical in there, just enough to fight off sudden fog up from all the snow on my shoes/pants. Is this a realistic expectation?


3) Manual transmission. Yes, I have read the horror threads about the automatic transmission, but no one mentions the manual often. I am a permanent row-your-own enthusiast, so, real world, what kind of clutch life and feel am I to expect? The clutch on my 1990 Civic (bought in 2002, retired in 2012) never needed to be replaced, and I drove the wheels off that thing, at the very least 130k KM's in my time of owning it. I would expect at least ~60k KM's from a clutch, is this realistic? Also, what type of feel does it have? Is it snappy midtravel pickup, or a gradual catch that makes the stop-go stuff a little easier? (I ask because, oddly, NO dealership in Alberta seems to have a manual Focus on the lot)


I'm sure I'll have more, but for now, those are my top three questions. Thanks for your time, your answers, and mostly, your patience! I am very much a details guy so I soak up information like a greedy sponge


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Old 02-14-2013, 08:07 AM   #2
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I had a 2007 Mazda3 before I bought my Focus. I can't answer all your questions, but I have a few observations.

1. The Focus has a much more compliant ride than the Mazda3. The Mazda3 rode like a buckboard in comparison. The handling of the Focus may not be quite as sharp, but it is still very good. I don't know about what happens when the back gets heavily weighted.

2. I live in North Carolina so I can't comment on really cold weather.

3. The gearshift of the Focus is very similar to the Mazda3, with respect to throw length and precision. It is not as good as my 1987 Accord, but it is very easy to drive. The clutch is very good. It is very light and does not engage suddenly (like my Mazda3 did). Overall I find that this manual transmission is almost as mindless as driving an automatic, but a lot more fun.

4. The gearing of the Focus is almost exactly the same as the Mazda3. So you will be doing a lot of revs when you are cruising.
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Old 02-14-2013, 08:38 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by focusstu View Post
4. The gearing of the Focus is almost exactly the same as the Mazda3. So you will be doing a lot of revs when you are cruising.
My 626 cruises 100 KPH (~60 MPH) in 5th @2,500-2,700 RPM. My old Civic did it ~3k. Does that sound about right for Focus cruising RPM's at that speed in 5th?
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Old 02-14-2013, 08:49 AM   #4
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My car does about 2900 rpm at 70 mph in 5th. Car and Driver has a road test comparison with a Dodge Dart. The spec sheet has a lot of data:

http://www.caranddriver.com/comparis...omparison-test
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Old 02-14-2013, 08:56 AM   #5
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none of the Canadians on here have complained about the heater, even said it started in -40 with no engine block heater
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Old 02-14-2013, 09:03 AM   #6
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I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at the ride and noise levels, even on imperfect pavement. It's not a luxury car of course, but I've found it to be a terrific highway car. The 2012s are plagued by more interior rattles and buzzes than should be the case, which can make the ride seem worse than it really is. The 2013s may be better.

Asking any car to provide quick heat at -40 degrees may be too much, but the Focus does seem to heat up pretty quickly. Active grille shutters (if so equipped) may play a small role in a quick warm-up.

The manual transmission and clutch are, I believe, proven components that should not be troublesome. As pointed out, the primary drawback is pretty revvy highway cruising.
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Old 02-14-2013, 09:07 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkangelism View Post
none of the Canadians on here have complained about the heater, even said it started in -40 with no engine block heater


I like to hear things like this :D
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Old 02-14-2013, 10:18 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkangelism View Post
none of the Canadians on here have complained about the heater, even said it started in -40 with no engine block heater
Ehh... if I recall correctly, his engine block heater was toast and that was the temperature that it stopped starting at. But commendable, nevertheless.
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Old 02-14-2013, 11:10 AM   #9
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Fellow Canuck here!

I have the 12 Titanium manual and here is my experience with -20 weather.

1. The ride has always been solid over rough roads. I think the suspension is stiffer than some other cars might be. No complaints because it handles extremely well on corners. Even with the crappy continental tires.

2. I have the heated seats and I have to put it on 1 so far, it heats up quickly and most here have reported that 1 is more than enough heat. I have the automatic temperature and it has worked way better than I have thought. There is a defrost setting for the windshield and it sounds like a hair dryer at full blast, it gets the job done quickly. The car at -20 weather took about 5min for it to heat up during the drive.

edit: Forgot to mention that I installed Michelin's X-Ice XI3's and they handle the snow like its on rails.

3. The manual is solid, easy to drive and silent. A friend of mine who drives a manual RSX Type S loved the manual on the Focus.

I have driven an SE and a SEL and I have to say that the Titanium is worth it. I absolutely love MFT and Sync and can't imagine ever driving a car without it. I just installed 3.5.1 from 3.0.2 and never had any issues that some are reporting. I have a Galaxy Nexus phone with Jellybean 4.2.2 and everything works perfectly except txt messaging (not supported on the phone). I have RDIO and I can fast forward or skip tracks using the buttons on the steering wheel, all of this on a non supported phone.
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Old 02-14-2013, 11:12 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gsxrboy View Post
The car at -20 weather took about 5min for it to heat up during the drive.
Christ. Are you sure about that? It takes my car about 10 minutes to get to operating temperature at 0*F.

EDIT: But the first 5 minutes is stop-and-go city driving, so there is probably a lot of idling going on.
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