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Old 08-01-2012, 10:46 AM   #1
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Handling Package and Fuel Efficiency

New here and I'm looking at a Focus Ti Hatchback.

I'm trying to decide whether or not to get the Handling Package, along w/ which transmission to go with.
  • Should I expect a significant (3-4 less mpg) difference if I get the Handling Package w/ the 18" rims?
  • I know the manual is rated at getting 2 mpg less than the auto; what has been the consensus around here? I'm looking at the manual b/c I'm worried about long term reliability of the auto -- any thoughts on that to ease my mind?

Thank you all!


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Old 08-01-2012, 10:54 AM   #2
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If you know what to expect from a DCT and are willing to accept it's differences, I think it's a great choice. Mine's only hiccuped once since I bought it. In other words...don't buy the auto with the expectation that it's going to behave like any other auto you've owned. It definitely won't feel like an Avalon.

I can't help but believe that the bigger wheels & tires will cause MPG to take a hit, although it may be a small one. Mine's leveled out a 27mpg with mixed highway / city. I think a non-handling package would probably do a little better.
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Old 08-01-2012, 11:35 AM   #3
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If you know what to expect from a DCT and are willing to accept it's differences, I think it's a great choice. Mine's only hiccuped once since I bought it. In other words...don't buy the auto with the expectation that it's going to behave like any other auto you've owned. It definitely won't feel like an Avalon.

I can't help but believe that the bigger wheels & tires will cause MPG to take a hit, although it may be a small one. Mine's leveled out a 27mpg with mixed highway / city. I think a non-handling package would probably do a little better.
Thank you for the quick response! Do you do a lot of driving in traffic w/ the automatic? If so, is it pretty smooth? I've read about the car having trouble getting into the right gear at low speeds.
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Old 08-01-2012, 11:48 AM   #4
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You get used to driving it in traffic if you do it a lot, but if you don't do it often, it's much different. But this is rush hour Chicago traffic, stop and go, I don't know about Texas. It's great on the highway without traffic, though.
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Old 08-01-2012, 12:39 PM   #5
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I do a lot of stop & go and have noticed that the transmission seems to err on the side of economy, but a quick prod of the throttle snaps it back into reality. IMO, Ford didn't strike the BEST balance of performance and economy with their programming, but in its defense...the 2011 Optima I traded for it upshifted as quickly as it possibly could as well. I was often in 2nd gear by the time I accelerated around a corner, which can get aggravating.

In 99% of the cases of driving around town, it's totally smooth. I can get a little undecisive if you gas it, let off, and gas it again (which always happens when merging onto a highway in Dallas) but it's not really any worse than the autos I've had in the past. This circumstance, IMO is where shifting for yourself (manual transmission) just can't be duplicated by a computerized automatic.

The most concerning issue I've experienced twice occurred in S mode, after slowing down behind someone who was turning, I prodded the throttle, it downshifted, and after I leveled off the throttle, it stuck in the gear it downshifted to. I have no idea what caused that (I confirmed on the dash that I hadn't pushed the manual shift button) but it hasn't done it since.

I think owning a DCT requires you to alter your expectations. I knew it was going to have its quirks, and it does. I've driven manual-transmission cars all my life, so I know why it does most of the things it does. However, if I had a wish for Ford to grant, it would be some programming that's focuses a LITTLE less on upshifting ASAP.

If you can find one to rent, I highly recommend that. This transmission simply doesn't set well with 100% of consumers.
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