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I travel often for work, and when I was picking up my rental car last week in Littlerock, I noticed a number of 2012 Focus in the rental car lot. I went back and asked to be swapped from the vehicle they gave me, into one.

I had a 2012 SEL sedan which I drove a little over 100 miles across 4 days, in a mix of city and highway driving.

I had an auto transmission, a radio that didn't have Sirius active, but did have SYNC. It was not MFT.

I liked the solid way it felt, I was happy with the power and handling, and liked the 29 MPG average. I didn't read any of the manual, and it was later in my rental that I figured how to get the radio switched from line in, to USB in mode. I didn't figure out how to cut the daytime running lights off. I tried using the Select Shift (or what ever that manual shifting of the auto is called) and didn't particularly care for it. This car had about 7000 miles on it and other than when it was cold, didn't notice anything different about how the transmission felt versus other autos, except that sometimes it wouldn't creep forward at idle and once it rolled back. When cold it had a little more of a jerky feel that went away quickly.

I liked the steerling wheel, it's shaped similar to the one in my '03 SVTF but of course it has a bunch of buttons, and more controls on each side. I figured out much of the stuff the buttons did pretty quickly, and I like the LCD screens in the dash, and over the radio. The interior seemed to be less plastic feeling than the Fusions I've had as rentals, which is good.

I noticed more wind noise than I recall hearing in my '03 SVTF but that might be because the '12 has less motor, and road noise, leaving only the wind noise for me to hear. I did notice that I felt a little larger than my '03 but not as big as the current Ford Fusion, which I've had multiple times as a rental car, but won't consider buying based on it's tiny radio display.

All in all, it was a positive rental, and I'm going to try and get a new Focus the next couple times I rent, sort of as an extended test drive, and to try and hold me over until the new ST model is available to purchase.[thumb]
 

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Great review! Like you and others on here versus the critics, I didnt feel the controls were dificult to figure out.
 

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I had a co-worker rent one recently who took it on a 1500 mile trip from Atlanta to New Orleans and back and she said it drove like a dream, was super comfortable, worked great the whole time and got incredible gas mileage. Now she wants to buy one.
 
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