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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone, I currently have a 2011 Blue Flame SES fiesta and I am considering getting a 2012 focus.
I posted this same thing on fiestafaction since I wanted to get opinions from both sides of the fence.

I've had my Fiesta for almost 14 months now and I've certainly enjoyed it, however, in that time, I've had some significant life changes, such as child #3. The third requires me to have 2 car seats in the back and one cramped 9 year old who is not getting any smaller.

Mind you, I have a Minivan and a 4 door Jeep Wrangler, the Minivan performs major road trip duties and the Jeep shuttles us around on those super hot days with the top down and get's me there when the Snow is 3' deep.

I use this vehicle to take the kids to school/daycare in the morning and then take a spirited back road drive to my work. I also use it to shuttle the family all over town for errands and such since I would rather get 30mpg around town than 13 with my Van.

I picked the fiesta for 3 main reasons.
1. I stongly liked the handling/steering (was coming from a MINI cooper S)
2. I liked the fuel economy.
3. It was available in Manual, which is all I will drive.

SO, the Focus fixes my slight space problem, has the Fuel Economy, is available in Manual ( I will get the SE) but I do not know about the handling.

I've test driven the Focus 3 times now, all with powershift because no-one will stock a manual, but the C&D and AW articles about the Manual transmission being the bees-knees leads me to believe I won't have a problem with that. As long as it's as good as the fiestas shifter, which I find to be excellent.

But the real problem is that I just couldn't get a good feel for how they compare in such a short period, I don't know if it was just because I had the dealer there or what, but I'm torn.

Does anyone have any good subjective or comparative data on how the two of them perform, even data like skidpad, slalom, braking, etc....

I will miss the keyless entry, ambient lighting, pushbutton start as well as the auto windows from the fiesta as well, but I take a lot of stress out on those twisty back roads on the way home and that's very important for me in my decision that the car be a hoot to drive:) I'll be very unhappy camper if I find out after I get the focus that it's not as much fun to drive.


Thanks for any help you can provide.
 

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Haven't drive the fiesta, and don't have a manual, but I can tell you that this car handles awesome. I got lost on some back roads last weekend when trying to get to a state park (thanks MFT navigation), but I was actually happy about it because it was a narrow 2 lane windy road. I was scaring the crap out of my girlfriend, but I was having a blast.
 

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My advice would be to wait a few more months to see if they bring out a Titanium with a manual. The Titanium has all the stuff you're saying that you'd have to give up from the Fiesta.
 

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I have am SE sport 5MT... It's very fun to drive, not as go-cart like as my old Honda CRX or Mazda 323 GT, but for a family car It's great. I can noodle around with the wife and two kids (both in carseats) and then really wring it out when by myself. The shifter is one of the best I've used, and the roll stiffness is better than my 9-3 turbo. I found myself hitting 50+mph on a traffic circle the other day, it just stuck like glue!

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It handles alright, but it's not nearly as go-cart like or as flat in the turns as a dedicated sports car. The PS3 tires really make it stick to the road, but you can put those on any car. If driven normally, it feels good, and the steering is fantastic. If driven hard, the less advanced suspension starts to shows it's real composure, but it's still very predictable. But against it's competitors, it drives much better.
 

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I own both the 2011 Fiesta SES and 2012 Focus SEL. Honestly they probably handle about the same, but they get the job done in different ways. The Fiesta definitely feels stiffer and lighter. The Focus is much smoother, and the Torque Vectoring Control makes a huge difference. I give my preference to the Focus...you'll definitely notice the extra 40HP/35TQ. Check C&D for comparative data. They have tested both cars extensively.
 

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Test hopped a fairly plain-vanilla SE on roads and turns that I commuted on for 20 years, and thought it acquitted itself really well; it felt a great deal like my bride's A4.
Have a history of handlers; Opel Rallye, two Sciroccos, CRX Si, and I was pleased with the Focus's handling. It's not as small and darty as our Fit, but it is a bigger car.
I've wrestled with the handling package questions, but it appears that it is necessary to go all the way to the Ti for that, and it may be that it isn't much more than bigger tires and wheels.
I always get winter tires/rims anyway, so if the OEM rubber on our ordered SEL doesn't grip to my satisfaction when my car gets here, I'll replace the all seasons with real summer treads when the originals wear out.
Moon
 

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My sel handles vry well but isnt as fun to drive as my zx3. The sel is much more isolated from the road which is good on long trips but not as much fun round town n on back roads. The sel sticks like glue to curves but u dont realise as u do in my zx3
 

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I will tell you this, get the SE with the SE Sport Package and SelectShift and I'm sure you will find it fun to drive. I got mine with the SelectShift option and love it. I've only had the car for one day, but I can see it also coming in handy when I travel into places where it may be hilly, or where manual control of the trans is needed. I had a 2010 Focus and went driving in the mountains and that was a chore.... engine tried to keep going into 4th and OD and would literally growl along up hills or do other funny stuff.. Can't wait to take the '12 into the mountains!

I'd say if you get one, get AT LEAST an SE because the S model pretty much doesn't have anything on it, unless money is an issue. But the SE is not a whole lot more (if you get the basic SE model without any options).
 

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Oh and I'd also SUGGEST getting a hatchback, but that's a matter of preference. Me personally, I like the styling and the rear wiper (plus I think the hatch actually has a little more cargo space than the sedan).

Also, get Cruise if you plan to ever use it. Adding it later costs a pretty penny, and in some cases, can't be done. My lesson learned the hard way with Ford: buy the car how you want it from the factory because adding features later (other than simple things, like rims/tires or a graphics package) can cost a lot to add-on after you buy it, and in some cases, you can't even add certain features...
 

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I don't think I'd go for such a meager space upgrade if I was looking for more room. I'd go for a larger car period. The Focus is still quite a small vehicle.

I do love my manual Focus. It is great fun to drive. I'm willing to be it's right on par with how the Fiesta handles (I've never driven one). The manual transmission is great on the Focus.

Still, I'd find something bigger if I had three kids.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I have 2 vehicles that are much larger for the big hauling duties. I just need something i can take the kids around in occasionally and then continue on my spirited backwoods blast to and from work. If i got the focus, i had planned to get an SE with everything, including sport package and the optional 17" wheels. The only thing i will not get is an auto. I'm giving up some nice equipment on my SES Fiesta to go to the focus, but that's fords fault for not offering the TI in stick.
I have a hatch fiesta, would get a hatchbach focus as well. In addition to refusing to own an automatic, i refuse to own a coupe or sedan, so at least ford got that part right for me.
 

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I don't think I'd go for such a meager space upgrade if I was looking for more room. I'd go for a larger car period. The Focus is still quite a small vehicle.

I do love my manual Focus. It is great fun to drive. I'm willing to be it's right on par with how the Fiesta handles (I've never driven one). The manual transmission is great on the Focus.

Still, I'd find something bigger if I had three kids.
I'm with this guy. I have one booster seat in the back. The seats are so narrow I have to buckle the safety belt in to the neighboring lock. For 3 kids with 2 safety seats its probably going to be extremely cramped. It's a very fun car to drive with a manual, but you may want to think about stepping up to a Fusion.
 

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Yes, I think if a Focus doesn't quite fit your needs, the Fusion should. It still gets pretty good gas mileage (better than the Escape, Taurus or Explorer).

Last Fusion I drove was the 2011 model and it seemed really roomy with lots of back seat space for people (can actually hold 3 people in the back seat very comfortably).

The only reason I didn't get one was because of its size. For me, I don't have kids, so this wasn't a factor in my decision, that and I have a slight visual impairment in my right eye, so larger vehicles are difficult for me to drive. That and a Fusion would have cost me another $4,000--and price was part of the decision I had to make...
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I appreciate the feedback on size, but like I said, I have a Minivan - I don't need another minivan. I need something that occasionally can haul the kids and currently I'm using a FIESTA and it's getting the job done but it's just a little tight. I've driven the fusion and honestly, it's just too big of a car for what I'm looking for. I want that something to be a manual transmission and HIGHLY fun to drive. I only need about 3 more inches across and that's it, the Focus does that for me, hopefully with an acceptable level of fun for the other 98% of the time when I'm the only one in the car.

Once the kids are big enough to worry about legroom (4-5 years from now). Then I'll be likely going for something RWD, a bit more powerful and probably a bit more upscale.
 

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I have a Fiesta and a Focus. I like our Fiesta and it's a fun little car to drive, but prefer the experience in my Focus.

As for spunk, to me the Focus feels much quicker when getting up to interstate speed than the Fiesta.

Of course I haven't gone out and done a Top Gear-style track comparison between the two cars, but when we go for a Sunday drive, we always take the Focus.

One thing I totally agree with you about...I wouldn't consider buying the auto transmission. I won't buy a car without a clutch by my left foot--that includes all the fake manual gimmicks like paddle shifters.
 

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Not to knock on the Fiesta, but I really wan't impressed with it when I test drove one. To me, it seems a little jerky at times (maybe because it was still new), but I also felt that the power output when I need it (like passing on the Interstate) might be an issue, especially in areas where it might be hilly.

I had a Honda Civic with a 1.6L engine (very similar to the Fiesta except for it only had a 4 speed auto). It was an OK car, got good gas mileage, but had trouble when it came time to pass someone going into the wind. So, me personally, I didn't want to have to go through that again... Now obviously, Fords are a bit different than Hondas, but at the same time, the Civic would have been in a similar class as the Fiesta (if it were available in the US at that time--about 1997-98).

I have come to love the Focus, both from a safety standpoing (I can tell you this from first hand experience) and from the fuel economy standpoint (my 2010 could get 36-38 MPG on the highway), so I can't wait to see how much better my 2012 can do with fuel economy.
 

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My advice would be to wait a few more months to see if they bring out a Titanium with a manual. The Titanium has all the stuff you're saying that you'd have to give up from the Fiesta.
Ditto.

The Titanium with the handling package is hands down the best $600 option I've ever seen in a car. Mine is super fun to drive and handles phenomenally, but from the sounds of it you might be more satisfied with the manual. Don't get me wrong, I've done a lot of spirited driving in the Focus, but I have my Mustang w/ the 5-speed manual to satisfy my need to row the gears myself when the urge hits me.

Tony
 

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I will miss the keyless entry, ambient lighting, pushbutton start as well as the auto windows from the fiesta as well,
I would keep it! It's barely a year old. Some people never get new cars. Appreciate what you have.
 
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