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2012 Ford Focus and Escape

I currently have a 2001 Honda Accord that needs a new transmission, so I am considering buying a new car. I really like the 2012 Ford Focus hatchback, but I am worried it is too small. I also like the 2011 Ford Explorer, but I don’t want a gas guzzler. It’s only me and my dog, so I don’t need a people mover. I’m considering fixing the transmission and just waiting for the 2012 redesigned Escape next year which will hopefully have better gas mileage. Anyone have any input on these new cars?

I’m not sure why I am fixated on Ford. They just seem to have some nice cars now.

You should give the Focus a close look, it just got 1st place in Car and Driver’s comparison test. It seems to have decent room, but that’s up to you.

Fix your car and wait till the dust settles another year. I would not buy a new model From anyone. The difference in the economy from your car to a Focus is not great enough to warrant the change at this time.
The last thing you want is an suv of any kind, even a compact Escape if you don’t need one. They are comparable gas hogs and you can’t give them away in times of high gas prices. These are dedicated vehicles and should not be bought or used without a purpose in mind. Filling these things at the pump can go a long way toward balancing the cost of a new trans., disregarding the payments on a new car.

what kind of dog?

We just got a 2012 Focus hatchback. We are a little freaked out because the dealer said the a/c’s annoying habit of going warm and freon-smelling is working as designed. The advice to wait is prudent.

PS: after just a few hundred miles, mileage is averaging just over 20 city. Nothing to write home about, but the engine isn’t broken in yet and we’re running the crap a/c all the time.

Freon (incorrect terminology) has no smell. Sounds like you’re being fed some BS by a service writer.

I’ll rebuke dagosa’s comment about the Escape being a gas guzzler. 21/28 is fairly respectable, imo.

Well, it’s an icky smell, anyway…plasticky and chemical.

I had that smell on my Mazda when I bought it. I knew about it from reading complaints on a related forum and from a test drive I took in one. After about 100 miles or so, the smell went away. Though mine wasn’t because of the AC, it was because they sprayed some chemical on it before they put it on a boat and shipped it from Japan.

I took a 250 trip to a conference in a Ford Escape Hybrid that I was assigned from my insitution’s fleet for the trip. The two of us that made the trip found this Escape quite comfortable on the trip. The gasoline mileage was 31 mpg. I don’t know the model year of the Escape–the trip was last fall and the odometer read 26,000, so I assume it was a 2009 model.
I much prefer sitting up high, so our personal vehicles are an SUV and a minivan. One more point–don’t wait forever thinking the the next year’s models may be better. I thought this way for a long time which is why we still have a 1978 Oldsmobile that we rarely use and can’t seem to get rid of. I kept thinking I would wait for the nextyear’s models. I did that so often that the dealers won’t even look at the car for a trade-in.

As the late Lt. Columbo would say, “Just one more thing”. I recently drove a Ford Fusion from my institution’s fleet for a 120 mile trip to another university to make a presentation. Of the cars that I have driven on trips from the fleet over the years–Ford Taurus, Nissan Sentra, Honda Civic Hybrid, Chevrolet Malibu, Hyundai Sonata (and the 1960 Studebaker Lark which was in the fleet when I first started in 1965), the Ford Fusion made the best impression on me (actually, it was tied with the Studebaker). If I were to purchase a car today, I would look at the Ford Fusion first.

The 2012 Focus Hatchback is a little smaller in the seating area compared to your 2001 Accord. If you like it after a test drive, buy it.

bscar; please read “comparative” gas guzzler. The Focus, Corolla etc. Line of compacts make the Escape look that way when they easily get 10 plus more miles per gallon in most situations. My Corollas routinely got over 40 mpg on trips, the Focus will do as well. The Escape IS a comparative gas guzzler. The RAV is rated higher…it too is a comparative gas guzzler to compact cars.

If I had a dog, my preferred car would be a new Hyundai Elantra Touring. Lots of space with the backseat down, and great fuel mileage as well.

Another choice would be the Toyota Matrix, which has a flat fold down floor, and can be had with a small engine.

The most spacious small car for you and your dog would be a Honda Fit. Lots of room and great fuel mileage.

As others say, don’t buy any SUV unless you actually need one to drive in DEEP SNOW or muddy country roads.

For what it’s worth: on our vacation last year my wife and I rented a Ford Escape (FWD/4 cylinder) and drove about 2000 miles. We flew into Albuquerque and drove to the Grand Canyon (both rims), Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks and Lake Powell National Recreation Area. Then on to Santa Fe and back to Albuquerque. We averaged about 30 mpg for the trip. Obviously the bulk of our trip wasn’t city driving.

For comparison purposes: I would estimate my old 2003 Pontiac Vibe (great car - my daughter has it now) would average about 36 mpg on the same trip. I would also estimate my old 1998 Mercury Mountaineer (4WD/6 cylinder - also a great vehicle) would average about 18 mpg on the same trip.

I understand the 2012 Escape is based on the Ford Vertrek concept vehicle (as seen at the 2011 Detroit Auto show). I haven’t seen anything about when the vehicle will actually go on sale.

I’m assuming the 2012 Escape will be available with the Ford ECO Boost engine. In my opinion this vehicle is definitely worth waiting for.

Be sure to test drive the Focus in hot weather and run the a/c. The owner’s guide says to run the a/c on max and the highest fan speed, then turn it down to maintain comfort in the vehicle, but if you turn it down it will stay cool for a few minutes but then blow warm air. You’ll be messing with the climate control constantly if you buy this car and need the a/c.

I own a 2012 Ford Focus Sedan. It’s terrific except the battery has died four times in the last three months, more than all of my previous vehicles combined.

The third time, the dealership concluded that the electric programming wasn’t communicating correctly and staying on when it should be shutting down, therefore draining the battery. They reset the programming and it drove painlessly for a month and a half until a week ago when it promptly died again. At the time of this post, I still don’t have my car or resolution and have been begging rides off colleagues.

I have been told that no other 2012 Ford Focus is exhibiting this behavior. What I would like to grasp, from the republic of Click and Clack, is if this is an accurate report?

If you have been experiencing something similar, or have any advice, I look forward to hearing thoughts.


No, my 2012 Focus hasn’t done this yet. Just the stupid a/c issue, which Ford says is working as designed. Stupid design. Has just over 1000 miles on it now and still getting under 24 MPG, but running the a/c constantly on high because you can’t turn it down or it essentially quits.

jc - Thanks for your comments. The sedan’s a/c is working fine unless I split the levels (upper and lower vent) and it feels diluted (not surprised, most cards run that route). At last check, it was clocking 36-38 MPH on state highways (35–50 hear and there) riddled with hills. Sorry to hear your hatchback isn’t pulling the same numbers.