Ford has confirmed that the 2012 Focus achieves an EPA-rated 40 miles per gallon on the highway, besting many of the competitors in its class. Only the 2011 Hyundai Elantra and 2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco manage to reach the much-heralded 40-mpg mark. The Focus is also rated at 28 mpg in the city.
Not to rain on Ford's parade here, but we must make something perfectly clear: The 40-mpg rating only applies to the Focus SE sedan with SFE (super fuel economy) package and the six-speed automatic transmission. In order to achieve 40 mpg, the SFE package adds unique 16-inch steel wheels with aero-enhanced wheel covers, active grille shutters, a rear spoiler and high-efficiency tires.
That might not seem like a big deal, especially when a car as stylish and well-built as the Focus puts down 40 mpg highway. However, we can't overlook the fact that Hyundai's Elantra nets that 40-mpg figure on all models with either transmission, and if you spec a Cruze Eco with a manual box, you'll be running at 42 mpg on the highway. Still, keep in mind that the Focus, at 160 horsepower, is the most powerful car in the group – besting the Elantra by 12 hp and the Cruze Eco by 22 hp – which is something that enthusiasts must consider.
In any case, by adding the 2012 Focus SE SFE to its portfolio, Ford is only further expanding its lineup of vehicles that achieve 40 mpg or better. Follow the jump for the official press release.
Photos copyright ©2011 Zach Bowman / AOL
* The all-new Ford Focus is certified by the EPA at 40 mpg highway with a six-speed automatic transmission, which is overwhelmingly preferred by American drivers
* Ford Motor Company now has four nameplates with an EPA-certified rating of 40 mpg or higher, more than any other full-line manufacturer
* The outstanding fuel economy of the Ford Focus is complemented by available class-exclusive technology and features usually found only on larger cars
* Ford data show that fuel economy is the No. 1 purchase reason for Ford Focus customers
DEARBORN, Mich., Feb. 25, 2011 – The all-new Ford Focus with the SFE (Super Fuel Economy) package delivers an EPA certified 40 mpg on the highway to go with its array of smart technologies, exceptional standards of craftsmanship and retuned suspension for a total driving experience not found anywhere else in the segment.
The new Focus is certified by the EPA at 40 mpg highway and 28 mpg city through its advanced six-speed automatic transmission.
Some competitors utilize a manual transmission to achieve their highest fuel economy ratings, though sales of vehicles with automatic transmissions account for more than 90 percent of the market.
Focus becomes the fourth vehicle in the Ford Motor Company vehicle lineup with an EPA-certified rating of 40 mpg or more.
"Our customers tell us that fuel economy is the top reason for purchasing a Focus," said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president, Global Product Development. "The all-new Focus meets that demand with great fuel economy, class-leading technologies and features, exceptional standards of craftsmanship and driving dynamics typically reserved for larger, more expensive vehicles."
Affordable fuel economy
With the EPA certification of Focus, Ford continues to deliver on its promise to make fuel economy affordable for millions of consumers. Today, Ford Motor Company has 12 vehicles including cars, utilities and crossovers in the U.S. that lead their sales segments for fuel economy – a number no other automaker matches.
With the new Focus, four 2011 models achieve at least 40 mpg – the Ford Fiesta SE with SFE package (40 mpg highway) and the Ford Fusion Hybrid and Lincoln MKZ Hybrid (41 mpg city). No other automaker offers four nameplates with EPA-certified ratings of 40 mpg or more, according to the 2011 EPA Fuel Economy Guide .
High fuel prices coming? Focus ready for challenge
That exceptional fuel economy could be vital in the months ahead. The Department of Energy is offering a somewhat bleak forecast at the gas pumps. Gas prices, now at a national average of $3.22, according to http://www.nationalgasaverage.com, could go as high as $3.50 a gallon, and there's even a slim chance they could go higher – maybe even above $4.
The all-new Ford Focus answers that challenge with content that builds off the mid-range SE model four-door sedan with the PowerShift six-speed automatic transmission.
The engaging driver appeal of the new Ford Focus is magnified by an advanced powertrain. Focus is fitted with a completely new 2.0-liter gasoline direct-injection DOHC four-cylinder engine that combines high-pressure direct injection and twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) for enhanced performance and fuel efficiency. This engine delivers more power than the current 2.0-liter Duratec® unit featured in the North American Focus, while contributing to fuel economy gains of more than 10 percent.
To maximize its performance and economy advantage, the engine is mated with the latest dry-clutch six-speed Ford PowerShift automatic transmission. A high-efficiency dual dry-clutch design, the transmission alone can help to reduce fuel consumption by up to 9 percent compared to a traditional four-speed automatic.
The SFE package also includes 16-inch steel wheels with aero wheel covers, active grille shutters, high-efficiency tires, four-wheel disc brakes, rear spoiler and a special SFE badge.
Unlike other competitors, the Ford Focus employs full active grille shutters. Active grille shutters help optimize aerodynamics by using vents to control airflow through the grille to the cooling system and engine compartment.
If air is required to cool the engine, the vents are opened. If no airflow is needed the vents are shut, contributing to significantly reduced aerodynamic drag.
Mounted in the grille aperture ahead of the radiator, the active grille shutters feature motorized horizontal vanes that can rotate through 90 degrees to block the airflow. Automatically controlled by the car's electronic control unit, the vanes can be rotated into 15 different positions – from fully closed to fully open – depending on the amount of cooling air required.
When fully closed, the reduction in drag means the active grille shutters can reduce CO2 emissions by 2 percent.
As an additional benefit, the system keeps the vanes closed as long as possible when starting from cold, so the engine reaches its most efficient operating temperature more quickly. This also helps reduce fuel consumption.
Great looks, smart technology and true performance
The dynamic Focus exterior is reinforced by a modern, cockpit-style interior with a stylish center console.
The most significant interior innovation is the available SYNC® with MyFord™, which includes a sophisticated voice control system for vehicle functions, connected Bluetooth® devices, MP3 players and a wide variety of external media.
The interior combines functionality with outstanding craftsmanship. The cabin's bold and contemporary graphics, the sculptured shape of the soft-touch instrument panel and the choice of superior trim materials combine to give occupants a premium-class experience.
Focus interior space rivals larger vehicles, with more shoulder room than an Audi A4 and more front headroom than a Toyota Camry. The second row of Focus provides more hip room than the Audi or Toyota.
The original Ford Focus brought new levels of driving agility to this segment of cars. Now Focus raises the benchmark to target class-leading driving quality, blending communicative steering with significantly improved ride quality.
"The all-new Ford Focus delivers the outstanding fuel economy our customers demand in a more stylish package with more technology and an even greater driving experience," said Kuzak.