13 of 16 people found this review helpful
By backindasaddle on
2012 Ford Focus SEL 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 6AM)
Just got a 2012 Focus Hatchback SE. Company car, no choice in the matter. No options except for the 6 speed automatic tranny. I like the car and think build quality is very good. I've now got about 2 weeks driving and 1300 miles or so on it. There is one thing that I really don't like. The 6 speed auto transmission. It's not that it's bad. It actually shifts nice and firm and I like the idea of 6 gears. The problem is the shift point programing. It just shifts to higher gears so quickly and won't drop a gear to accelerate unless you mash the gas pedal. The programers set it up to maximize gas mileage but ridiculously at the expense of drivability. Absolute foolishness.
Great handling and nice engine. The engine is nice and has good power. The stupid auto tranny shift program just refuses to let it rev unless you mash the gas pedal to drop gears. Otherwise it refuses to downshift and accelerate.
Aside from the transmission foolishness, I think it's a very nice car. Built solid and capable of nice performance/mileage/practicality.
PLEASE change the stupid shift programing on the 6 speed auto transmission. It's absolutely retarded and completely sacrifices drivability. The car has a nice performance capability and then they just completely ruin it with this transmission program silliness.
Also, the base radio is terrible. I also don't like having to go through 3 programing screens to change the bass/treble settings. Just give us simple controls please.
I think the 2012 Focus Hatchback is a terrific car with one serious flaw and you nailed it. The automatic transmission is designed to promote maximum fuel economy at the expense of acceleration which is horrendous. That's especially true when driving up inclines or trying to pass another vehicle.
One of the incorrectly advertised feature, by salesmen, is that the sport mode on the transmission requires you to shift with the buttons. If you put the transmission in sport mode, and don't press the rocker button, then it will drive like normal except with a sportier shift pattern. It will hold the gears out longer and downshift after you put your foot on the brake like you might with a manual, also keeping the engine in the high-power band for when you gas it again. It is a lot quicker to respond to accelerator action than drive is as well. The MPG difference in sport vs normal drive mode alone is negligible and depends on driving habits. When I'm driving around town I'll use sport mode, and drive when I'm cruising or interested in saving gas. Another thing that the salesmen don't do a good job of is showing how to remove the headrests, pop up the seat cushions, lay the backs down, and make the back cargo area completely flat. Just store the headrests in the floor area behind the front seats.
But why should you have to "shift" an automatic - and sacrifice gas mileage while doing so? I'm considering this car, but would probably get the manual. If I'm going to shift I'll just use a clutch and get better mileage.