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2012 Ford Focus First Impressions

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Tell me, how many of you would fly to Los Angeles for a one-night stand? Don't lie! If the flight and the hotel were paid for and the person waiting for you at the other end of the continent looked like Megan Fox or Johnny Depp, you know you would.

As promising as the Focus is now, the future looks to be equally bright. (Photo: Mathieu St-Pierre/Auto123.com)

I did the one-night thing a few days ago, but not for a person (although the Ford crew is really quite nice), I did it for the new 2012 Ford Focus. And it was worth it. This is the European Focus, the world's Focus. The one we've clamoured for!

You know how expectations are, right? The guy might look like Johnny or the girl might have Megan's curves in the picture, but when you come face to face, you want to start crying or worse.

My expectations were met. Granted, I've seen the beast in person a few times over the last year at auto shows, but I had never seen what “lied beneath” the curvy seductive sheetmetal or how she was to ride...

The onslaught
Ford is stopping at nothing on their way to super-stardom. Now that the Fiesta is here, it's as though the floodgates have opened up. The Focus is almost here, next will come the C-Max, followed by a Focus ST, and the sky's the limit! The Vertrek is a promising world market product and who knows, maybe a Ka, an S-Max and perhaps even a Galaxie!

Getting back to the now, the new Focus is all that and a bag of potato chips. In this ultra-competitive winner-takes-all segment, the Focus slots itself on top of the heap as the best-styled and most emotionally appealing car. The new Volkswagen Jetta and Hyundai Elantra are behind, very close, but still behind.

Ford’s heralded kinetic design is striking and it's this eye candy that makes the Focus so attractive. While some manufacturers struggle to reinvent their high-volume compact cars (I'm still troubled by the new Civic's styling) and others try to blend in (the new Jetta, with much success in this case I might add), Ford and Hyundai are forging ahead with gorgeous non-generic shapes. Hyundai went fluid organic, Ford went dramatic.

Where the Focus really shines is in its prominent Stormtrooper front end, rising beltline and wide hug-the-road stance. As Ford puts it: “The new Focus signals the rewarding experience awaiting a driver.” Said driver will have the opportunity to select between a 4-door saloon or a hot 5-door hatchback.

As Ford puts it: “The new Focus signals the rewarding experience awaiting a driver.” (Photo: Mathieu St-Pierre/Auto123.com)