Special Coverage

2011 Wards 10 Best Interiors

The Ford Focus has come full circle, returning to its roots as a well-crafted Euro-inspired global car that for a time was stripped of all charm for the U.S. market.

The new global C-car is more in line with the Focus that graced U.S. and European roadways in the early 2000s, before the two models veered away from one other.

For upping the ante in the small-car segment with an interior that blends high style with comfort and flexibility, the ’12 Focus earns a Ward’s 10 Best Interiors trophy.

We tested the ’12 Focus 5-door Titanium edition, which comes with all the bells and whistles, including deep gray/maroon 2-tone leather. While admittedly not for everyone, the contrasting colors are a perfect match for the Focus’ sporty demeanor.

The attention to detail is evident, from the attractive stitching on the seats to the flawless fit-and-finish.

Chrome-like accents are used liberally, lining gauges and vents, as well as adorning key touch points such as the gear selector, emergency brake and door handles.

From the onset, the ’12 Focus was designed to be sold relatively unmodified in all global markets as part of the auto maker’s “One Ford” business plan, and the seats clearly reflect this theme. Firm and supportive, they are well-suited for aggressive driving.

Our fully loaded tester stickers at $27,520, which seems high for C-car buyers. But even the less-expensive trim levels convey a sense of quality and style uncommon in this sector.

Ford has received criticism that the MyFord Touch infotainment system onboard the Focus Titanium is too complicated.

Yes, there is a learning curve with the system, which requires navigating through layers of menus to get the function you want. “MyFord Touch still a bit of a handful to operate,” writes Ward’s editor David Zoia on his scoresheet.

But with time, the system becomes more intuitive and quite handy. If Ford is guilty of anything, it’s trying to cram too much functionality into one device.

For those who don’t want to use MyFord touch for the more often-used controls, such as audio and HVAC, there are redundant, traditional controls located underneath the 8-in. (20-cm) touch screen.

With the all-new Focus, Ford shows it understands interiors are not just an afterthought but a key factor in consumers’ purchase considerations.

“Focus sets a new benchmark for features, comfort and style in a small car,” writes Ward’s editor Drew Winter.

bpope@wardsauto.com