So I was in Las Vegas for work and rented a Focus from Payless car rental. The guy at the counter said it was a 2010, I was disappointed hoping for a new one. Happily suprised though when it turned out to be a 2012 SE with the auto. It already had about 16500 miles on it!
The computer had the average mpg at 31.2, so it was probably driven like most people drive a rental. It took several miles to get the seat adjusted just right with the correct combination of height and tilt and fore/aft to fit my liking. Once dialed in though the seat and ergonomics were spot on. Except for the headrest which was too far forward, pesistently giving the bedhead back o' the head look to my $10 haircut.
I drive with momentum, and the Focus loves to rip around corners. It even tracks well through mid-corner bumps. The manual trans version would probably be a pretty good sedan in autocross. I was really impressed with the suspension and steering, especially on a car at this price point. I'm wierd on steering feel and like to feel the texture of the road. The Focus isolates this from the driver quite well, so that would be the only thing I would want to change if (when?) I buy one. The firmness was perfect, offers excellent driving control but long day comfort was high as well.
I didn't like the auto trans but I prefer manuals anyway so I don't think I'd like any automatic trans.
The MPG, this is what impressed me the most. Once I spent a few minutes to figure out how to reset the average MPG display (okay I'm a little slow), I reset it at a fuel stop. The drive I did was about 99% freeway from Las Vegas, NV to Barstow, CA at about 60F temperatures. I was driving along with a pre-run of a potential Craig Vetter challenge with 5 streamliner motorcycles. It included rolling the windows down, accelerating ahead and maneuvering around to take photos of the riders underway. No real hypermiling techniques used. Tires were pumped up to 55psi vs the 51 on the sidewall. Otherwise stone stock.
From Las Vegas to Barstow the average MPG readout was at 39.9 mpg. I had to speed back to Las Vegas for my flight home so I simply set the cruise at 75 and ended at 39.2 at a gas station near the airport. As most computers are a little off, the manual calculation produced 40.38mpg for the tank.
Suprisingly, the 75mpg speeds and using cruise yielded a solid 40!
This with no special driving techniques, mid size room, good power and great handling dynamics. I'm as impressed as I was hoping I'd be with the Focus. America IS producing great vehicles after all, which gives me great hope that we are doing something right.
Translating this information to my normal commute would yield much better figures. For my commute anyway, I'd guess at least 45mpg without trying very hard.