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Trading in 2012 ford focus for a prius?

Discussion in 'Gen III 2010+ Prius Main Forum' started by realbug, Mar 20, 2012.

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  1. realbug

    realbug New Member

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    Your Vehicle Year:
    2012 Prius
    Model:
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    After owning my ford focus for about 1 month, I'm already thinking about trading it in. Don't get me wrong. The focus is a good car. I particularly like the firm suspension setup and tight steering feeling. But there are two things I just can't get over. The steering wheel occassionally pulls left or right by itself unless the road surface is perfectly level and smooth, which seems to be a problem with the new EPAS system. Actually ford has a TSB for it and I did convince the dealer to perform the TSB, which mitigated the problem to some extent but didn't really fix it. Although I can always correct it quickly, driving the focus has never been relaxing as I have to be prepared for the occassional "steering wandering".

    Another one is the gas milage. Part of the reason I got the car was for its gas milage, EPA rated 27/37. But in reality, I'm NEVER able to reach 30 mpg at hwy speed no matter how light foot I am. Some says the mpg will increase over time but most others get the EPA rated mpg numbers from day 1. Again, the dealer did all the tests but couldn't find anything wrong.

    Gradually I'm losing faith on that car and started thinking about other alternatives. What I want is a small fuel efficient commute car and one particular requirment from the wife is a backup camera. It looks like prius is the only (relatively) small car offers that other than the focus. Another potential candidate is mazda cx 5 but its gas milage is not really comparable to prius (though it's the best in its class). Also it's a first year model who knows what problems I'll have down the road.

    I know that prius is really good on fuel efficiency and reliability. I've also heard a lot complain about its handling. But really, how bad it drives? Currently I'm driving a passat and I've driven a lot VWs and some mazda's in the past. I like cars with good steering feedback. I once drove a camry hybrid and the steering feeling was certainly not my favorite. Is prius even worse or slightly better due to lighter curb weight? How much would it help if I opt in the performance plus springs and rear sway bar?

    Also I couldn't find the parking assist option in Toyota's website. Is it discontinued or hidden in some packages? Wife would love it if it's still an option. Thx.
  2. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

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    Are you driving a VW or a Focus ?

    If the Focus highway MPG is that much below EPA it is more likely your driving habits rather than the car. How fast do you drive, and how much braking on the highway do you do ? I mention this in part to help you get the MPG you want in the Focus, but also to prevent missed expectations if you switch to a Prius.

    The steering complaint would certainly bug me too, but I'd look for solutions before eating the depreciation cost on a trade-in. Perhaps other tyres ? As for the "numb" steering Toyota is often accused of, you may want to check out the Prius 'C'. People who like to comment on these things are much less critical of the 'C' than the regular Prius.

    Lastly, if you have the money to spend check out the Lexus CTh. Pretty close to Prius fuel economy (at least in my hands,) and pleasant driving dynamics with good fit and finish. Oh, and really good seats ;)
  3. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

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    Intelligent parking assist is gone from the 2012 models. You'll need to buy an '11 or '10 for that.

    You can read http://priuschat.com/forums/other-c...uth-about-epa-city-highway-mpg-estimates.html about the EPA tests. Given how slow people drive in the Seattle area (lived there for >9 years), if your commute is steady and not stop/go and w/little braking (and it is long enough, by time), I think you should be able to come at least close to EPA highway numbers on your Focus. If it's stop/go and like a parking lot, well, that's nothing like highway driving at all.

    You will take a HUGE bath on depreciation by getting rid of your Focus now.

    You can see how the Prius and Focus did on CR's FE tests at Best & worst cars review, fuel-efficient vehicles and The most fuel-efficient cars. Last page of http://www.consumersunion.org/Oct_CR_Fuel_Economy.pdf describes their tests vs. the old EPa method.

    I wouldn't say people complain about the Prius' handling. That's an overstatement. It's merely adequate and not significantly better or worse than other non-performance/non-sports cars. Compared to a good RWD sports car (I used to drive a Nissan 350Z and have test driven a # of BMWs before), of course the Prius' handling sucks. There isn't much steering feel.
  4. realbug

    realbug New Member

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    I've had my passat for about 5 years and just added the focus to the family a month ago. I'm pretty sure the poor mpg is not caused by my driving habit. Normally I'm morderately light foot and have no problem getting EPA numbers for most cars. Actually I'm consistently averaging 29-30 with my passat with 70/30 hwy/city driving. On the focus, I could only get 27-28 average mpg with exactly the same commute and traffic pattern. Considering that the passat is bigger, heavier, and more powerful, the mpg from the focus is just unacceptable.

    I wouldn't think about trading in if it's just poor mpg as the depreciation can easily outweigh the fuel savings. But the steering problem is a real deal breaker, especially after the fact that the TSB couldn't completely address it.

    I know I'll take a hit on depreciation, but I'll give it a try. I got crazy discount on the focus (about 5.5k off MSRP). Hopefully that could provide some additional buffer on the trade. I'll probably test drive a prius this weekend and see if I can handle the (lack) of driving dynamic.
  5. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

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    I got that.
    I was more wondering who the main driver of the Focus is, I was just not blunt enough ;)

    You present an interesting point comparing the VW and Focus MPG. What are the EPA numbers for each car ?
  6. Codyroo

    Codyroo Senior Member

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    realbug,

    Hit the Gen III forums (modifications?), there is a thread about adding a rear sway bar and its impact (positive) on the car's handling performance. You might want to check out the package 5 during your test drive as well (17" tires and quick ratio steering). The package 5 will cost you some MPG compared to the 15" tires.

    Here's a question. If you bought a Prius (MPG estimate 50 mpg) and you got a package 5 (17" tires) and added a rear sway bar and maybe lowering springs to give the car adequate handling characteristics but it only got 42 mpg during your normal day to day driving, would you be satisfied?

    For your current Focus, have you checked the tire inflation? Is the car tracking straight (or are the wheels out of alignment). These are some things that can impact MPG's. Cold weather is also a MPG bugaboo.

    For my car, I got the 15" tires (to keep ownership costs down and mileage up), I inflate to Max PSI, and keep my top speeds on the freeway down (60 mph or less). My commute is about 65 - 70 miles roundtrip. I'm averaging above 59 mpg. This is kind of the extreme that the car can do in MPG.

    Visit www.fuelly.com and check out to see what other Focus drivers are getting with their MPG. See where you fall on the bell curve. Then go to the Prius side and look 1 2010 Prius (because there are 300 of them) try to find the same spot on the bell curve that you were in the Focus. This would give you an estimate as to where you might fall in the MPG spectrum.

    Good Luck!
  7. REDWIND88

    REDWIND88 New Member

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    Try renting a Gen III for a day or so, I know that you can at enterprise rent a car etc. I did that before I bought (I live in Seattle) and drove it up to Snoqualmie pass and was amazed at the ability to drive 85+ up the grade.
  8. realbug

    realbug New Member

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    The passat 2.0T was rated 23/32 I believe. The best hwy mpg I got from the passat was 39 mpg (constant speed at 55-65 mph). It requires premium gas, though.

    The focus is rated 27/37. But I could never reach 30 even if I set the cruise to 60mph. I don't think it's a general problem for all focus as most other focus drivers are getting mid 30 to even 40mpg on freeway.



    My answer is, absolutely! How could 42 average mpg be considered as not good:) What I'm not sure about is how much difference the springs and sway bar could make. I don't want to go all the way up to get the full performance plus package, though, as many of that is just for apparence.
  9. cycledrum

    cycledrum PSOCSOASP

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    If you really want a car that has 'agile handling', 'steering feeback', 'fun to drive-ness', etc... for daily driving, then the Prius may not be for you. Your best bet would be the Prius Five with larger wheels, tires and quicker steering.

    Journalists need something to draw people to sporty or so-called fun to drive cars. Perhaps if you live in an area with lots of open road or you get to drive curvy roads everyday on the way home, a fun handling car will be more appreciated.

    The Prius has very secure handling for safe daily driving, but if you're looking for BMW or Mazda-esqe excitement, don't expect it out of a Prius.
  10. cossie1600

    cossie1600 Active Member

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    I don't know how you guys get 55mpg. I put my car on cruise at 75 and it averages between 42-46mpg at the most. I have never seen 50 unless i am doing 45mph cruises.
  11. jimmyjam

    jimmyjam WE KNOW ITS A PRIUS BECAUSE OF THE WAY THAT IT IS.

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    Cossie, Check your air pressure.
    southernguy likes this.
  12. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

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    realBug,

    --- Another thought to explain the poor fuel economy of your new Focus in highway driving: perhaps it is out of alignment ?
  13. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

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    * Inflate your tyres to close to or at sidewall max
    * Slow down to 70 mph
    * Avoid CC if you have hills; vary speed with a target of constant ICE load (not possible, the closer the better.)

    50 mpg easy :)
  14. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    How many miles is your commute? The reason I am asking is because short trips do kill MPG, even for the Prius.
  15. Socal Pete

    Socal Pete Junior Member

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    Springs and sway bar will make a huge difference. I have a GT3 as my other car and wanted the Prius to be more stable and better steering feel. Springs/sway bar and the strut bar will give you that.
  16. Dark_matter_doesn't

    Dark_matter_doesn't Prius Tinkerer

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    realbug,

    I'm a Seattle driver with a 2010 Prius IV. RE your Focus MPG: Hills have a significant impact on FE, so look at how many you have to climb. The EPA spec measurements are apparently done in Kansas. Hills tend to hold down my MPG, but I can hit 50+ if I omit them.

    RE handling: the stock Prius really handles fairly well, but you can get some impressive improvements on handling with a few hundred dollars in aftermarket suspension parts or get the Prius Plus package. Stay with 15" tires if your goal is max MPG.
  17. Dark_matter_doesn't

    Dark_matter_doesn't Prius Tinkerer

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    Whoa, you will never hit 50+ average MPG cruising at 75 MPH. There's plenty of discussion on this site about how FE drops with speed, and above 65 it drops pretty fast.
  18. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North Staff Member

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    70mph will bring you up to 48ish and 60mph will definitely bring it up to 50mpg on a flat road. Our 2005 does 46mpg at 70mph and the 3G is better on the highway.
  19. SuperchargedMR2

    SuperchargedMR2 Diehard Rams Fan

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    It makes a huge difference. I just added Eibach springs, TRD rear sway bar, Tanabe front strut brace & 2-point chassis brace. The car feels so much better & I'm still on the stock wheels & tires. :D
  20. MattPersman

    MattPersman Member

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    handling is just fine really. it is not a sports car as others mentioned. i work as a tech at a different make dealership and drive all makes and models regularly and the prius drives well. you do not get in it and say man this sucks, but I have gotten in a lot of vehicles and did say that when I was driving.

    you questioned how could 42mpg not be considered good? in a prius it really is not. especially since you are on this forum and see others get 50, 55, 60 then it becomes a game maybe even an obsession on how you can do it. so yes 42 would turn into a thread of my prius gets crappy fuel economy.
    1 person likes this.
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