Confirmed: 2012 Ford Focus Joins 40 mpg Club Plus, E-85 Capable

During the introduction of the 2012 Focus at the North American International Auto Show last January, Ford hinted that highway fuel economy could be in the 40 mpg range. Now, Ford has confirmed—sort of—that, indeed, the Focus would deliver 40 mpg highway mileage.

Actually, the press release said that it “will deliver a projected 40 mpg highway.” Car companies use words like “projected” and “estimated” when they are certain that fuel economy number(s) will be confirmed by the EPA. In other words, 40 mpg highway will be on the new Focus window sticker.

The other news is, the 2.0-liter in-line four engine can also swallow E85 fuel, a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. While the 40 mpg will be reduced 10 to 20 percent when burning the mixture of gasoline and the corn-based ethanol, the price of E85 can make an attractive alternative. The national average price for E85 according to AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report is $2.40 per gallon for E85 versus $2.81 for regular gasoline, a 17 percent difference. If you live in Iowa, however, E85 can cost as low as $1.99 per gallon; Texas, $1.68. (Of course, E85 has less energy content than pure dino-juice.)

Fuel Injection. Less Weight.

How does a compact car laden with high-tech electronics achieve 40 mpg with an automatic transmission—yes, an automatic?

Most of the credit goes to the engine. Rated at 160 horsepower and 146 pounds-feet of torque, up from 140 and 136 respectively in the 2011 Focus, the new dual overhead camshaft four uses direct injection (DI) that delivers the precise amount of fuel directly into each cylinder’s combustion chamber. The fuel injection system works in concert with twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT). Ti-VCT adjusts both the intake and exhaust camshafts for optimum performance and efficiency.

Powertrain engineers also employed “lightweighting” techniques to reduce engine weight. The engine block, cylinder head and oil pan—traditionally the heaviest engine components—are aluminum castings. Pistons are cast aluminum as well, and composite material is employed to keep intake manifold weight to an absolute minimum.

When it arrives early next year, the new Focus will compete with the top-selling Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic. The sedan version will have a base price of $16,720, plus $750 destination charges, while the 5-door hatch will start at $18,065. For pre-orders placed before February 28, 2011, Ford offers a $500 Focus Technology Rebate.

The 40 mpg club is growing. The Focus joins its smaller stable mate, the Fiesta, the Chevrolet Cruze Eco and the upcoming 2012 Hyundai Elantra.

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  • Eric

    I’d like to know the city MPG. More importantly, I’d like to know where my Focus EV is!

  • Anonymous

    Hatch model is shorter than Sedan model, but how come hatch is more expensive. Is it meant to discourage people from buying hatch.

    Its good that this is E85 capable. Already E15 is approved, so its better to have a flex-fuel and this gives us the facility to buy fuels with higher Ethanol content. Blender pumps are being installed all over US.

  • Shines

    Nice looking car. The rental Focus I drove last summer was very nice – quiet and performed well on a relatively long trip.
    As far as being E85 capable – lets see I get 20% worse fuel economy but E85 costs 17% less. Plus food prices go up. I’m not impressed. The midwest farmers can enjoy driving their E85 pick ups getting 13 MPG on Ethanol.

  • Anonymous

    Correct your article, it is not:
    a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.
    a blend of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline.

  • Anonymous

    Actually, E85 is 85% ethanol!

  • realist

    the hatch comes with more frills so it costs more.

  • Charles

    10 MPG (EPA) better highway MPG than my 2004 Focus wagon, yet is has 16 more horsepower. Not bad, but I still want a station wagon or the C-Max as a hybrid.

    The EPA has my car rated at 22/30. I get about 27/35. The lowest MPG I have ever gotten is 24 MPG. With two bikes on a roof rack I can get 30 MPG on the highway.

  • Beej

    Bravo Ford! I’m interested to see how the mileage changes for different models of the Focus, since the wheel sizes increase from 15″ I believe on the S, to 16″ on the SE, up to 17″ or 18″ on the highest level models.

    The S will probably be the only one to earn the 40 mpg highway rating, perhaps 30 mpg city as well. Mainstream SE – 28/38? Sport / Titanium – 27/36? Your thoughts

  • Max Reid

    Hello Shines

    Food prices are increasing because of 5 fold increase in Oil price from $15 to $80 / barrel and not because of Ethanol.

    In the last 9 years, Ethanol supply has increased 10 fold and now almost 2 million barrels of liquid fuels come from Bio fuels worldwide. Without this supply, Oil prices could top $100 / barrel.

    So Biofuels will be part of the future fuel supply.
    Already there are 200 Ethanol blender pumps where you can get E10, E20, E30 or E85 and this is spreading much faster than the traditional E85. Already 9 million flex fuel vehicles are there in USA, pretty soon this will start increasing.

    So embrace Ethanol.

  • Dom

    So I wonder what it will get with a manual transmission?

  • Anonymous

    Does the average American know that Hatch version has more frills.
    Why not they launch 1 version without any frill and at a lower cost, since its foot shorter than sedan and also advertise that its cargo capacity is same as that of sedan.

    Hatches typically have more cargo space, since the trunk extends to roofline.

  • Anonymous

    Cellulose Ethanol hits the market in Denmark, its already being mixed with regular Ethanol in Canada.

    So we should soon start buying flex fuel vehicles. Good that Ford is selling a small car with flex fuel capability.

  • Shines

    Hi Max – I already use and have been using E5 and E10 for the past 9 years. I am concerned that my 2001 Camry will not be happy with E15. I suspect that if the Ethanol we produce is spread across all states it won’t get too far above E20 at best. There is only so much ethanol that can be produced from bio sources. Moving to smaller (why do Americans need to own these herkin’ SUVs anyways?!?) lighter cars, hybrids and electric I think will do more for the environment and our dependence on foreign oil.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Shines – You have many valid points.

    Currently E15 is authorized for use only from MY-2007 vehicles. Mostly by November this year, EPA will authorize E15 for vehicles from MY2001, until then continue to use E10. Anyway, E15 will not be available everywhere so soon and 80% of the nation’s gas stations sell E10.

    As for moving to lighter vehicles, sales of big SUV’s are down by 60% in the last few years, however people are not going to ditch them so soon. They have money and will continue to buy atleast lighter CUV’s. So we do need an alternative fuel and E15 fits the best, since the cost of making a Flexfuel is less than $100 compared to regular vehicle. Hopefully Plugins & EVs will join soon.

  • Collin Burnell

    Hey Charles!

    There is a wagon and it is quite handsome. Not sure if it is heading for the states.

  • Anonymous

    ur moms a foucus

  • Greg

    Even more effective than smaller, more efficient cars is to live closer to where you work. Doing this reduces miles driven which reduces fuel consumed no matter what vehicle you use, reduces wear-and-tear, decreases time driving (which removes a cause for aggressiveness/speeding), and reduces traffic congestion.

  • Caroll

    Although you might experience less fuel econmey with your current car some of the new vehicles are programmed to take advantage of the higher octane of E85. The higher compression alows better efficiency, think top fuel, well not quite at 95 octane. I personally get the same efficiency with E30 as with regular.

  • Anonymous

    I still wonder, when will Ford finally release the details of 2012 Focus EPA rating. Will the 40 mpg highway mileage only applicable to SFE model?

  • michael joyce

    the current ford focus 2012 is not flex fuel capable unless ford decides to make a mid year change

  • Ryan

    I just bought a 2012 focus sel auto sedan loaded with heated seats synce to many options to list. The 1st day i had it i hypermilled it though 75% city traffic and 25% 55mph hwy and at the end of my drive i was averaging 40.3 mpg. In stop and go city traffic i get 33-35mpg non hyper milling. With the cruse set at 65 i can get 45mpg+ at 75 i get about 38-39mpg.

  • nadine

    Ive been on 2 long trips and can’t get over 34.7 mpg out of my 2012 focus (cruse set at 75)

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