2012 Subaru Impreza vs. 2012 Ford Focus

2012 Subaru Impreza
Year: 
2012
Make: 
Subaru
Model: 
Impreza
Price
Min: 
$17,495
Max: 
$19,995
Destination Charge: 
$750
Fuel Efficiency
City: 
27
Hwy: 
36
Safety
Roll: 
4
Quality
Overall: 
2
Mechanical: 
2
Design: 
4
Dependability
Overall: 
2
Powertrain: 
2
Body: 
2
Features: 
3
2012 Ford Focus
Year: 
2012
Make: 
Ford
Model: 
Focus
Price
Min: 
$16,500
Max: 
$22,700
Destination Charge: 
$795
Fuel Efficiency
City: 
27
Hwy: 
37
Safety
All: 
4
Front: 
4
Side: 
5
Roll: 
4
Quality
Overall: 
4
Mechanical: 
4
Design: 
3
Dependability
Overall: 
3
Powertrain: 
3
Body: 
3
Features: 
3

Both the Subaru Impreza and Ford Focus have new styling for the 2012 model year. They both are offered as a sedan or a hatchback (5-door). Because the Subaru is AWD, the fuel efficiency from the Focus is slightly higher at around 37mpg on the highway compared to 36mpg for the Impreza. However, that can't take away the Impreza's stake of having the highest mpg for any all-wheel-drive in the United States.

The pricing is similar, with the Focus averaging about $1,000 less depending on the trim level. The Titanium is the highest trim, offering the MyFord Touch system. The top rung for the Impreza is the Limited trim, which comes in a Sport variant for the 5-door as well. Both cars offer great fuel efficiency, and priced just around $20,000, they will both surely be hot sellers.

nice comparison love to drive

nice comparison love to drive either one of them.

My wife and I own both the

My wife and I own both the 2012 Impreza Premium (CVT) and a 2012 Focus SE hatch (manual). Each car has about 4,500 miles on it. In short: the Focus is more stylish and fun, the Subaru more spacious and accommodating, especially for those who haul a lot of stuff and/or sports gear.

CVT vs. DCT: We prefer the CVT from 0 to 30 or 35. Which is to say, around town. It's quicker and smoother. CVT is OK accelerating above 35, but you have to pay attention and play the gas pedal a bit to get the most from it, or use the paddle shifters. Once you're moving, the DCT seems pretty sweet. The CVT is a bit noisier, as it stays close to 4000 rpm during acceleration from 0 to 50. In comparison, the DCT sounds like it's constantly shifting, at lower speeds. Choose your poison. Overall, we like the CVT better. We got the SE manual because it's so much more fun to drive than either the CVT or the DCT, and it saved $1000.

Handling: both are good, Focus is better (on dry roads). Focus feels lighter and more agile, with less body roll and quicker steering response. The Impreza feels solid and stable. It's a smooth ride, but not mushy. We expect the Impreza will be much better in snow.

MPG: We're getting about 35 mpg combined in the Focus, about 32 with the Impreza. Pure highway mpg with the Focus is close to 40; with the Impreza, about 35.

Visibility: better in the Impreza all the way around.

Interior: Impreza's roomier, and the rear seats fold flat. It's better for carrying long loads. Focus is more stylish, Impreza is easy on the eyes and functional. (Note: we have the beige Impreza and light stone Focus.) Across the back of the hatch, the Impreza can fit a golf bag; the Focus hatch space is not wide enough for that. But the Focus' hatch space is deeper, and with its integrated rear deck lid, ideal for grocery-sized loads.

Seats: Comfortable and with good adjustment in both. Impreza has less bolstering, but it's great on 4-hour trips. Fabric in Focus looks more durable, but the Impreza's is perhaps more comfortable.

Interior noise: both are quiet enough, though there is slightly more wind and road noise in the Impreza. It's rarely a distraction in either car.

Technology: We were leery of MFT, so we skipped it. And same with the Impreza--no navigation. The dash info system is cooler in the Impreza, but the Focus provides more info. And to access it ...

Steering wheel controls: better in the Focus. The sound system and cruise controls are similar, but the Impreza stashes the the main info control on the dash behind the steering wheel—where it's barely accessible. Focus keeps all the controls on the wheel, and the controls are more logical.

A/C: both are ample. Impreza's might be a little stronger.

Roof racks: Impreza Sport models have integrated rails; Premium and Limited trims get a removable aero rack, with excellent attachment points integrated into the roof. Focus needs a Yakima or Thule solution.

Bottom line: too close to call, so we each got one. Focus for fun, Impreza for winter.