ELROY
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2014 10:33 pm
Location: Southern California

2014 Ford Focus joins my 2012 LEAF as my only cars.

Sat Jul 05, 2014 9:26 pm

Just picked up a Platinum White FFEV the other day. The current incentives are just too good to pass up. I liked the performance of the Spark and the i3. The Spark however is too short on the luxuries of the FFE/LEAF such as HID/LED headlights, Navigation, leather, back up cam, etc. The Focus is pretty unique in this segment in that it also has a power drivers seat, PDC alert along with the back up camera, . The Focus interior is a very luxurious and well equipped environment. Pleasant, multicolor interior lighting in the cup holders, foot well, door pockets, and door handles! All kinds of nice touches. The i3 while offering great acceleration and dynamics, just doesn't look as classy as the FFE, and almost awkward at times. The interior door panels and dash on the FFE look twice as good as the i3. So to pay more than double the payment on an i3 just didn't make sense to me right now.

The downside compared to my 2012 LEAF SL:

No DCQC.
Less trunk space. With the child seat in the back, my 3yr old can easily kick the front seat if it is in anywhere near a normal position with a RF passenger sitting in it. The LEAF can accommodate a child seat behind the front seat without it being close enough for my 3 year old to kick it.

The throttle response is horrible compared to the LEAF. I knew the FFE was slower off the line than the LEAF as I raced my coworker previously. The LEAF literally leaps away from the FFE. In fact, the latest C&D test confirms the FFE is the slowest EV 0-30mph at 4.0 seconds. The Spark/500e/FIT/Smart all do it in 3.1-3.2 seconds. The biggest annoyance is that if you slam the throttle, it doesn't even start accelerating till a split second later. Ironically, when your barely throttle out of a corner, the tires often squeal under acceleration. Real strange. Its like the module has no real control of optimal acceleration. It seems this is something Ford could fix with a software fix. I swear the car seems to have better throttle response in reverse. Has anyone made that comparison?

On the other hand, I love how the LEAF throttle response is instantaneous. The LEAF has more of a feel that you are gliding efficiently on a smooth, quiet magic carpet. After getting in the LEAF after driving the FFE I thought I would no longer appreciate it, relegating it to the forgotten step child status. Truth is, my LEAF still feels wonderful in its own way. I love how I can see the KW draw of the motor and accessories on one screen. Also, using the AC on the LEAF only reduces range by 1-2 miles or so. Its seems super efficient, often drawing only about 250 watts. On the other hand, the FFE has no such wattage gauges, but the AC usage shows a 10 mile hit on the predicted range!

The Focus seems to have much more drive train slop/clunking. When turning right into my driveway to slowly go up it, I even notice a power delivery pulsation at times. Just does not seem as refined as the LEAF drivetrain, especially when comparing a 17,000 mile LEAF against the Focus at 600 miles.

Even though it has nice LED headlight eyebrows and Xenon headlights, and LED license plate lights, they left the welcome lighting (under the side mirrors) in very non high-tech incandescent lighting. Again, a small nit pick considering the LEAF doesn't even offer welcome lighting at the exterior door area. But unlike the LEAF, the FFEV does not have a built in garage door opener, which is a shame.

The Good:
Overall, a nice car with unbeatable standard features and a high quality feel.
The mobile app is probably superior in that you can set the charge times by your phone. Locate the car on a map. Unlock/lock it. See the last trip efficiency, stats, etc.
Nice Leather seats, with power drivers seal. (could probably do without the swirl perforated patterns in the leather.
First time I hit an onramp, the car definitely feels more comfortable and willing in the curves.
Under part throttle it has excellent performance. (just doesn't react when you mash the throttle)
It a nice/classy looking car with the standard alloy wheels, fitted with quality Michelin Tires.
The dash looks very high tech and expensive. The A/C vent knobs have a nice smooth dampened look to them.
(only wish there were a multi selection knob, instead of having to press on the screen all the time, with fingerprints becoming really visible)
Happy it has 6.6kw charging compared to my 12 LEAF SL.
As much as I complain about the low speed performance...from 30-50, and 50-70, the Focus tests quicker than the LEAF. (although the standing still start is so bad the LEAF still finishes the qtr mile quicker)
Window sticker was about $37K, compared to $38K for the LEAF. The monthly payment is about $10 less than the LEAF with the same exact $2500 down payment.

Will keep you posted as I experience more.

Even though I no longer have any ICE vehicle in the household, having two EVs allows you to drive more miles in a day. If one of them runs out of charge, you can then plug it in, and switch to the other EV.

Update: Only have 600 miles on the Focus. I would have to say I am a little disappointed in the road manners of the car. It seems to have very little straight line stability. It almost feels tipsy, or top heavy. It seems to react to anything over 1/4 throttle with very noticeable torque steer. The car tends to veer to the right. If you try to correct, the car may then swerve and veer to the right. I am hoping the car just needs an alignment, but I'm not so sure. If you coast in neutral, the car seems to steer normal enough. But driving down the road, it is much harder to keep in your lane than the absolutely effortless LEAF. Has anyone else noticed this trait with the Focus? Keep in mind the 2012 LEAF makes over 200lbs of torque, and literally leaps away from the Focus from a stand still. I wonder if this torque steer in a known problem, and part of Ford's solution to minimize it, was to neuter the power delivery down low. The instant torque and acceleration of the LEAF is one of the most enjoyable aspects of everyday driving. This torque steer, straight line stability issue is really going but a damper on my enjoyment of the car if it can't be resolve. Especially with the mild low end acceleration and throttle response. Has anyone else noticed these steering issues? Anyone with both the LEAF and FFE to compare also?

jmueller065
Posts: 2388
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Location: Southeastern MI
Contact: Website

Re: 2014 Ford Focus joins my 2012 LEAF as my only cars.

Sun Jul 06, 2014 3:37 am

ELROY wrote:I love how I can see the KW draw of the motor and accessories on one screen.
(Given the context not sure if that statement above is about the LEAF or the FFE.)
You can configure the left screen to show that on the FFE:
http://jamiegeek.myevblog.com/2013/09/2 ... -tell-you/
2018 Cajun Red Chevy Bolt
2016 Magnetic C-Max Energi (lease returned)
2014 Sunset Escape
2014 Thor Axis (V-10)
2013 Focus Electric (lease returned Jan 2016 for the C-Max above)
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kmaluo
Posts: 95
Joined: Tue May 07, 2013 2:19 pm

Re: 2014 Ford Focus joins my 2012 LEAF as my only cars.

Sun Jul 06, 2014 1:20 pm

Great comparison! Yeah, the torque steer on my 2013 is horrible. I struggle to keep it on a straight line when I'm quickly accelerating. I think you might be right, that this is the reason Ford killed the bottom end acceleration. It's obvious by the battery placement that the Focus Electric is going to be top heavy. I'm sure it has highest center of gravity of all current electric sedans.

michael
Posts: 1113
Joined: Sun Sep 22, 2013 9:55 am
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: 2014 Ford Focus joins my 2012 LEAF as my only cars.

Sun Jul 06, 2014 1:28 pm

As pointed out, you can get the climate power consumption to display...the display on the left of the steering wheel.

I complained about the torque steer and overlight steering, but I had an alignment done and both are much better. I'm thinking maybe the factory alignment has too little toe-in.
2013 FFE Returned after 3 years with 52,000 miles and battery down to 15.2 kWh
2014 Volt returned with 43,000 miles
2014 Volt 26,000 miles
1967 Corvette 427
1962 Corvette 327
Awaiting a Bolt

ELROY
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2014 10:33 pm
Location: Southern California

Re: 2014 Ford Focus joins my 2012 LEAF as my only cars.

Sun Jul 06, 2014 4:35 pm

michael wrote:As pointed out, you can get the climate power consumption to display...the display on the left of the steering wheel.

I complained about the torque steer and overlight steering, but I had an alignment done and both are much better. I'm thinking maybe the factory alignment has too little toe-in.
Dropped the car off at the dealership. Drove another new Focus, it seemed less irritating. So I left it there for alignment tomorrow. Will see how it works out.

From a full charge to 0 range, the car is right at 20kwh usable it seems. I only get about 60 miles on average. That is at around 3mi/kWh or 333watts/mi. Sure I could hyper mile, and have achieved 183wh/mile the other day. But that's not normal driving. On the LEAF even with the AC on, I can get 4mi/kwh easily or 250wh/mile. I think a big reason is the LEAF AC system on average only draws 250-350 watts. The Focus was showing 2000watts, Yikes! That would explain the poor range ppossibly.

unplugged
Posts: 435
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2012 7:53 pm
Location: Orange County, California

Re: 2014 Ford Focus joins my 2012 LEAF as my only cars.

Sun Jul 06, 2014 4:56 pm

kmaluo wrote:Great comparison! Yeah, the torque steer on my 2013 is horrible. I struggle to keep it on a straight line when I'm quickly accelerating. I think you might be right, that this is the reason Ford killed the bottom end acceleration. It's obvious by the battery placement that the Focus Electric is going to be top heavy. I'm sure it has highest center of gravity of all current electric sedans.
The Car & Driver EV comparison found that the Focus Electric was one of the best handling EVs. C&D reported that the Leaf wasn't much fun to drive and was not as composed as the FFE. http://www.caranddriver.com/comparisons ... rison-test Many reviewers have suggested that the Leaf drives like an appliance. And I agree with that assessment.

Yes, it is true, the FFE has torque steer. It is easily handled once you get used to it. And yes, the FFE has quick and nimble steering. It takes some getting used to unless you have owned a sports (or even sporty) car. Numb steering is the purview of soft-riding, comfortable floaty sedans. The FFE is not a sedan built for boulevard cruising. And I like that. It simply depends upon your tastes.

But to describe the FFE as a top-heavy car, is to not understand the handling dynamics built in to any Focus.
May 2013 Ice Storm once leased and currently a 2017 White Platinum

Abelgoddard
Posts: 102
Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2014 6:17 am

Re: 2014 Ford Focus joins my 2012 LEAF as my only cars.

Sun Jul 06, 2014 7:06 pm

Well, I only just got my FFE, and certainly don't have a LEAF for comparison, but I've also noticed the same issues with acceleration and steering - 1) torque steering (easily overcome), and 2) slow to get off-the-line, but quick acceleration when you're 'at speed'. While I would prefer a quicker get-up-and-go, I'm absolutely in love with the quickness and handling at speed. There are frequent instances of that 'feature' being very useful to me, and probably somewhat startling to the other driver I was getting around. :-)

As to how much the AC hurts the 'mileage', I couldn't say. I'm in Dallas, and the AC stays on all the time, no question. It's a hit I'm willing to take, for sure. I anticipate a slight trade-off in our 'winter' by not having to run the heater as much. ;-)

I have some other nit-picky type issues with the FFE, but easily the biggest is the lack of 'cubby' space. I come from Honda Accords, which have many pockets for the loose items you (okay, maybe just me but I doubt it) keep in the car. Not counting the cup holders, my Accord had 3 more spaces for things to store. 1 small, just above the gear shift, which kept the garage door opener (I also hated that my last Accord didn't have the built-in opener). 1 large, under the radio/AC controls. 1 medium, a tray inside the armrest (above and separate from the main storage in the armrest). I judge the Accord tray far superior to the lift-out tray of the FFE. That lift-out is more annoyance than help, IMO. And in addition to being a better tray, it also had coin slots - a feature I'm SHOCKED the FFE doesn't have. When I re-visited the dealer to pick up my plates, that was the main gripe I told him to convey up the line.

The other minor gripe I have is the glove box. It opens too flat, and any loose small item - say, a tire pressure gauge - can easily slip halfway out and prevent closing. Given the distance to reach said obstruction, it becomes difficult to accomplish. But it's minor overall, as glove box access is not really even a weekly occurrence for me.

As to trunk space, sure any other car has more, but it's not a complaint of mine as I view the lack as part of the overall car design, and if trunk space were a real issue I'd look for a car that had plenty. After all, this isn't a car that's going on long road trips.
Stay shiny, and May The Force Be With You!

------------------------
2014 FFE Ingot Silver - 'Wraith'
Previous cars (almost) all Hondas.

ELROY
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2014 10:33 pm
Location: Southern California

Re: 2014 Ford Focus joins my 2012 LEAF as my only cars.

Sun Jul 06, 2014 7:17 pm

unplugged wrote:
kmaluo wrote:Great comparison! Yeah, the torque steer on my 2013 is horrible. I struggle to keep it on a straight line when I'm quickly accelerating. I think you might be right, that this is the reason Ford killed the bottom end acceleration. It's obvious by the battery placement that the Focus Electric is going to be top heavy. I'm sure it has highest center of gravity of all current electric sedans.
The Car & Driver EV comparison found that the Focus Electric was one of the best handling EVs. C&D reported that the Leaf wasn't much fun to drive and was not as composed as the FFE. http://www.caranddriver.com/comparisons ... rison-test Many reviewers have suggested that the Leaf drives like an appliance. And I agree with that assessment.

Yes, it is true, the FFE has torque steer. It is easily handled once you get used to it. And yes, the FFE has quick and nimble steering. It takes some getting used to unless you have owned a sports (or even sporty) car. Numb steering is the purview of soft-riding, comfortable floaty sedans. The FFE is not a sedan built for boulevard cruising. And I like that. It simply depends upon your tastes.

But to describe the FFE as a top-heavy car, is to not understand the handling dynamics built in to any Focus.
I have driven so many cars, and the Focus is the first to exhibit this unpleasant straight line characteristic.

My Past Cars:
1984 Civic (Great/stable steering)
2004 325i
2005 M3 Conv
2006 M3 Coupe
2007 335i (11 second 1/4 mile)
2008 335i Coupe (132 mph 1/4 trap, 550hp+)
2008 335i Sedan (128 mph trap, 11.1 sec qtr)
2011 335d Sedan 12.3 qtr mile)
2013 Mini Cooper S (tuned and still great stability)

Current Drives:
2012 LEAF
2014 Focus

Just look under hotrod182 under drag times or Youtube and you can see some of my performance records and videos. Including some canyon runs vs sport bikes.

So yes, I understand performance, handling, and vehicle dynamics.

And if you refer to that same C&D test, you will see the LEAF at .80Gs, actually cornered with a higher skid pad than any of the other cars in the test. The Focus did the slalom an insignificant .10 mph higher, despite the LEAF wearing less aggressive rubber. So, on paper, the Focus does NOT have a significant handling advantage. The Focus also had a longer 70-0mph stopping distance.

As one of the only rear weight bias FWD cars in recent memory, the Focus is really a recipe for disaster when it comes to FWD dynamics. With the weight transfer during acceleration, the Focus would have difficulty matching the traction of the other platforms in the test. And with the higher CG of the battery back, its no wonder the handling is quirky to say the least.

Again, if I can get this thing to be a little more civilized, I will be happy. But if you live with both cars beyond just a track test, you will definitely be able to appreciate the virtues of the LEAF more. And if you research, that same C&D magazine had a test with a stock suspension LEAF cornering as high a skid pad number as a Porsche by changing to more aggressive tires. With adding just the $98 Yokohama tires, the grip jumped up to .84Gs, woke up the handling and responsiveness.

http://www.caranddriver.com/features/th ... 11-feature

The LEAF off the line quickness advantage more than makes up for its perceived lack of handling. The refined steering and smooth ride are noticeable differences once you start living with both cars.

EVA
Posts: 874
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Location: Chicago Area

Re: 2014 Ford Focus joins my 2012 LEAF as my only cars.

Sun Jul 06, 2014 9:59 pm

You do realize there are two battery packs in this car? One under the rear seat and the other in the trunk.

Yeah higher CG than the Leaf, maybe (purpose built with the batteries in the floor, right?). But higher CG than the Focus ICE - no I think you're wrong on that count.

Funny, you list of cars, virtually all rear wheel drive.
2014 Platinum White FFE (Turning in mid Dec. 2016 25,000 miles)
2013 Ingot Silver FFE
2012 Titanium ICE Focus
2014 Tesla Model S 85

kmaluo
Posts: 95
Joined: Tue May 07, 2013 2:19 pm

Re: 2014 Ford Focus joins my 2012 LEAF as my only cars.

Sun Jul 06, 2014 11:55 pm

EVA wrote:You do realize there are two battery packs in this car? One under the rear seat and the other in the trunk.

Yeah higher CG than the Leaf, maybe (purpose built with the batteries in the floor, right?). But higher CG than the Focus ICE - no I think you're wrong on that count.

Funny, you list of cars, virtually all rear wheel drive.
The Focus ICE has a gas tank that's located under the car, and holds approximately 100 pounds of gasoline. Both batteries of the FFE are significantly above where the gas tank should be, and weigh in at 600 pounds. I'm pretty sure it's safe to say that the FFE has a higher CG than the Focus ICE.

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