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:
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.
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?