Focus Saloon

I saw one of these for the first time the other day, it seemed like a completely pointless car. They have taken the regular focus, and shrunk the boot, made it less practical, and longer.
One of the great things about the hatch is its space efficiency, small on the outside (important for city dwellers) and big on the inside.
Apparently this was developed mainly for the American market, but why does America have an obsession with saloon cars? Admittedly the drive for space efficiency is much less than in Europe, but still, why bother with saloons? Is there a stigma attached to hatches?
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Have to agree with you Oliver, plus it is one of the ugliest cars around, just no style from the rear.
Cheers
Nick
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Regarding the loss of space issue, it does annoy me that all Foci (and most newer cars) are *much* narrower at roof level than at wheel level. I assume that this has been done for style reasons but it cuts down on interior space while doing nothing for overall size. It's most annoying for us tall people. I preferred the shape of the Mk 3 & 4 Escorts to be honest.
Phil

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around,
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According to the Ford Canada website, the Focus sedan has a CD of .31, the wagon .32, and the hatch .35. So the hatchback definitely loses, but I doubt that anyone in North America took that into account before deciding which to purchase.
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Interesting. I remember reading about a top speed run in a Focus, where they chose the wagon for best aerodynamics, but that seems to contradict what the above says.
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I remember that too. But of course the difference between the wagon and sedan is hardly enough to worry about. I suspect a more important consideration was stability at top speed (150mph as I remember - it had a highly modified engine) and perhaps the extra weight in the rear of the wagon helped with that.
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Link to pic?
Ron

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on
does
space
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Whats the point with a hatchback when you can have the real thing, an estate/wagon? Is there a stigma etc... /per

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In the case of a Focus, the 4-door hatchback is somewhat shorter than the estate / wagon. Someone who doesn't need as much cargo space as the estate / wagon provides but does want to park in the city may want the shorter car.
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At least Ford didn't make it into an SUV for the North American market! And why are sedans called saloons and stationwagons called estates? :-p
Mojo

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America's current vehicle obsession is actually with SUVs, which are essentially obese hatchbacks. Single people and childless couples use these things, as well as enormous pickup trucks, as commuter cars, hauling around seats and storage space that they never use. Sensible? No. Fashion.

Perhaps. I think hatchbacks tend to be associated with cheaper cars or younger and "sportier" drivers. This is true even though hatchbacks generally cost a little more than the comparable sedans in most model lines -- Ford Focus, Honda Civic, etc -- and are, as you observed, a more practical design. I do notice that all the expensive cars that have hatches are designated as SUVs of some kind.
In addition to considerations of price and image, some of the preference for sedans might come from a belief that you're safer in a rear-end collision with that trunk (boot) hanging out over the back wheels. It might also come from innate American stodginess: a sedan, even a modern aerodynamic one, just looks more like the cars their parents drove.
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Not many about, but they all appear to be metallic beige and driven by retired people. Personally I don't mind the styling, but don't see the point. Residuals drop like a stone.
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. . .metallic beige and driven by

----------- There's a stigma attached to just about everything in the U.S.
It starts when we're kids and say things like "my dad makes more money than your dad".
From there we never really grow up.
That why some of my neighbors are deeeep in debt just so they can drive a gigantic SUV to work (with ONE occupant) that cost thousands more than the house I grew up in.
Then there's the gigantic pickup trucks with nothing in them and not a scratch on the cargo area's paint.
A TV ad for one line of trucks suggests the cars are wimpy "panty-waist" vehicles and shows a hatchback getting crushed by a salvage yard crusher machine.
This 'keeping up with the neighbors' thinking has fueled the U.S. auto makers for years not to mention the imports' "better build quality" that has crept into the picture over time.
It that simple, if you drive an old car, no matter how nice, you are trailer trash. If you drive a practical car like a hatchback, you are perceived as not wealthy enough to afford two vehicles, one to carry cargo (the incredible hulk pickup) and one to go to work in (shiny new sedan).
If you drive a vehicle that only the wealthy can afford even though your not wealthy, you have achieved the "American Dream" I guess ? !
It's all about ranking and pecking order.
In the U.S., "all men are created equal", BUT some are more equal than others. :-[
John
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saloons?
Hatchbacks and wagons almost disappeared in North American by the late 90s, killed by a combination of the image of the hatchback as a "cheap" car, and by the popularity of minivans. I still wanted a hatchback, and that was what lead me to the Focus. I had always been a Chrysler man but you couldn't get a hatch on the Neon, so I bought my first Ford in four decades of car ownership.
Since then, hatches and wagons have come roaring back, and North American drivers have a wide choice again.
Sedans (over here, a saloon is a place to drink, not a car) also have the reputation of being a little lighter, stiffer and quieter than equivalent hatchbacks, although the stats don't support that for the Focus.
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Interestinly enough, I have also been on the Crysler / Mitsu track since 1984. I've gotten tired of dead Cryslers and Mitsu.'s in my driveway so I too am trying the Focus.
Before 1984 I always drove Ford Capri's and VW Bugs with an occasional rusting GM hulk thrown in, all of which died of old age rather than inferior parts & design.
1981 Omni - terrible fuel delivery sys.,- kept dying in traffic.
1986 Mitsu P.U. - dead at 78k mi. - piston rings gone.
1987 Sadow- engine rebuilt at 46K mi - fuel and brake lines rusted out at 136k mi / 9 years old, - now has spark plug stuck in it probably due to cracked head. Stil in service, but shakey reliability. Won't drive it further than I can walk back home.
1993 Caravan - engine rebuilt at 38k mi. - trans went at 104k mi. again at 136k mi - fuel pump dead at 152k mi. - now sitting in drive with blown head gasket waiting for new engine at 167k mi. (maybe at tax refund time)
Otherwise they've been good cars, LOL.
You can see why I keep a good running spare car in the drive just in case. My spare car is a 1977 Buick-Opel with 195k mi. Runs perfect leaks / burns nothing. Still don't need a calender to measure the 0-60 mph times. Best of all NO COMPUTER MODULES TO FRY OUT ! ! ! If it starts running bad I know I have to replace 7 parts: 4-Plugs, Points, Condensor and Coil. Total cost: $25 - $30 tops. It runs so well the emissions readings almost rival that of the new cars. (when the "air pump" is hooked up)
John
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