2012 Hyundai Elantra vs. 2012 Ford Focus: Which One Should I Buy?

The Hyundai Elantra and the Ford Focus are both offerings in the inexpensive compact sedan category, and both represent some of the best offerings in that class. Compact cars are slightly larger than a subcompact, but smaller than a mid-size; generally a solid and cost-effective offering in the family car realm.

The Hyundai Elantra and the Ford Focus have both raised their games with this model year, with features, styling, and performance that aim to please. While both claim to “set the standard” for excellence in their class, they both have good points and places where the vehicles fail to excite. The Hyundai provides a more eye-catching exterior than the Focus, but at least the Focus has lost the dreadfully awkward look of previous model years. Styling is very subjective, so it’s difficult to say which will appeal to the average consumer.

Ford Focus 2012
Ford Focus 2012

Power and Efficiency

Fuel efficiency is a hallmark of this class of small compact sedans, and 40 mpg is practically required to allow the tradeoff for smaller size. Many of the vehicles suffer from power loss, but the Focus has a slight advantage in terms of power, however the twin-clutch transmission can be reluctant to downshift when passing. The Elantra tends to head straight for sixth gear to provide that fuel economy boost, but tends to downshift quickly – sometimes even dropping a few gears – when you hit the gas for a little extra boost of power. Neither vehicle met their stated ratings for fuel usage in real world testing.

Interior Design

The Elantra’s interior design feel is simpler, and the layout in general is pleasing to the eye even though the material quality is just not there. The hard plastic feels inexpensive; while by contrast the Ford’s interior offers much more to write home about. While it’s still a bit cramped, the material used for the interior far outclasses that of the Hyundai and leaves you with an overall impression of quality. The seats in the Ford Focus are surprisingly luxurious as well, as opposed to the Elantra’s board-flat buckets and limited head room from the dramatic roof line.

The Ford Focus has a higher overall gas mileage, nicer interior materials and design look, but suffers in comparison to the Elantra’s ease of use for the dashboard interface and the overall price point of the Elantra certainly wins.


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Attila

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19 years of experience
Cadillac SRX V6-3.6L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Edison, New Jersey
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Lexus ES350 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Fords, New Jersey
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Chevrolet Impala V6-3.6L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Lansdale, Pennsylvania
Shawn was prompt, professional, and delivered the promised service as expected. This was a used vehicle pre-purchase inspection. Shawn also had to drive to multiple locations to perform the inspection, as the address listed that I provided him with was not accurate, but he still made it to the correct location within his time window and completed the inspection.
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Honda HR-V L4-1.8L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Warren, New Jersey
Luis was great. He showed up on time, acted professionally, and gave me confidence with a pre-purchase car inspection.
Acura RDX - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - South Hackensack, New Jersey
Luis did a thorough pre-purchase inspection for me, and found several major issues that made me pass on buying the car. Had I purchased the car, I almost certainly would have ended up paying thousands in repairs down the road. Thanks Luis!

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Hyundai Elantra L4-2.0L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Englewood, Colorado
He did a pre-purchase inspection for me. He was knowledgeable and fast, and knew what he was looking for. I really appreciate all the pictures and documentation he took of the state of the car before purchase. He noted potential issues with the car that I wouldn't have been able to notice. Would recommend.
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I trust Robert. He gave me a list and we will take care of it the week of June 29. I will know then that my vehicle is ready for the winter and is safe to drive. I look forward to getting things ready for another winter of careful driving.

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