Although fuel economy and price are the main drivers of compact car sales, technology is becoming increasingly important, especially to young car buyers, many of whom would need to check into rehab if forced to part with their cellphones and still their text-messaging thumbs.
Ford has a history of introducing cutting-edge technology on its smallest, youth-oriented cars. As with its Fiesta, which introduced Ford's AppLink feature (enabling drivers hands-free access to Pandora Internet radio and spoken Twitter feeds), Ford is building on its SYNC in-car communications and entertainment system for the Focus. SYNC debuted on the second-generation version of the car three years ago.
On the 2012 Focus, SYNC can be operated with steering-wheel controls or with an 8-inch touch screen in the center stack, in addition to voice commands for phone, navigation, climate and audio functions.
And the car, as a whole, can be turned into a Wi-Fi hot spot by plugging a USB mobile broadband card into the car's built-in media hub.