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2012 Ford Focus SFE Vs 2012 Chevrolet Cruze Eco: Compact Sedans Compared

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2012 Ford Focus Sedan and Hatchback

2012 Ford Focus Sedan and Hatchback

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You want a compact sedan that gives great gas mileage, comes from an American company, and costs less than a hybrid car. 

If that sounds like you, the chances are you’ve considered test-driving the 2012 Ford Focus SFE and 2012 Chevrolet Cruze Eco. 

But what comes as standard on each car? Which is the better on gas mileage? And which should you go to test-drive? 

Check out full reviews of the 2012 Ford Focus and 2012 Chevrolet Cruze Eco.

Eco-tuned?

Unlike some cars, which are built from the ground-up to be gas-sipping eco-warriors, the 2012 Ford Focus SFE and 2012 Chevrolet Cruze Eco are special variants based on Ford and Chevrolet’s respective compact sedans. 

Featuring tweaked suspension, specially designed wheels and low rolling-resistance tires as well as remapped engine software, both the Ford Focus SFE and Chevy Cruze Eco are more efficient than the standard Focus and Cruze models. 

GM 1.4-liter turbo Ecotec - Chevy Cruze and Volt

GM 1.4-liter turbo Ecotec - Chevy Cruze and Volt

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Gas Mileage

Available only as an $695 package on the $18,595 2012 Ford Focus SE, the SFE -- or Super Fuel Economy -- package increases the fuel economy of the 2.0-liter four-cylinder, six-speed automatic Focus SE by a few miles per gallon. 

At 28 mpg city, 40 mpg highway and 33 mpg combined, the SFE package may not seem like good value for money. 

But with an extra 22 miles of range per 12.4 gallon tank, the savings could mount up if you’re a regular long-distance driver. 

Be warned however: Ford’s 6-speed, twin-clutch automatic gearbox has come under some severe criticism in the past for not being the smoothest of gearboxes. 

Although it offers a similar 33 mpg combined and 28 mpg city, the 2012 Chevrolet Cruze Eco beats the Ford Focus SFE on paper when it comes to highway gas mileage, thanks in part to its smaller, turbocharged 1.4-liter 4-cylinder ecotec engine. 

At $20,100 however, the Cruze Eco is substantially more expensive than the Ford Focus SFE. Opt for 6-speed automatic transmission instead of the 6-speed manual, and the price leaps to $21,715.

Practicality

As the keen-eyed reader may note, the 2012 Ford Focus SFE is classified as a compact car, while the 2012 Chevrolet Cruze Eco is sometimes classed as a mid-size car. 

However, when examining passenger and luggage space, there’s very little between the two cars. 

2012 Ford Focus Sedan and Hatchback

2012 Ford Focus Sedan and Hatchback

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With 94 cubic feet of passenger space, the 2012 Cruze Eco has 4 cubic feet more space than the Focus SFE. 

And with 16 cubic feet available in the trunk, the Cruze Eco can swallow just 3 cubic feet more space than the Focus SFE. 

Features

Although both the 2012 Ford Focus SFE and 2012 Chevrolet Cruze Eco   cost a little more than Ford and Chevrolet’s respective base-level models, neither car is particularly well specced when it comes to interior features. 

The Focus SFE is least well-specced, with bluetooth hands free and Ford’s legendary Sync tech available only as an extra $795 addon. 

For the base price, you do get an AM/FM radio with single CD and MP3 functionality, as well as an audio in jack.

Add Sirius satellite radio in addition to the Ford Sync, and you’ll need to find an extra $1195. 

On the other hand, the 2012 Cruze Eco benefits from the same specifications as the Cruze 1LT, which means cruise control, USB Port, bluetooth connectivity and leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob are all offered as standard. 

2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco

2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco

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Your Choice

Both the 2012 Ford Focus SFE and 2012 Chevrolet Cruze Eco can achieve impressive gas mileage figures, but the Ford Focus SFE offers the best in no-frills frugality. 

For a little more however, the Cruze gives a lot more features and a little more space for both passengers and luggage. 

We’d advise you try both, but remember that the price of the Ford Focus SFE can creep ever upwards if you start adding in those extra packages to bring it nearer to the Cruze Eco’s specification. 

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