That experience shines even more brightly when we finally escape the Beltway and find some winding rural Maryland roads. The Elantra is no slouch at cornering, taking fast turns with reasonably little body roll and little complaint from its Continental all-season tires. But it's never much fun, which is where the Focus really distinguishes itself. Through quick switchbacks, its back end feels noticeably more planted, and its overall limits feel slightly higher even though it wears slightly taller-profile Continental all-seasons. More important, we enjoy the Focus more because it supplies that now rare commodity known as steering feel. The steering wheel in the Focus is a communicative, lively, naturally weighted driving tool. The Elantra's tiller, in contrast, is much more typical of modern small cars - it gets the job done accurately enough but relates very little of what's happening to the front tires.
Conclusion: Serving special interests
Our candidates have a lot in common. They achieve good fuel economy, offer lots of electronic goodies, look quite good inside and out, and drive well in just about any environment. We hear they want lower taxes and support the troops, too. But as with most campaigns these days, the choice comes down to special interests. If you value interior packaging, user-friendly controls, and getting the absolute maximum fuel economy for your dollar, go ahead and support the Elantra - thousands of young families will likely agree with you. We, however, happen to be vocal backers of the enthusiast lobby, complete with membership cards that read "No Boring Cars." Ford has unabashedly pandered to those of us who care about driving by designing an efficient, comfortable mainstream car that absolutely nails the finer points of steering feel, suspension tuning, and overall driver involvement. Our vote goes to the Focus.