A chicken in every pot and Bluetooth for every phone
Well-equipped compact cars, once a novelty, are now de riguer. And so our test cars both ride on seventeen-inch wheels and pamper occupants with satellite radio, iPod connectivity (both via hard wire and streaming), heated seats, and redundant steering wheel controls. Bluetooth? You even have to ask? The Elantra, in Limited trim, adds a navigation system identical to what you get in the more expensive Sonata, leather seats, and a sunroof for a price of $22,860. Ford offers a similar trim for the Focus, called "Titanium," but our particular SE model, listed at $21,945, hews more toward performance with a sport package that adds the aforementioned rear disc brakes, sixteen-inch aluminum wheels (the seventeens are extra), and unique interior and exterior trim.
Clearly, both candidates are making some lofty campaign promises. However, there are a few areas where they underdeliver. Take, for instance, the much-hyped Sync voice-recognition system on the Focus, which has a learning curve steep enough that we often gave up and relied on the busy assortment of buttons on the center stack. The optional MyFord Touch cleans up the center stack with a large touch screen, but our recent experiences with the system on other Fords have left us frustrated with its less-than-intuitive function and occasional glitches.
Hyundai's system, in contrast, works very smoothly and easily but can be overwhelmed in very demanding situations such as, say, providing directions in a chaotic city. We wish Hyundai offered something akin to the Google maps option available with Ford Sync, whereby directions can be calculated via Google and beamed to the radio or nav screen.