2008 Saturn Astra

As a Ford fanboy and former Focus ZX3 owner, it always really bugged me that Ford chose to revise the first generation Focus rather than bring the vastly better 2nd generation car over from Europe.

But the good news at the time was that General Motors did instead.

What’s that you say?

Not really, but in theory, the Saturn Astra – imported from Europe, based on a European hatchback design – was a more legitimate replacement for the first generation Focus than what Ford dumped on the US market.

Instead of giving us the European hatchback-y goodness of the first generation car, Ford instead gave us a half-assed redesign based on the old car’s architecture, then had the unmitigated gall to offer only 2- and 4-door versions.  No hatchbacks, no wagons and no performance variants.

2nd Generation Focus - What Europe Got

2nd Generation - What We Got

The Astra offered Euro good looks, a nice interior and 3- and 5-door versions.  But that’s really where the comparison ends.  Ironically, Saturn also ended within a year of the Astra’s introduction as well – and Ford finally came to their senses and brought the European version of the Focus back to the States for its third generation.

So all’s well that ends well, right?  A 2012 Focus ST should go a long way toward healing those wounds.

2012 Ford Focus ST - click to see Autoblog story

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