In America, the hatchback has long fought an uphill battle — garnering the scorn and disdain of image conscious buyers who prefer the look of a sedan or coupe. The thing is, regardless of mass public opinion, we think hatchbacks are great, especially on smaller vehicles where the proportions, engineering and design seem to jive blend perfectly into an automotive smoothie. Hatchbacks can also be incredibly fun to drive, downright agile even, thanks to the combination of lightweight design and potent engines like the one we tested. Long devoid of the attention it deserved, Ford has reinvigorated the 2012 Ford Focus with shockingly good looks (even in our Just Blaze livery), a healthy engine paired to a (gasp) twin-clutch transmission and loads of luxe-only tech — part of Ford’s ongoing mission to become a technology-forward company. The new Focus is no longer the econobox of yore. It’s just downright awesome.

Watch our Behind the Wheel video right after the jump.

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