Full 2007 Ford Focus Review
What's New for 2007
Changes are minimal on the 2007 Ford Focus. All CD players are now MP3-compatible, and models with the optional CD changer automatically get audio controls on the steering wheel. Optional on SE and SES trim levels is a new interior upgrade package with two-tone leather seats and satin metallic interior trim. You can also get the leather seats as a stand-alone extra. Additionally, the ST sedan and all SE and SES sedans and hatchbacks are eligible for the Street Appearance Package, which provides special exterior trim and a polished exhaust outlet. Powertrain warranty coverage is extended to 5 years/100,000 miles as of July 2006.
Now in the eighth year of its model cycle, the Ford Focus is the oldest economy car in the U.S. market. Although the European-market Focus received a full redesign two years ago, Ford has never brought this newer version to the U.S. because of cost constraints. We still like the original Focus: It's fun to drive, comfortable for commuting and available as a sedan (ZX4), two-door hatchback (ZX3), four-door hatchback (ZX5) or wagon (ZXW). But there's no denying the fact that Ford's compact car has fallen behind the competition in interior design, materials quality and safety features. Additionally, the fit and finish problems that plagued early Focus models persist on later models.
Ford says "smart design and spirited driving" were the guiding forces behind the development of the Focus. Unlike the Escort before it, the Focus was designed as a world car that would be sold across the globe. When it debuted in 2000, it offered unusual styling, a roomy interior and excellent road manners, thanks to its responsive steering and suspension. Unfortunately, the car was saddled with numerous recalls in its first couple of years, though the major issues have since been ironed out.
Although the car's styling was softened during a 2005 refresh, the 2007 Ford Focus is just as spirited as the original out on the road. The problem is that many competitors are equally entertaining to drive and offer higher-quality interiors with more feature content. The Focus costs less than some of these cars, though, and it's definitely worth a look if the out-the-door price is a primary consideration and you're willing to give up some refinement.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2007 Ford Focus compact car comes in four body styles: a two-door ZX3 hatchback, a four-door ZX5 hatchback, a ZX4 sedan and a ZXW wagon. The hatchbacks and sedan come in three trim levels -- S, SE and SES -- while the wagon is available in SE and SES trims only. Additionally, there's a sport-oriented Focus ST sedan.
Aside from a standard MP3-compatible CD player, base S models are pretty spartan, offering only 15-inch steel wheels, black exterior trim and a height-adjustable driver seat. The SE adds the essentials, including air-conditioning, a center armrest, map lights, keyless entry and power windows, locks and mirrors; this midlevel Focus also gets a rear antiroll bar for better handling. The uplevel Focus SES includes 16-inch alloy wheels, foglamps, body-color exterior trim, cruise control, tachometer and a tilt/telescoping steering wheel. The top-line ST sedan adds a performance-tuned suspension, black/red sport seats and distinctive trim inside and out. Options for the 2007 Ford Focus include a sunroof, an in-dash CD changer and leather upholstery.
Powertrains and Performance
The standard drivetrain in the Focus is a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder rated for 136 horsepower (130 in states that have adopted California emissions standards). The ST sedan features a 2.3-liter 4 good for 151 hp. A 5-speed manual transmission is standard across the line and a 4-speed automatic is optional on all but the base S ZX3 hatchback and the ST sedan. The 2.0-liter engine offers above-average fuel economy for this class, with an EPA rating of 27 mpg city, 37 mpg highway with the manual and 27/34 with the automatic. The Focus ST is less impressive in this regard, with its 22/32 rating.
All Focus models come with 3-point belts in all five seating positions, but there are no head restraints in the backseat. Front disc/rear drum brakes are standard on all but the Focus ST sedan, which has 4-wheel discs. ABS and traction control are standard on the ST and optional on all other models; front seat-mounted side airbags are optional across the board.
In NHTSA frontal-impact crash testing, the sedan, wagon and ZX5 hatchback earned a perfect five stars for driver protection and four stars for the front passenger; the ZX3 hatch earned four stars in both categories. In frontal-offset testing conducted by the IIHS, the Focus earned a "Good" score, the highest possible. Neither NHTSA nor the IIHS has tested a Focus with side airbags: Without the bags, the government gives it three stars for front-occupant safety in side impacts and four stars for the rear, while the IIHS rates it "Poor" for side impacts.
Interior Design and Special Features
The 2007 Ford Focus is roomy for its class, offering generous accommodations for its front and rear passengers, even in the ZX3 hatchback. Focus seats are chair height and padded to the point you'd think the seams would burst from all the stuffing. Unfortunately, Ford requires you to spring for the top-line SES or ST in order to get a tilt/telescoping steering wheel; lower-line models have a nonadjustable wheel. The control layout is simple, but materials quality is unimpressive. Sound quality from the stock audio systems is surprisingly good, and downright exceptional with the optional Audiophile system. In terms of cargo capacity, the Focus sedan offers 14.8 cubic feet; the hatchbacks offer 18.0 cubes and the wagon offers 35.6 cubes. All models have a 60/40-split folding seat; with the seats folded, the Focus wagon provides 73.7 cubic feet of space, making it a better hauler than most small SUVs.
Most Ford Focus buyers will be content with the base 2.0-liter engine, which offers a more usable power band than its modest horsepower rating would indicate. Acceleration is noticeably quicker in the Focus ST, but other econosport cars in this price range are quicker still. Regardless of trim, the Focus offers a smooth ride and above-average handling. Although the four-wheel fully independent suspension allows for noticeable body roll while cornering, the Focus stays planted and inspires confidence. The steering is surprisingly quick and responsive, always providing plenty of feedback from the road surface.