2008 Ford Focus Long Term Road Test

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2008 Ford Focus SES: Parting Shots

September 21, 2009

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After an extended tour of duty, our 2008 Ford Focus SES Coupe is gone. (Read the wrap-up here.) After some 25,000 miles of Sync, ambient LED lighting, fake vents and it not being a hatchback, we were more than willing to let it go. While no tears were shed, dozens and dozens of words were written for this installment of Parting Shots. Don't forget to leave yours after the jump

"Aside from Sync, all the good stuff dates from the original platform of eight years ago. Bring back the hatchback, keep the price cheap, and make it forever. It'll be the Ford Ranger of passenger cars." -- Michael Jordan, Executive Editor Inside Line

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"The Focus gets the Hertz Award for Least Interesting Long-Term Car Ever. Given the choice, I always picked something else, Smart included." -- Josh Sadlier, Associate Editor, Edmunds.com

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"Although it wasn't the Euro-market Focus RS I crave, our long-term Focus proved to be durable, comfortable, affordable and economical. For many that makes it the perfect car. I'd recommend it with a clear conscience." - Scott Oldham, Editor-in-Chief, Inside Line

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"While I don't think this Ford Focus is anything to get excited about, I also don't think it's all that bad. The interior is bland at best and the coupe body just doesn't work on this car. HOWEVER, the Sync system alone would be a deal maker for me if I was looking for a decent commuter car. The driving dynamics are also better than other compacts like the Toyota Corolla and Nissan Sentra. Ultimately the Focus is a car that's easy to forget and even easier to live with. It asks nothing of you - not even your attention, certainly not your passion or enthusiasm. You just point it straight and go to work, never thinking about it all day long, then point it straight to go home - for some, that's the perfect car." - Brian Moody, Automotive Editor

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"If they offered it to me at the rental counter, I would politely ask if something else were available." -- Al Austria, Vehicle Evaluation Engineer

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"I rented a car in Massachusetts a few months back. Had the option of a Sync-equipped Focus (same blue as ours) or a base Altima. I picked the Syncmobile and never regretted it for a second." - Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant

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"The Ford Focus is really quite impressive...at least as far as cars from the Clinton era go." Karl Brauer, Editor-in-Chief, Edmunds.com

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"Inexpensive A-to-B transportation, with some cool features thrown in -- this is what the Focus meant to me. It wasn't much, but strangely, it was enough. Farewell, humble friend - I'll see you on the other side." - Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

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"The poor Focus doesn't get the respect it deserves. If I were younger, I would definitely consider the Ford Focus as a starter car. I'm older now so I need more luxury features for my weary bones. But the Focus is perfectly adequate. I could see it as a college cruiser or the car you buy when you get your first job. And you get the added benefit of fighting with SYNC. It keeps you from having to go home and pick an argument with your husband/wife/roommate/parent/significant other." - Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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"Forget the Mk2 European-spec Focus. I never could get over my resentment that this car wasn't a ZX3 hatchback and didn't have that car's steering feel or even its telescoping steering wheel. Sync isn't enough." - Erin Riches, Senior Editor, Inside Line

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"I drove our Focus a lot. That should not be misinterpreted to mean I liked it. I clearly recall the first moment I plopped into that car, and instantly thought, "one and a half, maybe two generations behind the market." Steering feel, engine character, cornering attitude . . . just a little waffly and unrefined. Of course, the Focus was plenty cheap, and it did run reliably, and it had a front license plate so it didn't get a no-plate fix-it ticket when I left it in Lot B at LAX. So it served a certain beast-of-burden role just fine. I accept there's a need for beasts of burden, but that's about as glowing as my praise for the Focus can get." - Kevin Smith, Editorial Director

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2008 Ford Focus: How Many Bluetooth Devices Can Sync Store?

August 10, 2009

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I LOVE being able to chat on the phone through our 2008 Ford Focus' Sync but since I hadn't driven it in awhile seemed someone deleted my phone from the list of Bluetooth devices stored. I didn't know this until I had gotten in the car and it didn't automatically connect to my phone like it did previous times. Aww, boo. This had always made me feel special as if the car remembered me out of the other bazillion editors who drive it more regularly.

So I tried to add it but the lady prompted me to first delete a device from the list since it was all filled up. Apparently Sync can store up to eight different devices at a time. More than enough for most families but not enough for our "family" of editors. Oh well, buh-bye "Motorola Phone," hello, CpW580i. It's not too hard to reconnect your phone anyway so I didn't feel too guilty. I was able to do it without cracking open the Sync supplemental guide once. Yay.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 25,396 miles

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2008 Ford Focus SES Coupe: Range

August 04, 2009

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I rarely drive a car until the "low fuel" indicator comes on, mostly because I don't like to gamble with my ability to get out of town when the zombie threat finally becomes too much to fend off. But this weekend, I got lazy and the fuel light blinked on. Got me to thinking about the Focus' range. This tank only got us to 258 miles, but we've managed 344 a couple of times. Additionally, the most we've ever had to put in the 13.5 gallon tank was 11.784 gallons.

How does that compare to your car's fuel log?

Bryn MacKinnon, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com @ 25,139 miles

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2008 Ford Focus SES Coupe: Why I Like Sync

August 01, 2009

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...Because it saves me from having to find my way through this mess of buttons. Thanks, Sync.

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2008 Ford Focus SES Coupe: Can't Take Throttle Response for Granted

July 31, 2009

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When I left work last night, I needed to make a quick stop off at the grocery store to get a few things for dinner. I was hurried and our long-term 2008 Ford Focus didn't seem to mind that.

You're undoubtedly aware that an electronic throttle ("drive-by-wire") replaced the throttle cable in the partial 2008 redesign. Yet, off-the-line response is still quite good in our long-termer -- certainly by economy car standards and certainly compared to some of the newer cars I've driven that are calibrated to scrimp on fuel to an excessive degree.

I've complained mightily about the four-speed automatic transmission in our Focus, but even that deserves some credit. It's more decisive with shifts than many of the easily befuddled six-speed automatics I've sampled recently.

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2008 Ford Focus SES Coupe: Turning Radius Feels Big

July 30, 2009

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That's what I thought as I flipped a u-turn on the way home last night. It was a standard width street, yet I barely had enough room to clear one of the cars already parked on the curb. I wondered how a compact coupe could make a street feel narrow, I mean it doesn't really get much smaller than this Focus right?

I decided to check the numbers to see how the Focus stacks up in the turning radius department. Turns out I was wrong, or imagining things, or not turning to full lock quickly enough.

According to Edmunds.com statistics, the turning radius of the Focus coupe is a very admirable 34.2 feet. Compare that to the Honda Fit (34.4 ft.) or Honda Civic coupe (35.4 ft.), and the Focus cuts a pretty tight circle. The only car I could find off hand with a tighter circle is the Chevrolet Cobalt coupe at 33.5 feet. And if it's between those two, I'd take the Focus.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, Inside Line @ 25,041 miles

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2008 Ford Focus SES Coupe: 25,000 Miles and Counting

July 29, 2009

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It happens a lot more often than I'd have thought: a Car-of-the-Week hits a significant mileage milestone during its time in the spotlight. I can think of three times when this happened while I was driving including, now, the 2008 Ford Focus SES Coupe.

I saw it coming yesterday afternoon, but it looked like it was going to happen during this morning's bleary-eyed freeway commute. That wasn't going to work, so I volunteered to get some milk last night so I could shoot the shot on deserted suburban streets instead of the freeway.

Over these 25 kilomiles our Focus has averaged 26.8 mpg, just a hair under than EPA's combined fuel economy rating of 28 mpg.

Our best recorded fuel economy was 40.6 mpg, but that was over a short 96.5-mile stretch, not a full tank. The best extended drive performance was 37.4 mpg, and that came during our Gas Sipper Smackdown on the return leg of from Las Vegas to LA on the I-15 freeway at a steady 70 mph on cruise control.

That was no fluke, because the outbound leg of that same trip returned 36.8 mpg over 326 miles of two-land back roads through the desert, including several long up and downhill grades on the way through Death Valley. We drove at a tourist's pace, but we weren't exactly hypermiling.

Those numbers are pretty impressive when you consider that the EPA highway rating for this machine is 33 mpg. The Focus can be quite frugal if you drive accordingly.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 25,000.0 miles

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2008 Ford Focus Coupe: A Lot Going For It

July 27, 2009

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It may not be luxurious, but it's far from cheap.

Some of you seem to think the 2008 Ford Focus Coupe is nothing by a pile of plastic. Let's explore its good and bad points.

Its engine doesn't sound great but gets adequate power out of its 140 horses. It feels better to me than the Suzuki SX4.

As always, I'm obsessed with good, strong air conditioning and the Focus certainly has that.

Its roomy 13.8-cu-ft trunk had no problem swallowing the giant vacuum cleaner I bought this weekend. The trunk's mouth opening makes it easy to stuff full. I would prefer a hatchback, but I have a thing for hatchbacks.

I like the sporty white gauges and cool interior lighting.

I also like the windshield wipers. The washer fluid sprays out evenly and the wipers give you an extra wipe a few seconds after clearing the glass.

Sync is fun when it works properly.

The seats are cloth but they are holding up well and keep you supported.

Good bumpers, a rarity in modern cars, keep body repair costs down.

We're averaging more than 26 mpg in enthusiastic mixed driving.

We've had no major repairs or problems. There are some interior quality issues with things like panel gaps and the misplaced door handles.

Even though its looks are somewhat outdated, it still has a spark of personality.

It's made for some good caption contest Fridays.

Want to add anything?

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor @ 24,885 miles

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2008 Ford Focus Coupe: Let Go of My iPod

July 27, 2009

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What's wrong with this picture? From where I sit, I see an iPod and a persistent lack of 2008 Ford Focus SES Coupe.

Said iPod was unusable because it still thought it was synched to SYNC, a state that renders the iPod's own controls utterly useless. This is consistent with the screen reading "connected" at the top and "OK to disconnect" at the bottom.

"But it is disconnected," I stammered.

The only way to de-synch the SYNC was to plug the iPod back in to the cable in the Ford Focus and try again, and again...and again, until it finally let go.

Was this glitch an iPod/Apple problem or a Sync/Microsoft problem? Who knows? Personally, I'm hoping the iPod is innocent, 'cuz it's out of warranty.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 24,934 miles

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2008 Ford Focus Coupe: Only I Didn't Say "Fudge"

July 27, 2009

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When Sync works, it's fun and easy and cool. When it doesn't, it's infuriating.

Funny how the voice command system doesn't recognize #%$?%!

I've never had my iPod disconnect in any other car. You plug it in, you're good to go. But for some reason, when I use Sync in the Ford Focus, even though the cord doesn't come loose, Sync suddenly thinks I've disconnected my iPod. "USB" removed, it says, "Line In."

I press the media button. Sync says "Line In, please say a command."

I say, "USB."

Sync says, "Bluetooth"

I press the media button. Sync says "Line In, please say a command."

I say, "USB."

Sync, "USB." Then, nothing happens.

OK, I try again. I get a few seconds of music, then disconnect.

I press the media button. Sync says "Line In, please say a command."

You can imagine the rest.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2008 Ford Focus in VA is:

$126 per month*
* Explanation
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