2008 Ford Focus Long Term Road Test

2008 Ford Focus Coupe: Long Distance Drive

March 10, 2008

Out of curiosity and maybe a bit of masochism, I stuffed my wife and 8-month-old daughter into the Ford Focus coupe this weekend for a 600-mile roundtrip drive to visit the in-laws. It was a good opportunity to put some highway miles on the car and test out Sync.

In almost every aspect, the Focus was wholly adequate for the long-distance drive. The trunk held most of our stuff. I put our rear-facing child seat behind the driver seat and didn't need to make radical changes in driver positioning. For me, front seat comfort was average, and there was decent storage space for cell phone/MP3 player detritus.

We hooked up my iPod to the Ford Sync MP3/cellphone system for the first time; it's a very cool feature and better than most other factory iPod adapters, though its errors in voice recognition went from amusing to mild annoyance the more we used it. For more detail on Sync, I will defer to staffer Mike, who's rumored to have a detailed post about Sync waiting in the wings.

There were minor disappointments. The car lacks a telescoping steering wheel (the original Focus had one) so I wasn't able to get an ideal driving position. When tending the little one in back, my wife complained about the lack or rear head restraints. The car can be noisy at times in regards to wind and road noise, and the four-speed automatic transmission is a bit of a throwback in today's economy-car world of five-speeds and CVTs.

Still, the Focus was an OK companion, and I'd pick it again over some other small cars we have or have had in the fleet (the Compass and Versa come to mind). OK, so maybe that's not the greatest compliment. But it got decent economy -- about 31 mpg for the trip -- and its Sync system is a pretty desirable feature to have in a small car.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 3,815 miles

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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

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

$220 per month*
* Explanation