2008 Ford Focus Long Term Road Test


2008 Ford Focus SES Coupe: Aye, There's the Rub

May 15, 2008

It's almost getting too easy to pick on our 2008 Ford Focus, what with that passenger side door handle falling off, the way the headlights (and horn) don't activate when you hit "unlock" on the keyfob, and such. (Though it's possible that the Focus can be reprogrammed for the lights to flash when you press "unlock," how many people will take the trouble to figure that out?) I'd like to add one more gripe, but, to be fair, counter that with a compliment or two.

First, the gripe: I hate the way the coupe's shoulder belt anchor is positioned. Granted, this is a coupe, so I guess it's not that unusual to have to reach all the way behind you to the b-pillar to grab the belt...

But then the anchor doesn't adjust up or down either, and the result is that the belt rubs my neck, and not in a good way. Perhaps this situation could be ameliorated by moving the seat, but only if the steering telescoped, which, of course, it doesn't . Both the wheel and the belt anchor are big issues for shorter drivers. So bottom line is. I'm not comfortable in the driver's seat -- and I'm 5'6".

On the plus side, I really like the way the cup holders illuminate with the cool blue lighting. It makes it easier to see what's in there at night, when you're fumbling around for your keys, your cell phone, whatever. I'm always throwing stuff in the cupholders or console, and it's handy to have a little light.

Then there is the more important issue of fuel economy. I can't yet release the numbers from our "Gas-Sipper Smackdown," which publishes next week, but suffice it to say that the Focus is worth a look just for that reason.

Is the trade-off worth it? I'm looking forward to the debate.

Joanne Helperin, Senior Features Editor @ approx. 7700 miles

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