Is It Really That Bad? - 2008 Ford Focus Long-Term Road Test
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2008 Ford Focus Long Term Road Test

2008 Ford Focus SES Coupe: Is It Really That Bad?

July 17, 2008

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For those who enjoy driving, our long-term 2008 Ford Focus SES -- despite its "upgraded tires...as well as...front and rear stabilizer bars for improved handling," in the words of our model review -- is only slightly more pulse-quickening than a dump truck. On second thought, the edge might go to the dump truck; I've never driven one, so I'll have to reserve judgment. Yet there are evidently plenty of non-enthusiasts who like the Focus just fine, judging by the car's 28% sales spike through June. Could it be that our blue bullet isn't so bad after all?

Nah. Like Erin, I think those sales numbers are more indicative of a general state of panic in the face of rising gas costs. Consumers are understandably trying to maximize their MPGs, and that's causing them to overlook what might otherwise be deal-breaking shortcomings -- such as the foul styling, raucous engine and joyless chassis that come standard on every Focus.

What kills me about our Focus is that Ford can obviously do a lot better -- look no further than its global C1 platform, which underpins the stylish and dynamically excellent Mazda 3 as well as the Volvo C30 and the European Focus. However, the Mazda can't match the Focus' fuel economy, and the C30's both thirstier and more expensive. That's why it's kind of exciting that the European Focus is coming our way in 2010. If it matches or exceeds the fuel economy of the current Focus while providing Mazda-like driving dynamics, it could be a real tide-turner for Ford.

Josh Sadlier, Associate Editor, Edmunds.com @ 10,375 miles


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