August 04, 2009
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
July 29, 2009
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
July 27, 2009
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.
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
February 18, 2009
Our blue 2008 Focus SES coupe has been dutifully snaking through L.A. traffic for just over a year now. Here's a snapshot of the 140-horsepower coupe's fuel economy numbers while in our hands:
Best tank: 37.4 mpg
Worst tank: 16.6 mpg
Average over 16,000 miles: 26.3 mpg
The EPA rates the 5-speed manual-equipped 2008 Ford Focus Coupe SES at 24/35 city/highway. Our car has the optional four-speed automatic.
Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 16,556 miles
November 12, 2008
We're nearing the 14,000 mile mark on our Ford Focus. Our average fuel mileage to date is 26.4 mpg.
Our worst tank was a couple of weeks ago at 16.6 mpg. But that was really only about a half tank before someone filled it up. The next worst tank was 21.4.
In May, we drove our best tank at 37.4 mpg.
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor @ 13,842 miles
August 04, 2008
A friend of mine is in the market for an economy car. She saw me in the Focus this weekend and
cornered me for a relentless 45-minute interrogation
She wanted to know if I'd recommend the Focus. I told her that the car has its strengths, but whether it's a match for her would depend on her priorities. She said that fuel efficiency is important, but that what she really wants is a car that's "kinda fun" -- something that "doesn't feel too cheap." She really likes luxury cars and wishes she could get an Audi A4, but it's not in her budget right now.
"Take a look at the Volkswagen Rabbit," I said. True, its fuel economy isn't as impressive as that of the Focus, but it offers a more engaging driving experience and impressive luxury for a vehicle in that price range. Just like an Audi, it feels well-planted and Germanic on the road, and its cabin is remarkably polished.
I also told her to take a look at the Mazda 3 and the Honda Fit. Still, if she'd said that fuel efficiency was the only item of her list of must-haves, the conversation would have been different.
Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 11,006 miles
Back to All Long-Term Vehicles
July 15, 2008
The more time I spend with our 2008 Ford Focus coupe, the more worried I feel about Ford's future. Not only is this refreshed Focus a far cry from the second-gen, European-market Focus TdCi I drove a couple years ago, I feel it's a couple steps back from the 1.0 version of the Focus sold from 2000-2007.
I'm not just talking about de-contenting (goodbye, telescoping steering wheel), nor the needless complexity Ford added to the interior (yes, there's Sync, but there are also about 3 times as many buttons and lights). I'm talking about the driving experience, and this one just doesn't measure up. The old car had a terrific freeway ride, yet despite its soft-tuned suspension, it felt light and tossable, and had great steering feel -- and you didn't have to take it on a back road to appreciate its athleticism. I feel almost none of that in this 2008 Focus SES. The highway ride is harsher, yet the old playfulness is gone. The car feels heavy and the steering has about half as much feedback as before.
I had fun with every single one of the old Focuses I drove, including a beater, Euro-spec ZX5 with a weakling 1.6-liter engine I rented once. But driving this one is only a step up from drudgery and I can't even work up the resolve to pair my cell phone and iPod with its Sync interface. Not even those ST knock-off wheels can change my mind.
I know this Focus is selling well right now, but I think it has little to do with the car itself. Instead, it's about Sync and a general feeling of desperation over high gas prices.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ about 10,500 miles
Back to All Long-Term Vehicles
June 30, 2008
With gas prices the way they are, you would think we'd appreciate anything that would seemingly help one achieve more fuel efficiency. And we would, if it made sense.
Our Focus has an instantaneous fuel economy indicator, as some other cars, such as various BMW's, do. In short, these things are an intake manifold vacuum gauge, essentially just showing whether you're on the gas or off. They "work" like this:
-- Accelerate normally and the needle (or in this case bar graph) swings towards the low end. Shame on you, you're guzzling gas!
-- Let up and cruise, and the needle/graph moves around toward the middle.
-- Lift off the gas and wow! You're getting excellent cell phone reception! I mean great mileage. Well, for a few seconds, anyway.
The trouble with these "indicators" is that because it's an instantaneous status, the needle or bar graph is constantly moving to and fro. A useless gimmick that is distracting at best. C'mon guys, we all know that going gently on the gas -- avoiding jack-rabbit starts from lights and stop signs, cruising at a relatively steady speed on the interstate -- will optimize mileage. Fortunately, this function is part of a trip computer's menu that also includes an average fuel economy indicator, the kind you can typically reset whenever you want.
John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 9,744 miles.
June 24, 2008
As gas prices climb higher and higher, fuel-efficient cars like our Ford Focus look more and more attractive. Let's take a look at the latest numbers:
Current mileage: 9,491 miles
Best over life of test: 37.4 mpg
Worst over life of test: 21.4 mpg
Overall average: 27.2 mpg
Official EPA estimate: 24 mpg city, 33 mpg highway
Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 9,491 miles
April 28, 2008
I got the keys to our 2008 Ford Focus SES on Thursday evening and immediately zeroed out the fuel economy meter. By Monday morning I had driven about 100 miles, about 60 percent of which was on the highway. As you can see Ford lived up to its 30+ mpg promise.
True, there are a lot of things the Focus doesn't have...
And as this blog has pointed out over the past months there is a certain cheese factor to the styling. But it is capable of good gas mileage and the higher fuel prices go the more valuable that is. Funny how this car even looks better when you know it's saving you dough.
February 28, 2008
You've probably seen or heard Ford's "Where MPGs meet MP3s" ad campaign for the Ford Focus. The MP3 part would refer to Ford's new Sync system, and MPG boasts about the Focus' respectable fuel economy.
It's not all hype, either. With an EPA-estimated rating of 24 mpg city and 35 mpg highway, the Ford Focus is one of the most fuel efficient small cars you can buy...
You can see how well it ranks using the federal government's fuel economy website.
With the automatic transmission, the Focus' EPA estimate drops a little to 24/33 mpg, with a combined average of 28 mpg. So far, with 3,000 miles on the odometer, our long-term 2008 Focus SES is a bit behind with a lifetime 25.8 mpg. Our best tank so far was 31 mpg.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 3,076 miles