Introduced more than a decade ago, the Ford Focus was one of the first small cars from a domestic automaker that was truly competitive with traditionally more dominant models from Japan. An affordable price, sharp handling, expressive styling and availability in multiple body styles all contributed to making this one of Ford's most popular cars worldwide.
Since that time, Ford has gone on to introduce second and third generations of the Focus. Sadly, the second generation lost a lot of the mojo built up by the original, first-generation car. However, Ford has refocused its efforts for the latest Focus, and the new Focus stands as one of our top picks for a small hatchback or sedan.
Current Ford Focus
Available in sedan and four-door hatchback body styles, the Ford Focus boasts eye-catching styling and a sharply designed interior fitted with high-quality materials. It also comes with a peppy yet fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine, a suspension that delivers both above-average handling and a refined ride, and a host of cutting-edge technology features.
The Focus is available in S, SE and Titanium trim levels. Even the S version is well-equipped with air-conditioning, full power features, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a sound system with a CD player and auxiliary audio jack. Moving up through the trims gets you luxuries such as Ford's Sync voice-activated phone/audio interface, leather upholstery, a power driver seat, keyless ignition/entry, rear parking sensors and a rearview camera. There's also MyFord Touch, which features a large center touchscreen that minimizes button clutter. Options include a navigation system and an automated parallel parking assist system.
Under the hood is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 160 horsepower and 146 pound-feet of torque. Transmission choices include a five-speed manual and a six-speed automatic, the latter actually being a dual-clutch automated manual. Fuel economy is quite good no matter what you pick, and with the special Super Fuel Economy option package added, the Focus earns a 40 mpg highway estimate from the EPA.
For even more efficiency, there's the Focus Electric, which is strictly battery-powered like Nissan's Leaf. Propelled by a 107-kilowatt (143-hp) electric drive motor and powered by a 23kWh lithium-ion battery pack, the Focus Electric can be recharged in just 4 hours from a 240-volt power source. Owners can also keep tabs on their electric Focus' charging state via smartphone integration.
In reviews, we've been impressed by the Focus' refined road manners. Handling is sharp, with little body lean in the corners, while the steering is communicative and fairly quick. The ride is firm but well controlled over bumps. In terms of power, the engine offers competitive performance. Changing gears with the five-speed manual transmission adds to the fun, though a sixth gear would be appreciated on longer freeway jaunts. The automatic is the one fly in the Focus' ointment, as it upshifts too quickly and is reluctant to downshift unless the throttle pedal is mashed. But all in all, the Focus is a well-rounded, well-built economy car that is easy to recommend.
Read the most recent 2014 Ford Focus review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Ford Focus page.