2008 Ford Focus Review

Type:

Pros & Cons

  • Plush ride quality, responsive steering, simple controls, very good fuel economy, quiet interior, low price.
  • Bland interior design and materials on most models, no rear headrests.
List Price
$3,900

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2008 Ford Focus is much improved and still fun to drive. As a value-driven choice, it works very well, but those seeking a top small sedan or coupe should look elsewhere.

Vehicle overview

When the Ford Focus debuted for the 2000 model year, it was heralded as an American compact that offered European driving characteristics in an edgy and stylish package. It's been a rare small-car success for a domestic automaker, as usually this segment is dominated by import brands. Even in its old age, the Focus still sells well, usually third behind the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla.

As good as the car was at its debut, it had been soldiering on in the past few years without a redesign. In hopes of keeping it competitive, Ford has refreshed the Focus for 2008. Although the Focus looks new, it is mechanically very similar to last year's model. Still, Ford has revised the suspension, added a few horsepower and updated the interior for 2008.

The new interior has a stylish, somewhat upscale look in SES trim, as that's the version that adds metallic-looking surfaces to the dash. Similarly, white-faced gauges with chrome rings add an elegance previous editions of the Focus lacked. Blue gauge lighting also brings the Focus into the 21st century and contributes to the car's overall more modern feel. But the most significant upgrade for 2008 has to be the addition of the Microsoft-developed Sync system. It works as a Bluetooth connection for your phone as well as a voice command interface for digital music players.

For 2008, a coupe body style joins the Focus lineup for the first time. While at first glace, it seems as if Ford has done little more than reinvent the Escort ZX2, company officials say the coupe was added because buyers are looking primarily for coupes and sedans in this segment. As a result, all hatchback variants of the Focus have been dropped for 2008, including the spacious Focus wagon.

The 2008 Ford Focus' new look seems to be polarizing, with some suggesting it pales in comparison to the Mazda 3 and Honda Civic, while others see the obvious visual connection to other Ford products like the Fusion as a positive. Either way, value is still at the heart of the new Ford Focus. Its low base price, six standard airbags and abundance of options will appeal to those who want more car but aren't willing to pay extra. However, those looking for razor-sharp handling and a premium ownership experience will want to look elsewhere.

2008 Ford Focus models

The 2008 Ford Focus is available as a coupe or sedan. Both body styles are offered in base S, midlevel SE and top SES trim levels. Base models come with features like air-conditioning, tilt steering wheel and an auxiliary audio jack for the stereo. Cruise control and satellite radio are on the options list.

Step up to the SE and many of those features are still optional. The SE comes with full power accessories, remote keyless entry and other options that are not available on the S. Equipment like Sync, an upgraded stereo with a six-CD changer, heated side mirrors, chrome exterior trim, faux-aluminum interior trim, an upgraded driver seat, customizable interior lighting and a leather-wrapped steering wheel all become available on the SE. Fifteen-inch alloy wheels are standard versus the S model's steel wheels with wheel covers.

Top-of-the-line SES versions get 16-inch alloy wheels and upgraded tires as standard as well as adding front and rear stabilizer bars for improved handling. There's no real sport package per se, but the SES is as close as you'll find. This well-equipped Focus also comes standard with much of the SE's optional equipment. Other options for the Focus, depending on the trim level, include leather seating, heated front seats and a sunroof.

2008 Highlights

While not completely new, the Ford Focus gets a significant refresh for 2008. Many of the mechanical components are unchanged, but the car gets a new look inside and out. Ford's hands-free Sync communications system is added to the options list and the base 2.0-liter engine gets a slight power increase. The 2.3-liter engine is dropped, as are all wagon and hatchback versions. A coupe version of the Focus is also new for 2008.

Performance & mpg

Just one engine is available in the Ford Focus for 2008. It's a 2.0-liter inline-4 cylinder good for 140 horsepower. A cleaner version of that engine that earns PZEV tailpipe emissions certification is also available for California-emissions states. That engine makes 130 hp.

The standard transmission on all Focus trim levels is a five-speed manual. A four-speed automatic is available as an option. Opt for any Focus with a manual transmission and fuel economy is estimated at a very good 24 mpg city and 35 mpg highway. Automatics are similar but decrease highway fuel economy by 2 mpg.

Safety

Six airbags are standard on all Focus models. This includes front seat side-impact airbags as well as head curtain airbags for both front and rear seat occupants. Antilock brakes are optional on all trim levels. The rear seats lack head restraints, and stability control is not offered.

Driving

No one will mistake the 2008 Ford Focus for a Mazda 3, but the car is reasonably fun to drive thanks to quick steering. The interior remains quiet on the highway, as there's little wind or engine noise. Occasionally, road and tire noise makes its way into the cabin, but the car is quieter than the previous Focus and quieter than many other cars in its class.

The 2.0-liter engine provides adequate power. Five-speed automatics are increasingly common for this segment, but the Ford must do with a four-speed. Its gears are well spaced at least, and even on steep inclines, the transmission rarely shifts up and down looking for the right gear.

Read our Ford Focus Long-Term 20,000-Mile Test

Interior

The interior of the 2008 Ford Focus has been reworked with new gauges, a different steering wheel and new seats. The seats prove supportive for long driving stints, while the interior environment is fresher and much more attractive. Still, compared to other small cars, the Focus' interior is nothing special in terms of design and materials, even with the optional aluminum-like trim highlights.

New for the 2008 model year is Ford's Sync system. Essentially a hands-free voice-recognition interface, Sync was developed by Microsoft and Ford. It adds Bluetooth functionality to the Focus but requires fewer steps than other systems. You don't have to save voice tags or build lists of phone numbers, as Sync wirelessly accesses your device's phonebook. It offers similar control for the iPod, Zune or other Plays for Sure portable MP3 players.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2008 Ford Focus.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Good Car
Chad Hutchinson,09/06/2015
SES 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 5M)
I've had my car for 7 years bought new, longest lasting car I've owned. Being a home owner I have the same demands for maintenance, so I bought a 5x8 enclosed trailer put a hitch on the focus. I've pulled 50 sheets of drywall, lumber, ATV up north hunting, Ice fishing, car handles it just fine. Without the trailer I've drive through 4 inches of fresh snow fall, on federal land. My brother owned one, a guy who was blinded by the evening sun pulled out in front him, he hit him at 60, and walked away! The only reason I'm writing this review is because I'm looking at buying a newer model, but still keeping the 08' and putting snow tires on it
Focus legacy
carguy1654,08/25/2014
Purchased my 2008 focus SE last summer. It has been so great! 40 miles to the gallon is a plus. It is actually my 2nd focus my first being a 2000. I put 200k on my 2000 and so far 20k on my 2008. Defiantly a HUGE step up. Way better horse power and very peppy style. I would not be afraid to drive either of them across the country tomorrow. Best compact car on the market. Never had a problem with any of my focus's. In a few more years I will be looking forward to buying a next generation focus
Great cheap commuter car
Tom,06/22/2016
SE 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M)
These model Focus tend to have some vibrations you can feel at stops but it's a cheap commuter so you can't be too picky. I've had mine for just over a year (bought used in 2015 21500 miles) and it's been perfect for going back and forth to work in but big enough to move people if need be. I read a two star review saying a new front hub/bearing is only sold with the axle for $800 or something like that, complete [non-permissible content removed] that is, New hub/bearing is $50 off rockauto. Update: December 2017.....Still driving my 08 Focus around, still no issues with it, granted I've only put about 13000 miles on it since I bought it but it still runs like a champ. Really no complaints from me. Great little cars for daily driving.
Problems
Jan,09/07/2010
I traded in my focus for a Toyota Rav4 this weekend, because I can't take a chance on the transmission again. It was overhauled 2 times already by ford, and they never considered putting a new transmission in the car. It is starting to slip again, and so the time came to trade it in. I loved the car with the sync. and other features. Ford has to work on all the transmission problems with all its vehicles.

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2008 Ford Focus

Used 2008 Ford Focus Overview

The Used 2008 Ford Focus is offered in the following submodels: Focus Sedan, Focus Coupe. Available styles include SE 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M), SES 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M), S 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M), SE 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 5M), S 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 5M), and SES 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 5M).

What's a good price on a Used 2008 Ford Focus?

Price comparisons for Used 2008 Ford Focus trim styles:

  • The Used 2008 Ford Focus SE is priced between $4,495 and$5,990 with odometer readings between 72603 and132166 miles.
  • The Used 2008 Ford Focus SES is priced between $3,900 and$4,000 with odometer readings between 128598 and167609 miles.
  • The Used 2008 Ford Focus S is priced between $2,500 and$2,500 with odometer readings between 224193 and224193 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2008 Ford Focuses are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2008 Ford Focus for sale near. There are currently 7 used and CPO 2008 Focuses listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $2,500 and mileage as low as 72603 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2008 Ford Focus.

Can't find a used 2008 Ford Focuss you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Ford Focus for sale - 11 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $15,776.

Find a used Ford for sale - 5 great deals out of 9 listings starting at $16,497.

Find a used certified pre-owned Ford Focus for sale - 4 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $20,876.

Find a used certified pre-owned Ford for sale - 11 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $12,908.

Should I lease or buy a 2008 Ford Focus?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Ford lease specials
Check out Ford Focus lease specials