Introduced near the start of the new millennium, 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 model and is hard to recommend as a used car. However, Ford has refocused its efforts, and as such the latest 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 is a compact car that offers confident handling, a quiet and attractive interior, and lots of high-tech options. There are four main trim levels: S, SE, SEL and Titanium, as well as an electric version. The high-performance Focus ST and Focus RS are reviewed separately.
The standard engine is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 160 horsepower. Transmission choices include a five-speed manual and a six-speed automatic. It's respectably fuel-efficient, but a turbocharged 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine making 123 hp is available as an option, and it ups the fuel economy to an EPA estimated 34 mpg combined. You can get this engine with a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic.
If you don't want to use any gas at all, there's the Focus Electric, which is strictly battery-powered. Propelled by a 107-kilowatt (143-hp) electric drive motor and powered by a 23-kWh lithium-ion battery pack, the Focus Electric has an estimated range of about 76 miles between charges. It can be recharged in four hours from a 240-volt power source. Owners can also keep tabs on their electric Focus' charging state via smartphone integration.
The base Focus S comes decently equipped with features such as air-conditioning, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, and a sound system with a CD player and two USB ports. Moving up through the trims gets you luxuries such as Ford's Sync voice-activated phone and audio interface, leather upholstery, a power driver seat, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone climate control, a sunroof, rear parking sensors and a rearview camera. There's also an 8-inch infotainment screen that uses Ford's Sync 3 system. Major options include a navigation system, blind-spot monitoring and other driver safety features, and an automated parallel parking assist system.
In reviews, we've been impressed by the Focus' refined road manners. Handling is sharp, with little body lean when you're driving around turns, and the steering is communicative and fairly quick. The ride strikes a great balance between comfort and performance. On the downside, both of the Focus' available four-cylinder engines are disappointing. Acceleration is lackluster, and we've found it difficult to match the fuel economy estimates of the 1.0-liter in real-world driving. Rear-seat room for adults is tight.
Read the most recent 2017 Ford Focus review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Ford Focus page.