Overview from AutoBlog:
Available in four-door sedan and five-door hatchback models, Ford Focus offers sharp looks, technology and refinement with excellent fuel economy.
Focus comes standard with a 2.0-liter engine with direct injection and twin variable valve timing. A 5-speed manual transmission is standard and a 6-speed automatic with SelectShift is optional. The standard 2.0-liter engine makes 160 horsepower and 146 pound-feet of torque. The 2014 Ford Focus gets an EPA-estimated 26/36 mpg City/Highway with 5-speed manual, 27/37 mpg with 6-speed automatic, both on Regular gasoline.
The Ford Focus models have nice interiors for the class. The soft materials are clearly high quality, while the hard trim looks slathered on. There’s excellent legroom in front, but rear legroom is only moderate. The gauges are easy to read and include a big tachometer and speedometer with cool blue needles.
The MyFord Touch connectivity interface powered by Microsoft’s SYNC comes standard. The system uses twin high-resolution screens, including an 8-inch touch screen in the center console, to communicate with your car. The driver uses three senses: see, hear, touch. Ford says the system is designed to be simple and completely intuitive for the driver, and maybe it was designed that way, but it doesn’t always work that way. We found this latest version of MyFord Touch difficult to use.
On the road, the Focus is exceptionally quiet. A lot of productive effort went into making the cabin silent, with luxury-levels of sound insulation practically everywhere, including the doors, windshield, carpet and headliner. Ride quality was smooth and soft. We found the standard engine extremely smooth with plenty of power. However, we thought the 6-speed automatic was imprecise in its shifting, while the 5-speed manual felt ropey.
Ford Focus competes with the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Chevrolet Cruze, Subaru Impreza, Hyundai Elantra, Mazda3, Mitsubishi Lancer, Kia Forte and Volkswagen Jetta.
The first thing we notice about the Ford Focus is its seats. Focus models have had comfortable seats for years. Focus comes standard with sturdy fabric, leather optional. The seats in the Focus are much better than those in the Chevrolet Cruze. The Focus ST seats are Recaro, and the leather-wrapped steering wheel is thick.
The interior of the Focus feels like a cockpit. With all its bells and whistles, we could easily imagine being a pilot with all those dials, switches, controls that feel like they wrap around to the elbows on the center stack, and LED ambient lighting in a choice of seven colors. The Focus Electric feels even more futuristic, with two screens that show information about driving efficiency, charge capacity and other do-dads related to the electric powertrain.
The gauges on the dashboard and instrument panel are easy to read: big tach and speedo with cool blue needles, fuel and engine temp between them, and easy-to-read digital info above the fuel and temp. The soft materials are clearly high quality, while the hard materials look slathered on: for example four big vertical vents that rival the giant grille in terms of in-your-faceness, and thick shiny trim that lines the edges of the center stack, console, and thick horizontal spokes of the steering wheel. However, we haven’t been in a base S model, maybe it’s got a more spartan interior missing the overkill trim. We have no problem with the optional piano black trim.
The MyFord Touch powered by SYNC connectivity system uses twin high-resolution screens, including an 8-inch touch screen in the center console, to communicate with your car. Ford says it’s designed to be simple and completely intuitive for the driver. We’re not sure they’ve succeeded in achieving this, but they are continuing to work on it.
There’s excellent legroom in front, but the current generation Focus is shy on rear legroom at 33.2 inches, less than the amount offered in the previous generation Focus. Rear legroom is a key feature for a compact car, but Ford appears to have discounted it in the Focus. By comparison, the Volkswagen Jetta, a stylish but not flashy car, has 38.1 inches of rear legroom with the same wheelbase.
The 60/40 fold-flat rear seats increase trunk volume from its so-so 13.2 cubic feet (the Jetta has 15.5) and the hatch cargo capacity to a hefty 44.8 cubic feet.
Ride quality is good. The Focus rides on the soft side, good for commuting while sipping cappuccino. Handling is less precise, however. When we ran a modest rise in the road full throttle at about 60 mph, the car floated and the tires chirped when it came down; typically we might have expected that only at higher speeds. The suspension uses MacPherson struts in front, multi-link in rear.
The rack-mounted power steering system on the Focus was less precise than we’d like, matching the suspension. In our Focus SE with the standard suspension, we struggled to steer the car precisely in the curves, in contrast to the Chevrolet Cruze, which handled like a dream when pushed fast through turns.
Active Park Assist, which will parallel park the Focus for you, while you just sit there. It’s an improvement on the Toyota Prius system, which can only park if the space is 7 feet 9 inches larger than the car; using ultrasound, the Focus needs only a margin of 3 feet. However, it will require the driver’s help with the accelerator in a space that small, because jockeying forward and back is required.
Interior noise is kept to a minimum. A lot of productive effort went into making the Focus cabin silent, including the door structure and sealing, thick window glass, an acoustic layer in the windshield, sound-deadening body panels, foam in body cavities, thick carpet insulation and a sound-absorbing headliner.
Ford Focus is a technology leader in the compact car class. The standard Focus models get good fuel economy and are smooth and quiet.
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