Ford Focus Review
The Ford Focus debuted in North America for the 2000 model year. Eventually becoming one of several replacements for the now defunct Taurus, the Focus is a sporty compact. The European Focus received a complete overhaul in 2004, while the American Focus has gone practically unchanged for eight years. The SVT Focus, which was a favorite of both critics and enthusiasts, was regrettably removed from the market in 2004 and replaced by the less powerful ST trim. The Focus has won over fifteen “Car of the Year” awards in both Europe and North America, and is a perennial favorite of Car and Driver magazine.
The BuyingAdvice Team Says:
The Ford Focus is a fun ride for very little money. Unfortunately, Ford has let the Focus languish for far too long and has been overtaken by its competitors. More or less the same car that debuted in 1999, the Focus lags behind the competition on fuel economy, safety, and reliability. Despite its peppy performance, a Honda Fit, Nissan Versa or even a Chevrolet Cobalt makes for better basic transportation at a similar price.
For the most part, the 2017 Focus is a carryover from 2006. The Focus’ CD player can now play MP3s, and models equipped with CD changers now feature audio controls in the steering wheel. The Focus comes in four styles: ZX3 two-door hatchback, ZX5 four-door hatchback, ZX4 sedan, and the ZXW wagon. Four trims are available: S, SE, ST and SES. The S is a very spartan base trim, featuring a CD player and adjustable driver seat. The SE adds many more creature comforts, such as air conditioning, power locks and windows, and a center armrest. The SES adds fog lights, cruise control, tachometer, and an adjustable steering wheel. The sporty ST sedan adds a tuned suspension, along with minor appearance changes.
What’s New For 2017:
What is the Predicted Reliability:
J.D. Power and Associates only gives the Focus two and a half out of five stars in initial reliability. However, the 2004 Focus received five out of five stars from Automotive Information Systems, and overall, the Focus has shown remarkable improvement since its debut. The 2000 Focus was plagued with problems, such as clogged fuel pumps, heater core leaks, water leaks, and vehicle noise. Not only that, but it was recalled no fewer than eight times! However, the Focus hasn’t been recalled since 2002, for a sticky accelerator. Recent Focus buyers have had mixed opinions, with complaints about cheap interiors and a clunky ride. Expect average to below average reliability. Ford’s basic warranty lasts for three years or 36,000 miles.
Analysis Of Safety Ratings And Features:
The Focus performs rather poorly in crash tests. In government crash tests performed by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, it received four stars overall in frontal test, and three and a half stars in side tests. There was also an additional safety concern in side impact crash tests, due to the rear crash dummy’s head smashing into the exterior sheet metal. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tested the Focus without side airbags and awarded it its best “Good” rating for frontal impacts, its worst “Poor” rating for side impacts, and its median “Acceptable” rating for rear impacts. The Focus also lacks safety features. Disc brakes, anti-lock brakes, and traction control are standard only in the ST trim, and are optional in other models. Side airbags are optional in all models.
Pros and Cons:
+ Fun, sporty ride
+ More powerful engine than competitors
– Fewer features than competition
– Poor safety scores and features
There are several better alternatives to the Focus, each offering more for about the same price. The Chevrolet Cobalt comes standard with side airbags, air conditioning, and power accessories. However, the Focus has six more square feet of cargo capacity, and 33 more horsepower than the Cobalt. The Kia Rio also has a bit less horsepower and cargo room than the Focus, but makes up for it with side airbags, air conditioning, and six more miles to the gallon in the city. But it’s the Honda Fit that leads the pack, with standard anti-lock brakes, side airbags, air conditioning, power windows and locks, and four to seven more miles to the gallon than the Focus. The Focus, however, is more powerful, with 27 more horsepower than the Fit.
What Others Are Saying:
“Rumor has it the Ford Focus will not see any significant changes until the 2008 model year. Still, the Focus’ cheeky styling, practical shape and high fun-to-drive factor make it competitive with the latest-and-greatest from Korea and Japan. If you’re shopping for basic transportation and considering a Civic, Corolla, Rio or Accent, be sure to stop by your Ford dealer and give the Focus a look.” – About.com
“We flogged an ST sedan mercilessly across lower Michigan’s twistiest tarmac and came away impressed by its blend of deft dynamics and supple ride.” – Motor Trend
“For an inexpensive but fun car, the Focus is tough to beat.” – Car and Driver
Read more about the 2017 Ford Focus at the Ford manufacturer web site.