2014 Ford Focus

The 2014 Ford Focus continues the tradition of Ford's “kinetic” styling, which emphasizes the car's athletic stance. Courtesy photo


Ford turns its Focus to domestic market

By From page B3 | April 18, 2014

The Ford Focus has been one of the best small cars in the world. The previous-generation Focus was disappointing because it was not as good as its European brother. Now, Ford has brought over the real Focus to our shores once again.

But while the Focus is available in Europe with a host of engine choices, including diesels that get incredible fuel economy, our Focus is available only with one engine. We chose a top-of-the-range Titanium spec model to see how good it is today.

Just like most Americans, the Focus has gotten larger with age. Our four-door hatchback is on a 104-inch wheelbase and takes up 171 inches of parking space. Inside, the driver and passenger have a great driving position with very European seats that are firm yet supportive and comfortable. The rear seats were a little disappointing with less leg room than expected. The trunk is huge with almost 24 cubic feet of space that can increase to almost 45 cubic feet when the rear seats are folded down.

Driving it is fun with a light and nimble feel. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine uses a super-high 12:1 compression ratio with direct injection to produce 160 horsepower. While that may not seem like a lot, it is worth noting that the power is available at mid-range where most of us spend the majority of our time so it feels quicker than it is. Another amazing engineering feat is that despite the 12:1 compression ratio, the Focus is perfectly happy burning regular 87-octane fuel. The Focus is available with a five-speed manual while most people will select the six-speed automatic, which actually gets slightly better fuel economy.

Helping make the car feel nimble and fun is that it is light, at about 2,900 pounds. The front suspension is by MacPherson struts with a 23.5 mm anti roll bar with a multi-link independent suspension in the back with a 19 mm anti-roll bar. The steering is electrically assisted and is rather quick at 2.6 turns lock to lock and, despite the electrical assist, provides good feel of the road. The result is a car that responds quickly to your inputs and is fun to drive. Our Titanium package included 215/50R17 tires on aluminum wheels which provided great grip and a smooth ride. An optional handling package can even include larger 235/40R18 tires if more grip is needed.

Helping things along to make this a fun car in tight city traffic is the good outward visibility, responsive engine, nimble handling and comfortable seats. The car was obviously designed with tight European cities in mind and it works even better in America.

The Focus is economical to run with great fuel economy. The EPA rates our car at 28 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway. Those are great numbers and remember that you can use 87 octane fuel. Focus is also affordable with prices starting as low as $17,000 for the sedan. The hatchback starts out at around $18,600. Our Titanium package car starts at $23,500 and includes lots of luxury car features such as rear view camera, Sony sound system, dual zone climate control, leather wrapped steering wheel, SYNC voice activated communications and entertainment system, leather seats with heat and much more.

The Focus offers a tremendous bargain with great economy in an attractive package that holds five people in comfort. The back seat may be a little tight but the driver will be happy with the responsiveness and the great handling. Now, if we could only get those European diesel engines.

Ali Arsham

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