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#14

in 2009 Affordable Small Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $8,133 - $9,720
Original MSRP: $15,520 - $18,265
MPG: 24 City / 35 Hwy
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2009 Ford Focus Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

The Focus' engine gets good reviews while its handling gets even better ones. Altogether, the overwhelming opinion is that Ford's car is a competent performer, but lacks personality.

  • "The Focus has given up its enthusiast notions, but is fun to drive for a price-point machine." -- Motor Trend
  • "Where the old car was bouncy and playful, the new one is a bit more mature and buttoned down, yet still involving and enjoyable." -- About.com
  • "Those looking for engaging handling and a premium ownership experience will want to look elsewhere. The Mazda 3, for example, is a much more engaging car to drive (though markedly thirstier). The Honda Civic is slightly more expensive, but it's a much better all-around performer." -- Edmunds
  • "The redeisgned Ford Focus offers decent handling and miserly fuel economy." -- New Car Test Drive

Acceleration and Power

Although the Focus' four-cylinder engine isn't an upstart by any stretched standards, test drivers find it is sufficiently powerful for most small-car drivers' needs. Just like most cars, the Focus' manual transmission is preferred for sportier driving, but most say the four-speed automatic should fulfill drivers' passing and merging needs. The EPA rates the Focus at 24/35 mpg city/highway with a manual transmission, and 24/33 mpg with an automatic.

  • "Power is adequate, and the engine rarely calls any negative attention to itself." -- Car and Driver
  • "The four-cylinder engine was sufficiently, competitively powerful, though not a standout technologically, and a bit boomy sounding under hard throttle." -- USA Today
  • "With automatic transmission, Focus has just adequate power for highway merging or ascending long grades. The automatic provides timely downshifts. Manual-transmission models feel snappier, with better performance overall." -- Consumer Guide

Handling and Braking

Reviewers find the Focus' recently modified suspension provides a better ride and handling than earlier models, but spend little time comparing the Focus' dynamics to other small cars.

  • "The car rides with suppleness it lacked before." -- Motor Trend
  • "I did take it through the bends at a pretty good clip and was impressed by how well it clung to the road." -- About.com
  • "Steering benefitted from being among [Ford's] priorities. Responsive but not twitchy. Strong on-center feel but not dead or numb. Just about right." -- USA Today
  • "Focus brakes have been improved ... The brake pedal allowed smooth stops because it wasn't touchy." -- MSN

Next Steps: 2009 Ford Focus

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