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#18

in 2011 Affordable Small Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $10,676 - $12,333
Original MSRP: $16,640 - $19,670
MPG: 25 City / 35 Hwy
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2011 Ford Focus Performance

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

The 2011 Ford Focus handles well for an affordable small car, but don’t expect too much from it in the acceleration department. It’s sluggish in passing maneuvers, according to most reviewers. Also, the Focus doesn’t have the quietest cabin. Several test drivers report both intrusive engine noise and tire hum.

  • "While not the quickest car in its class, the ... Focus does deliver decent gas mileage, which should please those who favor efficiency over exhilaration." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Road rumble is marked, and the tires thump over expansion joints. The engine sounds coarse during acceleration but quiets down while cruising. The persistent road and engine noise drown out whatever tire thrum there might be." -- Consumer Guide

Acceleration and Power

The Focus isn’t known for tremendous acceleration and many reviewers were left wanting more in passing maneuvers, but it works well as a fuel-sipping commuter car. Around town, reviewers say the Focus is fine, but several reported that the Focus struggles a little bit on the highway. 

Only one engine is available with the Focus: a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 140 horsepower. It’s paired to a standard five-speed manual transmission, although a four-speed automatic is available.

Fuel economy is a stronger point for the Ford. The EPA rates models with a manual transmission at 25/35 mpg city/highway, while models with an automatic transmission average a lower 25/34 mpg.

  • "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
  • "Choosing to shift for yourself also results in a bit more spirited acceleration; but even with the automatic, any Focus can cope easily with in-town traffic, freeway on-ramps and highway travel." -- Kelley Blue Book

Handling and Braking

Most reviewers say that the Focus has agile handling that makes it well-adapted to maneuvering in tight urban spaces.

  • "Sedans have communicative steering and decent grip in fast turns. At highway speeds, though, they are subject to gusty crosswind wander. SES coupes are sportier, with better grip and balance overall. Braking on all is stable, but pedal feel is average." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The limited-slip differential does its job of keeping both tires biting, and the patented front suspension geometry suppresses the torque steer. The little Focus just careers out of the bend with startling fairground-ride physicality." -- Motor Trend
  • "Handling has always been a Focus strong suit, and the recent comprehensive revamp of its fully independent suspension, coupled with a stiffer body structure, adds even more poise and control in that department." -- Kelley Blue Book

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