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#7

in Affordable Small Cars

MSRP: $17,170 - $24,370
Invoice: $16,183 - $22,726
MPG: 26 City / 36 Hwy
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Ford Focus Performance

The 2015 Ford Focus earns praise for its nimble handling and communicative steering, which reviewers say make it lots of fun to drive. Test drivers say the newly available turbocharged three-cylinder engine has plenty of power, but some think that the three-cylinder Focus isn’t geared correctly for low-speed driving. Additionally, critics comment that the base Focus’ optional automated manual transmission doesn’t shift smoothly at low speeds.

  • "The 2015 Ford Focus follows in the footsteps of its predecessors. As a 'world car,' with similar versions sold in multiple countries, the Focus is designed to appeal to just about everyone in the world, really. So it's not surprising that the Focus delivers a first-class driving experience. All models combine a comfortable ride with confidence-inspiring driving dynamics." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Bookending this low-speed uncomfortableness is the Focus 1.0's absolute pleasantness at sustained cruising. Thanks to some high-tech internal balancing, the EcoBoost 1.0 is sour cream-smooth on the open road and very little engine noise penetrates the cabin." -- Edmunds
  • "The Focus' European heritage is also reflected in its sturdy platform and well-executed mechanicals, which make for a surprisingly fun small car." -- Left Lane News
  • "Thanks to its Continental turbo that helps deliver the engine's full 148 pound-feet of torque from just 1,400 rpm, the 1.0-liter EcoBoost behaves like a much larger unit - in fact, its power delivery characteristics are almost diesel-like in the way it delivers strong low-end performance but doesn't like to rev much." -- Autoblog

Acceleration and Power

The Ford Focus comes standard with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 160 horsepower, which is paired with either a five-speed manual or six-speed automated manual transmission. A turbocharged 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed manual transmission is available.

The performance-oriented 2015 Ford Focus ST comes with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 252 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. The Focus ST comes with a six-speed manual transmission.

Test drivers write that the optional three-cylinder engine has plenty of power and delivers peppy acceleration from a stop. However, some critics note that the six-speed manual transmission in three-cylinder models isn't geared effectively for low-speed driving, which means you might have to make a shift in order to keep pace with slow-moving traffic. Reviewers also say that the automated manual transmission that’s available with the base engine does not shift very smoothly at low speeds.

  • "A well-sorted five-speed manual is standard on most Focus models, while a six-speed dual-clutch automatic is optional. The latter behaves differently than a traditional torque-converter automatic, which is both good and bad. On the negative side, the dual-clutch can be slightly herky-jerky at lower speeds, and it doesn't always creep forward the way one would expect, which can make parking a little touch and go. It does, however, provide smooth, rapid shifts once underway and return excellent fuel economy. …" -- Left Lane News
  • "The six-speed manual gearbox we sampled - the only transmission so far confirmed as available with the EcoBoost at launch - was a pleasure to use, with a light, direct action and a clutch pedal to match. With all that torque down low, you won't feel the need for constant shifting around town (though first gear is a bit short). … In any case, the car never felt out of breath." -- Autoblog
  • "If your commute involves a lot of stop-and-go, sub-20-mph slogging about, the smaller engine will constantly be in the wrong rev range for keeping up with traffic." -- Edmunds

Handling and Braking

According to reviewers, the front-wheel drive 2015 Focus has agile handling, strong brakes and communicative steering. They note that the ride is comfortable in most models, while a sport-tuned suspension makes the Focus Titanium ride a bit more firmly.

  • "The top-level Titanium with its sport suspension rides a little firmer, but with even better handling. With front disc/rear drum brakes on the Focus S and 4-wheel discs on higher-trim levels, the brakes deliver sure stops." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "With a multi-link suspension - that's a sophisticated touch for this price point - and a well-weighted, communicative electric power steering system, the Focus is a nimble, playful and planted backroads companion." -- Left Lane News
  • "... we observed a mature, well-damped ride from the Focus' recalibrated suspension and pleasingly weighted steering with good accuracy and decent feedback for an electric system." -- Autoblog
Review Last Updated: 11/20/14

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