Saturday Road Test – Ford Focus 1-liter

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 Ford Focus SE

 One, Three, Turbo

By Ron Amadon

DAMASCUS, MD. – One liter, three cylinders, with a turbo borrowed from the Fiesta is what makes this “Ruby Red” Ford compact go.

 Think 123 horsepower at 6,000 rpm with 125 lb-ft of torque @ 3,500 rpm tied to a six speed automatic tranny. A six speed manual is also available.

 From a stop light there is a bit of a commotion when the stop/start gas saver does its thing not always smoothly.  Initially the little three feels peppier than one might expect.

 But things bog down when you need extra oomph (that’s a technical term) in the moments when you are entering a high speed highway. Then you remember that 0-60 in this compact is slow – 10 to 11 noisy seconds depending on who is keeping score.

 HOWEVER. Once you reach cruising speed the Focus is an enjoyable companion with a quiet cockpit, comfortable seats, a decent sound system, and simple controls that don’t require the owner’s manual to determine their function.

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 And there is excellent value here. For a take home price of just $22,350, the middle of the range SE model, had a “Reverse Sensing System” that worked just fine except it is viewed on a center dash 4.2 inch screen that is one of the smallest on the market.

 Also on the list was an exterior protection package, cargo area mat, LED lighting, and 16” aluminum wheels.

 The SE was rated at 28 mpg city, 40 on the highway for a combined 32 mpg. I ended the test week at a respectable 30.1 mpg.

 But step up to the 2.0-liter four with 160 horsepower and the economy figures are 26/38/31, so selecting additional go power will not be a penalty at the pumps especially at today’s prices. Regular unleaded of course.

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 On a day’s drive the manually adjustable seats were more comfortable when one might expect at this price range. But legroom was a forgotten commodity in the rear seats that are best reserved for small children. Those 60/40 seats fold down for improved cargo hauling.

 The big news inside is the new Sync 3 interface that replaces the old and scorned MyFord Touch system.

 Handling was better than expected on twisty country roads and Ford gets an A for combining that with excellent ride quality.

 On the horizon is a revamped Focus that may debut in 2018. Rumors have it that, in the grand old Detroit fashion, the new Focus will be larger and spy pictures would appear to back that up. Car and Driver has a spy shot of a high performance model, the RS500, with lots of scoops and air dams that promise a very lively performance figure or three.

 Certainly, the new one will have more leg room out back. 

 When this new model will appear is not clear as of this writing – whether it will be in 2018 or 2019 model years.

 While everyone will be waiting for official word from the Blue Oval, let me say the current model was a pleasant experience. I came away with the feeling that it was a pretty darn good set of wheels when one factors in the price. Yet I would opt for the 2-liter power plant.  

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