2009 Ford FocusEnlarge Photo
The basics: 2.0-liter four-cylinder, 140 hp (143 hp, coupe)
Price: $15,520 and up
Fuel economy: 24/35 mpg (manual)
Rating: 7.0 out of 10
There's plenty to like in the latest edition of the Ford Focus, so long as you skip the exterior and stumble over the base trims for the more well-equipped versions.
TheCarConnection.com's car experts have driven the latest Focus all across the country. Yes, even in Detroit, where the Focus' comfortable, quiet interior acquits itself well on miserable roads. The Focus' interior is styled well, too, and features like the Bluetooth-enabled SYNC controller let you pair your phone and dial up friends and Amy Winehouse without taking your hands from the wheel. In all versions, the Focus is admirably frugal, getting 24/35 mpg with either manual or automatic transmissions.
Technology aside, the Focus is a pretty dull drive, and both coupe and sedan desperately need the kind of makeover that usually follows Ty Pennington screaming in from stage right. The Focus' sheetmetal looks choppy and dull, with clear signals that it was done hastily and at low cost. The engine's not a bad piece, but the Focus' handling has been softened and numbed considerably over the years. The back seat's far from roomy in the coupe (sedans are pretty cozy, though). The damning factor? Base cars don't have stability control standard--they don't even offer anti-lock brakes as standard equipment. That makes the Focus' appeal for first-time drivers much less obvious--or makes its real sticker price a lot higher. Overall, the Focus scores a 7.0 out of 10 from TCC's editors, hampered most by its looks and lack of some standard safety equipment.
Our Bottom Line? The 2009 Ford Focus is a solid choice if you're looking for a roomy car that rides well, with a base price that starts around $15,000, but optional ABS and stability control are major concerns.