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In order to put together this conclusive review on the new 2010 Ford Focus, TheCarConnection.com's editors researched road tests and reviews from a wide range of sources. Experts from TheCarConnection.com also drove several different 2010 Focus models, including the coupe and sedan body styles, and offer more insight and details where they help you with your own research.
While the Focus may have been extensively refreshed in 2008, the 2010 model is still sitting on the same platform introduced back in 1999. Despite its age, the platform has proven to be a capable performer in the past for Ford, although there have been some complaints that the car could be sportier.
It's been two years since Ford's complete redesign of the Focus, but the fresh styling cues and the fantastic interior are still appealing aspects of the car—though some find the exterior design to be a little bit unconventional. One of the major criticisms of the 2008 Ford Focus was that it was aesthetically lacking, and in the case of the sedan, little was changed in between then and now to alter this image. Ford did, however, take the Coupe and redesign it in 2009. While this was an improvement on the styling front, the Focus Coupe still wasn't the prettiest compact car on the block, and this remains the case for the 2010 model.
Powering the 2010 Ford Focus are the same engines as last year's model, including the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that churns out 140 horsepower in the Focus sedan and, thanks to a new sport-tuned exhaust, 143 hp in the Focus coupe. Buyers can opt for either a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed auto shifter. There is also a superclean 136-hp variant of the Duratec engine available, and in California this qualifies the Focus as a partial zero-emissions vehicle (PZEV).
Like last year's Focus, the 2010 Ford Focus is pleasant and quiet on the inside—a big improvement from the last generation of Focus, which could be a little noisy. The well-reviewed Focus interior is also back this year, and with details like sculpted rings surrounding the instrumentation, there has been praise for both its layout and detail. At the same time, not everything is perfect in the interior.
Ford has really stepped up its standard equipment list with the 2010 model. New for this year, Ford includes four-wheel ABS brakes as standard on every model in the Focus lineup, along with Ford's AdvanceTrak stability control system. Side and curtain airbags for those up front are also standard, along with an occupant-sensing system.
Also standard on all 2010 Focus models is the new MyKey system. Parents of teenagers will appreciate this feature, as it allows them to limit the car's top speed to 80 mph, keep traction control on at all times, and restrict the volume on the stereo to 44 percent of its loudest setting.
In terms of models, you can have the 2010 Ford Focus as either a traditional sedan or a more compact two-door coupe. Available trim levels range from the base S to the range-topping SEL trim, while SE and SES trims fill out the middle. The Ford Focus coupe is only available in SE and SES garb. The 2010 Focus has the same acclaimed SYNC entertainment and communications interface, with two significant differences. First of all, the SYNC system is now a standard feature when the Focus is ordered in SES or SEL trim. It is still available as a $395 option in the Focus' SE trim, but not on the base S model. Additionally, SYNC has been updated to include real-time traffic reports, turn-by-turn navigation, and other features, on top of its ability to link the car to all manner of phones, PDAs, MP3 players, and portable storage devices. Depending on how you store your music and what type of cell phone you have, generally the SYNC system is an excellent interface, and the voice commands help you keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.