With its redesign last year, the Ford Focus earned a new direct-injection engine and an available six-speed PowerShift automatic transmission, plus improved aerodynamics, and a host of other advancements that altogether provided a big boost to fuel economy figures.Get the manual gearbox and you'll see gas mileage that's a little lower, if you go by the estimate, at 26 mpg city, 36 highway. With the PowerShift automatic, the Focus returns 28/38, and when optioned with the Super Fuel Economy (SFE) package (only offered with the automatic), the ratings go up to 28 mpg city, 40 highway.
That's close to the best in this class, but not quite; the Chevrolet Cruze Eco manages 42 mpg highway, for example.
Take the performance route with the Ford Focus ST, and it's not as bad as you might think. The 240-hp EcoBoost turbocharged engine still gets 23/32 mpg--and regular gasoline is fine.
It's also worth pointing out that the Ford Focus Electric--an all-electric version--is now widely available and has been certified at 105 MPGe, a measure of the distance it can travel electrically on the energy content of 1 gallon of gasoline. Ford's greenest model is only available in a handful of U.S. markets, however, and Ford appears to be lukewarm on the $39,995 battery-electric car. Just 685 of them were sold throughout 2012.