There's something charming and premium about the interior of the 2014 Ford Focus. It can feel more like a European sport sedan than a budget-priced hatchback.
You're likely to be happy with the Focus in most respects--it's a rather roomy, versatile, and refined small car--you might agree that the overly styled instrument panel layout detracts from front-seat space and usefulness.
Whether you choose the sedan or hatchback, you get back seat accommodations that are virtually the same, with just enough legroom and headroom to fit even those over six feet. With the leather upholstery, there's no skimping on look and feel in back; you won't get mid-size comfort, but there's enough comfort back there for most six-footers.
Even the front seats in the lower-priced Focus models have good support—better than what's offered in rival models. Get the upgraded sport seats of the Titanium model, and you'll have both thigh and back support for long trips, plus a little more lateral support. The top-tier Recaro seats in the Focus ST might not be for everyone; they're very snug, and their single-piece design definitely doesn't fit all; so try before you buy.
Actually, our most significant complaint is of the instrument-panel design; with its sharp, angular design, it tends to cut into front passenger knee space.
The hatchback is definitely the way to go if you want a little more versatility, although the amount of usable cargo space, numbers aside, is about the same. To get that nearly flat cargo floor, seat-folding is a bit more involved than in other compact cars—you can't release the seatbacks from the cargo area, and the headrests do get in the way—but the counterpoint to that is that the rear seatbacks aren't just park benches. They're nicely contoured, and although there isn't all that much legroom for taller adults, it's a well-designed space.
Ride comfort is impressive, even though the Focus is one of the firmer-riding small cars, its more sophisticated suspension tuning filters out the most jarring bumps.
The Focus makes some major strides in powertrain refinement; in nearly any of the models, you can hit redline without the boomy, thrashy sounds that were a small-car commonplace not too long ago. The exception is road noise; it's pretty typical for this class, and coarser road surfaces tend to ring into the cabin.