The 2014 Ford Focus skips the no-frills small-car image entirely, and it looks good in all of its guises, whether as a four-door sedan or a five-door hatchback. But it does tend to look the best dressed in Titanium trim, where a set of coordinated details give the design some 'pop.'
The exterior design of the Focus looked daringly different when it was introduced a couple of years ago, but now for 2014 it fits right in alongside the newly redesigned Fusion mid-size sedan and the 2014 Fiesta, which gets a new front end with the same new family appearance. The sheetmetal contains a mix of creases and curves, while the rather aggressive front-end design and thin front grille are a new Ford design trait shared with the 2013 Escape.
As with most other current models in this class, there's a rising beltline, as you move to the back. Here it's complemented nicely, as the bulging fenders in front and in back echo the arching roofline and create a very dynamic look from the outside. A subtle curve runs from the headlights all the way to the taillights, just below the beltline, and a sharper crease starts after the front wheelwell and runs through the door handles. The huge taillamps might look a little odd and different from the side, especially in the hatchback, but they nicely frame the corner in both body styles.For better or worse, the cabin appearance takes design and styling to a new extreme. Some might find it a bit too swoopy and overstyled (and it does impinge on space a bit more than it should), but the vertically-oriented vents and pleasant surface scrulpting give it a look and feel that's original and complex--a definite plus in a crowded class of look-alike small cars. On the other hand, Ford has gone with more of an open design for the Fusion, so the look of the Focus (and Fiesta) instrument panel might be a mere blip in the evolution of Ford interiors.
Throughout the model line, there's really something special in the details, compared to most other affordable small cars. Trims and finishes look classy and inviting; the turquoise gauge pointers are a nice touch; and there's a nicely tailored look to the entire interior that extends to door trim and even seats--especially in those top Titanium models.
The styling of the high-performance ST variant is nicely restrained compared to some other hot hatches in this category--with larger wheels, a somewhat lower stance, and different lower bodywork being the key differences. Inside, the ST can be optioned with deeply bolstered Recaro sport seats, which give this hatchback an even more 'premium' look and feel.