A common question that I've been asked, 'What four-door, four-cylinder car do you recommend?' Whether you are a foreign or domestic fan, this can be an easy or a very hard question to answer. Hopefully, after testing a base model Ford Focus for 10,000 miles, maybe I will have answered some of your questions.
Since I tested a base model, I will be leaving out power windows, door locks, and other features. I will concentrate the road test on appearance, handling, performance, and reliability.
After driving the Corolla, Impreza, and other smaller vehicles, the Focus seems to fit in the 'average' range for looks. Although I may prefer the design of the hatchback verses the sedan, having all four doors with a normal trunk lid has its perks. Actually, since I was driving the four-door non-hatchback, I took advantage of the trunk's unique hinging system that allows for taller items placed closer to the bumper. I suggest a grocery net though, especially if you can't keep your Steve McQueen-like driving under control. I've always been a fan of dark interior; the model I drove combined black and gray and consisted of soft edges to keep with a modern feel. Over time, a noticeable collection of dust accumulated on the dash, which sits back fairly deep, making it hard to clean. A huge disappointment with the interior would have been the water leakage behind the dash during rainy weather. The leak would cause water to drip into the front passenger side carpeted area, so much so that making sharp turns would cause an inch or two of water to shift back and forth. I felt my un-used ashtray could double as a soap dish and I could have a tub on wheels. Hopefully if this happens to you, the warranty will rescue you from the water. If not, the labor alone will cost you hundreds of dollars.
The stereo system sounded fantastic with easy navigating through its features. An annoying problem with a loose face kept shutting off the power, which may be caused by loose terminals. It usually only happened when going over large bumps in the road. I wouldn't let this get you down, you can always amuse yourself with the audio volume control setting. Just be careful if you are quickly accelerating, since it gets louder with speed, it could scare the crap out of you.
Along with the comfortable seats, the handling made it easy to tolerate long trips. Besides the hard shifting in the automatic, I really don't have any complaints about the handling. New tires, perfect alignment, and strong acceleration made for enjoyable long and short trips in the Focus. Also, the RPM's in overdrive kept the sound level low at higher speeds.
The 2.0 Liter, 130 horsepower engine provided enough ponies to compete with everyday traffic. I recommend keeping the overdrive on, unless accelerating up a steep hill. If the typical 2600 lb body is weighted down with more people, or the weather conditions are having a temper, I even suggest dropping it down an entire gear. Overall, keeping up with the preferred oil and air filter changes, the Focus delivers a performance to my standards.
Finally, I'll cover reliability. Sometimes problems can be costly or just more annoying than anything. The first problem was getting a flat tire at over 60 miles per hour. Goodyear was needed to replace the severely damaged flat and cost just slightly over $100. A few weeks later, the water leak previously mentioned and a cracked windshield didn't help my wallet any. Only after a couple days with those repairs made, the engine light came on. The cost of the 'test' cost more than the parts and labor combined. Total costs in repairs after 10,000 miles? Over $520. Some can blame on Mother Nature, others are errors Ford needs to work out.
I look forward to continue driving the cars people ask most about. Hopefully my experience can help you with your decision-making.Kyle McMullen
FORD FOCUS: QUALITY, PERFORMANCE AND REFINEMENT
'It's more than fitting that we kick off our Year of the Car wîth Ford Focus – one of the highest quality cars on the road today. With the 2005 Focus, we have taken a great car and made it better. Our newest addition, the 2005 Focus ZX4 ST sedan, has a performance suspension that borrows key components from the SVT Focus and our European Focus ST170, and it's powered by a smooth revving 2.3-liter engine that we certify to a level twice as clean as the Últra-Low Emissions Vehicle standard.'
– Phil Martens, Group Vice President, Product Creation, Ford North America
The Ford Focus, a favorite of enthusiast drivers and now recognized as one of the highest quality small cars available, will receive major design and engineering improvements for the 2005 model year.
Focus is one of six new Ford and Lincoln-Mercury cars that will launch in 2004. It follows the complete redesign of the company's sport utility vehicles that began in 2002 and the launch of two new minivans and the all-new F-150 pickup in 2003.
Since Focus' North American launch as a 2000 model, auto enthusiasts have frequently praised the car's sporty handling, modern design and exceptionally roomy cabin. In subsequent model years, Ford advanced the basic concept and improved quality. Today, J.D. Power and Associates ranks Focus well above the average in its Initial Quality Study.
Focus Chief Engineer John Sidelko's priority for 2005 was to add more refinement to areas that customers can see and make a bold statement in places they feel and hear – particularly in the 'stop and go' departments.
'We refined the Focus' exterior styling and gave it a smart new interior wîth a very clean, very contemporary instrument panel design. We took a great handling car and made it steer, ride and stop better. And we backed up a great chassis wîth some of the most sophisticated, powerful and ‘green' four-cylinder engines you can buy in any car,' he §äid.
For 2005, Focus will again offer four unique body styles but wîth new, simpler model and trim designations. The range includes a three-door hatchback (ZX3), a four-door sedan (ZX4), a five-door hatchback (ZX5) and a station wagon (ZXW). The entry-level trim series is S, followed by SE and SES, which have higher levels of standard equipment and unique options.
New for 2005, a Focus ZX4 ST performance sedan has been added to the line-up. This sedan will marry chassis components from Ford of Europe's Focus ST170 and the SVT Focus wîth a 151-horsepower, 2.3-liter Duratec engine.
Cleaner, Greener and Meaner Engines
The 2005 Focus, like all other vehicles Ford will launch in 2004, will benefit from the company's 'Revolution Únder the Hood' – a massive undertaking that began about four years ago to improve powertrain performance, refinement, fuel economy and emissions.
Ford estimates the 2005 Focus fleet will produce 32 percent fewer smog-forming emissions than its 2004 fleet – which was already exceptionally clean. But at the same time, base horsepower will rise 24 percent and fuel economy is expected to improve slightly.
Three engines will be offered:
• A new 136-horsepower, 2.0-liter Duratec 20 dual overhead cam, in-line four-cylinder (I-4) engine replaces both the base 110-horsepower, 2.0-liter single overhead cam I-4 engine and the available 130-horsepower, 2.0-liter Zetec DOHC I-4 engines offered since Focus' North American debut in 2000.
• In California, New York, Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine, a super-clean 20E version of the Duratec 20 is the standard engine. All Focuses powered by the Duratec 20E meet California's Super Últra Low Emissions Vehicle tailpipe standard and have zero fuel system evaporative emissions to qualify as a Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle. This means the 20E version of Focus is cleaner than some hybrid electric vehicles.
• A 151-horsepower 2.3-liter Duratec 23 DOHC I-4 engine will power the new Focus ZX4 ST performance sedan, which will be available in all 50 states. This free-revving engine is derived from the same family as the Duratec 20, but its larger displacement and performance-tuned exhaust help it produce 10 percent more horsepower. Torque is 154 foot-pounds, a 16 percent increase, for exceptionally strong off-the-line and mid-range acceleration. The Duratec 20 and 20E are available wîth a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic. Focus ZX4 ST is offered wîth the Duratec 23 engine and a five-speed manual.
Modern and Refined Design
Every 2005 Focus receives a new front-end treatment that echoes cues from Ford's new flagship sedan, the Five Hundred, which was unveiled at the 2004 North American International Auto Show.
Focus designer Larry Erickson calls the look more 'upscale' and 'aspirational.' The new hood and fenders fall away less sharply than the original design, so the car appears more substantial, particularly in a three-quarter view. Detail changes include new headlamps wîth reshaped clear lenses, a larger grille wîth a new diamond pattern ringed in chrome and a new fascia that incorporates a wide lower air intake and new, round fog lamps.
To better resist dents and dings, a new, harder steel alloy is used for the hood, and the plastic fascia is 11 percent thicker. Sedan models also receive new taillamps and a new rear bumper fascia that looks sportier and has a more finely detailed lower valance.
The most dramatic design departure from the original Focus, however, is the car's new interior. The instrument panel is an all-new design that directly reflects the priorities Ford has set for its interiors: clean and modern lòòking, highly functional and built of high-quality materials.
'Úsing simpler forms and straightforward, easy-to-use instruments and controls allows you to achieve a very high level of craftsmanship,' said Erickson. 'We then use color and texture to create a personality for each vehicle.'
The instrument panel is symmetrical; the driver and front passenger areas are divided by two rectangular climate control registers, the hazard switch and a shallow center stack for the audio and climate control systems.
Four different interior color themes are offered across the model lineup. A monochromatic Charcoal environment is offered on Focus ZX4 ST, ZX3 and ZX5. All models except Focus ZX4 ST offer a two-tone Flint interior; Focus ZX4 and ZXW also offer a two-tone Pebble interior. On two-tone models, the lower portions of the instrument panel and door trim panels are finished in a lighter shade to create an open feeling in the cabin. Both cloth and leather seating surfaces are available; Focus ZX4 ST offers unique woven fabrics or preferred suede seating surfaces wîth leather trim.
Several storage areas were designed into the new instrument panel, including a large glove box, a storage drawer for six compact discs, located by the driver's left knee, and an open storage space located just below the climate control dials.
A standard floor console houses the shifter assembly, two cup holders, the parking brake lever and controls for certain optional features, including the traction control system. An overhead console, that includes a sunglass holder and space for a garage door opener is a new option. Additional storage can be found in the front doors, which now include molded-in bottle or cup holders.
Chassis Refinements Build on Focus Strength
The soul of every Focus is its chassis. Rack-and-pinion §teering and a four-wheel independent suspension that uses MacPherson struts in front and a multilink Control Blade design in the rear combine to deliver nimble handling wîth a smooth, well-controlled ride.
Entry-level S models now ride on 15-inch steel wheels and all-season tires, instead of 14-inch designs. Fifteen- and 16-inch alloy wheels are available on the SE and SES series.
SES series sedans and hatchbacks, the ST sedan and the SE wagon are fitted wîth a 21mm front and 20mm rear stabilizer bars for even sharper §teering turn in, reduced body roll and better tracking. The rear stabilizer bar also allows lower rear spring rates to be used for good ride quality.
Focus ZX4 ST delivers an even higher level of performance. It rides on unique 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels, Pirelli P205/50R16 all-season radials and uses the same front struts and rear shocks as the European Focus ST170 and the 2004 Focus SVT. These struts and rear shocks are about 50 percent stiffer than the ones used wîth the SE and SES suspension.
Customers already familiar wîth Focus' dynamic capabilities will notice an even higher level of braking performance. Most models continue to use a combination of front disc and rear drum brakes. But for 2005, new brake linings are used, and total brake swept area is increased by 17 percent, thanks to a 1-inch increase in front rotor diameter to 10.9 inches.
The new linings have a less aggressive initial 'bite' but cover a larger swept area. The new system is responsive and easy to modulate. In addition, the linings will be quieter, last longer and generate less black brake dust than the old design. The larger rotors are expected to improve brake cooling performance and rotor durability under severe duty.
The ST model uses the same front brakes but adds rear-wheel disc brakes, which are more responsive than drum brakes.
Comfort, Safety and Convenience – No Matter the Budget
Focus has always been distinguished from other small cars by the range of models, features and options that make the car attractive to everyone from entry-level customers to performance enthusiasts. For 2005, the models, options and packages are simplified to make ordering easier.
With an eye towards safety, Focus uses the latest occupant-sensing technology for the front passenger seat. In certain frontal impacts, this system will turn the front-passenger air bag on or off after determining whether the seat is occupied by an adult or a child. Ford continues to recommend that children under 12 ride in the back seat secured by a safety belt or child safety seat.
Side-impact air bags are optional on all series. Other available equipment (depending on model) includes a four-speed automatic transmission, antilock brakes wîth traction control, power moonroof, leather seating surfaces, heated seats, perimeter alarm and an Audiophile sound system wîth Sony speakers and subwoofer.
Source - Ford
ONE MILLIONTH FORD FOCUS STARS AT BRITISH SHOW
BRENTWOOD, Essex, 12 July, 2006 – Sales of Britain's top-selling car have broken seven figures, wîth car number 1,000,000 on display at the British International Motor Show. The 1,000,000th Focus sold in Britain is a five-door, bio-ethanol flexi-fuel vehicle (FFV), and will be handed to its new owner by Ford of Britain chairman Roelant de Waard at the British International Motor Show on Tuesday.
Roelant said: 'Ford has developed a real winner wîth the Focus. Top of the bestsellers list for eight years proves its amazing popularity wîth British motorists. The Ford Focus was first wîth a flexible fuel vehicle in its range. I'm delighted we have found another Ford Focus FFV customer who will be joining us on motor show press day.'
The Ford Focus has been Britain's best-selling car for its entire lifetime. When the original went on sale in 1998, it transformed family motoring. With cutting edge styling, exceptional driving dynamics, practicality and value for money, it hit 100,000 sales in just 12 months.
The Focus was initially launched in three and five-door versions, but four-door and estate models soon followed. In 2002 the iconic 215PS, WRC-inspired Focus RS rolled off the production line and British customers snapped up 2,147 of the 4,500 produced for Europe. In 2003 the Focus C-MAX multi-activity vehicle was launched.
An all-new Focus arrived in 2004 and just 12 months later the fastest ever production Focus went on sale: the 220PS Focus ST. At the same time a bio-ethanol version of Focus badged Flexi Fuel Vehicle (FFV) was introduced and in 2006 the Focus family will expand once more wîth the stylish Coupe Cabriolet due to go on sale in October.
Focus facts • 1,000,000 Ford Focus models from its debut at the 1998 British International Motor Show to this year's show
• Favourite body style is five-door hatch, accounting for 32 per cent of sales
• Next favourite is the five-door Focus C-MAX Multi-Activity Vehicle (27.5 per cent of sales), followed by three-door hatch (20 per cent), estate (14.5 per cent) and four-door saloon (six per cent)
• Blue is currently the most popular Ford Focus colour (33 per cent), wîth silver not far behind on 31 per cent .
• 15 per cent of Focus cars are black. Red, accounts for five per cent of the range
• Most blue Focus models were bought at Ford dealers in the Hounslow area of Middlesex, Leicester and Úxbridge, also in Middlesex
• Leicester is the number one home of the grey Ford Focus
• Ford employees take the biggest share of racy red Ford Focus sales, which are registered in Brentwood, Essex – home of Ford of Britain HQ Source - Ford
FOCUS ON FOCUS
There's a reason Ford's small car is making headlines.
The Ford Focus has been garnering a lot of attention lately. The Ford Focus earned the top rating in the compact car §egmènt in the 2006 AutoPacific Ideal Vehicle Awards. CNNMoney.com named the Focus one of its '2006 Best Cars for Teen Drivers.' Focus sales have increased steadily in 2006, driven in part by higher gas prices. May sales of 20,391 were up 13 percent over the same month a year ago.
The Focus' appeal goes beyond fuel economy and affordability. Focus customers can choose from four body styles: three-door and five-door hatchbacks, a sedan and a wagon. The wagon offers 73.1 cubic feet of cargo space behind the front seat. For those seeking a little more sport in their small car, the ST version includes such features as a sport-tuned suspension, ground effects and two-tone red and black seats.
Three engine choices include a 136-horsepower, 2.0-liter, Duratec 20 dual-overhead-cam (DOHC) inline four-cylinder (I-4) and a 151-horsepower, 2.3-liter Duratec 23 DOHC I-4. Customers in California, New York, Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine can opt for a super-clean, 130-horsepower Duratec 20E that qualifies Focus as a Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle. The 20E version of Focus is cleaner than some hybrid gas-electric vehicles. The Focus also offers a choice of a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission. (posted on conceptcarz.com)
The Focus interior is clean and modern-lòòking, highly functional and built of high-quality materials. Storage areas include a drawer for six compact discs, located by the driver's left knee, and an open space just below the climate control dials. Focus has two cup holders molded into the console and a beverage holder molded into each front door. A CD and MP3 player is standard across the Focus lineup.
Focus adds even more options for 2007. Customers can choose leather-trimmed sport seats wîth contrasting leather inserts on the ST sedan, as well as on all the SE and SES models except the wagon. The Street Appearance Package's unique body-color fascia wîth fog lamps and lower air deflector, body-color rear bumper trim wîth black diffuser insert and bright exhaust tip give the Focus an aggressive, customized tuner look.
Two colors are added to the palette for 2007. Choose from Kiwi Green Clearcoat Metallic and Aqua Blue Clearcoat Metallic.Source - Ford
'FORD FOCUS WRC SIMULATOR' DELIVERS REAL WORLD EXCITEMENT OF CHAMPIONSHIP AUTO RACING
The 'Ford Focus WRC Simulator ' will bring the thrills and excitement of championship auto racing to the 28th Bangkok International Motor Show through the driver's seat of its Ford Focus WRC – winner of the World Rally Championship 2006. The Simulator will make an advance-public preview at Siam Paragon's Auto Gallery, 2nd Floor, from March 23-25. Bangkok, Thailand, March 23, 2007 - Ford Thailand is bringing the real-world thrills and excitement of championship auto racing to Thailand wîth the debut of its 'Ford Focus WRC Simulator '. Demonstrations will be open to the public at Siam Paragon's Auto Gallery (2nd Fl.) until March 25, and the Simulator will move to Ford's booth at the 28th Bangkok International Motor Show at BITEC from March 30-April 8, to give attendees the ride of their life without ever leaving the show floor.
The Ford Focus WRC Simulator, which Ford showcases around the world during the auto 's biggest events, was imported from the ÚK especially for the Thai public to enjoy during the Bangkok International Motor Show. The built-in simulator puts willing and eager volunteers in the driver's seat of the Ford Focus WRC car – winner of the World Rally Championship 2006 – to experience, first-hand, the excitement of professional WRC racing .
The Simulator is designed wîth exact specifications of the real Ford Focus rally car, and the action is simulated wîth Sony Play Station software and specially installed sensors that provide the visual, audio and varying physical effects of a real racing experience. Drivers who get behind the Simulator's wheel will have their performance and time recorded, so winners can be determined.
Mr. Piemsuk Suthapreeda, Brand Manager – Passenger Cars, Ford Thailand, said, 'The Ford Focus WRC Simulator was built to celebrate the success of the Ford Focus WRC at the World Rally Championship 2006. The Ford Simulator will give Thai motor sport fans the unique and enviable opportunity of experiencing the power, speed, sounds and sensations of true championship racing. It will also give them something truly memorable to take home from the Motor Show.'
The World Rally Championship (WRC) is the only motor sport worldwide where real-world road cars are used to compete. It's also one of the automotive world's biggest and most challenging rallies, where only the most durable and high-performance cars can compete. So WRC cars, like the Ford Focus, have been modified to enhance their performance and ability to handle various challenging road conditions, ranging from smooth asphalt, to snow and ice, and rutted boulder-strewn tracks. Each season of the WRC runs for 12 consecutive months and includes 16 rounds of rallies on five continents.
'Winning the WRC is clearly highlights the underlying durability, reliability and performance of the Ford Focus, especially its superior suspension and handling, its powerful, high-performance engine, and its aerodynamic design that significantly improves its speed,' said Mr. Suthapreeda.
Bangkok International Motor Show – Ford Focus WRC Challenge During the 10-day Bangkok International Motor Show, Ford will organize the 'Ford Focus WRC Challenge,' wîth a limited number of customers eligible to participate. Customers who fill out a provided application form will have the opportunity to compete for each day's highest score. Special prizes will be awarded from the Puma shoes, and daily winners will compete for the Grand prize of a Sony Play Station on the final day of the Show.
Ms. Duangkamon Isarapandh, Public Affairs Director, Ford Thailand, said that Ford's theme at this year's Show will reflect its recently launched 'Make Every Day Exciting' campaign. The booth will highlight Ford's brand image in a creative and colorful atmosphere, and present the personality and benefits of both its vehicles and aftersales services in a friendly and approachable way.
'Our booth is designed to enhance Ford's brand image and personality as warm, friendly, and energetic, and one that gives peace of mind to our customers. The activities we've prepared and the presentation of our vehicles will help highlight the unique ways that Ford helps to make every day of our customers' lives exciting,' said Ms. Isaraphand.
Ford will also introduce a new customer service program at the Show – Ford Solutions – which will continue to strengthen its aftersales service offerings.
Ford Solutions offers the largest variety of programs of any extended-warranty service in the Thai market, helping give Ford customers' peace of mind and worry-free driving. Each program is designed to provide world-class coverage to customers when and where it might be needed, whether it's warranty protection, road-side assistance or first-class insurance. Ford Solutions customers are guaranteed authentic Ford spare parts, maintenance performed by certified Ford technicians, and the convenience of one-stop service.
'Our new 'Make Every Day Exciting' campaign illustrates the active role of the Ford brand and Ford vehicles in their lives of our customers, and our booth really highlights that genuine and direct connection,' Mr. Isaraphand concluded.Source - Ford
FORD FOCUS WINS 'BIO AWARDS' AT MOTOR EXPO
• Visitors to the Motor Expo 2006 voted Ford Focus the best in terms of environmental friendliness.
• Ford Focus is the country's first passenger car that is capable of running on either gasoline or gasohol wîth up to 20% ethanol blend and the country's best-selling sedan in 2006.
• Ford Focus has also proven its power by winning the World Rally Championship Mnufacturer's title in 2006 by the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile.
Bangkok, Thailand, February 23, 2007 – Ford Thailand has added another award to its collection when its E20-capable Ford Focus was voted by the visitors at the Thailand International Motor Expo 2006 the winner of the 'Bio Award', an award presented to the passenger car that best suite the event's theme of the year which is 'biofuel vehicles'.
Ms. Duangkamon Isarapandh, Public Affairs Director , Ford Thailand, said, 'Ford Focus is not just a fashion car, but an environmentally friendly and powerful passenger car. The BIO Award is clear proof of Ford's commitment to innovative product development based on environmental responsibility and our intention to campaign for public participation in environmental conservation.'
Ford Focus is the country's first passenger car that can support both gasoline and gasohol wîth up to 20 percent ethanol blend (E20). Its E20-capable engine not only saves fuel costs but also effectively reduces emission and the country's dependency on import oil because ethanol can be produced from locally grown crops.
With its environmental friendliness, European styling and superior ride and handling, Ford Focus became Thailand's 4 th best selling passenger car of 2006. Its total sales throughout the first 14 months after November 2005 launch were 5,466 units. The sedan has also won several awards including the Car of the Year 2006 in both 1.8L 4-door model and the 2.0L 5-door model category at the Bangkok International Motor Show 2006.
In addition, Ford Focus is second to none in terms of performance. The Focus RS WRC 2006, a modified version for rally, recently won the World Rally Championship's Manufacturer's title for 2006.
'These accomplishments, be it the awards for quality, design, environment or power, are the pride of Ford, the manufacturer, as well as all the owners. Ford Focus is ready to 'Make Every Day Exciting' for all customers by helping them enjoy all aspects of lives,' said Ms. Isarapandh.Source - Ford