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2008 Ford Focus

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2008 Ford Focus Review

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While trucks and SUVs remain the heart of its volume and profits, Ford is currently moving to reassert its presence in the car-based side of the market. To that end, its smallest and most fuel-efficient U.S. entry, the Focus, receives a major revamp for 2008 that enhances its appearance, dynamics, safety and features while helping it shed roughly 30 pounds in the process. Although basic platform engineering carries over, new sheetmetal and cabin appointments make a far bolder visual statement that's suitably complemented by an improved roster of standard equipment in all three trim levels: S, SE and SES. The chassis and powertrain also receive some functional massaging aimed at raising the appeal of this affordable and efficient car as it faces off against prime competitors, such as the Chevrolet Cobalt, Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla.

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A new look, more refined handling and additional features make the Focus an even more appealing choice for drivers seeking a value-oriented American compact. However, it's the new SYNC system that really sets it apart from all of its competitors, particularly for those who use their cars as mobile offices or entertainment centers.

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Its serious helping of 2008 upgrades aside, the Focus remains based on a fairly veteran platform that offers potential buyers neither a performance nor a hybrid variant. You'll also have to pay extra for anti-lock brakes, and stability control is still not available on any model.

What's New for 2008

Comprehensive restyling and retuning give the Focus a more contemporary flair and even better handling. The hatchbacks and wagon are discontinued, but the sedan is joined by a new coupe. All now feature air conditioning, tilt steering column and front, front-side and side-curtain airbags, plus SYNC (standard on SES) that adds in-car connectivity for cell phones and personal media players.

Driving the Focus

Driving Impressions Handling has always been a Focus strong suit, and the comprehensive revamp of its fully independent suspension, coupled with a stiffer body structure, adds even more poise and control in...

that department. A rear anti-roll bar, Euro-style chassis tuning and larger 16-inch aluminum wheels wrapped in premium Pirelli tires make the SES the standout player as the roads get twistier, but all of those items are also included in the SE Deluxe Package. Larger, lighter front disc and rear drum brakes improve stopping power, and all models also offer an available anti-lock system with traction control. Improved sound proofing and better overall isolation help cut cabin noise levels by eight percent, helped by a new acoustic windshield and thicker side glass. While not the quickest car in its class, the 2008 Focus does deliver decent gas mileage, which should please those who favor efficiency over exhilaration.

SYNC In-car Communications System
Developed in conjunction with Microsoft, this state-of-the-art in-car hands-free cell phone and personal media player interface is remarkably functional and amazingly affordable at $395.

Optional Leather Upholstery
Available on SES models, with or without heated front bucket seats, it adds a touch of class to the interior of either the coupe or sedan.

2008 Ford Focus Details
Interior

Inside, the Focus gains functionality and boasts upgraded materials. The old "organic" dash contouring gives way to a more traditional---and more attractive---design, netting improved storage spaces, better-positioned controls and attractive ice-blue backlighting. Gauge faces are black on the S and white on SE and SES models, and a dash-top display graces the interior of all models. The large central accent panel, tan or black on S and SE, has an upscale brushed-nickel finish on the SES. Redesigned bucket seats provide more comfort and support up front, while the 60/40-split rear bench can handle two average-sized adults or three kids and adds utility to the 13.8 cubic-foot trunk.

Exterior

The restyled Focus borrows design cues from the more angular Edge and Fusion, gaining crisply-chiseled character lines and a chrome bar grille that help align it more closely with other Ford vehicles. Base S models come with 15-inch steel wheels; the SE gets alloy rims of the same size while SES variants move up to 16-inchers. Chrome faux side vents add a bit of bling to the front quarter panels of SE/SES models and the top-line Focus also swaps black door handles and side mirrors for body-color alternatives and gets a subtle rear decklid spoiler.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Even the Focus S boasts a respectable basic roster of features, including new high-efficiency air conditioning, a tilt steering column, dual 12-volt powerpoints and front, front-side and side-curtain airbags. It also includes an AM/FM/CD/MP3 sound system with auxiliary audio input. Both SE and SES add power windows/locks/mirrors, keyless remote, driver information center and unique alloy wheels (15-inch on SE and 16-inch on SES). Moving up to the SES adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio and cruise control switchgear, upgraded interior trim, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, fog lamps and the slick SYNC in-car communications system.

Optional Equipment

All models can be fitted with anti-lock brakes and traction control, an electrochromic rearview mirror---with or without Homelink and compass---remote starting for cars with automatic transmission and SIRIUS Satellite Radio. The SE offers the Driver's Group Package (cruise control, leather-wrapped steering wheel with auxiliary audio controls, electrochromic rear-view mirror) and Deluxe Package (SES-level suspension/wheel/tire and interior trim upgrades, chrome door handles/mirror caps/exhaust tip). Premium (80-watt) and Audiophile (290-watt) sound system upgrades---each with a six-disc CD changer---a power moonroof and factory-installed ambient interior lighting are SE and SES options. SE buyers also can add SYNC while the SES alone offers leather upholstery.

Under the Hood

The Focus offers two variations on the existing 2.0-liter twin-cam Duratec 20 four-cylinder engine. In Federal form, an improved intake manifold and cooling system help bump output from 132 to 140 horsepower---whether it's paired with the standard five-speed manual transmission or optional four-speed automatic. The "California-spec" engine, mandated in five states, makes only 132 horsepower but qualifies for Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (PZEV) status. While both engines get similar fuel economy numbers in the city, the manual gearbox raises the official highway number from 33 to 35 mpg. Choosing to shift for yourself also results in a bit more spirited acceleration; but even with the automatic, any Focus can cope with in-town traffic and freeway on-ramps.

2.0-liter in-line 4
140 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
136 lb-ft of torque @ 4250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/35 (manual), 24/33 (automatic)

2.0-liter in-line 4
132 horsepower @ 6000 rpm (PZEV)
133 lb-ft of torque @ 4250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/33 (manual), 24/33 (automatic)

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2008 Ford Focus Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.8
Out of 10

Based on 448 Ratings for the 2008 - 2011 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.0/10
    Quality
    8.7/10
  • Reliability
    9.2/10
    Performance
    8.8/10
  • Comfort
    8.7/10
    Styling
    8.8/10

Love this car

By on Sunday, January 31, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "MPG, the look, and SYNC"

Cons: "No automatic headlights and no power seats"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"I have owned this car since 40000 miles. It now has over 100000. I love this car!! It has never let me down. I average about 32mpg. It is loaded with a moonroof, heated leather seats, power locks, windows and my favorite, SYNC. There are only 2 things that I wish it had and those would be automatic headlights and power seats. Small things. Highly recommend."

Great value

By on Wednesday, December 30, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 130,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Good stereo w/aux input; small turning radius"

Cons: "Seats a bit low for shorter people."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Very reliable car. No problems. Has road noise typical of small sedans, but less than my 2009 Hyundai Elantra."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Very manueverable and E-Z to drive city

By on Saturday, November 28, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 95,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, worth the investment"

Cons: "Somewhat difficult to raise or lower driver seat"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Handles well in wet or dry conditions with properly inflated tires. Excellent pick up performance in traffic situations. Nicely appointed interior (leather option seats)very good lighting, easy to use instruments and legible gauges. Very handle console size with center armrest storage in addition to glove box on dashboard. Excellent space to maneuver seats forward or rearward. Backseats fold down easily for more storage access from trunk. Good size head and tail light."

9 people out of 13 found this review helpful

Very Reliable

By on Thursday, October 22, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 133,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "SYNC voice command system, Bluetooth audio"

Cons: "Little leg room in back seat,"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I have had this car for 3 years. iv'e had one car accident and i have Taken it on about 6-7 1,600 mile (round-Trip)Drives. I have, To this day, never needed to take it to get repaired, besides body work from the accident and maintenance. this car has never broken down or left me stranded. i recommend this car to anyone."

8 people out of 11 found this review helpful

Love this car, want another one

By on Wednesday, July 22, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 23,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "great in gas, fun to drive"

Cons: "no power windows"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I have no complaints about this car, hoping to trade in for another with power windows and locks due to my advancing arthritis. Love the very reliable air conditioning too. I would recommend highly."

7 people out of 13 found this review helpful

Great little Car - Fun to Drive

By on Friday, July 17, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 58,433

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Excellent price, for what you receive"

Cons: "Not made for a tall person"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"very reliable, besides normal oil changes, and maintenance just had to change the basics such as tires at 55k miles the battery after 5 years, for 2 speakers they kick out some pretty good tunes. Has Aux input big plus and Sirius for long drives, One thing went bad on me cost 175.00 was the ignition switch. so over all best car I have for the money."

5 people out of 10 found this review helpful

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