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2011 Ford Focus

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2011 Ford Focus Review

KBB Editors' Overview

By KBB.com Editors


First introduced in 2000, the compact and fun-to-drive Ford Focus came in wagon, sedan and hatchback form. A 2008 redesign saw the Focus gain an all-new look inside and out as well as a new coupe model, but also the departure of the wagon and hatchback models. Available in S, SE, SES and SEL form, Ford hopes the 2011 Focus' combination of affordable pricing and nifty features, such as the SYNC audio system, will help lure away customers long accustomed to shopping the likes of the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla.

You'll Like This Car If...

A conservative look with refined handling and plenty of cool features make the 2011 Ford Focus an appealing choice for drivers seeking a value-oriented American compact. However, it's the 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.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Those seeking the versatility of a compact hatchback may be turned off by the trunk-only body style of the 2011 Focus Sedan.

What's New for 2011

The Focus Coupe is dropped from the lineup, leaving only the Focus Sedan. There are no other major changes for 2011.

Driving It Driving Impressions

Handling has always been a Focus strong suit, and its fully independent suspension, coupled with a stiff 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 (17s on the SES) wrapped in premium Pirelli tires make the SES the standout player as the roads get twisty. Large front disc and rear drum brakes improve stopping power, and all models feature anti-lock system with traction and stability control. Generous sound proofing, an acoustic windshield and thicker side glass help to lower cabin noise levels. While not the quickest car in its class, the 2011 Focus does deliver decent gas mileage, which should please those who favor efficiency over exhilaration.

Favorite Features

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.

Optional Leather Upholstery
Available on SES and standard on SEL models, it adds a touch of class to the interior of either the coupe or sedan.

Vehicle Details Interior

Inside, the Focus displays functionality and tastefully applied materials. The "organic" dash contouring that made the original Focus so youth-oriented was long ago jettisoned in favor of a more traditional design, netting improved storage spaces, better-positioned controls and attractive ice-blue backlighting. Gauge faces are black on the S and white on SE, SEL 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 and SEL. Tall bucket seats provide good 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 2011 Ford Focus borrows design cues from the more first-generation Edge and Fusion designs, displaying 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, the SEL variant move up to 16-inchers, and the SES is outfitted with 17-inch painted wheels. Chrome faux side vents add a bit of bling to the front quarter panels of SE, SES and SEL models and the top-line Focus also has body-color door handles and side mirrors and gets a subtle rear decklid spoiler.

Notable Standard Equipment

Even the Focus S boasts a respectable basic roster of features, including 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, power locks, remote keyless entry, MyKey programmable vehicle key, a five-speed manual transmission, anti-lock brakes (ABS) and traction and stability control. The SE, SES and SEL trims add power windows, power mirrors and unique alloy wheels (15-inch on SE, 16-inch on SEL and 17-inch on SES). Moving up to the SES and SEL 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.

Notable Optional Equipment

All models can be fitted with an electrochromic rearview mirror – with or without Homelink and compass – remote starting for cars with automatic transmission and SIRIUS Satellite Radio. The SE Rapid Spec Package adds cruise control, leather-wrapped steering wheel with auxiliary audio controls, electrochromic rear-view mirror and SYNC, while the SEL and SES Rapid Spec Package adds the Moon and Tune Package (power moonroof and 190-watt audiophile sound system with six-disc CD/MP3 changer, eight speakers and subwoofer). Other options include factory-installed ambient interior lighting, a four-speed automatic transmission and leather seats (optional on SES, standard on SEL).

Under the Hood

The Focus offers two variations on the existing 2.0-liter twin-cam Duratec four-cylinder engine. In Federal form, the engine makes 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 34 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 easily with in-town traffic, freeway on-ramps and highway travel.

2.0-liter in-line 4
140 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
136 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/35 (manual), 25/34 (automatic)

2.0-liter in-line 4
132 horsepower @ 6000 rpm (PZEV)
133 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/35 (manual), 25/34 (automatic)

Pricing Notes

Ford's aggressive pricing schedule has the Focus S Sedan with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of just over $17,000, including destination fees. The SE starts closer to $18,000 and the SEL at just over $20,000. Even a fully-loaded SES Sedan will barely break the $22,000 mark. Ford's efforts at improving both the features and driving experience have helped bolster residual values across the entire Focus line. However, the Focus is not on par with the new Chevrolet Cobalt or Japanese rivals, such as the Honda Civic, Mazda MAZDA3 or Toyota Corolla.

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