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2008 Ford Focus

Overview
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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
2008 Ford Focus photo

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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Buying this car?

2008 Ford Focus Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.8
Out of 10

Based on 431 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

Best vehicle I've ever had.

By on Monday, March 02, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 41,100

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"I think the window sticker had it rated at 35 mpg on highway....i regularly get 36 to 40 mpg and on one trip got 44.2. Don't know what's up with that but I love it. I previously had a 2005 Focus that seemed so loud and really seemed to labor going up hills. This 2009 runs so smoothly and quietly and goes up even the steep hills effortlessly. Love this car......41,000 miles and never a problem!!!!!"

5 people out of 7 found this review helpful

EXTREMELY reliable

By on Monday, March 02, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 165,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "reliability, Sync, MPG"

Cons: "comfort, build quality"

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

"This car has taken a BEATING in it's lifetime. Average well over 20K city miles a year, and have only had to replace wheel bearings in that time (aside from scheduled maintenance). It still gets well over 30MPG highway. I've been most impressed with this little car. It handles great. It tends to have clunking noises. SYNC is a great feature, although it often doesn't interact too well with Apple products. I tend to use USB flash drives as my on-board music system. It is a bit small, and the seats aren't the most comfortable. It does tend to eat tires and brakes. I'd definitely recommend this, especially over the more expensive Civic/Corolla."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

peppy safe and fun

By on Saturday, February 28, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 51,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "reliable, peppy, safe, a joy to drive"

Cons: "none"

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

"we have owned ours since new and it is an amazing car. very roomy for its size, gets attention even though it isn't flashy, is very peppy gets amazing gas mileage and is very reliable"

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Im a Ford person will not change

By on Friday, February 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 197,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "great gass milage, dependable"

Cons: "call owners after 1 to 2 years of ownership"

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

"I have bought 3 others: 3 trucks before my car and very reliable and great gas millage. Others are trying to put me in a Chevy and other cars and trucks but I said no. I had my brother buy a 250 super cab extended bed, and my ex husband bought a 150 extended cab in witch I sold it to them when I sold Fords. Happy with ford even when I was a kid and worked with them in my teens."

solid, dependable transportation

By on Friday, February 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 175,000

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
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

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

"was leery at first about buying Ford, but Chevy and Mopar let me down one too many times. Was glad I bought this car, the only problem I ever had was an a/c problem (evaporator) at about 140,000 miles."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

car runs smooth, gets good gas mileage and comfort

By on Tuesday, February 24, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 35,000

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
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Riding comfort, mpg, appearance outside and in"

Cons: "Not for large people"

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

can carry 5 people comfortably

"Even though it comes with a 4-cylinder engine it has great p/u and go. Has alloy wheels and tires only have 5,000 miles on them. When you put the 2 back seats down you have a large space for cargo. Automatic with o/d, Sirius radio connections, keyless entry, power windows/locks/side mirrors. Smooth ride and over 30 mpg on freeway driving. ABS breaks and front and side air bags. new floor mats. Tilt steering and a/c"

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

can carry 5 people comfortably

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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