By Scott Oldham -- Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 8.4
Offering a wide assortment of trims (S, SE, SEL or Titanium), powertrains and price ranges, the 2017 Ford Focus sedan and hatchback compete in the crowded compact segment against such highly rated rivals as the Mazda3, Hyundai Elantra and Honda Civic. Fresh styling, along with Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment system and a sporty driving character are hallmarks to the popularity of the Focus, as is turbocharged horsepower. It starts with the extremely fuel-efficient 123-horsepower 3-cylinder EcoBoost engine in the SE. Then there’s the tire-scorching 252-horsepower Focus ST and the incredible 350-horsepower all-wheel-drive (AWD) Focus RS. If green is more your thing there’s also an all-electric Focus that challenges the Nissan Leaf and Volkswagen e-Golf and offers about 80 miles of range.
…you like a little sizzle with your steak, the 2017 Ford Focus offers great styling, impressive handling and some of Ford’s best high-tech features. The 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine is an efficiency leader rated at 40 mpg on the highway, and the high-performance ST and RS offer awesome power and performance.
KBB Expert Ratings
Changes to the Ford Focus for 2017 are minimal. There’s a new SEL package that includes 17-inch aluminum wheels with black sections, fog lights, black headlight bezels and a power moonroof. There’s also a new color called White Gold.
The 252-horsepower Focus ST is Ford’s VW GTI-killer, and it’s quite an impressive piece of work: fast, fun and comfortable. Although when equipped with the optional Recaro seats, anyone with...
... more than a 30-inch waist may find himself wedged in place. The new high-performance 350-horsepower all-wheel-drive Focus RS is nothing short of the new benchmark in the hot small-car market, which also includes the Subaru WRX. It’s a rocket ship that still delivers the practicality of a 5-passenger hatchback. Most will like the ride delivered by the SE trim, which can be nicely loaded up and still remain well below $25,000. The Titanium brings even more bells and whistles, but its larger tires and sport suspension create a rather firm ride. The standard 160-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder in the S Sedan and SE sedan or hatchback is strong. Stopping power is impressive across the line, even the base model.
Ford consistently improves its Sync infotainment system and the 2017 Focus is equipped with the latest and greatest version. Not only is it easier to operate, it has a large 6.5-inch touch screen. It’s much better than the version it replaced, which was marred by too-small alphanumerics and latent response.
The Focus offers three different smooth and powerful turbocharged engines: a 123-horsepower 1.0-liter 3-cylinder designed for maximum fuel economy, a 252-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder designed for maximum fun, and a 350-horsepower 2.3-liter monster for hard-core enthusiasts. But as is usual with turbocharged engines, lead-footed driving can run up fuel consumption.
Ford’s 2017 Focus compact comes with a host of interior upgrades to enhance usability. For example, there's a small cubby and USB port ahead of the shifter, perfect for your phone. The climate controls and steering-wheel buttons are easy to use, and the blue backlighting is both stylish and easy on the eyes. Optional features like a heated steering wheel help the Focus stand out in this segment, and ample sound-deadening helps make the Focus one of the quietest cars in its class. Unfortunately, the Focus’ rear-seat head- and legroom are now surpassed by a number of newer competitors.
Its sleek, raked windshield and tastefully flared fenders give the new 2017 Ford Focus a substantial look that belies its price. The sedan is attractive, but the hatchback is the real looker. And it’s more versatile. Both can be outfitted with wheel-and-tire packages ranging from 15-inch steel wheels on the Focus S to 215/55 tires with 17-inch aluminum rims on Titanium models; Titanium models also offer an 18-inch wheel package with a sport-tuned suspension. The hot ST model and red-hot RS both wear aerodynamic enhancements that announce their intentions but don’t break out the bullhorn. They look racy but not ridiculous.
All 2017 Ford Focus models come standard with MyKey, a feature that allows owners to limit maximum speed and other settings for young drivers. Other standard features for the Focus S include air conditioning, a tilt/telescoping steering column, keyless remote entry and an AM/FM/CD/MP3 radio. SE models get standard Sync with MyFord Driver Connect, cruise control, a folding rear seat, rearview camera and 16-inch tires on alloy wheels. Titanium models add leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, 10-speaker Sony audio, push-button starting, and Sync 3 with MyFord Touch; Focus Electric models get eco-fabric seat covers and voice-activated navigation.
Ford’s new Focus benefits from several option packages. SE models can be equipped with the Sport Package, which adds exterior styling enhancements, paddle shifters for the automatic transmission, revised suspension settings and 17-inch wheels. Also available are a blind-spot-warning system and lane-keeping system. Focus SE buyers can also order the economical 1.0-liter 3-cylinder EcoBoost engine for maximum fuel economy. Additionally, Ford's Sync AppLink is available, allowing Focus drivers to interact with more than 60 AppLink-enabled apps on their phones through the car's Sync technology. Active Park Assist, handling and winter packages, and navigation are also available.
Most Focus models use a 160-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, with either a 5-speed manual transmission or a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic. On the SE with Sport Package and Titanium models, the automated-manual transmission adds SelectShift paddles. To take fuel economy to the next level, the 2017 Ford Focus can be equipped with a turbocharged 1.0-liter 3-cylinder engine. Dressed in its most frugal form, the 3-cylinder Focus SE is rated at 40 mpg in highway driving. Focus Electric models get a 143-horsepower permanent-magnet motor and a range of about 75 miles. The 2017 Focus ST uses a 2.0-liter EcoBoost turbocharged engine that makes 252 horsepower and is mated to a 6-speed manual transmission, while the RS gets a 350-horsepower 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine and standard all-wheel drive.
1.0-liter turbocharged inline-3
123 horsepower @ 6,350 rpm
148 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 30/40 mpg (manual), 27/38 mpg (automatic)
160 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
146 lb-ft of torque @ 4,450 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/34 mpg (manual), 26/38 mpg (automatic), 27/38 mpg (SelectShift automatic)
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
252 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
270 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/30 mpg
2.3-liter turbocharged inline-4
350 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
350 lb-ft of torque @ 3,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/25 mpg
Synchronous electric motor/generator (Focus EV)
23kWh liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack
184 lb-ft of torque
Projected range on a full charge: 76 miles
Note: Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.
A base 2017 Focus S sedan has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting around $18,000. Hatchback variants are slightly more. The performance-oriented Ford Focus ST hatchback starts just over $25,500. The all-electric Focus EV hatchback starts right around $30,000, while the new RS pushes the price to just under $37,000. Unlike some electric cars, the Focus EV is available in all 50 states, and incentives can potentially be worth thousands of dollars. Prices on most Focus models are in line with those of rivals such as the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla sedans, but remain more expensive than base versions of the Kia Forte and Mazda3. Do check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their new Focus. The Focus' resale value has traditionally been fair, but below leaders such as the Subaru Impreza and Honda Civic.