Another odd duckling this week -- I believe the best-selling Ford Focus is the SE model, but to show off what you can get in a Focus, Ford has sent a loaded Titanium model, like really loaded. This 2015 Focus is the 2.0L GDI model.
As mentioned my tester is loaded and really not missing much at all from a feature or technology stand point. Leather seats, Navigation, automated parking, blind spot detection and more this is one small premium car.
I haven't driven most of the competitors in the compact sedan class in a while now besides the 2015 Toyota Corolla I drove a few weeks back.
First impressions are key for any test car and they are positive for the Focus. I did notice when taking photos that the back seat seemed to have good headroom but leg room was tight -- this is a small car, a compact car even but for some reason it seems shorter than I remember from previous times I've driven it.
Pricing: 2015 Ford Focus Sedan
Base Price (Titanium): $25,899
Options: White Platinum Tri-Coat -- $400; 18-inch aluminum wheel package -- $500; Technology Package -- $950; Winter Package -- $300; Block Heater -- $100; Navigation -- $800; Automated Parking -- $600; Stainless steel scuff plate -- $150, Exterior protection package -- $300.
A/C Tax: $100
Price as tested: $31,664
I have spent a lot of time in this Focus already this week, heck I've already burned through more than half a tank of gas and it is not like this is an inefficient vehicle. During the time I've spent inside the Focus I've started to really warm up to the interior.
I may not be the biggest fan of the Ford Sync system and it would not understand the address I was trying to tell it today but the radio and HVAC controls as well as the heated seats and steering wheel do not require you to use the system. In fact I've barely touched the screen at all despite using nearly all the features of the car so far, so this has been improved over the years with more redundant physical buttons.
The interior works well, the leather seats look really upscale and feel of high quality. At night the interior lighting is also classy although I haven't been able to figure out how to dim more than the dash. There is lighting in the cupholders and at your feet, a feature a lot of times left to luxury vehicles.
I've noticed that when shifting from park or reverse into drive, I tend to hit S (sport) instead. It seems that the shifter has very little resistance or notches so it is too easy to slip down to sport instead of regular drive. There is an indicator on the dash which alerts you, but this has been a minor annoyance I've come across.
Also I've noticed that since the car is fairly small, even for a compact car, the headrest of the passenger seat seems to extend right back into the rear window area. As a result if you have a passenger in the right hand seat and you are at a tricky corner ready to turn left, seeing out can be difficult with the passengers head blocking the front window and the headrest blocking the rear window view.
Those 18-inch wheels on the Focus they look great, but do they certainly are a compromise when it comes to turning radius. Here I am driving a compact car that is shorter than the competition and in order to get myself in a parking spot I have to make more forward and reverse adjustments than I do in a full sized truck.
They are most likely a compromise on the road as well. For those looking for a softer ride it may be an issue. I don't actually find the ride all that firm but I like my cars geared more on the sporty side anyways.
When I first picked up the Focus I thought it was rather noisy in terms of road noise on the highway. I had just stepped out of the Cherokee and it really is all perspective because now it seems to me that the Focus is reasonably quiet for a compact sedan. The 2.0L engine is peppy too, at least around town and up to about 80 km/h. After that it does struggle a little bit accelerating but once up to speed it cruises easily.
If you are one to cruise well above the posted limit, look elsewhere because you need a lot of road to move this car past 120 km/h. Ford doesn't make it obvious to consumers that this automatic transmission really is a dual-clutch and not a typical "slushbox" they are use to.
For the most part it doesn't matter, but you will notice that the car tends to not creep without application of throttle, and if you are moving along bristly and brake and turn briskly as well the transmission can and will get confused and hunt for the right gear, even in sport mode.
The chassis is lively though, the trait that makes the Mazda3 so appealing to drive, a little bit of oversteer, is present here in the Focus. The steering is light but the car feels nimble and is fun to drive as well as comfortable day-to-day.
The new 2015 Focus is one fine-looking car and it certainly has both its positives and negatives but it does lean towards the positive side -- it is a really well-put—together compact car.
I did note that the headlights aren't the best when competitors are using HIDs and even LED lighting the sub-par halogens here are a disappointment. The trunk opening is fairly small, we couldn't fit our cooler in it and it is not very deep -- even with the cooler on its side it barely fit.
Fuel economy was good over the week, I average 6.9 L/100 km which translated to only $45 for 600km around town -- I can't complain about that, well except to say that the Corolla I tested a few weeks ago averaged 6.5 L/100 km.
My tester may have been a little excessive in terms of price and options on a compact car, but the Focus does start at just over $16,000 and it certainly offers a comfortable ride and easy motoring for that price.