Despite its ubiquity, Ford's Focus is one impressive global car. Designed and sold across the world, it's been tailored to meet the needs of just about every sort of driver. Green-minded motorists have a choice between a novel three-cylinder engine and an all-electric version. Go-fast enthusiasts have a choice between two turbocharged models that deliver high- and warp-speed acceleration. And even if you don't fit into either of those camps, the standard Focus has much to offer the Canadian compact car buyer.
Offered in four-door sedan and five-door hatchback (a wagon also exists, but is not sold here), the Focus has been the subject of continual improvement. The most recent updates have transformed the Focus into a handsome machine with Aston Martin-lite styling with plenty of European flair.
The Focus is offered with a choice of four different engines. Most models come equipped with a 2.0-litre Ti-VCT four-cylinder naturally aspirated engine which develops a competitive 160 hp and 146 lb-ft of torque. It's paired to either a standard-issue five-speed manual or a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
Optional to the Focus is a 1.0-litre EcoBoost three-cylinder. Despite its small size, it's a reasonably powerful engine. Decent low-down torque (125 lb-ft, total) gives this engine plenty of meaningful real-world grunt and engine idle stop helps to curb consumption further. Last year saw the introduction of a traditional six-speed automatic to the lineup; it was previously only available as a six-speed manual.
For those wishing to completely curb their gasoline consumption, the Focus Electric now offers an increased range to claw back some of the difference between it and the Nissan Leaf with its optional 30 kWh battery pack. It's still projected to trail the all-electric Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3, though.
At the top of the heap are the Focus ST and the RS. The ST uses a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder that develops 252 hp and drives the front wheels through a six-speed manual transmission. Sharp steering and a firmed up ride make it a real GTI rival. The RS punches way above its league thanks to 350-hp 2.3-litre EcoBoost four-cylinder, and a clever all-wheel-drive system that has a built-in drift mode which will allow pilots to discover their inner Ken Block. A serious hoot to drive, the RS is a true rival to the WRX STI, Golf R, and poses a serious threat to the likes of the Porsche 718 and BMW M2.
While it's possible to buy a bare-bones Focus (it still features air conditioning as standard), Ford has increased its allure with more high-tech features and options. Power-adjustable leather-clad heated seats and even a heated steering wheel are available, while push-button start with proximity key and auto up-down windows at all corners are also on the options list. Models equipped with the latest Sync 3 system are a big step forward over the older MyFord Touch system.
The Focus is also available with a broad array of active safety features and technology including automatic parking, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert, and even automatic high beams.