POPULAR FORD FOCUS ADDS VERSATILE TRANSMISSION FOR 2016
By Tom Crosby
Ford may be a domestic auto manufacturer but the Ford Focus enjoys unprecedented success in Britain, where in 2014 it was the most common compact sedan traveling the country’s city and country roads. It is one of the best-selling cars worldwide for its excellent mileage, good looks and available technology options, the 2016 sedan’s major change is adding a new SelectShift® transmission option. Our domestic test drive Focus SE four door sedan was equipped with the 6-speed transmission, which added drive mode options using the small 1.0-liter Ecoboost engine with stop/start function. There is an S mode to automatically maximize power or generate extra pep manipulating manual buttons on the side of the gearshift.
However, if you get too aggressive, the engine channels self-preservation and automatically shifts to a safer gear. It has been called the best “1.0 liter or less” engine by the prestigious Engine Technology International Magazine. Mileage averages a green-minded 32 miles per gallon, and the five-seater Focus has earned a top federal government crash rating. While acceleration in any mode can be challenging – a side effect of reduced engine horsepower to increase mileage – it is adequate for judicious highway passing. The back seat’s tight for full-sized adults, although it easily accommodates two child safety seats. Access/egress will challenge six footers or taller. Body styles are sedan or hatchback with four main trims – S, SE, Titanium and Electric – plus two high performance trims – ST and RS. Our $2,960 in options included Ruby red paint, the SelectShift® transmission, appearance and exterior protection packages, a reverse sensing system to aid the rear-view camera and a cargo area protector.
Riding on independent MacPherson front strut and multi-link independent rear suspension with stabilizer bar, the ride was comfortable and compliant. Handling was satisfyingly nimble with some slight lean in turns. The Focus is fun to drive, and now boasts an ergonomic interior with Ford’s new Sync 3 on a 10.2 inch capacitive touchscreen that improves on the now discontinued MyFord Touch. It includes voice recognition, clear graphics, pinch and swipe movements like a smart-phone with quick responses. MyKey can set driving limits. Seats are comfortable, interior design pleasing and the ambiance calming. Outside, the Focus is wedge-shaped with a sloping hood with sculpted character lines and a rising beltline to create am ample nicely sized cargo area with seats folded. There is a spare tire and visors are extendable.
LIKES: Price, quiet, handling, looks, high-tech options, mileage
DISLIKES: Rear seats, low power, entry/exit
BOTTOM LINE: Well suited for young couple’s first sedan buy
- Base price w/destination fee $19,390 (as tested $22,350)
- Curb weight 2,960 lbs.
- Wheelbase 104.3 inches
- Length 178.7 inches
- Width 71.8 inches
- Engine specs 1.0-liter, 3-cyclinder, EcoBoost
- Horsepower 123-hp @ 6,000 rpm
- Torque 125 lb-ft @ 3,500
- Transmission 6-speed automatic
- EPA Rating 28 city mpg and 40 hwy mpg
- Range 12.4-gallon tank, 87-octane recommended
- Performance 0-60 in just over 9 seconds