- Available as a sedan or hatchback
- Up to 40 mpg on the highway
- Lots of available technology, including SYNC and a self-parking system
Two years out from its drastic makeover, the 2014 Ford Focus has settled in as a prime contender in the crowded compact segment.
Going up against a tough lineup of cars including the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, and Mazda3 among others, the Focus has to compete on a few basic levels like fuel economy and style to even be in the conversation for new car buyers. Luckily, the Focus can brag both of those things, and on top of that it is one of the most technologically advanced cars in this space as well.
There are two available bodystyles of the Focus, a sedan and a five-door hatchback. We prefer the proportions and look of the hatchback, not to mention the extra cargo room (23.8 cubic feet vs. 13.2 in the sedan). But in both guises, it’s a vast improvement over the previous generation which was anonymous and (to be quite frank) boring as heck. Three large lower grille openings give the front end character, while creases along the side add directional flow without descending into exaggeration. The rear tail lamps spill over the rear of the car and are visible from the sides. Side mirrors feature integrated turn signals and options include a rear spoiler and moonroof.
The Focus employs a 160-hp, 2.0-liter inline-four cylinder engine producing 146 pounds-feet of torque that pairs with either a five-speed manual or a six-speed dual-clutch automatic to send power to the front wheels. Last year, the manual transmission option was added to Titanium models, the top trim level. Fuel economy is an area of emphasis on the Focus, which returns EPA-estimated fuel economy of 27/38 mpg city/highway. Adding the Super Fuel Economy package raises those numbers to 28/40 mpg city/highway.
Inside, the Focus has a modern look that echoes the one first seen in the smaller Fiesta with vertical vents and sharp angles all around. The backseat is a standard one-piece folding bench, with a 60/40-split folding rear bench optional. Cloth seating, auxiliary audio input, air conditioning, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, and power windows/locks are standard. As previously stated, the 2014 Focus has plenty of available technology including MyFord Touch which replaces many of the physical controls with touch sensitive paneling in the center console as well as adding two LCD information screens to the instrument panel behind the wheel. SYNC with voice commands is also optional, as is a Park Assist system which makes parallel parking a breeze.
Standard safety features include stability and traction control, antilock brakes with emergency braking assist, and six airbags. Ford last year introduced a new generation front airbag with revised shape and venting that’s designed to hold front seat occupants in place better than previous versions. The Focus pulls off an impressive double, winning both an IIHS Top Safety Pick award and earning a full five-star overall rating from the NHTSA for its performance in crash testing.