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Thread: 2010 Ford Focus

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    2010 Ford Focus

    The last time things were even close to as awful in the car industry - and for car buyers - was the 1970s. And in those days, the cars themselves were awful, too.

    That's not the problem today. All modern cars are at least good; many are excellent. The problem is with real unemployment pushing 20 percent, many people can't afford excellent - and maybe not even good.

    And that could be a problem for the '10 Ford Focus I recently test drove.

    WHAT IT IS

    The Focus is Ford's entry-level FWD compact. It comes as both a sedan and a three-door hatchback coupe, with a price range that begins at $16,290 for a base S sedan to $18,780 for a top-of-the-line SEL sedan

    Coupes run from $17,170 for the base SE to $18,780 for an SES.

    WHAT'S NEW

    Keyless entry is now standard on all versions, as well as ABS brakes and electronic stability control. Optional Sync system has been updated to give real-time traffic updates and directions.

    WHAT'S GOOD

    The Focus is a fun to drive little car. Standard 140 hp engine is strong for the segment. Good for 35 mpg on the highway.

    Ford's rep keeps getting better and better.

    WHAT'S NOT SO GOOD

    Price. It's higher for 2010, by several hundred bucks or so.

    The least expensive Focus is as much as $6k more expensive than a base model Nissan Versa 1.6 or Hyundai Accent - both of which now start under $10k. Granted, these two are sparsely equipped and the very definition of econo-box. But in these times, an economy car needs to be economical.

    Right?

    ENGINES & PERFORMANCE

    The Focus sedan is powered by a 140 hp, 2.0 liter four (143 hp in the coupe with sport-tuned exhaust) that delivers snappy acceleration for an economy car: 0-60 in just over 7 seconds. That is easily two (and as much as three) seconds quicker than some of the other cars in this segment, such as the Nissan Versa - including the more expensive 1.8 liter equipped version.

    And yet, you still get 35 mpg capability on the highway, which is as good or better than slower cars like the Versa.

    The 2.0 liter engine is actually built by Mazda - Ford's corporate partner and is essentially the same as what you'd find in a Mazda3.

    A five-speed manual transmission is standard; a four-sped automatic optional. All versions are front-wheel-drive.

    DRIVING IMPRESSIONS

    The Focus has tight, precise steering and minimal body roll in cornering. The 2 liter engine revs to nearly 7,000 RPM and pulls strongly all the way there. You can reach 80 mph in third gear if you feel like it. There is ample reserve power on tap, even at speeds well beyond those that are legal.

    Driven hard, it does not feel "economical" at all.

    And then you look at the fuel gauge - which hasn't budged from Full even though you've been running hard for 50 miles now.

    This combination of performance and high efficiency is perhaps the Ford's strongest selling point.

    My opinion, the five-speed manual is your best bet for both mileage and performance. The optional four-speed automatic works ok thanks in part to more aggressive final gearing but it's dated (five-speed automatics are becoming pretty much givens, even in low-cost cars - several of which now come with six-speed transmissions ) and the bottom line is small, four-cylinder engines don't usually do their finest work behind automatics anyway.

    You'll also lose a few MPGs if you go with the automatic.

    STYLING & UTILITY

    The exterior's hunky and purposeful-looking. The coupe has a semi-fastback rear end with integrated, high-mounted spoiler - and there are zippy-looking scalloped "swooshes" pressed into the side panels.

    Again, less an obvious economy car than many others in the segment.

    Another plus is the availability of both three-door hatchback and four-door sedan bodystyles. (The Nissan Versa 1.6 is only available as a four-door sedan). A wagon version would be welcomed, though - as it would give the Focus a bit ore versatility and cargo-carrying capacity.

    The trunk is 13.8 cubic feet. (Nissan's Versa has exactly the same at 13.8 cubic feet.)

    Air conditioning is standard on all trims - which evens up things a bit when comparing the Focus with the new crop of el cheapo specials like the $9k Versa 1.6, which don't come with AC included. Base Focus models also get a perfectly adequate AM/FM stereo with single-disc CD player and MP3 capability.

    The Focus can also be equipped with features that are less-than-common among entry-level cars, including heated seats and Ford's new integrated electronics/entertainment system called Sync that can do things like download info from your PDA/cell phone or music files from your iPod - and which does your bidding via voice command.

    The interior is fitted out with functional touches such as twin 12V power points at the bottom of the center stack (many cars only have one - and the one they do have is often not in a convenient location), twin cup holders in the center console (with adjustable, multi-colored LED "mood lighting") and an extra-deep console storage compartment.

    I also like the pull-up parking brake lever much better than the foot-brake/handle used on some other cars.

    Audio and climate controls are straightforward knobs you rotate and buttons you push - no overdone "menus" or mice to deal with.

    QUALITY & SAFETY

    Here's another area where the Focus' higher MSRP is softened somewhat. All models get side-impact and curtain air bags - six total. And for 2010, the formerly extra-cost ABS and stability control have been made standard.

    And: Ford's customer satisfaction scores and so forth are now at least as solid as (ahem) Toyota's and the other Big Name Japanese brands.

    The standard three year/36,000 mile warranty is still on the slim side, but you do get a five year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty.

    THE BOTTOM LINE

    Before The Crash, the Focus' higher level of standard equipment and available options (including Sync) gave it an edge over its more economy-minded brethren since many people were in a position to spend a little more in order to get some bells and whistles that more economical economy-type cars just didn't offer. But with most people now leery of spending more than they absolutely must, the Focus' higher price could be a liability, because many people just can't afford $16k "economy" cars anymore.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Mase's Avatar
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  3. #3
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    Dad has an older Focus -- he got a good deal on it -- it cost new about the same as the used Civic we were also looking at. About the only thing he's had to do to it is replace the battery.

    As Ford's reputation for quality gets better known, I expect the instant "We'll cut $2,000 off the price because we like you" rebates will be long gone.

    Another reason for the bump in the 2010 Focus price (besides the increase in content, of course) is with the new Festiva arriving, the Focus is now a larger small car.

    Chip H.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Mase View Post
    Its got them same damn flat fender lips like almost all new cars. What is with this styling trend? Almost every car has them except the Corvette and other exotics. They're getting bigger too, my Jetta has them but they are rather small, the new Subaru Legacy has HUGE flat lips. I'm getting tired of this styling trend, soon the whole side of the car will just be flat.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by dieseleverything View Post
    I'm getting tired of this styling trend, soon the whole side of the car will just be flat.
    Do you mean like those on your Mercedes?
    Trevor

  6. #6
    I'm getting tired of this styling trend, soon the whole side of the car will just be flat.
    Quote Originally Posted by tcolby View Post
    Do you mean like those on your Mercedes?
    While the sides of my car may be flat, so are the sides of newer cars. Hate to tell you that it's fender lips aren't flat though. It may be slab sided but it doesn't have flat fender lips, huge fender flares, or plastic bumpers.

    Lets see rounded fender lip......huge flat fender lip. The Subaru is otherwise flat sided as well.
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    Last edited by dieseleverything; 02-16-2010 at 03:52 PM.

  7. #7
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dieseleverything View Post
    While the sides of my car may be flat, so are the sides of newer cars. Hate to tell you that it's fender lips aren't flat though. It may be slab sided but it doesn't have flat fender lips, huge fender flares, or plastic bumpers.

    Lets see rounded fender lip......huge flat fender lip. The Subaru is otherwise flat sided as well.
    I agree with Diesel; the homogenization of new car styling is getting worse. The same basic shape; same "face" ... I suppose much of the reason for this has to do with bumper-impact requirements that more or less set a template for what can be done and not done.

    I also hate that almost every new car - even minivans and obvious family/grocery getter types - comes with alloy rims, often 17 inchers. Why?

    There is no useful reason for it - and it has made alloy rims (which used to be special as well as distinctive) common and boring. The same designs, mildly tweaked, over and over and over again.

    One of the things I really like about my old Pontiac is its wheels. They called these "honeycombs" and no other car has anything like 'em!
    Attached Images Attached Images

  8. #8
    That is a very nice rim, I've always liked those. I also think that the trend of 16" plus alloy rims is getting ridiculous. What is the smallest wheel you can get on a new midsized family car? And what is the need for low profile rubber on EVERY car that costs more than $25-30k? Those rims are more delicate around potholes and curbs. And they carry more expensive tires, less tread life, and the rim is more expensive to replace when it inevitably gets broken.

    I think the reign of the steel wheel started to end when plastic hubcaps became mainstream (and ugly). Metal hubcaps offered so much more; they were more durable, could be painted, could be polished in some cases, and could be stamped with more detail.

  9. #9
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dieseleverything View Post
    That is a very nice rim, I've always liked those. I also think that the trend of 16" plus alloy rims is getting ridiculous. What is the smallest wheel you can get on a new midsized family car? And what is the need for low profile rubber on EVERY car that costs more than $25-30k? Those rims are more delicate around potholes and curbs. And they carry more expensive tires, less tread life, and the rim is more expensive to replace when it inevitably gets broken.

    I think the reign of the steel wheel started to end when plastic hubcaps became mainstream (and ugly). Metal hubcaps offered so much more; they were more durable, could be painted, could be polished in some cases, and could be stamped with more detail.
    Great minds!

    You're right, it's absurd.

    I think the smallest wheel available on a 2010 car is 15 inches. Most cars over $25k have 16s, as you point out - and usually, shod with fairly aggressive (and high-speed rated!) tires, too.

    It's an example of the stupid wastefulness of this country. Large diameter/alloy rims and performance tires are great - if you need them and use them. But I would say that upwards of 85 percent of the people buying new cars don't need or use them. How many people run faster than 80 mph for any length of time? Virtually nil. How many people autocross - or drive on public roads at even 80 percent of the pace of an SCCA rally? Fewer than 10 percent, probably.

    But just as every idiot has to have a $400 cell phone with video and built-in dick sucker, they have to have 'dem 'shiny sebenteens (and larger) rims.

    It's no wonder so many people are broke.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    Great minds!

    You're right, it's absurd.

    I think the smallest wheel available on a 2010 car is 15 inches. Most cars over $25k have 16s, as you point out - and usually, shod with fairly aggressive (and high-speed rated!) tires, too.

    It's an example of the stupid wastefulness of this country. Large diameter/alloy rims and performance tires are great - if you need them and use them. But I would say that upwards of 85 percent of the people buying new cars don't need or use them. How many people run faster than 80 mph for any length of time? Virtually nil. How many people autocross - or drive on public roads at even 80 percent of the pace of an SCCA rally? Fewer than 10 percent, probably.

    But just as every idiot has to have a $400 cell phone with video and built-in dick sucker, they have to have 'dem 'shiny sebenteens (and larger) rims.

    It's no wonder so many people are broke.
    People think they're entitled to a $400 cell phone (with a $100+ per month plan). And then when they are $25,000 in debt and owe $40k on that new Lincoln with 20 inchers and their house is foreclosed, they want the government to fix their problem. They fail to realize that they don't need all these things. but they never saw the joys of simpl(er) living.

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