After years of reskinning the same old Focus, Ford finally presented an all-new car, one that is as fetching as the last one was frumpy. Like the smaller Fiesta, the Focus is edgy and sporty, and it is available as either a four-door sedan or a four-door hatchback. An all-new 2.0-liter four-cylinder uses dual variable cam phasing and direct injection to produce 20 more hp than last year’s engine, for a total of 160 hp. A five-speed manual transmission is available, but most buyers will likely choose the six-speed dual-clutch automatic with manual shift control. The Focus handles well, with little body roll and crisp turn-in, especially when equipped with the sport package (optional on the SE and standard on Titanium models). The seats are uncommonly comfortable, and the cabin features a well-designed center stack and lots of available amenities, such as a rearview camera and Wi-Fi capability. The SFE (Super Fuel Economy) version of the Focus gets 40 mpg in highway driving. Speaking of economy, an electric Focus is set to debut soon — in limited markets by the end of 2011, according to Ford. Pricing has yet to be announced. At the other end of the spectrum, the 250-hp Focus ST — with a tuned version of Ford’s EcoBoost four-cylinder, along with a six-speed manual, eighteen-inch wheels, a three-mode stability control program, a body kit, and more — will go on sale sometime in 2012. These new versions of the Focus can’t come a moment too soon, as compact-car sales are predicted to surpass all other segments by the end of 2012.

Drive: Front-wheel
Trim Levels: S, SE, SEL, Titanium, ST, Electric
Body Styles: Sedan, hatchback, 5-passenger
Engines: 2.0L I-4, 160 hp, 146 lb-ft
2.0L turbo I-4, 250 hp, 250 lb-ft (est.)
100-kW AC motor, 123 hp, 181 lb-ft, lithium-ion battery, 23 kWh
Transmissions: 5- or 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic
Passenger Volume: 90.7 cu ft
Cargo Space: (sedan) 13.2 cu ft, (hatchback rear seats up/down) 23.8/44.8 cu ft

Pretty much everything, as this is an all-new car that was introduced just a few months ago. Looking forward, the Focus Electric is set to debut within the next few months and is one of five new electric vehicles that Ford will introduce in the United States and Europe by 2013. The hottest Focus, the 250-hp ST, will go on sale sometime in 2012.

Front, side, and side curtain air bags are standard, as are ABS, traction and stability control, a tire-pressure monitoring system, and integrated blind-spot mirrors. Programmable MyKey is standard on all but the SE.

All: 26-28 mpg city/36-40 mpg highway

  • Looks good
  • Handles well
  • Very good fuel economy
  • Confusing MyFord Touch
  • Need to wait a few months for ST and Electric versions

Just what the doctor ordered.

  • Chevrolet Cruze
  • Honda Civic
  • Hyundai Elantra
  • Toyota Corolla

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