Ford Tweaks '09 Focus Coupe for Idol Debut

Ford Tweaks \'09 Focus Coupe for Idol Debut

In an effort to attract more of the teeny-bopper market segment, Ford's premiering its refreshed 2009 Focus Coupe on tomorrow's episode of American Idol on Fox. In case you can't stomach a whole hour of weak cover songs in order to see what's new, we've got the skinny for you here.

Based on the revised 2008 model, the '09 coupe incorporates a few mild styling changes in order to improve the car's appearance. Both front and rear fascias sport mild tweaks, with the front bumper - sporting a larger air opening and standard fog lamps - receiving the majority of the attention. Buyers who opt for the "high-end" SES trim will also get a roof spoiler and 17-inch alloy wheels as standard equipment. Perhaps the best change lies aft of the front wheels - the garish chrome pseudo-vents are nowhere to be seen.

From a mechanical perspective, very little changes. Although a new exhaust design promises a "throaty" sound and more power, the 2.0-liter I-4, in both regular and PZEV specs, continue to be offered. The normal I-4 sees a slight power bump - 143 hp vs. the '08's 140 - when equipped with a five-speed manual. Buyers who opt for the four-speed slushbox may feel a bit more torque, as the transmission will carry a new 4.2:1 final drive ratio.

Either way, Ford claims the powertrain revisions won't detract from the Focus's 24 mpg city, 35 mpg highway (33 with an automatic) fuel economy. That's a good thing, as mileage - and possibly the connectivity of Ford's SYNC system - is crucial for the car to appeal outside of the American Idol demographic. Expect base trims of the '09 coupe to start at $15,920 when they arrive at dealers later this fall.

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