2009 Ford Focus Coupe SES

The interior of the revised Focus is pleasant, if not particularly exciting, with a smartly styled, aluminum-look center stack and easy-to-decipher controls. I didn't use Sync this time, but I am convinced from previous experience with it that most owners in this class will really like it. The Focus still drives reasonably well, but as Marc Noordeloos points out, the chassis has been softened a bit too much for mainstream American tastes. But the suspension tuning is still quite solid, the ride comfort is very good for a small car, and there's some steering feel. I wish mainly for a bit more body control. The five-speed manual shifter in our test car is relatively refined, although it has none of the polish of a Honda manual. Clutch pedal take-up is smooth and progressive, though, and the brake pedal feels responsive and predictable. It's easy to drive this car smoothly, something that can't be said for all manual-transmission cars. Power from the 2.0-liter four is sufficient, and the 35-mpg highway rating is a compelling figure.

I'd certainly rather buy a Focus sedan than this coupe, though, because although the rear seat has decent space, ingress/egress are compromised by the front seats, which do not easily slide forward and out of the way. In a coupe like this, you need to be able to grab the handle on the back of the front seatback and, in one swift motion, move the seatback forward AND have the seat itself slide forward. The rear passenger hops in, and then you grab the same handle or pull on the seatback, and the entire seat needs to return to its original position. This is obviously not rocket science, and it's a feature that has been in other cars for years, but it must cost enough extra money that Ford wasn't able to offer it in a car that starts at only $16,695.

On the plus side, the Ford Focus coupe's trunk is very commodious, which is especially nice since Ford ditched the previous Focus hatchback body style.

Joe DeMatio, Executive Editor

New Car Research

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