The Ford Focus really must have been something when it debuted a decade ago, because our mildly refreshed 2009 version isn't half bad. Its well-bred pedigree shows through best in the way the suspension soaks up road imperfections. You actually hear bumps more than you feel them (on that note, more sound insulation, please). The smoothness of the shifter was also a pleasant surprise, as was the well-laid-out interior, which I actually liked better than that of the Honda Civic we recently had in our fleet.
Really, the only thing wrong with the Focus is the knowledge that almost everyone else in the world gets a much better one. What is a decent car and a good value could be - and indeed once was - a class standout. The Focus deserves to be fighting it out with the Civic and the Mazda 3 (which, of course, benefits from a good deal of Euro-Focus DNA) rather than running with the rest of the pack.
David Zenlea, Assistant Editor