2009 Ford Focus SES

Although it's not a grand departure from previous Focus designs, the new coupe is attractive and different enough to be easily distinguished from its predecessors and from its sedan sibling. Luckily, Ford kept it simple, even with this top-of-the-line SES model. It has a sporty look without being garish. The dark chrome alloys and matching grille are nice subtle touches, and even the rear spoiler, while oddly placed at the top of the rear glass, is probably small enough to avoid attracting all the boy-racers in your neighborhood.

The engine is peppy and responsive, but it's best on secondary roads, where it's easy to keep the rpm below 4000. Once I got on the interstate and climbed past 65 mph, wind and road noise became considerable, especially when compared with the Honda Civic.

The seating position is great and a huge improvement over Focuses of the past, where the high-mounted seats gave me the feeling of driving ON the car rather than IN the car. The seats themselves are also really comfortable and supportive, and the side bolsters kept my butt planted. Most of the plastics are good, but the seat fabric feels rough and cheap. The pale blue lighting on the controls gives the cabin a cool, calm ambiance that's easy on the eyes, especially at night.

Jennifer Misaros, Production Editor

New Car Research

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