2009 Ford Focus SES

This is by far the best-looking new-style Focus I've seen. The blacked-out grille and the spindly aluminum wheels go a long way toward cleaning up the chrome-heavy, somewhat-frumpy lines of the most recent Focus face-lift.

I must concur with my colleagues: The Focus SES is fun to blast around town in, it handles Michigan's wretched roads remarkably well, and its interior is quite stylish and well-done. I particularly like the nice, usable design of the HVAC, radio, and Sync controls.

My only complaint after a brief evening in this black bomber: It can be tricky to get the Mustang-like shifter into first gear, particularly when the Focus is cold. In spite of that minor niggle, I'll continue to recommend the Focus to my friends shopping in the sub-$20K price range.

Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor

New Car Research

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