Pros Mine's a 2009 SES; it's road manners are remarkably good for a small American car. Handling is crisp and solid on optional 215/45R17s; ride is firm but comfortable.Controls and the 5-speed are intuitive. PZEV engine is adequately powered and clean!
Cons Too much hard plastic in the interior. Charcoal interior fabric is a bit stark and Stygian. SYNC has small foibles; mine seems to shuffle only 12-15 tunes in a playlist, genre, or artist before repeating, not going through all available tracks.
Summary In my short experience with the 2009 Focus SES, I've become fond of the car's road manners, fuel economy, and very good features for the money. The driver's interaction with the car is straightforward and predictable, leading to confidence when using the available performance in the mountains or when dealing with traffic and the unpredictable behavior of others in urban driving. Stronger brakes would be nice to have; I like the feel and power of the Mazda 3's all-disk setup better than the Focus' disk/drum equipment. At least I got the optional ABS/AdvanceTrac system, which does help in the predictable department, if not in shortness of stops.
The car is quiet for the class, a fact frequently commented upon by passengers, some of whom drive larger, V6 or V8-powered cars from US, German, and Japanese manufacturers. The SYNC system handles my iPod and phone well in most respects, enabling me to keep my focus (pardon) on the driving rather than on the gadgets that accompany my driving. The sound system has very respectable sound quality for the non-Audiophile, "base" level system, although I plan to upgrade the speakers anyway, probably to Boston Acoustics units. A little Dynamat in the trunk, too, I think.
Cabin comfort is better than suggested by all the hard plastic dash and door surfaces; the leather-covered steering wheel feels good and is well-shaped. The seats are comfortable, if not particularly well-bolstered. There are good adjustments for driver's fit, with a tilt wheel and height-adjustable seat to supplement the usual seat adjustments. Decent legroom in the back, given that none of us need to have the front seats racked all the way back; might be a bit tight otherwise. Exceptional footwell/front seat clearance back there, by the way. Great headroom for all, long a Focus strong point. Rearview mirror visibility a bit constricted by the high decklid of the trunk (I miss the great rear visibility of my Escort station wagon!), but the power side mirrors are large and well-shaped, so they help keep track of what's back there a good deal. Big trunk for the compact sedan class of vehicle, but I really do wish the Focus was still available as a station wagon.
The Focus' 2008 model-year restyle has been controversial; personally, I didn't particularly like the 2000-2007 hatch's rear styling much, the sedan was just OK but the wagon was better, and all models had weird wheel arches and connecting "character lines" that didn't pull the cars' looks together in my eyes. The 2008 restyle is a bit high in the beltline for my tastes, leading to a thick look in profile. The top of that trunk is way up in the air, compared to almost every compact car I've parked next to. The wheel wells aren't very well filled even by the optional 17 inch rims (I like the "Focus Rally" style with the dark stainless paint, same as stock on the SES Coupe); the look would probably benefit from an inch or so lowered suspension all around, but I drive in the mountains and on Forest Service roads quite a bit and will probably keep the ground clearance stock for that reason. Paint looks good (Brilliant Silver) but there are far fewer color choices for the SES trim level than for the S, SE, and SEL models for some weird and inscrutable corporate reason. The return of a bit of chrome on the front end looks OK on the Focus, says "American," and isn't as garish as on some other recent FoMoCo models from all three of the U.S.-based Ford brands. I put on nicely polished stainless license frames and they integrated well with the factory brightwork and the silver paint.
Mine came with the California-spec PZEV engine. I like it. It's competitively smooth, quiet unless you stand on the throttle hard, delivers very good urban gas economy and excellent highway numbers (trailing only the VW diesels and a few Honda Civic models) while delivering emissions performance in the same class as a Prius hybrid. It isn't the most powerful two-liter, naturally-aspirated gasoline engine available, typical for Ford. It gets the job done, though, also typical for Ford. If it lasts as well as my 253,000+ mile Escort wagon, with as low maintenance costs over its lifecycle, I won't have any reason to complain.
Pros Sync Affordable American
Cons 4 cylinders
Summary although it has a 4 cylinder engine, The car is very affordable and gets 35MPG!! it makes a great car for a student that is on a tight budget!
Pros Best tech for the price / decent looks
Cons Low-rent interior / poor handling & acceleration / sketchy Ford reliability
Summary For the users chiming in about how CNET knows nothing about cars... please realize that CNET isn't trying to be a Motor Trend or Car & Driver. Those publications do a great job reviewing, amongst other things, how well a car is put together and how it performs.
CNET clearly realized that a certain niche wasn't being fulfilled... and that is of course, reviews on the 'tech' side of a car.
Sure, they mix in their opinions on how the car looks and may even give you their take on how well it drives. But all that stuff is irrelevant. It's not their expertise. CNET, as you should know, is a site that researches and reviews tech products.
In the case of the Focus here... the review itself focuses (no pun intended) on the Sync system. Someone mentioned the Idrive system (found in Beemers) does something similar. Okaaaaay... and those cars cost at least 3X as much!! So back to reality... if all you care about is getting the most (tech) bang for the buck, this is a great value. If you're like most, however, you're going to weigh other factors.
best advice is to combine CNET's thoughts on the tech side of a car with what the aforementioned publications have to say about the car.
So from a tech point of view... this car gets a 9/10
"Awesome Car Period!"on by kevinc1
Pros Comfort, Quiet Cabin, Soft Ride, Manual Transmission is smooth, Handling...Everything is Great!!
Cons There are no Cons except the people reviewing the car.
Summary It's awesome. People shouldn't review the car If they don't own it or bash Cnet. What fools!
"I love my car"on by LesleyG43
Pros Nice looking, love the metallic blue colour. Really hugs the road. Comfortable, lots of head and leg room, even in the back. I like the hands free phone. Love the Sirius radio. Huge trunk with fold down back seat, so I can put a lot of stuff in there
Cons Can't think of any.
Summary I traded in my Aerostar van for something more economical. I do miss the versatility of the van, but for what I have in exchange I am very happy with the car, especially when it comes to filling up the tank. I am using about half the amount of gas that i used with the van. I am very happy with my 2008 Ford Focus.