Ford Focus: America’s Value Leader

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Before anyone gets their knickers twisted in a wad over the title to this article, please know this: the Ford Focus is the Ford Focuslowest priced car on the market that is made in America. My previous review of the Chevrolet Aveo should have made it clear that the Chevy is an import from South Korea.

Not that any of this should matter much, because most buyers who are looking for something new and cheaply priced aren’t too concerned where their car was built. Indeed, several models from Kia, Hyundai, Toyota, Nissan, and Smart are priced lower. The advantage of the Ford, however, is that most of the parts are local meaning your maintenance costs should be lower.Ford Focus`

With these important points I digress.

Now back to the Focus: this car isn’t the leader in its category, but it is worthy for consideration. First introduced for the 2000 model year, the 2008 model keeps the original platform but it has been reskinned, new suspension added, and the interior has been modernized.

Competitive Fuel Mileage

Ford FocusBest of all, the Focus gets 35 mpg on the highway (24 city), comparing favorably with other vehicles in its class. Other than the hybrid Honda Civic, the Focus’ fuel economy matches or exceeds the Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit, Nissan Versa, Hyundai Accent, even the MINI Cooper. With gas prices above $3 per gallon, good fuel economy is a must. Only one engine choice is available: a 2.0L I4 which can be paired with a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission.

Two or Four Door, the Choice Is Yours

Available as a two door coupe or four door sedan, the Focus seats five passengers. Back seat riders will find legroom to be fair, but noticeably missing are headrests which have become standard in even the most economical cars. The split 60/40 rear seats makes carrying larger items a snap.

Front seat room is sufficient for the average sized adult and the dash is simply laid out with ample chrome and blue back lighting which improves the look over earlier models. Overall, the interior is anything but extravagant; then again this is Ford’s entry-level wheels.

Getting In SYNC

Ford FocusYou may have seen the commercials for the Ford Focus which focuses more on its SYNC technology and fuel mileage above all else. SYNC is a popular hands-free communication system developed by Microsoft. Allowing the driver to call out the name of a song, SYNC quickly finds and plays it. With Bluetooth accessibility, SYNC wirelessly accesses your cell phone allowing you to make hands-free calls with simple voice commands in English, Spanish, or French. Although an extra-cost option, SYNC is proving to be popular with young drivers who crave its functionality. A standard CD/MP3 player with six-month complimentary SIRIUS satellite radio comes with every model.

Safety First

The Focus performed well in front crash testing, scoring a 5 out of 5 for both the driver and front seat passenger. All Focus models come with six standard air bags including dual-stage front airbags and two sets of side airbags protecting front and rear passengers. Anti-lock brakes with traction control is available on all models and a tire pressure monitoring system is standard.

Fully Loaded: 17 Grand

As of this writing, Ford is advertising that fully loaded Focuses are retailing for just under $17,000. However, if you take delivery of a Focus from dealer stock before March ends, Ford will knock $1500 off of the price of the car. For additional savings of $500, finance your purchase (or lease) through Ford and you can save more.

So, with a base MSRP of $14,300, you could drive a Focus off of the dealer lot for as low as $12,300 plus taxes, tags and registration. With SYNC as an option, my thinking is that you’ll opt for a slightly better equipped Focus than the strip model.

Additional Resources

The Power of Negotiation

Auto Purchase Loan (Calculator)

Should Your Lease Instead?

Photos courtesy/copyright the Ford Motor Company. 

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Categories: Campus Cars