2009 Ford Focus Coupe Review


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SEE ALSO: Ford Specs, Comparisons, Reviews - Ford Buyers Guide

THE AUTO PAGE
By
JOHN HEILIG

SPECIFICATIONS

Model: Ford Focus Coupe SES
Engine: 2.0-liter I4
Horsepower/Torque: 143 hp @ 6,000 rpm/136 lb.-ft. @ 4,250 rpm
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Wheelbase: 102.9 in.
Length/Width/Height: 175.0 x 67.9 x 58.6 in.
Tires: P215/45R17
Cargo volume: 13.8 cu. ft.
Fuel economy: 24 mpg city/35 mpg highway/30.3 mpg test
Fuel capacity: 13.0 gal.
Sticker: $20,615 (includes $695 destination and delivery)

The Bottom Line: The Ford Focus coupe comes with all the virtues and sins of a two-door car. The virtues: it’s compact, economical and looks pretty good. The sins: back-seat room is tight for taller adults and you do develop an inferiority complex by driving a smaller car.

Manufacturers have coupes in their lineups for several reasons. One, a two-door almost always looks cooler than a four-door. Two, being lighter, they’re also usually more economical than the four-door version. For Ford, the Focus coupe offers the manufacturer the opportunity to create another vehicle from the Focus stable. And it’s a good one.

While I might not have chosen the Focus coupe for a long trip, it was the vehicle in the driveway when the plans called for a four-hour trip north. But we were pleasantly surprised to note that there were no sacrifices that had to be made.

For one, we had plenty of luggage room. We only carried a pair of suitcases, so there wasn’t a problem, but the Focus coupe has a workable 13.8 cubic feet of cargo volume. We did have hanging clothes, and the hangers are located way to the back on the C-pillar. While this is a tough spot to reach, when the clothes are hanging there isn’t a blind spot created.

The 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine under the hood wasn’t a problem. With 143 horsepower, we had enough to keep us at or above the ambient traffic, while we had good acceleration for blending into traffic from on-ramps. We also averaged more than 30 mpg on our trip, which was nice in this era of rising gas prices.

I felt the Focus coupe was noisy on the road, but it appeared to be a function of highway surface. It also seemed the same on asphalt or concrete road surfaces. On newer asphalt the road noise disappeared.

Connecting the engine to the front wheels is a 5-speed manual transmission. I have been known to be somewhat ham-handed with my shifts, but I had no problems with this shifter. One feature I liked was that reverses is located where sixth would be in a 6-speed (below fifth), so there was almost no chance that you’d accidentally shift into reverse when you’re looking for first (I’ve done it).

On long Interstate runs I needed cruise control, just to keep within the speed limit. Ford’s cruise control is a nice one. When you hit “resume” you’re not also hitting the “accelerate,” so that if you’re already in cruise you don’t speed up.

The front seats are comfortable with a decent amount of side support. Indeed, we were relaxed after four hours of riding and driving.

The rear is another story, as it is in most coupes. Entry and egress from the rear is a piece of work, especially if you’re a senior citizen oroversized. However, once you get back there, the seats are comfortable and the leg and knee room is decent, as long as you’re not too tall. My wife was the one relegated to the back seat, and she reports that she was not uncomfortable.

One disappointing problem we had with the Focus was with the audio system. Even while reading the owner’s manual and the Microsoft Sync booklet, I could not get my iPod to work. I’ve had this problem with other Sync-equipped cars. Sound quality was excellent with CDs, but we would have liked the variety offered by the iPod.

Styling of the Focus SES includes a front that doesn’t look unlike an Audi and a spoiler on the roof above the rear window that adds a bit of sexy to a prosaic coupe.

Sure, it would be more fun to drive a Ferrari or Corvette coupe, but the Ford Focus coupe does all that one would want from it at a great price point.

2009 The Auto Page Syndicate

SEE ALSO: Ford Specs, Comparisons, Reviews - Ford Buyers Guide

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