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2016 Ford Focus Drive and Review By Larry Nutson

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2016 Ford Focus
From mild to wild

By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

You could say that the 2016 Ford Focus offers something for everyone. Well, perhaps nearly everyone. Every new vehicle offers a certain level of overall performance. And often carmakers choose to offer a broad variety of performance in one car or truck brand.

Take the 2016 Focus, foe example. It is indeed a car that goes from mild to wild. Mention the word performance and we immediately think of horsepower.

For 2016 the Focus offers engines with horsepower output ranging from a 123HP 1.0-L turbo EcoBoost 3-cylinder up to a 350HP 2.3-L turbo EcoBoost 4-cylinder. In between there’s two other 4-cylinder engines, a 160HP 2.0-L and also a 252HP 2.0-L turbo EcoBoost.

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The basic, every-day front-wheel drive Focus is offered in sedan and hatchback body styles and in S, SE and Titanium trims. In these Focus models you can get the standard 160HP engine and the optional higher fuel economy 123HP engine. The Focus ST is a bit hotter with its 252HP and then there is the very wild Focus RS and its 350HP.

By the way, there is also a Focus Electric EV with a driving range of 76 miles, if you like to plug-and-play.

I drove the Focus ST in its 2015 configuration, which is very much like the 2016. It is indeed a lot of fun to drive. The ST only comes in the hatchback body style and only with a 6-speed manual transmission. Its front wheel drive system features Torque-Vectoring control that helps enhance overall handling.

I haven’t yet driven the new-for-2016, very hot RS. Like the ST, the RS is offered as a hatchback. This high-performance road car debuts all-new, race-inspired Ford Performance All-Wheel Drive with Dynamic Torque Vectoring. This system actively distributes torque to each wheel to improve handling. The all-wheel-drive system is tuned for exceptional grip, cornering speed and acceleration out of a turn. It has neutral and adjustable limit handling and the ability to achieve controlled oversteer drifts at the track.

What I have recently driven is a 2016 Focus hatchback in the Titanium trim with the 160HP 2.0-L mated to a 6-speed automatic. Base price on this Titanium model is $23,725. A number of options equipped on my media loaner put the bottom line at $27,650.

The 2016 Focus is priced starting at $17,225 for the S model sedan. The ST is $24,425, the Electric is $29,170 and the hot RS is $35,900. There are plenty of option choices and the destination charge is $875.

So what did I think of the Focus Titanium. Two things I liked first off. One, the hatchback body style is always my choice. It offers more versatility than a sedan especially with fold down rear seats. The second item I really liked is that Ford equipped the Focus with a six-speed automatic and not a CVT. I’m not a fan of CVTs, especially coupled to a 4-cylinder engine.

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CVTs are used primarily for their lower cost and to achieve lower fuel consumption. Well! I did a road trip of about 300 miles in total and mostly on the highway. I move along at a spirited pace, since time is important, and with this Focus I got 39 mpg on the first leg and 40 mpg on the return leg of this trip. That exceeded the EPA test-cycle fuel economy estimated highway rating of 38 mpg. Not bad at all. EPA test-cycle city rating is 26 mpg, for a combined 30 mpg overall rating.

It’s interesting to note that both the 2.0-L and 1.0-L engines on the Focus are Partial Zero Emissions (PZEV) certified. A partial zero emissions vehicle is a classification in the U.S. for a vehicle that has zero evaporative emissions from its fuel system, has a 15-year (or at least 150,000-mile) warranty on its emission-control components, and meets SULEV tailpipe-emission standards. What does that mean for you? Well beyond the obvious of being “green” and driving a vehicle with very low tailpipe emissions levels, it may mean that at your workplace you can get a better parking spot. What? Many LEED certified buildings are required to provide better or closer-in parking to encourage the driving of low emission vehicles. Something to think about for sure.

A strong point of the Focus is how it drives. There’s good ride comfort with balanced handling and overall control. Around turns there’s a good sense of security and being in control. Quietness is a strong point too, which I noticed on my road trip that covered different pavement types.

The Focus is available with new driver-assistance safety features that can really make your drive safer and help avoid accidents. A back-up camera with rear parking sensors is one piece of equipment that truly helps in tight city driving and parking. The Focus also can be had with Active Park Assist that will scan for suitable parking spaces, and will assist in backing the vehicle into the spot. All you have to do is shift, accelerate and brake, and the Focus does the steering.

Blind spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert and Lane Keeping Alert are also offered. More and more semi-autonomous, driver-assistance features are making there way into all new cars today. The National Safety Council and the University of Iowa have teamed up to help you understand this new driver-assistance technology. Check out their homepage that lists the 28 technology and safety features present on vehicles today.

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Ford upgraded the infotainment for 2016 on the Focus with the all-new Sync 3 touchscreen interface that’s quicker and easier to operate than the previous MyFord Touch system. For driver comfort in cold weather you can get a heated steering wheel along with heated front seats.

Shop for all the different 2016 Focus models at Right here at you can compare the Focus to other compact cars.

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If I were buying, the Focus ST would probably be my choice for its hatchback versatility and high fun factor. I’m OK with shifting a manual trans all the time, even in city traffic. I’ll have to dream about the RS and its Drift Mode until I get to drive one, which hopefully will be soon. The RS I am sure is a blast to drive but perhaps a bit much for my every day lifestyle. The urge to drive fast all the time would be very high!