Remaining at its rank as the 11th top-selling sedan in America, (it was last year, and remains so for 2017), the 2017 Ford Focus stays with what has w
Remaining at its rank as the 11th top-selling sedan in America, (it was last year, and remains so for 2017), the 2017 Ford Focus stays with what has worked for it, while we anticipate a redesign for 2018.
Focus is the result of Ford’s focus on compact cars, which began in 1999 for the 2000 model year, as their engineers designed the Ford Focus to replace the Escort (and Mercury Tracer) and Contour (and Mercury Mystique) in the line-up.
Seven years into its third generation (last tweaked for 2015 with a redesigned front end), the front-wheel drive Focus line-up stays quiet for 2017 with the exception of its RS trim amping up with a 350hp engine.
Assembled at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan, with unitized steel body construction, this year’s uptweaks include a new SEL trim package that features 17-inch machined-aluminum wheels with black-painted pockets, fog lamps, black headlight bezels and power moonroof. Focus is available in either sedan or hatchback configurations.
The 2017 Ford Focus has available SYNC® 3 enhanced voice recognition and entertainment system with AppLink™ and 911 Assist®, an 8-inch center LCD touch screen with available navigation, and swiping and pinch-to-zoom capabilities. Two standard smart-charging USB ports are great for families on the go with energy-hungry devices.
A new color available for 2017 is White Gold.
Showing off a sporty architecture not expected from an economical sedan, priced under $20K, Focus looks energetic and hip with a curvy and fluid demeanor. Available in hatchback or sedan, the compact sedan, measures 178.7 inches in length (the hatchback is 5 inches shorter), 71.8 inches in width and 57.8 inches in height on a 104.3-inch wheelbase, with a curb weight just under 3000 lbs.
The SE model I tested was your basic Focus, but featured some cool packages that included a body kit as well as a standard 2.0-liter Ti-VCT engine, the 17-inch machined aluminum wheels in the SEL trim, fog lamps, leather-wrapped steering wheel with paddle shifters, rear disc brakes, rear spoiler and PowerShift® 6-speed automatic.
For power, Focus offers two direct injection power source options, which can be mated to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission with available SelectShift® functionality. A 1.0-liter 3-cylinder EcoBoost® engine built in Craiova, Romania, is the more economical offering, providing 123 hp and 125 lbs.-ft. of torque. The manual version is EPA rated at 30mpg/city, 42mpg/highway and 35mpg combined, while the six-speed PowerShift automatic with SelectShift is rated at 28mpg/city and 40mpg/highway. My test Focus SE was outfitted with the 2.0-liter Ti-VCT FFV inline-4-cylinder engine built in Dearborn, Michigan. That system provides 160hp and 146 lbs.-ft. of torque and is rated at 26mpg/city, 36mpg/highway with a manual transmission and my six-speed PowerShift automatic was rated at 27mpg/city and 40mpg/highway. My car tests finished with an average of 31.6mpg in mixed-use driving.
We seldom expect much zip from a compact economy sedan, and my Focus SE filled the niche as presumed. My test ride was predictable with a steady zero-to-60mph dash accomplished in 9.2 seconds during 17.1-second quarter-mile. At speed, Focus has enough to pass other vehicles and take on hill grades, and while some understeer was apparent, the response was also predictable and in a solid range.
Inside, Focus features a center console and driver/passenger-friendly capabilities. With seating capacity for five, front head room is 38.3 inches with 38 inches of rear head room; front legroom measures 43.1 inches with a crunched 33.2 inches for rear passengers and shoulder room is 55.6 inches in front and 52.6 inches for rear seat passengers.
Focus was designed to exceed global safety standards for occupant and pedestrian protection. To that end, it includes dual-stage first row airbags with passenger airbag occupant sensing deactivation, front-seat side-impact airbags and side-curtain airbags, four-wheel Anti-Lock Brake System, front fog/driving lights, dusk sensing headlamps, stability control, AdvanceTrac® electronic stability control, rearview camera, child safety rear locks, LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tether Anchors for Children), anti-theft engine immobilizer and tire pressure monitoring.
The Base “S” 2017 Focus sedan starts at $17,650. The SE Sedan adds 16-inch painted wheels, a trip computer and automatic quad-beam LED halogen headlamps and bases at $19,050, and the 4-door hatchback starts at $25,650.
My test SE sedan in Ingot Silver Metallic, and the 2.0-liter engine, upgraded to the 6-speed automatic transmission for $1095, and added the $1995 201A equipment group with 17-inch Black Gloss Aluminum wheels, ambient lighting, black headlamp bezels, fog lamps, overhead console, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, leather-trimmed seats with 8-way power driver seat and power lumbar, LED signature lighting, perimeter alarm, rear center armrest, rear disc brakes, Reverse Sensing System, SelectShift® (when equipped with 6-speed automatic transmission) and SiriusXM Satellite Radio. The Exterior Protection Package added $245 for molded front and rear splash guards and a rear bumper protector. Destination charges added $785 for an MSRP as tested of $23,170, built I really would have liked the Ford Sync3 navi package for an extra $1300 – my test ride was without it. And incentive packages can slash thousands so, check with your local dealer to see what offers are available.
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Mike Blake, former editor of KIT CAR magazine, joined Carlisle Events as senior automotive journalist in 2004. He's been a "car guy" since the 1960s and has been writing professionally for about 30 years.