• Jan 9, 2007
After the debut of the Interceptor and MKR, the redesigned Focus and Five Hundred got lost in the buzz, so now, we finally bring you live shots of Ford's people movers. Enjoy. -Ed.

Before trotting out its three concept cars, the Ford Motor Company took the opportunity at the Detroit Auto Show to publicly unveil the redesigned 2008 Focus and Five Hundred.

Much has been written of the Focus' controversial new styling. In person, it seems uninspired, with several features that don't seem to work well with each other. What's with that triangular vent on the front fender - was this an attempt to share design language with the new Super Duty? The good news is that the interior appears relatively nice for an economy car, and the new Ford/Microsoft Sync feature will be available. The car also lost 60 lbs during the redesign, which is almost unheard of nowadays.

The first thought upon seeing Ford's press shots of the Five Hundred was that the new front end had a flat squashed appearance, but in the flesh, it appears to be proportioned properly. The new sheetmetal probably won't end complaints about the sedan's bland styling, however and the interior is also a bit undistinguished. Obviously we didn't get to sample the new Duratec 35 powerplant, but potential buyers will likely find that to be the most significant change.

Click the vehicles name below to view the full gallery.

500


Focus



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  • 38 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      Well I like what Ford has done with the 500. They addressed the weaknesses: Taurus engine and bland styling and they improved the interior and NVH. The 500 is now competitive with Lucerne, 300 and Avalon. The availability of AWD, combined with 6 speed tranny may put it to the top of the class. And it retains the very stable, safe platform handed down from Volvo. Nice work.

      To the negative posters: You know that expression you use where you say so-and-so called and they want such-and-such back? Yeah, 2001 called and they want that back.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Yuck. I thought the Focus looked okay, now that front end is really starting to turn me off. So sad to see a better, newer Focus across the border in Mexico. So sad.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Oh.... did I mention that I LOVE the new front end! Yes, I said it.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I don't even know which looks worse - the overwhelming amount of cheap silver-painted plastic on new Focus's dashboard or the horrible faux wood on the new 500's dashboard...
      • 8 Years Ago
      Ford, Saturn called. They want their rejected Ion proposal back.
      • 8 Years Ago
      God could the styling on that Focus be any more confused? Pick a theme boys, not sure if it's trying to emulate a Mustang or a Suzuki Aerio.

      As for the interior it looks slightly more refined than the 05-07 but still a long ways off from the 00-04 models .

      I'll chime in with others and point out that it's sad that the entire rest of the world has had the 2nd gen Focus for 3 years now and Ford of North America kieeps hitting the nearly decade old 1st gen Focus with an Ugly stick.

      Man could they make the Ford badge any bigger? Pretty soon at this rate they will need to make the car wider just to make the ginormous badge fit.

      BTW #4 (Richard) to be specific the early Foci, especially the Mexican built hatchback models didn't have build quality problems. They had design problems, almost all of which were related to decontenting changes that Ford of North America made when they brought the car over from Europe.
      • 8 Years Ago
      So that's the car they're pitching against the Honda Civic...WOW, talk about defeat before the game has even begun...
      • 8 Years Ago
      500 is ok, but i like the new focus, very mean looking, especially at the front.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The new 2008 Focus comes with rear drum brakes again - that’s dumb not bold. It doesn't have electronic stability control (ESC) available, even as as option. Thankfully it does have ABS braking but only as an option. These should all be standard features. If Ford wants to start making money again, it'll have to do better than this. On the bright side, the new Focus does have standard side airbags. I only hope the new Focus does better in the crash tests than it's predecessors. As you may remember, Consumer Reports was going to recommend the Focus as their best small car pick but after it failed the IIHS side crash test, Consumer Reports changed their mind. Let's hope Ford has learned that safety sells.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Wow. Wow, wow, wow.

      Ford really surprised me with this one. I was thinking something a little different, but this is an odd idea: take the interior of 1983's "car of the future" and actually use it in a 2009 (hah!) model. It looks better in tan but I can't get over how busy it is. Buttons everywhere. Integrated stereo (which will have to be replaced... this is a Ford people). Exterior is even worse. It's very obvious that they got a Civic and tried to emulate it in more ways than one. Even the blue Focus press release photos are the same color as the Civic's were... a couple of years ago.

      I had a 01 Focus and have to admit that it was a nice driving car. Clean lines and modern looking in 99 when it came out. Many other small cars copied its tall look and improved upon the styling. Ford has done just the opposite. It has turned a good car into a rental fleet buyer's dream (the first remake) and now has outdone Chrysler's Sebring for the most mismatched styling with remake number two. If I owned stock in Ford, I would be selling it now and at a very low price.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I think that the Ford Five Hundred is now quite a nice retro car - recalling the profile (including now the front turn indicators) of the 1983 Ford LTD and the nose of the 1982 Euro Ford Granada. Of all the cars that Ford has ever developed, those are some of their best efforts - right up there with the 1978 Ford Fairmont - that sure was a beauty.

      As for the Focus, I really like how the side vents employ the clever trick of making it look like some trim on the door is missing. I also think it is especially clever to take the sides of the last generation Mustang, flip them around, and reuse them for the new Focus. Maybe that clever bit of reuse saved some money. I only wish they had been able to use more stylistic elements from the Ford Pinto.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I like the new Focus. Wouldn't have bought the previous model but would look at this one. Still can't imagine driving the 500 though.
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