2000 Focus New Car Test Drive
The Ford Focus is a ground-up re-evaluation of the subcompact. For years, the small car has been a shrunken version of the standard sedan. Ford studied the needs of passengers and designed the Focus from the inside out. Although you may have heard that song and dance before, there's more truth to it with the Focus.
Instead of figuring how to fit passengers within the conventional three-box sedan profile scaled down to compact proportions, Ford raised the roof for today's taller average heights the elevated the seating height for more effective legroom.
To accentuate this change in concept, Ford employed its New Edge styling (introduced on the Mercury Cougar), which combines arcs with crisp edges. As a result, the Ford Focus stands out from the crowd yet delivers good fuel economy.
The Ford Focus comes in three body styles: three-door hatchback, four-door sedan and five-door wagon. Two four-cylinder engines are available with a choice of 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic.
The sedan comprises the bulk of Focus sales and is available in three trim levels, an entry level LX ($12,220), an upgrade SE ($13,565), and the fully-equipped ZTS ($15,165). Leather interior trim is only available for the ZTS ($695).
The wagon is available only in the SE trim level ($15,380) and offers the largest cargo capacity in its class.
Three-door hatchbacks in base-model stripper trim have in the past often been used to used to low-ball buyers into the showroom only to be switched into larger, more expensive and more profitable models. Ford has instead positioned its Focus hatchback as a sports model and named it the ZX3. (The model designation is derived from the Ford Escort ZX2 coupe.) Ford Focus ZX3 comes with such sporty accoutrements as 15-inch aluminum wheels, fog lights and a more powerful 130-horsepower twin-cam engine. ZX3 also offers sportier and even more distinctive styling than the Focus sedan. Only a limited number of options are available for the ZX3 ($11,960).
ZX3 comes with a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Options include side-impact air bags, anti-lock brakes and remote locking. Not available on the ZX3, however, are power windows, cruise control and the tilt/telescoping steering column offered on other Focus models. The only additional ZX3 options include floor mats, smoker's package (lighter and ashtray), and an engine block heater.