2008 Focus New Car Test Drive
Ford has reworked the Focus for 2008, giving it new styling inside and out but maintaining the same platform and basic size.
The new design shares a family look with Ford's other cars, distinguished by a two-bar version of the company's characteristic razor blade-like grille.
The new, 2008 Ford Focus comes in four-door sedan and two-door coupe body styles. (Wagon and hatchback body styles are not offered.)
The big news for 2008 is the introduction of Ford's new Sync entertainment and communications system. Developed with Microsoft, Sync provides a hands-free link to cell phones and MP3 players through a series of voice commands. It recognizes your cell phone's address book. It can even read text messages to occupants through the stereo system. It's an amazing system and Ford appears to be ahead of everyone else in this area.
The redesigned interior is aesthetically pleasing. It looks better than that of the outgoing model, with nicer graining on the plastics that continue to dominate the cockpit. The ambience is not luxurious but appropriate for the price. While interior noise is also down from the last model, there is still plenty of road and engine noise, which are typical of economy cars.
As in the past, the Focus handles well. We experienced lots of road feel with little body lean in corners while driving the top-line SES with its a sportier suspension. That road feel can make the ride a bit harder than some might prefer, but it isn't harsh and we appreciated the handling response.
With 140 horsepower, the Focus has decent power for most needs, but passing on a busy two-lane road will require a lot of space. Fuel economy is quite good, with up to 24 mpg in the city and 35 on the highway.
The 2008 Ford Focus is offered in two-door coupe and four-door sedan body styles, each with the choice of three trim levels: S, SE, and SES. The lone engine is a 140-hp four-cylinder. A five-speed manual transmission comes standard; a four-speed automatic is optional ($815).
The S coupe ($14,075) and sedan ($14,375) come with cloth upholstery, air conditioning, AM/FM /CD/MP3 player with four speakers and auxiliary input jack, 60/40 split folding rear seat, tilt steering wheel, a tire inflation kit, antitheft system and P195/60R15 all-season tires on steel wheels with hubcaps. Options for S include cruise control ($215), Sirius satellite radio ($195), and a temporary spare tire ($60).
The SE coupe ($15,075) and sedan ($15,375) add power windows, locks and mirrors; remote keyless entry; vehicle message center; and aluminum alloy wheels. SE options consist of an Audiophile sound system with six-disc CD changer and subwoofer ($645); sunroof with overhead maplights ($625); the Driver's Group ($415) with cruise control, auto-dimming rearview mirror and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with redundant audio controls; Ford Sync in-car communications and entertainment system ($395); a Deluxe Package ($395) with chromed, heated mirrors, chrome door handles, P215/50R16 all-season tires on aluminum alloy wheels, fog lamps, a rear stabilizer bar and sportier suspension settings, metallic interior trim, four-way adjustable driver's seat and a chrome exhaust tip; heated front seats ($115); Ford's Ambient Interior Lighting ($295) that uses LED lights to illuminate the front cupholders and front and rear footwells with the driver's choice of seven different colors; and an alarm ($125).
The SES coupe ($16,075) and sedan ($16,375) add fog lamps, rear spoiler, four-way adjustable driver's seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel with redundant audio controls, cruise control, Ford Sync, rear stabilizer bar and P215/50R16 all-season tires on aluminum alloy wheels. Leather upholstery ($695) is optional, and the SES is available with the SE options.
Safety features that come standard consist of dual-stage front airbags; torso-protecting, seat-mounted front side airbags; head-protecting side curtain airbags; tire pressure monitor; and LATCH-style child seat anchors. Four-wheel antilock brakes with traction control are optional for all models ($385).