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Old 12-05-2008, 12:52 PM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default Editors' Roundtable: 2009 Ford Focus SES Coupe

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While the second-generation Ford Focus debuted last year, FoMoCo has gone and given the car some tasteful updates for the 2009 model year. A revised front end, larger wheels, and some minor chassis tweaks are enough to make this new Focus a bit better than last year’s car, but it still doesn’t hold a candle to other small car offerings. Still, we were pretty pleased with our Focus’ behavior during its two-week stay in our test fleet.
Click through the jump to read our full impressions.
Chris Paukert
Editor-in-Chief
I didn’t spend a great deal of time in our SES Coupe, but it’s heartening to see Ford already making minor updates to last year’s substantial facelift, and they’re changes for the better, including exorcising those dreadful chrome mock fender vents (coupe only) and changing the final drive ratio for better acceleration. This is particularly interesting behavior on the part of the cash-strapped Blue Oval considering that 2008 was a decidedly robust sales year for the Focus.
Driven in isolation, the SES is pleasant enough, offering reasonable pep, solid ergonomics (the information display atop the center stack is particularly nice work), solid fuel economy, and useful technology like Sync. Still, it’s ultimately not as sharp a driver’s tool as some of its competitors and it has some rather poor interior bits (some cheap plastics, contrived gauge fonts).
The Focus remains a surprisingly decent car considering its aging bones. There are certainly better cars available in the segment, but if you can get a good deal from a motivated dealer, there may not be many better up-front values. Long-term values, however, are likely a different story.
Steven J. Ewing
Production and Test Fleet Manager
The Focus has never been first in line for my "best small car" pick. I've always been more impressed with the Mazda3, Scion tC, or Honda Civic—the Ford has always seemed sort of bland. What really turned me off (initially) about this new Focus was that Ford decided to only offer coupe and sedan body styles -- no three- or five-door hatches and no wagon. The more up-to-date C1-platform Focus is a very successful car in other markets and I've always wanted America to experience some of this small car love.
The 2009 Focus has a tweaked appearance which looks a bit better than last year's car, though I would gladly pay a couple of extra bucks to have the dealership remove the awful C-pillar wing. This comes standard on the SES coupe, while the base SE coupe has the decklid spoiler of the 2008 model. The revised front end doesn't look half bad, and the dark seventeen-inch alloys are really quite attractive. The larger wheels and stiffer suspension do aid in giving the Focus a sportier driving feel, though this car still doesn't seem too eager to be tossed into bends in the same way that a Mazda3 does. The engine has ample power for a car this size, though acceleration feels sort of lazy unless you're really pushing it hard.
In all, I'd expect the 2009 Focus to do reasonably well in sales. The price is right and there are a lot of cool options available (Sync, sunroof, heated leather seats) that would make this an attractive car to many buyers. Still, until a more modern Focus is brought to our shores, I think one of the Japanese competitors is still my choice.
Seyth Miersma
Senior Editor
I have to admit that the shape of the new Focus coupe, a non-starter for me when I first saw it, is growing on me a little. The black on black stylings of the SES coupe we tested, along with Ford’s excellent choice of seventeen-inch wheels, really help the package along as well.

The Focus is a pretty entertaining driving machine, provided the five-speed manual has been installed. The gearing seems to have been tuned for quick acceleration, making it feel a bit ballsier than its 143 horsepower might suggest. I was actually inspired enough by my commute home in the SES to take it out for a more extensive thrashing on the winding Huron River Drive the next morning—an entertaining romp but one which showed a few more flaws in grip, rough road suppression, and refinement than were encountered the first time out.

Another quibble was with the Focus’s heater, which seemed to take ages to heat up the cabin of the little coupe. Cold air was blowing from the vents for at least the first ten minutes of my morning drive, leading me to question (yet again) where I hid my gloves last winter.
Nate Luzod
Art Director
The Focus SES Coupe is a very decent drive for roughly seventeen large. It's easy enough to throw around without feeling like you're doing something you shouldn't be, and peppy enough to deliver spirited driving when the occasion calls for it. MPG figures of 24/35 (with responsible driving) certainly don't hurt, either.
The interior is reasonably well done for a "budget" car, with my only gripe being difficult access to the back seat (oh, and the shifter tends to feel too bulky/clumsy) but the materials feel fine and the design/ergonomics are more than suitable. That SYNC is an option makes it particularly attractive with respect to the rest of its segment.
I'm continually impressed with the new Ford products and find noticeable, quality improvements with each new year. The Focus is no exception.
2009 FORD FOCUS SES COUPE
Engine: Inline-4, 2.0 liters, 16v
Output: 143 hp/136 lb-ft
Transmission: Five-speed manual
Weight: 2588 lb
Fuel Economy, city/hwy: 24/35 mpg
Price as Tested: $18,265
http://www.nextautos.com/editors-rou...ocus-ses-coupe











































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Old 12-05-2008, 01:29 PM   #2
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oh God, why???
Just let this car die.
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Old 12-05-2008, 02:22 PM   #3
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If it didn't look like a hammered turd, it would be a very popular car. Looking @ things like the sync, the mpg, how much it DOESN'T weigh...the Focus aint all "that bad".
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Old 12-05-2008, 02:59 PM   #4
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I remember the days when I would actually look at the focus and respect it's handling prowess.

But now...

I would rather buy a Cobalt....actually I'd rather buy a civic.
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Old 12-05-2008, 05:27 PM   #5
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a guy down the street from me has one just like it. it would look "ok" sporty if it was slightly lower. i'm sure its not a terrible car but it is subpar when compared to others in the price range.
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Old 12-05-2008, 05:29 PM   #6
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Just kill it and put any extra resources into getting the Fiesta here faster.
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Old 12-05-2008, 05:35 PM   #7
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It now looks a little less like **** than the current.

Nick
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Old 12-05-2008, 05:48 PM   #8
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: picard :

USDM focus FTL.

if the average american knew what ford was selling in Europe there would be such an outcry...and even more bad blood for the Mulally and their management.
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Old 12-05-2008, 08:26 PM   #9
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What is Ford thinking?? Why would anyone want to drive one of these...
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Old 12-05-2008, 09:43 PM   #10
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: picard :

USDM focus FTL.

if the average american knew what ford was selling in Europe there would be such an outcry...and even more bad blood for the Mulally and their management.
SERIOUSLY. The focus we get is SO terrible in comparison. The only US focus I've ever liked is the SVT hatchback, and that's still mediocre imo. I think the reason we still get the focus we get is because of the cost of manufacturing and something to do with their trying to recoup money they lost on the model early on. The USDM Focus Coupe is a freaking nightmare though. I don't know who the designers were, but they need to be fired and shot. THIS is the exact reason why ford is losing sales to imports in the US. It would be one thing if this were an isolated incident, but ford has a number of other really great cars that we just will never see here. Their US management needs to be retired.

The euro focus is such a cool little car and is so hugely better than the US focus in almost EVERY single freaking way. If this were the car we got in the US I would have VERY seriously considered getting one recently. Want to drive one? Head over to your volvo dealership and drive the FWD S40 T5, essentially the same car with a slightly gussied up interior, though the focus apparently gets some cool features like adjustable steering weighting (at least it did a couple years ago). Too bad the C1 chassis will likely be retired before we ever see a focus based on it here in the states, though maybe it'll live on a little longer due to the mess detroit has gotten itself into.

Last edited by chanke4252; 12-05-2008 at 09:48 PM.
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Old 12-05-2008, 09:54 PM   #11
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Want to drive one? Head over to your volvo dealership and drive the FWD S40 T5, essentially the same car with a slightly gussied up interior, though the focus apparently gets some cool features like adjustable steering weighting (at least it did a couple years ago).
Isn't the Mazda3/Mazdaspeed3/C30 a much better comparison though?
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Old 12-05-2008, 09:58 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by cefoskey View Post
: picard :

USDM focus FTL.

if the average american knew what ford was selling in Europe there would be such an outcry...and even more bad blood for the Mulally and their management.
At least they finally blacked-out that damned razor blade they use for a grill.

Mulally is the one responsible FOR BRINGING 6 Euro Fords here in the next three years.

Though I would love to get my hands on floor booth at the Detroit auto show and park a bunch of Euro Fords in it. Focus, S-Max, Fiesta, the new Ka, a Kuga and a Mondeo...

We'll never see a C1 Focus here. C2 is due when? 2011? So maybe in 2012 we'll see it here.

<shrug> I'm buying an Insight in the spring. The domestics have lost me for another 8-10 years unless they can bring an affordable plug-in before then (Even at $30k after rebate the Volt ain't affordable, sorry.)
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Old 12-05-2008, 10:24 PM   #13
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Isn't the Mazda3/Mazdaspeed3/C30 a much better comparison though?
No. The S40 T5 and the Euro-focus share the same guts (volvo guts) and layout. The C30 shares the engine as well, though I don't know a ton about the C30 so I can't comment further. The only similarity between the euro-focus and the volvos to the Mazdas is the chassis. Pretty much everything else is different, at least from the TC'ed C1 focus. I suppose it is possible that the lower level trims use the same engines as the mazdas, though I don't live in europe and have never actually seen anything but the TC'ed focus in person, nor do I care about the NA versions really.
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Old 12-06-2008, 08:59 AM   #14
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let this be the last focus AVANTI R5 posts in N&R until the euro model arrives here.
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Old 12-06-2008, 11:56 AM   #15
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I sat in one last night. My wife's 1993 Escort LXE was a MUCH nicer car.
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Old 12-06-2008, 02:22 PM   #16
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This is what Ford has been doing lately, cutting cost in product development, along with many other areas. GM, on the other hand, has produced some real decent cars in the last couple of years, just like we have asked them to do. And guess which one's in real trouble now.
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Old 12-06-2008, 02:42 PM   #17
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Had one of these as a rental when I totaled my euro converted 01 focus. Hated the look, the only + side was audio input in the base model. There was rumors that ford was retooling one of the closed truck plants to produce the MKII C1 focus hatch to sell along side the US coupe and sedan in 2010 and then retooling for MKIII C2 focus hatch in 2011 to be on par with the rest of the world.
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Old 12-06-2008, 06:53 PM   #18
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Just kill it and put any extra resources into getting the Fiesta here faster.
^this!
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Old 12-06-2008, 07:14 PM   #19
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Ford, why does Mexico get the international focus but the US and Canada are still stuck with this econo box abomination?
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Old 12-06-2008, 07:25 PM   #20
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Ford, why does Mexico get the international focus but the US and Canada are still stuck with this econo box abomination?
Because apparently the Euro Focus is too expensive for the US market... but somehow is cheap enough for the Mexican market?!?!


It's management decisions like this that have nearly collapsed Ford and the rest of the US car makers.
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Old 12-06-2008, 07:34 PM   #21
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This is what Ford has been doing lately, cutting cost in product development, along with many other areas. GM, on the other hand, has produced some real decent cars in the last couple of years, just like we have asked them to do. And guess which one's in real trouble now.
Which cars are those? The only decent cars that I can think of are the rebadged holdens, which we can thank australia for. There's nothing else that is really that different from their past approach other than those two iirc. The cobalt is ok, but still a pile imo and nothing that I would EVER even consider getting, regardless of how fast it is or how well it handles. It's still an ultra-low quality pos. I mean they're moving in the right direction, but I'd still consider a ford LONG before I would even want to take a serious glance at a GM.

Ford makes some nice crossovers, if that's your thing (it's not mine), though their US small car, mid-size car lineup blows balls. It doesn't blow because they just can't produce anything better, it blows because they are cheaping out on the cars they sell in the US. I can't say that there is a single car in their US lineup right now that I would be even tempted to look at for myself (small cars, midsize cars). As soon as Ford brings a few cars from their euro-lineup over state-side, I guarantee you they will do A LOT better than they have been lately. That whole "make a quick buck at rock bottom cost while cutting costs further at the expense of the final product" approach that GM and Ford US have taken lately aren't exactly a recipe for success. GM is definitely worse about it than ford has ever been though.

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Old 12-06-2008, 07:39 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by chanke4252 View Post
No. The S40 T5 and the Euro-focus share the same guts (volvo guts) and layout. The C30 shares the engine as well, though I don't know a ton about the C30 so I can't comment further. The only similarity between the euro-focus and the volvos to the Mazdas is the chassis. Pretty much everything else is different, at least from the TC'ed C1 focus. I suppose it is possible that the lower level trims use the same engines as the mazdas, though I don't live in europe and have never actually seen anything but the TC'ed focus in person, nor do I care about the NA versions really.
the euro-Focus platform is the basis for the Focus, Mazda3, as well as Volvo's S40/V50/C30 lineup.
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Old 12-06-2008, 07:40 PM   #23
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Which cars are those? The only decent cars that I can think of are the rebadged holdens, which we can thank australia for. There's nothing else that is really that different from their past approach other than those two iirc. The cobalt is ok, but still a pile imo and nothing that I would EVER even consider getting, regardless of how fast it is or how well it handles. It's still an ultra-low quality pos. I mean they're moving in the right direction, but I'd still consider a ford LONG before I would even want to take a serious glance at a GM.
1. new Malibu
2. GMT900 -- wrong truck at wrong time but done well
3. Solstice/Sky, despite the lack of trunk space
4. Cobalt SS
5. C6 + Z06
6. CTS-V
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Old 12-06-2008, 07:43 PM   #24
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5. Cadillac CTS
6. Pontiac G8
7. Chevy Camaro
8. Chevy Traverse/Buick Enclave
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Old 12-06-2008, 08:15 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by shikataganai View Post
1. new Malibu
2. GMT900 -- wrong truck at wrong time but done well
3. Solstice/Sky, despite the lack of trunk space
4. Cobalt SS
5. C6 + Z06
6. CTS-V
1. rental car fodder, more marketing than anything.
2. yes, just what GM needs, another truck
3. I'll give it to you, kind of.
4. a piece of garbage that is fast and handles well. Bad build/material quality and everything else is typical GM. The old camaro was fast and handled decently too at the time, yet was also a huge piece of crap.
5. Ford GT?
6. I agree.

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5. Cadillac CTS
6. Pontiac G8
7. Chevy Camaro
8. Chevy Traverse/Buick Enclave
Since apparnetly we have problems with numbering, I'll fix it for you.

7 (5). see #6
8 (6). Made by Holden
9 (7). Really? I mean it's an exciting car compared to most of their other cars considering they haven't made a camaro in a fewy ears, but expecting it to be vastly different from GM's past garbage offerings (especially in terms of quality, where GM suffers) is kind of unrealistic.
10 (8). Hooray, a car that doesn't really have anything new to offer a market already obscenely saturated by crossover-style SUV's. The last thing GM needs is another SUV.

I don't hate GM, but outside of cadillac, I have never found GM build/material quality to be anything but a horrible, horrible joke. None of their designs are terribly exciting either (again, outside of cadillac). I mean they aren't terrible, but boring/mediocre designs + low quality = fail. The difference is that ford has the designs (even if they aren't produced for the US market), and I have consistently noticed their quality to be considerably better than GM. If only we could convince them to drop their horrible, horrible, horrible, horrible US lineup.

Last edited by chanke4252; 12-07-2008 at 01:31 AM.
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