$3,182 - $3,838

2009 Ford Focus Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2009 Ford Focus was new.


Performance: 7.6

The Focus' engine gets good reviews while its handling gets even better ones. Altogether, the overwhelming opinion is that Ford's car is a competent performer, but lacks personality.

  • "The Focus has given up its enthusiast notions, but is fun to drive for a price-point machine." -- Motor Trend
  • "Where the old car was bouncy and playful, the new one is a bit more mature and buttoned down, yet still involving and enjoyable." -- About.com
  • "Those looking for engaging handling and a premium ownership experience will want to look elsewhere. The Mazda 3, for example, is a much more engaging car to drive (though markedly thirstier). The Honda Civic is slightly more expensive, but it's a much better all-around performer." -- Edmunds
  • "The redeisgned Ford Focus offers decent handling and miserly fuel economy." -- New Car Test Drive

Acceleration and Power

Although the Focus' four-cylinder engine isn't an upstart by any stretched standards, test drivers find it is sufficiently powerful for most small-car drivers' needs. Just like most cars, the Focus' manual transmission is preferred for sportier driving, but most say the four-speed automatic should fulfill drivers' passing and merging needs. The EPA rates the Focus at 24/35 mpg city/highway with a manual transmission, and 24/33 mpg with an automatic.

  • "Power is adequate, and the engine rarely calls any negative attention to itself." -- Car and Driver
  • "The four-cylinder engine was sufficiently, competitively powerful, though not a standout technologically, and a bit boomy sounding under hard throttle." -- USA Today
  • "With automatic transmission, Focus has just adequate power for highway merging or ascending long grades. The automatic provides timely downshifts. Manual-transmission models feel snappier, with better performance overall." -- Consumer Guide

Handling and Braking

Reviewers find the Focus' recently modified suspension provides a better ride and handling than earlier models, but spend little time comparing the Focus' dynamics to other small cars.

  • "The car rides with suppleness it lacked before." -- Motor Trend
  • "I did take it through the bends at a pretty good clip and was impressed by how well it clung to the road." -- About.com
  • "Steering benefitted from being among [Ford's] priorities. Responsive but not twitchy. Strong on-center feel but not dead or numb. Just about right." -- USA Today
  • "Focus brakes have been improved ... The brake pedal allowed smooth stops because it wasn't touchy." -- MSN

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