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2010 Ford Focus Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2010 Ford Focus was new.


Performance: 7.6

The 2010 Ford Focus handles well for an affordable small car, but don’t expect too much from it in the acceleration department. It’s sluggish in passing maneuvers, according to most reviewers. Also, be aware that the Focus doesn’t have the quietest cabin. Several test drivers report both intrusive engine noise and tire thrum.

  • "While not the quickest car in its class, the 2010 Focus does deliver decent gas mileage, which should please those who favor efficiency over exhilaration." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Cars in this class tend to be buzzy and allow a lot of ambient sound to enter the cockpit. While the engine does whine under heavy throttle, it is no louder than most competitors. Likewise, road noise and wind noise are noticeable, but not out of line for an economy car." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "Road rumble is marked, and the tires thump over expansion joints. The engine sounds coarse during acceleration but quiets down while cruising. The persistent road and engine noise drown out whatever tire thrum there might be." -- Consumer Guide

Acceleration and Power

The Focus isn’t known for tremendous acceleration, and many reviewers were left wanting more in passing maneuvers, but it works well as a daily driver. The Focus shouldn’t disappoint you if you stick to the city and the highway. The Mazda 3 is a good choice if you’re looking for a car that's more fun to drive. It’s in the same general price range as the Focus, and it’s a reviewer favorite for its zippy acceleration.

Only one engine is available with the Focus: a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 143 horsepower. It’s paired to a standard five-speed manual transmission, although a four-speed automatic is available. Fuel economy is a stronger point for the Ford. With an EPA rating of 24 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway, it’s ahead of much of the affordable small car class, especially for highway fuel economy.

  • "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
  • "Choosing to shift for yourself also results in a bit more spirited acceleration; but even with the automatic, any Focus can cope easily with in-town traffic, freeway on-ramps and highway travel." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The Focus has decent power for most needs, but passing on a busy two-lane road requires some space." -- New Car Test Drive

Handling and Braking

Focus' handling is enjoyed by the majority of the automotive press. Most agree that the car grips the road well in tight turns, and say the steering is fairly communicative.

  • "Sedans have communicative steering and decent grip in fast turns. At highway speeds, though, they are subject to gusty crosswind wander. SES coupes are sportier, with better grip and balance overall. Braking on all is stable, but pedal feel is average." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The limited-slip differential does its job of keeping both tires biting, and the patented front suspension geometry suppresses the torque steer. The little Focus just careers out of the bend with startling fairground-ride physicality." -- Motor Trend
  • "Handling has always been a Focus strong suit, and the recent comprehensive revamp of its fully independent suspension, coupled with a stiffer body structure, adds even more poise and control in that department." -- Kelley Blue Book

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