With all the capable compact sedans on the market, it's easy to forget how good the 2014 Ford Focus really is. The Focus may not be the newest of the bunch, but it's still at the top of its game. Ford designed the Focus to be exceptional from the get-go rather than building it to a price, so it's not surprising that this sleek little car continues to be a staff favorite. Here are five reasons why the Focus is a force to be reckoned with.

Frugal-Yet-Fiesty Engine

The primary engine in the Focus is a 2-liter 4-cylinder, and it's one of the best at this price. Fuel economy is excellent at up to 40 miles per gallon on the highway, but the story doesn't end there. With a smooth-revving 160 horsepower, the 2-liter Focus has plenty of pop, which isn't a given in the 40-mpg club. This isn't an engine that you grin and bear in order to save gas; on the contrary, it's so fun that your right foot might find it difficult to show restraint.

Tech-Forward Features

If you tend to focus on technology, you're going to love the features in this Ford. Even the volume-selling Focus SE comes with Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and you also get Ford's SYNC system for voice commands. Step up to the MyFord Touch package, and you get an 8-inch touchscreen -- not bad for a so-called economy car. In fact, the Focus offers some tech features that a lot of pricier cars can't match.

Sophisticated Ride and Handling

It used to be that Europeans could buy the cool Focus models while we were left with the dregs, but not anymore. Now the U.S.-market Focus has the same advanced suspension as its European counterpart, and the result is arguably the best driving dynamics in this class. The Focus handles great, with good body control and responsive steering, yet it also rides like a more expensive car. That's a combination that only a couple of rivals can match, and it's one thing about the Focus that'll never get old.

Classy Looks

Who says an economy car has to look like one? With its sleek front end and muscular rear-wheel arches, the Focus looks more like a compact sport sedan. The interior impresses too, with a graceful dashboard and attractive, high-quality surfaces. You can tell that the designers were as excited about making this car as the engineers.

Great Value for Price

Remarkably, the Focus remains one of the more affordable cars in its segment. The base S model starts at less than $18,000, and even the fancy Titanium sedan doesn't top $25,000. That's pretty reasonable for such a great all-around ride. There are still cheaper cars in this class, but for the money, there's none better.

AutoTrader Says

The 2014 Ford Focus is one of those cars that just does everything well, year after year. If you're shopping for a compact car, the Focus must be on your list.

author photo

Josh Sadlier is an automotive journalist based in Los Angeles and has contributed to such publications as Edmunds.com and DriverSide.com. He holds arguably the most unexpected degree in his profession: a master's in Theological Studies.

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