To put together this conclusive review on the new 2009 Ford Focus, TheCarConnection.com's editors researched road tests and reviews from a wide range of sources. Experts from TheCarConnection.com also drove several different 2009 Focus models, including the coupe and sedan body styles, and offer more insight and details where they help you with your own research.
Last year the Ford Focus was extensively redesigned, with fresh styling cues on the outside and an all-new interior--although a platform originally introduced in '99 remains underneath. But some of the consumer complaints about exterior styling and a lack of performance registered at Ford, so for 2009 the Ford Focus receives a new look for the coupe, along with sporty engineering additions.
The 2009 Ford Focus is available as either a traditional sedan or two-door coupe. Available trim levels range from the base S through to the new-for-2009 SEL trim, while SE and SES trims fill out the middle. The Ford Focus coupe is only available in SE and SES garb. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that powers the Ford Focus delivers 140 horsepower in the Focus sedan and, thanks to a new sport-tuned exhaust, 143 hp in the Focus coupe. Transmission choices include a five-speed manual and four-speed automatic.
One of the major criticisms of the 2008 Ford Focus was that it looked, well, ungainly. Some might say it was simply ugly. Either way, styling wasn't a strong suit, so Ford took the Focus coupe--the more controversial of the two models--back to the drawing board and quickly penned some updates. The result is an improvement, but it's still not eye-catching--at least, not in a good way. Styling on the sedan is unchanged for 2009.
Compared to the previous generation, the 2009 Ford Focus is significantly quieter inside. The super-cheap feel of the previous Focus interior is a thing of the past. The new look is more substantial and dimensional, as evidenced by such detailing as the sculpted rings surrounding the instrumentation. Safety has also been addressed with the addition of standard side and curtain airbags for those up front. In addition, 2009 sees the addition of an antiskid system to the options list, a feature that was sorely lacking.
The interior of the 2009 Ford Focus features Ford SYNC, a voice-activated, hands-free communications and entertainment interface that links the car to all manner of phones, PDAs, MP3 players, and portable storage devices. Developed with Microsoft, this $395 option delivers unparalleled device integration. It works quite well, depending on your cell phone and how you store your music on your MP3 player. Using SYNC gets easier over time, as you learn the cadence of specific commands. Teenagers should feel immediately comfortable.
The Bottom Line:
The 2009 Ford Focus is a solid choice if you're looking for a roomy car that rides well, with a base price that starts around $15,000.