Ford adds more features to award-winning compact

The five-passenger, front-wheel drive Ford Focus consistently makes my annual Top Ten list.

Yes, I know it is a compact model and yes, I know there are automotive enthusiasts that will send me nasty emails for having a Top Ten list that includes any vehicle with an engine generating less than 300 horsepower.

Admittedly, I retired my racing helmet and neck collar a long time ago and I do qualify for AARP membership — meaning performance is just one of the criteria I use to judge a vehicle. The others include comfort, amenities, technology and affordability (to own and operate).

With a base price starting at $18,100, the Focus is available in sedan and four-door hatchback body styles. It is also absolutely loaded with safety features and state-of-the-art technology. When equipped with the EcoBoost engine and six-speed manual transmission, it has an EPA fuel economy rating of 30 mpg city, 42 mpg highway. And while it likely won’t win a race against a Mustang GT at the drag strip, it has more than enough pep to quickly merge onto a busy freeway. And when it comes to a smooth ride and exceptional handling, the Focus delivers.

For the 2016 model year, the Focus is available in S, SE and Titanium trim levels, and consumers have their choice of two available engines.

The base powertrain features a 2.0-liter I-4 engine delivering 160 horsepower and 145 lbs.-ft. torque. Mated to either a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission, regular unleaded gasoline and has an EPA fuel economy rating of 27 mpg city, 40 mpg highway when equipped with automatic transmission (25 mpg, 36 mpg respectively when equipped with manual transmission.

Consumers also have the option of Ford’s award-winning 1.0-liter turbocharged EcoBoost I-4 engine delivering 123 horsepower and 125 lbs.-ft. torque. For the first time, buyers can opt for the six-speed automatic with the EcoBoost engine.

Other new features include:

• Ford’s Sync 3, featuring conversational voice recognition, smartphone-like touch screen and easy-to-use graphical interfaces.

• Available driver assist technology such as blind spot information system with cross-traffic alert and lane-keeping assist.

• New exterior design and revised interior.

Standard safety features include AdvanceTrac electronic stability control, rear-view camera, dual-stage front-row airbags, front-seat side airbags and side-curtain airbags, four-wheel ABS and child safety anchor system, among others.

For those in the market for an exceptional vehicle, the Focus is a must for the test drive list.

 

Neal White has been covering the automotive industry for more than 20 years and is affiliated with the Texas Auto Writers Association.