The 2015 Focus reminds me of Woody Allen’s clumsy and ungainly hero in Play It Again, Sam. Not that I find the new Focus neither clumsy nor ungainly,it's just that, in a way, Ford is in the same spot as said hero, Allan Felix.
To sum it up, here is Allan’s problem: he just can’t manage to be original with the ladies. Every time he opens his mouth, out comes a worn cliché, such as “I’ve met a lot a damesh in my life, but you’re really shomeshing shpeshal.”
Unfortunately, worn clichés don’t produce much of an effect at all. They don’t resonate. Like a song stuck on replay (hence Play It Again, Sam). So, how do you put the magic back in an old song? How do you seduce a woman? Ask Ford!
What is the 2015 Ford Focus SE?
Ford has sold about 12 million Focus since the model appeared on the market in 1998. So, that song naturally became a bit stale. However, thanks to a well-thought-out recipe brilliantly mixing boldness and caution, the Focus continues to appeal in 2015, even as it is about to turn 18.
Ford’s PR people insist on four key pillars to explain its success: looks to please all; efficient mechanicals; all the latest technology; and an inspiring drive experience. Honestly though, over two days at the wheel, there is mostly one thing that impressed me: the motor under the hood.
The 3-cylinder 1.0L EcoBoost is borrowed from the Fiesta. It produces 123 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque. Thanks to some remarkable work on the front pulley and the rear flywheel, you barely notice the odd number of cylinders. This is a truly excellent mill, both refined and economical.
Pricing and features
This 1.0L unit is available only on the SE model. It comes with the EcoBoost package, which includes a 6-speed manual gearbox, a different body kit, some 17” alloy wheels and a few other tweaks. Pricing starts at $19,199. Add $1,600 for EcoBoost. My car was also fitted with a winter package. Heated seats, steering wheel and sideview mirrors brought the price tag up to $23,314.
Now, if you want the 1.0L in the 5-door Focus or with an automatic transmission you are just out of luck. Ford will only provide its magical 3-cylinder in the 4-door version, with stick shift. The other engine available in the SE is the 2.0L, which comes with a choice of trannies: a good old manual 5-cog or an updated 6-speed PowerShift automatic. The result is 37 more horses than the 1.0L, so better acceleration, but also less fuel economy.
Inside and Out
For 2015, Ford fit all its Focus with a rearview camera, a quick charge USB port, as well as SYNC and MyKey technologies. Reverse sensors, blind spot detectors, and lane-keeping system are all new optional extras... that were not fitted to my tester.
There are also some minor changes inside. For example, the door lock control has moved from the centre console to the doors. Outside, various aerodynamic improvements (notably around the sideview mirrors) reduce both the noise level inside and fuel consumption.
On the road
All that is new in the Focus is really perceptible -- or imperceptible, depending on the point of view. Indeed driving the Focus SE 2015, you barely notice the difference between the 1.0L and 2.0L engines. And you barely notice any wind noise, even at higher speeds.
As for fuel, either engine requires remarkably little. Driving mostly on highways, they maintained impressive averages of 6.9L and 8.0L/100km respectively.
If the quality of materials doesn’t entirely inspire confidence, the steering does: You can place the car exactly where you want on the road. Strangely enough though, it is the perfectly calibrated turn signal and other dashboard controls that stood out for me.
The competition The compact car category features many pretenders: MINI Cooper, Volkswagen Golf, Mazda3, Chevrolet Cruze, and Mitsubishi Lancer... But none offers an engine comparable to the 1.0L in the Focus SE 2015.