New look com­ing, but good value for 2018 Fo­cus

Manteca Bulletin - - On The Road - ERIC PETERS

Agreat time to buy a new car is when an even newer car is on the way. Next year, there will be an all-new Ford Fo­cus. That means there are deals to be had on the 2018 Fo­cus.

And you might just like this one bet­ter any­how.

Spy shots of the 2019 show a racier-look­ing shape, and while there’s not­ing wrong with that, it might not be right for you.

What It Is The Fo­cus is Ford’s com­pact sedan and five-door hatch­back.

It’s an un­usual en­trant in its class, which in­cludes the Honda Civic, Mazda3 and Hyundai Elantra, among oth­ers, be­cause it of­fers sev­eral things they don’t, in­clud­ing an avail­able tur­bocharged three-cylin­der en­gine and an au­to­mated man­ual trans­mis­sion to go with it. Both are de­signed to help the Fo­cus re­turn out­stand­ing gas mileage (es­ti­mated 40 on the high­way).

Base price is $17,950, whereas the 2018 Mazda3 Sport is $18,095 and a 2018 Honda Civic is $18,940.

What’s New There are no ma­jor changes for 2018 be­cause an all-new 2019 Fo­cus is on deck.

What’s Good It has ex­cel­lent gas mileage and an op­tional 1.0-liter en­gine and six-speed au­to­mated man­ual trans­mis­sion.

It has tremen­dous front-seat legroom (43.1 inches).

The base S trim is well-equipped with the ne­ces­si­ties in­clud­ing air con­di­tion­ing, a 4.2-inch LCD touch screen, and a tilt and tele­scop­ing steer­ing wheel.

What’s Not So Good The mileage of the Ford’s op­tional en­gine matches the mileage of the stan­dard en­gine of newer ri­vals like the just-re­designed Civic.

It has a tight back seat: just 33.2 inches of legroom, al­most 4 inches less than the new Civic’s.

Un­der the Hood The base Fo­cus is pow­ered by a 2.0-liter four­cylin­der with 160 horse­power, avail­able with ei­ther a five-speed man­ual trans­mis­sion (stan­dard) or a six-speed au­to­matic (op­tional).

This is com­pet­i­tive with (al­most ex­actly the same as) what you’ll find un­der the hoods of ri­vals like the Civic and Mazda3, which also come with a stan­dard 2.0-liter en­gine. The Civic has 158 horse­power, and the Mazda3 has 150 horse­power.

But the Fo­cus’ op­tional en­gine is very dif­fer­ent. It’s a tur­bocharged 1.0-liter three-cylin­der. That’s a smaller en­gine than most full-sized mo­tor­cy­cle en­gines — and it has one less cylin­der than most of them, too. But the small­ness is made big­ger when you need it by a tur­bocharger. Turbo boosts the out­put to 123 horse­power and 123 foot-pounds of torque at 3,500 rpm. It also boosts the mileage from an OK 25 mpg city and 34 mpg high­way with the 2.0-liter en­gine to an out­stand­ing 30 mpg city and 40 mpg high­way.

On the Road Cross­over SUVs are cur­rently out­selling sedans like the Fo­cus be­cause they are more ver­sa­tile. They have more in­te­rior space and of­fer more ca­pa­bil­ity — in­clud­ing (usu­ally) avail­able all-wheel drive.

But crossovers are also com­pro­mised. They ride high, which isn’t op­ti­mal for high-speed han­dling. And they’re heav­ier, which causes them to use more gas.

Sedans like the Fo­cus sit lower, so you’ve got a lower cen­ter of grav­ity. This is a nat­u­ral sta­bil­ity en­hancer. They are also lighter, so they sill per­form de­cently with smaller en­gines while post­ing good gas mileage.

Most crossovers are only au­to­matic. If you pre­fer to shift for yourself, many, like the Fo­cus, also of­fer man­ual trans­mis­sion.

So while the Fo­cus and cars of its type may not be as prac­ti­cal as crossovers, they can be more fun to drive, which doesn’t count for noth­ing.

At the Curb The Ford has best-in-class driver-seat and front-seat-pas­sen­ger legroom: 43.1 inches. But the back seat only has 33.2 inches of legroom. This is sig­nif­i­cantly less than both the new Civic (37.4 inches) and the Mazda3 (35.8 inches) of­fer. Those two have as much or even more back-seat legroom than many mid­sized sedans.

But the Fo­cus does have more back-seat head­room than most of its ri­vals: 38 inches ver­sus 37.2 in the Civic and 37.6 in the Mazda3. It doesn’t sound like a big dif­fer­ence on paper, but if you’re 6 feet tall, it can be a dif­fer­ence that makes all the dif­fer­ence.

The sedan has a rea­son­ably large 13.2-cu­bic­foot trunk, but the hatch­back ver­sion has al­most twice that be­hind its se­cond row, 23.9 cu­bic feet. And if you fold the se­cond row down, that ex­pands to 43.9 cu­bic feet.

The Rest The Fo­cus comes stan­dard with a 4.2-inch LCD screen that’s not touch-ac­ti­vated, but you can up­grade to an 8-inch touch screen that’s larger than the screens avail­able in ri­vals and comes with Ford’s Sync in­ter­face, which has large and easy-to-read but­tons for most func­tions.

Ti­ta­nium trims also get Ford’s unique ex­te­rior touch­pad en­try sys­tem, which you’ll ap­pre­ci­ate if you ever mis­place your key fob. No other cars in this class of­fer a sim­i­lar fea­ture.

The Bot­tom Line An all-new Fo­cus will be here in a few months, but new­ness usu­ally comes with a higher price and less room to hag­gle. You might want to shop for a still-new 2018 given the bet­ter deals on the ta­ble — and other rea­sons, too!

Eric’s new book, “Don’t Get Taken for a Ride!” is avail­able now. To find out more about Eric and read his past col­umns, please visit the Creators Syn­di­cate web­page at www.creators. com.

2018 Ford Fo­cus.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.