The 2014 Ford Focus is one of the leading compact cars available on the market. Offered as both a sedan and a hatchback, the Focus is fun to drive. Also, it provides provides good fuel economy at a nice price point.
The Focus has been a top competitor in the compact market since its inception nearly fifteen years ago. Now in both the compact sedan and hatchback segments, the 2014 Ford Focus is still a leading choice thanks to its fun driving dynamics, upscale feel, and excellent fuel economy. The Focus has also become known as the ‘tech geek’s car’ for all of the technical options Ford offers in it, many as segment exclusives.
The Focus comes in both a sedan and a hatchback body style choice as well as three trim levels: S (sedan only), SE, and Titanium. A fully electric version is also available as the Focus Electric and a performance trim is available as the Focus ST. Both the EV and ST options for the Focus make for very different cars from the three standard gasoline options, however, and outside of some cosmetic similarities and chassis sharing, those two options are nothing like the standard Ford Focus. So we are excluding them from our overall assessments here.
The new Ford front grille and accentuated European hood design is a smart match for the compact Focus. Even the very basic S trim level is a real standout in the segment thanks to this award-winning look. The basic lines along the bodywork and abrupt end at the rear give the Focus a strong style that will appeal to most buyers. Various packages add to this look, such as the SE with its larger alloy wheels and the beautiful trim bling added by the Titanium option. For those looking to maximize fuel economy, the SE package has a SFE option (Super Fuel Economy) that adds aerodynamic improvements to the exterior for higher efficiency.
On the inside, trim levels make even more changes. The S package has the rear seat bench folding in one piece while the SE and Titanium models have a 60/40 split-fold. The sound system improves with each trim level as do the connectivity options and other additions. The interior sees the Ford Focus’ only big fault, which are the small back seats in comparison to some competition. In addition, the MyFord Touch infotainment system can be quirky and slow.
Technology in the 2014 Focus, however, includes some of the best you can find in this segment.
The Focus is front-wheel drive (FWD) and is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine as standard. This engine outputs 160 horsepower and 146 lb-ft of torque through a five-speed manual transmission (standard in the S and SE trims) as well as a six-speed dual-clutch automatic (‘Powershift’), offered for those trims and standard in the Titanium package.
The Powershift transmission is a common European and Asian automatic and boasts slightly higher efficiency and sport tuning versus other automated transmission options. Some drivers may find it takes getting used to, given its small quirks, but most will find that they like its smoother operation. Dual-clutch transmissions like this tend to allow some ‘hill creep’ (rollback) and do not creep at idle as much as some might expect.
The EPA rates the 2014 Focus in its standard transmission at 26/36 mpg city/highway with a 30 mpg combined rating. The automatic transmission improves this to 31 mpg combined (27/38 mpg city/highway). The SFE option for the SE trim raises fuel economy estimates to 28/40 mpg, or 33 mpg combined.
Despite the sometimes clunky Touch system Ford uses, the Focus has plenty of technology to go around. With the MyFord Touch and its large touchscreen and one of the few working voice command systems (called Sync), the option upgrades for the Focus are well beyond what most in the compact car segment offer.
If you do not opt for the MyFord Touch system, be aware that the audio controls for the standard setup can be dauntingly complex in their layout.
Other segment-exclusive tech options for the 2014 Focus push past those slight limitations, however, and make this one of the most technically-enhanced cars in the entry-level compact arena. An automated parallel parking system, often only found in super-luxury cars, is amazing to witness for the first time and quickly becomes habit-forming as a convenience. Other options include high amounts of adjust-ability for the driver’s seat, premium stereo sound, and abundant plugs and ports for devices are all things that add up to make this one of the most connected cars in the segment.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the Focus a Top Safety Pick award for its performance in IIHS crash tests. The 2014 Focus also received a top five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for its overall performance in crash tests.
The manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for the 2014 Focus is $16,810 while the most expensive trim level and options will push that all the way to $35,170. Neither price includes destination. Most buyers are purchasing in the $21,000 range, which nets the SE trim level with a few add-ons for technology and convenience.
The Focus is price-competitive with most in this market segment. Many of the high-end technology options that may set it apart for some buyers, however, are very expensive. High fuel economy and good expected reliability do keep the Focus high on the list.
Overall, the 2014 Ford Focus is a strong competitor in the lineup of very compelling compact cars. Its good looks, sporty nature, and strong fuel economy set the Focus apart from many and keep it as a favorite option for the compact car buyer.