2017 Ford Focus

Starting MSRP: $16,775 - $29,120

Estimated MPG: 25 city / 34 hwy

2017 Ford Focus Review

A standout in the highly competitive compact car segment, the 2017 Ford Focus offers attractive styling, a European-developed chassis and a variety of trim and powertrain options.

By Chris Brewer
Last Updated 07/19/2017

The 2017 Ford Focus is available as a sedan or hatchback, and it comes with a choice of three gas-powered engines or an all-electric drivetrain. Sedan trim levels include S, SE, SEL and Titanium. The hatchback comes in SE, SEL, Titanium and the performance-themed Focus ST. There’s also the high-performance Ford Focus RS, which is covered in a separate review.

The Ford Focus remains relatively unchanged for the 2017 model year, apart from an additional trim level (SEL) and a new paint choice (White Gold).

Exterior

Exterior
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The Ford Focus hasn't gotten a full redesign since 2012. Its European-inspired design is still contemporary and appealing, but newer models like the 2017 Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra and Mazda3 have displaced the Focus as style leaders.

The base S sedan is equipped with 15-inch steel wheels with silver-painted covers, a black grille with a chrome surround, black rocker moldings, power mirrors, automatic quad-beam halogen headlights and a capless fuel filler.

The new-for-2017 SEL trim includes 17-inch alloy wheels, fog lamps, black headlight bezels and a power moonroof. The Titanium model adds heated side mirrors and a rear spoiler.

Interior

Interior
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The 2017 Focus has an attractive driver-centric interior. The design is youthful and fun, with plenty of convenience features that enhance the driving experience. Most Focus trims provide a quiet, comfortable ride, while the sport-themed Focus ST substitutes some comfort for performance, which results in a harsher ride.

The Focus’ front seats are comfortable and provide plenty of legroom. Finding a comfortable driving position is straightforward even with the base S model, which comes with a six-way manual driver’s seat that offers up/down, fore/aft and recline features. The Titanium model adds front seats that are power adjustable and heated.

The rear seats are adequate for smaller passengers, but many competitors offer roomier second rows.

Cargo space is slightly below average at 13.2 cubic feet in the sedan and 23.8 cubic feet with the hatchback; with the rear seats folded, hatchbacks offer almost 44 cubic feet of capacity. Due to its intrusive battery pack, the Focus Electric hatchback has a mere 14.5 cubic feet behind the rear seats.

The base model includes manual climate control, a full-floor center console, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and floor mats. Front windows are power operated, but rear windows are manual. The SEL adds dual-zone climate control, and highlights of the premium-themed Titanium model include a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather-trimmed seats and a rear center armrest.

Performance

Performance
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The 2017 Ford Focus is available with three different gas-powered engines, or as an all-electric vehicle. Most models use a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that creates 160 horsepower and 146 pound-feet of torque. The S model is available with a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. The SE model is available with an optional 1.0-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine that generates 123 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque, and this trim may be purchased with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission.

The ST model features a six-speed manual transmission and a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that creates 252 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque

The all-electric Focus is powered by an electric motor and a single-speed transmission. The motor creates 143 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. On a full charge, the Focus Electric has a 115-mile range.

The Focus offers excellent handling characteristics, strong braking and precise steering. The base 160-horsepower engine is eager to please and offers excellent fuel economy, with up to 26/38 mpg city/highway. The 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine is the fuel-sipper of the group at up to 30/40 mpg, although its tepid acceleration limits highway passing maneuvers.

The ST model’s excellent performance and strong fuel economy (22/30 mpg city/highway) make it a true leader in the hot hatchback segment. Unfortunately, the sport-tuned suspension of the ST is so tight that daily-driving comfort suffers.

Technology

Technology
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The base Focus arrives with a four-speaker audio system, a 4.2-inch display, two USB ports, Bluetooth and voice recognition. The base model’s controls works well, although the limited screen size and features feel dated by today’s standards. The optional Sync 3 system remedies both ailments with its 8-inch touch screen, smartphone apps, and options like a 10-speaker Sony audio system and satellite radio.

Safety

Safety
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The 2017 Ford Focus received a top five-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The Focus logged a five-star score in all tests except the rollover test, where it earned four out of five stars.

In tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the 2017 Ford Focus earned top Good scores in all but the small overlap front crash test, where it was given a second-best Acceptable rating.

The Focus comes with a standard rearview camera and Ford’s MyKey system, which allows the owner to limit maximum speed and other vehicle parameters based on which key is used to operate the car. It can be optioned with active safety technologies that include blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, as well as lane keeping assist, a reverse sensing system and active park assist. The active park assist includes 12 sensors that scan for available parking spaces and then interact with the vehicle’s gear shifter, brakes and throttle to help the driver park.

Cost-Effectiveness

Cost-Effectiveness
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The base 2017 Focus S sedan starts at $16,775, plus an $875 destination charge. The SE hatchback starts at $19,765, and the 2017 Focus Electric starts at $29,120.

The Focus is priced competitively in the compact car segment and represents excellent value in a tough category. Alternatives such as the Kia Forte can be purchased for less, but the Focus has a lower starting price than a comparably equipped Volkswagen Golf, Subaru Impreza or Honda Civic. Electric models are also available in all 50 states and with incentives available that can potentially save thousands of dollars off of MSRP.

Overall

Overall
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Thanks to Ford’s wide range of trims, models and drivetrain choices, the 2017 Ford Focus can be everything from an affordable fuel-efficient grocery getter to a fun-to-drive hot hatchback. Families will want to bring little ones to the dealership to check out the rear seats, but you'll likely find that they are adequate for smaller passengers.