2016 Ford Focus 4-Door Sedan SE Road Test
In the age of seat massagers, scented climate control and moon roofs the size of football fields etched with thousands of LED lights, its hard to remember the original purpose of the automobile. The automobile started out as a tool. A means for a person and their gear to travel to a destination further and faster than ever before. When Ford introduced the Focus in the 2000 model year to replace the best selling Escort, they kept this foremost in mind.
When I buy a hammer I only need a few things. Hardened steel. Nylon handle. Good price. That’s all I need. Stanley has one made of fiberglass for $7.35. Or I can pay about double that for forged one-piece steel and patented torsion control grip and AntiVibe technology. Sure I can spend more. For $179.99 I can get the Stiletto TB15SC 15 oz Smooth Curved TiBone Titanium Hammer. But if all I want to do is hammer the occasional nail, do I really need to spend $179.99? I don’t think so. I’m hanging pictures, not building a house. I might want to spend $16.19 to get the forged steel and the extra patents – it makes us feel better when we buy things that include patented technology, even when we can’t tell the difference or don’t understand it. But I think I’m probably ok spending $7.35. I have to remember what it is that I am buying and what I am buying it for.
So keeping that in mind, I got in my ruby red 2016 Ford Focus 4-Door Sedan SE and headed out to do my weekly suburban kid hauling – school, dance, baseball, swim, etc. Five people (three of them kids) fit in the car reasonably comfortably. Baseball gear, swim gear, dance gear – it all fit. Ford claims 32 mpg combined city/highway driving and I seemed to get close to that as I zipped all around town. Base price $18,515 – price as tested $22,350. Questions?
Let’s start with what the Ford Focus is not. It is not the Stiletto TB15SC TiBone Titanium Hammer. But its also not the $7.35 fiberglass hammer either. It’s a well-made tool that gets a person and their gear where they need to go safely and cost effectively. Five star safety in all but two categories. All the basic standard equipment you expect and you can add options if you need them. The options included on my Focus were automatic transmission, rear parking sensors, paint protection and an appearance package for an additional $3,000 (I’d probably go with the automatic and the rear parking sensors – the appearance package didn’t do much for me). The Focus SE Sedan and Hatch are powered by a 1.0L Ti-VCT EcoBoost I-3 motor with Auto Start Stop technology; the S, SE and Titantium Sedan and Hatch are powered with the larger 2.0L Ti-VCT I-4 motor.
I found the SE’s motor sufficient to get around town although I probably would go with the bigger motor. I like a little more zip then the 1.0L I-3 could give me. I found the Auto Start Stop feature annoying and ended up turning it off most of the time. The Auto Start Stop feature shuts off the motor when you are not moving in order to save fuel. Once you lift your foot off the brake the motor immediately starts and you are on your way. There isn’t much of a delay and you don’t have to push the start button or turn the key. What I didn’t like with the Ford is that it takes only the briefest of stops to stop the motor. In stop-and-go traffic its a nightmare. The motor stops every time you stop behind the car in front of you, even if it is only for the briefest of moments. In other cars that I have driven with similar engine start stop features it takes a bit longer then the Focus to turn off the motor. I found it usually occurred only at red lights or in very heavy traffic where you come to a complete stop and stand for a moment or two. With the Focus it shuts off at every red light and every stop sign. In heavy traffic it stops every time you come to a stop; no matter how brief. I had to turn the feature off during a run to dance practice in heavy in-town rush hour traffic. The motor must have shut off 50 times in the 30 minutes it took me to drive 8 miles. Basically it feels like the motor is constantly turning on and off. Maybe you get used to it after awhile but I didn’t like it. I didn’t get used to it during the week I drove the car either – not in heavy traffic anyway. Maybe I’m just fussy and easily annoyed.
Its obvious to me why the Ford Focus dominates the market. It’s a great car for a great price. And it has a lot of flexibility to add what you want if the basic tool isn’t what you need for the job you have to do. You can choose from a sedan, hatch or even electric. There are two different engines to choose from. Nav, leather, power seats, heated seats etc. are available if that’s what you need and don’t mind spending a bit more cash. For me I’d go with the bigger engine and pass on the Auto Start Stop feature, even if I have to sacrifice a few mpgs for it. With the Focus you get what you pay for. It’s the $16.19 hammer. One-piece forged steel, nylon grip and double-patented technology. Remember what it is that you are trying to accomplish. Are you trying to build a house or just hanging pictures?