The Ford Focus, which had first appeared in North American Ford showrooms in 2000, was redesigned for 2008. Although much of the mechanical equipment remained the same, both exterior and interior received updated styling along with the addition of the then brand-new Sync communications system. Changes to the Focus lineup included the addition of a coupe and the elimination of the hatchback and wagon models.
For the 2008 model year, the Focus dashboard was updated with white-faced gauges that were easy to read at a quick glance. In addition, the gauges also featured blue lighting for night driving. The most noted interior feature was the addition of the optional Sync system which offered Bluetooth connectivity and a voice-operated interface for digital music players through the auxiliary jack for MP3 players or a USB port for iPods. At higher trim levels, customizable interior lighting allowed the driver to choose from among several colors. Included in the car’s new exterior was an acoustic-glass windshield designed to decrease the amount of engine and wind noise that reached the cabin.
The 2008 Ford Focus lineup featured three trim levels. The S trim was the most basic and offered such amenities as air conditioning and a four-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo system with an option for satellite radio. At the SE trim level the standard equipment included remote keyless entry and power locks and mirrors. Among the options for the SE were an upgraded stereo with a six-CD changer, heated side mirrors, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Many of the SE’s options came as standard equipment on the top-of-the-line SES, which also had 16-inch alloy wheels and front and rear stabilizer bars. Leather seats, heated front seats, and a sunroof completed the options list.
All three Focus levels ran on the same 2.0-liter in-line four-cylinder engine that produced 140 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 136 foot-pounds of torque at 4,250 rpm. However, the Partial Zero-Emissions Vehicle version required in California produced only 130 horsepower. Buyers could choose the standard five-speed manual transmission or the available four-speed automatic transmission. Estimated fuel economy for a Focus equipped with the manual transmission was 24 mpg in city driving and 35 mpg on the highway. The automatic transmission figures were identical in urban driving but dropped to 33 mpg in highway driving.
Ford Focus occupants in all 2008 models were protected in crashes by six standard airbags, including front-seat side-impact airbags and front and rear head curtain airbags. Among other safety features were height-adjustable front-seat headrests and anchors for child safety seats. A tire pressure monitoring system was new in 2008 and an anti-lock brake system was available. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2008 Focus an overall rating of Good, the highest available, while the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tests gave the Focus four out of a possible five stars in four of the five categories it tested. The Focus earned five stars in tests for driver-side impacts.
- Photo Credit Joe Raedle/Getty Images News/Getty Images