What can you say about a vehicle whose seating in back is so tight that your five-year-old complains about leg room? I drove two models, the four door sedan and the wagon. The most lasting impression of the former was the ill-fitting steering column, which could not be modified to a more comfortable position. The wagon's designers inexplicably removed the mechanism for opening the rear hatch without a key or someone in the driver's seat to push a button. This desire to be different is simply crazy.
The Focus is smaller than the Escort, Ford's first "world" car, models of which can be found on almost every continent. For Americans, however, particularly those with the means to afford larger and more expensive models, the Focus feels small and cramped, especially for passengers in the rear and front seats. Even as a rental vehicle, I would not recommend it for family travel.
This workmanlike vehicle handled well enough, power is adequate on the highway, even with the well-designed air conditioning unit running. Exterior noise, however, forced me to turn up the volume on my best of Artie Shaw CD as I scooted along the Interstate.
Cargo space proved more than adequate for handling chores around town or packing for a week's vacation at scuba camp for my daughter Eve. The car offers basic transportation, with the added caveat that Ford's engineers have needlessly complicated some of its basic features.
The Ford Focus was just an average compact. Nothing worth drooling over. It was real small and although it is made out to be a cool new car, the only slightly cool touch it has are the back lights. If you're looking for a car in its class, especially for a family, the Focus isn't a good choice.
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