Category: Focus

Car Review: 2016 Ford Focus SE

All over the net I’ve been seeing glowing reviews of the Ford Focus RS and other models. So yesterday I had the opportunity to drive a Focus SE.

Things I like about the car:

  • Decent seating not totally comfortable as the lumbar supports are too weak.
  • Sync has improved dramatically making Bluetooth integration nearly effortless.
  • The central info window on the dash has easy to navigate sub-screens.
  • It has decent power in it’s normally aspirated form.
  • Tilt and telescoping steering wheel.
  • All bluetooth controls on the steering wheel.
  • Headlights are quite effective on this car.

Now what I dislike:

  • The transmission at low speeds hunts an awful lot. It’s pretty annoying
  • Engine revs pretty high. That surprised me especially since I could easily get the car to red line.
  • Minor peeve – the location of the trunk release. In many cars it’s right toward the bottom left of the dash. Ford in their wisdom chose to put it up by the headlight control.
  • Headlight control isn’t on the stalk, it’s on the dash. That once disturbs me.
  • Seating could be improved dramatically.
  • The transmissions sweet spots seems to be at  35MPH and 85MPH, but at 65MPH it hunts like crazy.

My overall judgement – the Focus SE may work for you, but it doesn’t work for me. Ford needs to put a little more effort into the car. I’d say two major areas of improvement are the transmission control and the seating system. I bet there’s an upgrade package for the seating too.

 

 

Cars, Cars, Cars

So I’ve been driving a variety of cars under Zipcar and I have to say they recently introduced the 2011 Ford Focus into the mix.

The ones I’ve driven so far have been speed limited to 80MPH. And I have in fact pushed it to the limit. I’d like to drive one that’s opened up because the speedo does go to 150MPH and I know she handles well at 80MPH. Yes, I’m a bit of a speed freak, always have been. I’m the guy in the left lane flashing my high beams at you screaming “Get the fuck out of my way!”
I actually have to say it, I like the Focus. First of all it shares something in common with every vehicle. The entire interior is plastic. But the Focus makes up for it with buttons and gadgetry EVERYWHERE.

The steering wheel has the cruise, phone, volume, and all vehicle menus right on the wheel. That’s REALLY nice.

I definitely like the Sync features. I also like the temperature controls being separated for each occupant. That’s pretty cool but sort of pointless in such a small space.

And there is one other thing I should mention. At low speeds the transmission feels a little strange. From what I’ve read it is a six speed automatic transmission so maybe I’m not used to that many quick gear changes when getting up to full speed.

Always had sort of an affinity for Ford vehicles. My 1981 Escort with the 1.6L engine was fun to drive but because of those aluminum heads, it ate both the heads and the gaskets at a fairly regular interval.

My 1993 Tempo, that was a 2.3L engine with the timing CHAIN and cast iron heads. It would run forever had it not been stolen.

But I do like Ford none the less. They were in fact the first to mass produce passenger vehicles with the Model T. You could have it any color, so long as it was black. And in the most recent financial debacle they were the ONLY U.S. manufacturer not to accept bail out money. That means they’re well managed.

So now I have a choice to make, buy used or plunk down a $7,000 or $8,000 deposit and finance $12,000 or so. I really don’t want to commit to a monthly car payment. I’d prefer to pay out cash and then put money into an interest bearing account for the time I own a used vehicle. That way I’ve got a nice pad when maintenance and repairs are needed. Decisions, decisions. What I do know is I’m getting tired of public transit again. It happens, I’ll tolerate it for a couple of years or so and then my general hatred for it bubbles up and overflows.

Probably buy something in the spring. I’m leaning toward a Nissan Maxima, around the 2003 or 2004 model year. I like the styling on those better than the slab fronted versions that kicked in around 2005.