DETROIT – The first thing we did when it came to the 2008 Ford Focus was look in the trunk. We've come to believe that small cars are the workhorses of the automotive fleet. Really! Folks practically live in small people haulers. They carry clothes, kids and a bunch of other stuff. Small cars are like drivers' home away from home.
So we were really pleased when we found that the Focus had a relatively large trunk. It was about 14 cubic feet, enough for three medium sized roller bags. It also handled everyday grocery shopping well. The Focus' low trunk lift over made it relatively easy to load those ubiquitous plastic grocery store bags.
From the trunk, we went to the back seat. It was spacious, the front seats were concaved creating more legroom and the foot space behind the seats was relatively deep. In other words, we felt like we were sitting in chair rather than the back seat of a compact sedan.
There was plenty of leg and hip room. And head room was sufficient. We think that the 2008 Ford Focus could carry four full-size adults in relative comfort. The package is impressive. The 2008 Ford Focus has been redesigned.
Ford says the 2008 Ford Focus has a muscular stance and sharp character lines. A lot of the car's design cures were taken from the highly successful Ford Fusion, taking that car's prominent chrome-bar grille design, flared wheel arches and sweeping, crisp lines.
The 2008 Ford Focus was powered by a 140 horsepower four cylinder engine that made 136 pounds-feet of torque. It was front-wheel-drive and our test car was equipped with a five-speed automatic transmission.
The Focus can be equipped with a five speed manual and it comes in two-door coupe model. We had the sedan.
The engine was adequate. It seemed a little sluggish but we had to remind ourselves that was had been driving a vehicle with a turbocharged four cylinder that generated 100 more horsepower.
Once we got used to the powerplant we came to respect it. The engine was relatively quiet for a four-cylinder. Acceleration was not eye popping but it was enough to keep us out of trouble. The suspension was a little harsh but it was nowhere near bruising.
And the 2008 Ford Focus handled pretty well. We came away thinking that the Focus was a capable little car.
The thing that impressed us most about the Focus was its option list. By that, we don't mean what the equipment but its price. Heated seats were $115, ambient lighting was $295 and satellite radio was to us a mere $195.
Other highlight included optional antilock brakes with traction control: $385 and an in dash six disc CD player with MP# capability for $350. There were also pricier items like $815 for the automatic transmission and $695 for black leather seats with white French stitching.
Still, our Focus cost less than $20K -- $19,970 which didn't seem all that bad to us.