The 2011 Ford Focus is once again an affordable compact sedan that provides reliable and comfortable transportation, good gas mileage, a capable drive and access to Ford's highly regarded Sync system, which allows voice-activated, hands-free operation of mobile phones, iPods and other MP3 players, as well as directions, traffic conditions and other useful information.
With a major redesign on the way for the 2012 model year, the 2011 Focus is a carryover from 2010 with few changes. However, the front-wheel drive Focus is now only available as a four-door sedan, as the coupe models were dropped for 2011.
The 2011 Ford Focus is available in four trims: S, SE, SEL and SES.
Standard features on the base Focus S include air conditioning, keyless entry, power locks, a 60/40-split rear seatback, a tilt steering wheel, 15-inch steel wheels and a 4-speaker audio system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack.
Moving uo to the SE model adds power windows, power mirrors, satellite radio and 15-inch alloy wheels. Also available on the SE is the optional Ford Sync Equipment Group which includes the Sync system along with a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, cruise control and an auto-dimming mirror.
The Focus SEL model then adds a sport-tuned suspension, heated leather font seats, foglamps, heated mirrors, 16-inch wheels and the Ford Sync Equipment Group, while the SES then adds unique front and rear fascias and 17-inch wheels, but drops the heated leather seats.
In addition, the Moon and Tune package is available for both the SES and SEL and includes a sunroof and a 9-speaker audio system with a subwoofer.
Engines, Powertrain And Gas Mileage:
Powering the 2011 Ford Focus is a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine that pumps out 140 horsepower and 136 pound-feet of torque. There's also a cleaner version of this engine in California-emissions states that has earned PZEV tailpipe-emissions certification and is rated at 132 horsepower and 133 lb-ft.
The standard transmission is a 5-speed manual (a 4-speed automatic is optional) on all trims except the SEL, which comes with the 4-speed automatic. In performance tests, a Focus with the automatic transmission was timed from a standstill to 60 mph in 9.7 seconds, about average for the class.
The EPA-estimated gas mileage for an automatic-equipped Focus comes in at a very good 24 mpg city and 33 mpg on the highway, while one with the manual transmission bumps up the highway results to 35 mpg.
Standard safety features on all 2011 Ford Focus models include antilock brakes (ABS), stability control, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and Ford's MyKey system, which allows parents to set limits for speed and stereo volume for young drivers.
In government crash testing, the Focus earned five out of five stars for side impact driver protection, four stars for side impact rear passenger protection and four stars for front impact occupant protection.
The Focus's cabin is attractively designed and user-friendly. There's also an additional high-tech ambience to it at night thanks to the fairly cool blue glow from the gauges and displays as well as other optional customizable lighting. That said, there are also some lower-quality hard plastics that detract from the look.
Overall, the seating is comfortable and supportive, but as a compact sedan, taller drivers and passengers may be a bit cramped. The cargo capacity is a useable 14 cubic feet and the 60/40-split-folding rear seats allow for even more. It should be noted that Ford's impressive Sync voice activation system adds a great deal to the overall interior experience, for those whose budgets can swing it.
Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, this compact sedan manages a drive that is relatively smooth and quiet. Its steering responsiveness and feedback is also commendable for this class, while the engine's power delivery is also quite respectable for an economy car. However, the 4-speed automatic has become fairly outdated when compared to the now more typical 5-speed units of most rivals. The Focus gets the job done in a capable manner, but it can become somewhat noisy when driven hard.
How To Get The Lowest Price:
Best Negotiating Tactic: Well, there's definitely a 'best way' when it comes to new car buying. If you want to get the best bottomline, out-the-door price you need to know exactly who to talk to at the dealership, how to make the contact and how to make this person eager to quickly drop prices as low as possible to get your sale.
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2011 Ford Focus:
S, FWD: list price: $16,640, invoice price: $15,724
SE, FWD: list price: $17,270, invoice price: $16,131
SES, FWD: list price: $18,870, invoice price: $17,587
SEL, FWD: list price: $19,670, invoice price: $18,315