With a name like Focus I suppose I could lead off with some witty pun (if such a thing
exists), like Focus on Ford. But the new Ford Focus is no joke. No way. Its serious
business for Ford. It would be too melodramatic to say that this is a make or break car
It really isnt. The Focus is very important though. After years of
touting "world cars" that werent, Ford finally has a car that just might
really be a world car. It certainly seemed to be world class in its construction.
Why is the Focus so important to Ford? From my perspective its because it
represents a new mindset that has taken hold at Ford. For years Ford has been building
"almost there" small cars. The Focus seems to have the right combination of
build quality, sensibility, and excitement. It looks exciting, with some European flair
and some twenty-something, in your face but fun styling. Its kind of aggressive and
kind of friendly at the same time.
The Focus is, or will be, available in three configurations - 3-door (hatchback),
4-door, and wagon. The 4-door is available in three trim levels; LX, SE, and ZTS. I drove
a Focus SE 4-door sedan.
One of the things that we paid plenty of attention to when I worked for a certain
Japanese automaker was fit and finish. We used to measure the gaps between body panels to
ensure the clearance was minimal and that there was little to no variation. So I still pay
attention to these details even now. The Focus passed with flying colors, inside and out.
Fit and finish wise, the Focus is world class.
I was fooled by the Focus size. Even after I lived with it for a week I always
found myself thinking it was smaller than it actually is. The Focus 4-door is the same
approximate size as a Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla. Yet when you get in the Focus it
feels larger. This is due, at least in part, to the height of the Focus and the height of
the seat cushions. Unlike many of its competitors you dont drop down into the
Focus front seat, the seat is at chair height. And theres still plenty of
Like many compact sedans, rear seat leg room is limited when the front seat is fully
rearward. Still, the rear seats can be occupied by adults as long as those in the front
arent exceptionally long-legged or selfish.
I loved the Focus SEs engine, a 2-liter, DOHC, four cylinder, driving through a
five speed manual transaxle (the Focus is front wheel drive). This engine, named Zetec,
makes 130 h.p. @ 5,300 rpm in the Focus. There is an optional, base engine that is the
same size but only has a single overhead camshaft (SOHC). The SOHC engine gets slightly
better fuel economy (approximately 2 mpg) than the DOHC. The Focus SE that I drove is
rated at 26 mpg city and 33 highway. There is an optional, 4-speed automatic transaxle
that should suffice for those who arent shifty (fuel economy is 1 mpg lower with the
I didnt put a stopwatch to the Focus but I can say with certainty that it is no
slouch. Run it up hard through the gears and the Zetec makes a fine growl while rushing to
highway (and beyond) speeds.
Besides accelerating hard, the Focus rode and handled like a European sedan. I was very
impressed with the way it carved its way up Sharp Park Road. Get it up to speed, stick it
in third gear and just hit the apexes. Great fun with no real drama.
Out on the highway it was equally composed. Crosswinds didnt seem to adversely
affect the Focus, even when cruising at Montana speeds. There was a bit of wind noise but
nothing the stereo couldnt cope with.
The sound system was a very nice AM/FM radio with CD player and four speakers. At only
$140, it is a good buy. The standard stereo in the Focus SE is a four speaker AM/FM radio
with a cassette deck. Maybe Im a bit of an old fogey but I really would like to see
the optional unit have both a CD player and a cassette deck (at least I dont still
have eight tracks).
There is a long list of standard equipment on the Focus SE including 195/60R15 tires on
15" aluminum wheels, air conditioning, remote power door locks, power mirrors, and
all kinds of trim stuff.
Options on the Focus SE were front and rear floor mats (why arent they
standard?), California emissions (no charge, thank you), power windows ($295), anti-lock
brakes ($400), the stereo with CD, side impact air bags ($350), a comfort group ($395)
which includes cruise control, and a sport group ($425) that includes a rear spoiler,
tachometer, and fog lamps.
Out the door, the Focus SE 4-door listed for $16,040, not bad for such a well built
car. Would I buy one? Yup, if I was in the market.
Oh yeah, for all you guys out there looking for a 4 cylinder to play with, buy the
3-door. Then start bugging Ford Motorsports for the trick stuff theyre developing
for the Zetec. Maybe Ford can build some competition for all those tricked out Civics. By
Bruck Hochkiss © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Ford Home Page
Byline: By Bruch Hotchkiss Leo © AutoWire.Net - San
Column Name: "Focus on Ford"
Topic: 2000 Ford Focus SE Sedan
Word Count: 918
Photo Caption: 2000 Ford Focus
Photo Credits: Ford PR
Series #: 1999 - 70
Download the Microsoft Word version here: 2000 Ford Focus SE Sedan