Changes to the 2016 Ford Focus include the incorporation of an innovative 1.0-liter turbocharged engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Ford’s new Sync 3 touchscreen interface, endowing the perky little Ford with Bluetooth and voice activation is also fitted for the first time. For the performance minded, there’s also the new Ford Focus RS. How does the notion of a 350-horsepower all-wheel drive Focus strike you?
2016 Ford Focus Road Test & Review
Models & Pricing
With pricing starting at $17,225, the 2016 Ford Focus is offered in sedan and four-door hatchback body styles. Within these configurations, Ford has three trim levels. The S sedan is the base model and price leader at $17,225 (i the “S” trim can be had only as a sedan).
The next level up is the SE trim package. Available for both the sedan and the hatchback, the “SE” trim package serves as the base model for the hatchback at $19,015. Meanwhile, the SE sedan starts at $18,515.
The range-topping Focus trim level for both sedan and hatchback is “Titanium”. Starting price for a sedan with the Titanium package is $23,225; Titanium Hatchback starts at $23,725.
There are also two high-performance trim levels, and an electric version of the hatchback configuration. These are Focus RS, Focus ST, and Focus Electric. Covered in separate articles, Focus ST starts at $24,425, Focus Electric starts at $29,170, and the all-wheel drive 350-horsepower Focus RS starts at $35,730.
Standard Features & Key Options
A remarkable array of standard features for the 2016 Ford Focus S sedan includes keyless entry, air conditioning, and a rearview camera, plus power front windows, mirrors, and door locks. Ford’s MyKey electronic nanny system for teen drivers, Sync voice activation, and Bluetooth are also included.
For the 2016 Ford Focus SE, standard features include all of the above plus; 16-inch alloys, automatic headlights, cruise control, rear power windows, and steering wheel mounted secondary controls.
Option packages for the 2016 Ford Focus SE add features like 17-inch alloy wheels, rear disc brakes, fog lights, LED daytime running lights, a rear parking sensor array, leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, navigation, an eight-inch touchscreen, and the Sync 3 infotainment system. All of which comes standard with Focus Titanium (except navigation).
The Titanium trim kit also includes remote start, hill-start assist, heated exterior mirrors with puddle lamps integrated into their housings, and keyless start. Among the elements of the Titanium’s optional Technology package are automatic high beams, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, and automated parking.
Equally good looking in both hatchback and sedan bodies, the 2016 Ford Focus has a thoroughly contemporary appearance. Helped along by a mild styling update for the 2015 model year, the Ford’s expressive face employs a split grille treatment, with the front bumper dividing the grille into upper and lower sections. Blacked out on “S” and “SE” trims, the grille picks up silver accents for the high-line Titanium Focus variants.
Gradually widening to incorporate the rest of the car, the front end is remarkably sleek. Adding to this impression, the headlights sweep rearward, imparting a sense of movement while also informing the overall wedge shape of the sharp-looking little Ford.
The steeply raked windscreen gives a “fast” appearance to the total shape of the car while simultaneously introducing the arching roofline. This tapers down to a short rear deck on the sedan, which hosts a small tail spoiler on Titanium trimmed models. Meanwhile, nicely sculpted accent lines add a sense of dimension to the sides of the Ford, imbuing it with a more costly appearance.
At the rear, the exceptionally short rear overhangs give the 2016 Ford Focus hatchback and sedan a very tidy look. Taken as a whole, while the Focus is obviously an economical compact, the model has a look of substance.
In other words, it doesn't look like a "cheap" car.
Interior & Cargo Capacity
Among the many things we appreciate about the Focus is the genuinely upscale ambiance of the interior of the car. Even with its seats upholstered in cloth, the 2016 Ford Focus has a chic vibe, and it’s one you’ll appreciate every time you get into the car.
Yes, there is a lot of plastic inside the Ford, but it’s finished nicely, with soft touch materials where they’re most likely to come into contact with the driver or the passengers. The plastic also has a pleasant glow to it—as opposed to a cheap-looking shine.
What’s more, if you get a model equipped with the new Sync 3 touchscreen interface, the interior looks especially cool. The system is very straightforward and easy to use, with wonderfully crisp graphics. The layout of the rest of the center stack is similarly welcoming. It’s so user-friendly it all but renders the owner’s manual superfluous.
You’ll find the front seats more than adequate in terms of comfort and support for both short drives and longer ones. As you might expect, given Focus is a compact, legroom in the rear seat is entirely dependent upon the philanthropy of those sitting up front. Further, both the sedan and the hatchback use a tapering roof design, so headroom can come into question too as for taller passengers seated in the rear.
Cargo capacity measures 13.2 cubic feet for the trunk, with bonus cubes available thanks to the folding rear seatbacks. The hatchback offers 23.8 cubic feet with the rear seats deployed; expanding to a highly respectable 44.8 cubic feet if you fold them away.
Two highly efficient front-wheel-drive powertrains are offered for the standard versions of the 2016 Ford Focus reviewed here.
The base engine is a 2.0-liter inline four, with 160 horsepower and 146 ft-lbs of torque. The engine is offered with a choice of a five-speed manual, or a six-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission. The EPA says drivers can expect to see some 31 miles per gallon overall with the automated manual, and 30 with the traditional manual transmission.
The optional engine is a 123-horsepower turbocharged 1.0-liter three-cylinder with 148 ft-lbs of torque. A six-speed manual transmission comes standard with the 1.0-liter; a six-speed automatic is optional. This engine is rated at 35 miles per gallon overall with the manual transmission by the EPA. The automatic is rated at 32 mpg overall by the agency.
Safety Features/Crash Test Ratings
It’s worth noting the lower trim levels of the 2016 Ford Focus use drum brakes at the rear as standard equipment (S and SE). Rear discs are an option for the SE and standard for models with Titanium trim. Other standard safety features include ABS, traction control, stability control, and a full roster of airbags—including a driver’s knee bag and side curtain bags.
Ford’s Sync telematics system also has a phone-home mode enabling it to call for emergency assistance when an airbag is deployed; provided the Sync system is linked to a compatible cell phone. Other advanced safety features include blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, self parking, rear view cameras, lane departure warning, and Ford’s MyKey system, which can be used to impose pre-determined limiting operational parameters upon drivers, as dictated by the car’s owner.
NHTSA says the Focus is a five-star car overall, while the IIHS rated the Focus “Good” (it’s highest rating) in all but the small overlap frontal offset test, in which the Focus scored “Acceptable."
Few products in this price range offer as much content as the Focus, while matching it in driving dynamics. A delightfully responsive offering, the 2016 Ford Focus is a car you’ll thoroughly enjoy driving. What’s even more impressive is it does so without being jarringly stiff over substandard surfaces. The Ford’s suspension system helps the Focus deliver both comfort and agility.
The engines are smooth, like to rev, and they return strong fuel economy. No, you won’t break any land speed records, but you’ll feel the performance is more than adequate with the 2.0-liter four (as long as you stay out of the Focus ST and Focus RS). If max fuel economy is your thing, the 1.0-liter three-cylinder does the job, but you’ll definitely feel the difference in acceleration.
Looking around the interior of the 2016 Ford Focus, you’ll be hard pressed to see why the car is so inexpensive. The materials employed, as well as the overall design of the interior, speak to a level of quality usually found only in more costly automobiles.
If you get the fully loaded Titanium model with the Technology package, you’ll be even more amazed by how much car you get for the money. With features like self-parking, voice activation, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and lane departure warning, the Focus comes hooked up more like a luxury car than a frugal compact.
Pros & Cons
The 2016 Ford Focus is lots of fun to drive, generously equipped, and offers an amazing array of comfort and convenience features. However, the back seat is a bit on the stingy side legroom-wise, and the new 1.0-liter engine is best thought of for economy—rather than performance.