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The Ford Focus has been on sale since the 2011 model year and is no longer a class-leader in many respects, yet its multiple versions and many tech options continue to make the Focus an interesting choice in the compact-car class. There are no changes for the 2018 model year. From affordable sedans to the raging RS hot-hatchback, every buyer will be able to find a version of the Focus that suits their needs or wants.
Ford offers four engines in the Focus ranging from mild to wild. Most versions of the car use a 2.0-liter I4 rated for 160 horsepower and 146 pound-feet of torque, with either a 5-speed manual or 6-speed dual-clutch transmission. This engine returns 25 miles per gallon city and 34 mpg highway with the manual, while dual-clutch models get either 24/34 mpg or 26/36 mpg, depending on configuration. Buyers can also pick a turbocharged 1.0-liter three-cylinder (standard on the SE sedan) that delivers less power, 123 hp and 125 pound-feet, but greater fuel economy: 30/40 mpg with its 6-speed manual transmission or 27/38 mpg with its 6-speed dual-clutch.
Moving up on the excitement ladder considerably, the next engine option is a turbocharged 2.0-liter I4 in the Focus ST. Designed for performance, it's rated for 252 horsepower and 270 pound-feet, and can be equipped only with a 6-speed manual transmission. As detailed in the Options and pricing section below, the Focus ST also has commensurate styling, handling and braking upgrades to go along with its extra oomph. Fuel economy is rated at 22/30 mpg.
Above that is the Ford Focus RS, which adds all-wheel drive and a 2.3-liter turbo engine with a stout 350 horsepower and 350 pound-feet. A six-speed manual is the only transmission choice. Fuel economy falls to 19/26 mpg -- disappointing for a regular compact car but about on par with similarly powerful performance models.
The Ford Focus isn't as roomy as the biggest rivals but offers plenty of space for its class. The sedan boasts 13.2 cubic feet of space in its trunk, and the back seats fold down. The Focus hatchback offers far more practicality, with 23.3 cubic feet of storage behind the second-row seats and 43.9 cubic feet when they're down.
The base infotainment system is a relatively simple AM/FM radio with Bluetooth, USB and aux ports and Ford's Sync voice-command technology. Satellite radio is optional. The optional upgrade is a 6.5-inch touchscreen running the Sync 3 infotainment system software, which can be equipped with navigation. Sync 3 supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as some extra functionality like built-in Spotify music and Waze navigation connectivity.
The Focus shows its age when it comes to active-safety technology. Though a backup camera is standard (as required by law) and parking sensors are optional, the only other safety tech is reserved for the Titanium trim level; it offers lane-keep assist and blind-spot monitoring as options.
The entry-level Ford Focus S sedan costs $18,825, including a $875. Its equipment roster is pretty limited, with the base infotainment system, steel wheels with hubcaps, manual rear windows and a single USB port. Moving up to the Focus SE costs $20,120 for a sedan and $21,415 in hatchback form. Key upgrades include 16-inch alloy wheels, satellite radio and power rear windows. The Focus SEL adds Sync 3, a power sunroof, fog lights and rear parking sensors. It costs $22,345 as a sedan or $22,545 as a hatchback. Finally, the Focus Titanium boasts goodies like heated seats and a heated steering wheel, push-button start and 17-inch wheels. It lists for $25,145 as a sedan and $25,345 as a hatchback.
Speed freaks may want to elect the 252-hp Focus ST, which is offered only as a hatchback from $26,045. Along with its 2.0-liter turbo engine, it features racy bodywork, upgraded brakes and suspension, 18-inch wheels and a center-exit exhaust. Various option packages add things like Recaro seats, a heated steering wheel and more.
The final step up is the Focus RS, which is priced from $41,995. Compared to the ST it has an even more aggressive body kit, upgraded brakes and suspension, and a 2.3-liter turbo engine with all-wheel drive. Other upgrades include 19-inch wheels and Recaro seats.
The 2018 Ford Focus is available nationwide now, but it's unclear exactly how much longer Ford will keep making them. Though an all-new Focus is heading to European dealers, Ford will not bring the car to the US; the Focus nameplate here will only live on in the form of the Focus Active small crossover. That means time could be limited to buy any of the 2018 Focus variants described here.