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2005 Ford Focus

2005 Ford Focus New Car Review - Frisky and Functional

by
Jeff Voth

There are several things about getting older that I really don't like. First, it drives me a little crazy when people refer to me as sir. To me, this honor should be reserved for those important enough to hold such a title. Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Isaac Newton come to mind as worthy members of this distinguished club.

Second, as I get more advanced in years, I find that eyeglasses become a more important tool with each passing day. The harder I stare at my laptop monitor, the more intense my headache gets. Put on a pair of peepers, and things come back into focus.

Ford's experience over the past 100 years offers several noteworthy similarities to mine. If measured only on the strength of its longevity, Ford deserves an automotive industry title equal to Sir. And, in the same way I experience blurred vision as middle-age creeps closer, Ford has struggled in recent years to keep their focal point on leading edge automotive design and quality.

For years, the slogan at Ford Motor Company was, "Quality is Job 1". Throughout the 90's and into the early part of the new millennium, this job became increasingly difficult. More often than not, it was the Japanese who garnered the accolades for quality and dependability. Now that William Clay Ford Jr. is at the helm, Ford intends to get back to the business of designing cars that consumers can depend on.

So it is with a newfound sense of commitment that Ford tries to clear things up in the eyes of consumers and introduces us to a brand new Focus for 2005. Bigger in every way, the 2005 Ford Focus delivers on this pledge in five key ways: quality, performance, reliability, functionality and fun.

2005 Ford Focus Review

The 2005 Ford Focus is available in three body styles: 3-door hatchback, 4-door sedan or wagon and a 5-door hatchback. Whichever one you choose, the '05 styling is reminiscent of last year's model, but has been upgraded quite nicely in both the look and feel.

Strong, racy lines drive the visual appeal of the new Focus, with the sharply sculpted roofline most noticeable in either of the two hatchbacks. A steeply angled windshield and hood, provides an aggressive looking side profile. Even the sedan has a little bit of "mean" to go with along with its handsome good looks.

Engine performance for the new Ford Focus comes three ways. First, a 2.0L DOHC Duratec 20, 4-cylinder engine produces 136 hp @ 6,000 rpm and 133 lb-ft. of torque at 4,500 rpm.

This particular powertrain is available with either a 5-speed manual transmission, or an optional 4-speed automatic. Front-wheel drive is the only configuration currently offered on the Focus.

A second version of this engine produces 130 hp @ 6,000 rpm and 129 lb-ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm. While it offers less get up and go, it provides zero fuel system evaporative emissions and also meets Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle standards.

The most powerful engine, a 2.3L DOHC Duratec 23, 4-cylinder is available only on the ZX4 ST model. It offers 151 hp @ 5,750 rpm, with 154 lb-ft. of torque available at 4,250 rpm. This engine is mated only to the 5-speed manual transmission.

Driving the 2005 Ford Focus is a pleasurable, but still somewhat noisy experience, when compared to its Japanese counterparts. Acceleration is very good, and fuel economy excellent. If not for a little too much booming from under the hood when stepping hard on the gas pedal, there would be no reason to complain.

Typical brakes are power front disc and rear drum. By today's standards, this isn't the most advanced system, but it seems to work well on the Focus. ABS brakes are included on the uplevel SES model ZX4, ZX5 and ZXW, optional on the SE. Power 4-wheel disc brakes are standard on the ZX4 ST, along with ABS.

The front-wheel drive 2005 Ford Focus offers power rack and pinion steering. Turns are crisp and present European performance. The suspension is fully independent, with MacPherson struts and stabilizer bar in front and a Control Blade short and long-arm, (SLA) arrangement in back. Standard wheels are 15" steel on the entry level S and SE models, and 16" alloy on the SES and ST. Tire sizes range from P195/60R 15 to P205/50R 16 all-season radials.

Inside, Ford has done an excellent job of improving the quality, while at the same time maximizing space. Headroom is outstanding, though it does get a little crowded for those of us over 6 feet in the back seat of the two hatchback models.

2005 Ford Focus Interior

Seating is very good, with proper leg, hip and thigh support offered. In the case of the ZX4 ST, its black and red fabric inserts look superb. The quality of material has been improved over previous models, while a height adjustable driver's seat is a nice touch. Leather is optional on the ZX3 SE and leather with suede inserts is available on the ZX4 ST.

Rear seats fold down in a 60/40 split, with all three seating positions offering 3-point seat belts. Dual front air bags are standard, and a front side-impact airbags is optional on all but the base S model. The standard AM/FM stereo with single-disc CD changer provides a good entry level sound system. Upgrade to the full loaded Audiophile AM/FM stereo with in-dash 6-disc CD changer/MP3 player and Sony sound, and the quality should please even the most ardent music lover.

Power windows are standard on all but the base S, as are 2-speed variable intermittent wipers. Storage abounds inside the new Focus, with front floor and armrest storage, and dual overhead storage bins on most models.

A 4-spoke steering wheel provides good feedback, with available cruise control on the SES and ST models. I recommend ordering the leather wheel, as it offers superior grip.

Ford has a long way to go to gain back much of the credibility lost over the past few years. If, in my opinion, they continue to offer vehicles exemplifying the positive attributes of the new 2005 Ford Focus, they are well on their way to regaining market share and the trust of a wary, buying public. I see no reason to suggest anything other than better days ahead at Ford. It seems their new prescription for success might prove to be the right one.

JUST THE FACTS

2005 FORD Focus
Description: Small economy car
Model options: S, SE, SES, ST
Wheelbase: 103.0 inches
Overall length: 168.5- 178.4 inches
Engine size: 2.0L Duratec DOHC 4-cylinder
2.3L Duratec DOHC 4-cylinder
Transmission: Manual/5, Auto/4
Drive: FWD
Braking: S, SE: Power front disc, rear drum, (ABS optional)
SES, ST: Power 4-disc, ABS
Air bags: 2 (front), optional front side curtain
Fuel mileage city/hwy: 2.0L- 26/35
2.3L- 23/32
Base MSRP: $13,775- $17, 575

For More Information Click: Ford Focus
For the Ford 2005 Model Guide : Click Here

 

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