History of the Ford Focus

The Ford Focus first debuted in America in 2000, and it was one of those cars that you immediately liked, or disliked. It had an artsy, funky look to it, and it was like nothing anyone had seen before. But it certainly gathered somebody's attention because according to an article in USA Today, the Focus was named the most popular car-in the world-for two years in a row, and counting. It quickly became one the 10 best selling cars in America right out of the gate.  

The First Generation was between 1999 and 2007. The 1999 Ford Focus first debuted in 2000 as a compact car that was originally based on the Ford C170 Platform. During the first generation alone, it won over 60 different awards. Among those 60 awards the Focus received 13 Car of Year Awards in the U.S. and in Europe, and the Best Family Car Ever according to Autocar UK, 2003. Automobile magazine named it Automobile of the Year, and Motor Week dubbed it Best Small Car: Seems like this little gem had a lot of big things going for it from the start.

The Focus was designed to appeal to everyone and could be had as a 3-door hatchback, 4-door sedan, 5-door hatchback, or a 5-door station wagon. The Focus was developed with a multi-link rear suspension, which was a leader in its class and competitors soon jumped on the bandwagon.  The driving experience of the Focus was tight, precise, fun, and predictable. Its interior was roomy and looked like that of a much more expensive car. The cabin was quiet and cut out exterior noises at high speeds, and it glided over bumps and blemishes on the road with ease.

Jack Keebler, a well-known writer for Motor Trend magazine wrote, "The Focus' average speed of 62.6 mph through our slalom makes it faster around the cones than a $62,000 Jaguar XJ8L and a $300,000 Bentley Continental." Now, if that isn't impressive, I don't know what is.

In 2000, various trims offered numerous amenities such as Electronic Stability Control or "AdvanceTrac" standard fog lamps, 16" aluminum wheels, speed control, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, front map lights, power windows, power locks, manual moon roof, and more. In 2002, a power moon-roof was now available on all body styles for the first time. An in-dash CD changer, cup holders, kangaroo pouches, leather seating surfaces, remote keyless entry, electronic speed control, a Personal Safety System, and driver's seat position sensor, were added, to name a few.

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In 2003, new interior fabrics became available, heated front seat and mirrors were an option, available traction control and ABS packages were available, along with gray headlamp surrounds, and improved interior noise level. In 2004, a new 2.3L I-4 Duratec engine became available nationwide, and an improved ride was made possible with new steering knuckles and struts. In 2005, the Focus saw a few changes in engineering and styling. A revised instrument panel, new tail lights, new front and rear bumper fascia, optional overhead console for added storage, and molded beverage holders were offered.

In 2006, steering wheel controls were available for the six-disc audio system, a Street Appearance Package was offered with unique front and back fascia options that included integrated fog lamps and side marker, along with an option of a large rally-style spoiler. The last year of this generation saw increased fuel economy, a new Interior Upgrade Package, a single-disc CD and MP3 capable player was now standard on all models, cool new exterior colors became available, and in this year, the Wagon's production was halted.

The Second Generation was between 2008 and 2010. In this generation, the Ford Focus was only offered as a 2-door coupe or a 4-door sedan as the hatchback and wagon were discontinued. Interior changes included new dashboard panels and design with a message center on top of the dashboard, new seats, ambient lighting, Ford's SYNC voice-controlled system, and added structural rigidity was added behind the dashboard for greater safety. 

Options included LED ambient lighting in the front and rear foot-wells and cup holders, and a standard Tire Pressure Monitoring System was added due to the TREAD Act mandate. Overall weight was decreased by 30 pounds along with improved fuel efficiency changes. The 2.0 engine saw a power increase that made up to 140 hp and the 2.3L Duratec engine was discontinued. The fuel efficiency changes rated the Focus at 35 mpg. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Focus the highest rating of "Good" for the overall frontal offset crash test.

The Third Generation began in 2011 to present. This generation offered the Focus as a 4-door sedan and a 5-door hatchback and a new 2.0L direct injection I-4 engine was now offered. The new model of the Ford Focus debuted simultaneously in North America and Europe as a part of Ford's "One Ford" plan and its global Focus line. This plan allows Ford the resources of manufacturing competitive vehicles that can be sold on a global scale in each segment but with minimal changes. Important to note: The Ford Focus was the best-selling car in the world for 2012.

The new Ford Focus features a new grille, new hatchback tail lights, newly designed headlamps, a redesigned cabin and a new Infotainment system. The new Focus also offers Ford's patented capless fuel tank which is not only convenient, but it also prevents those with sticky fingers trying to siphon out your gas from under you. 

This generation's Focus was first offered with only the 2.0L Duratec 20 Direct Injected, TiVCT 4-cylinder engine that produced 160 hp. In 2012, Flex Fuel was added for most American states that don't adhere to partial zero-emissions vehicle regulations. Also in 2012, the Focus ST offered a turbocharged 2.0L that made 252 hp and could be had with only a manual transmission. For 2015, the EcoBoost 1.0L three-cylinder was offered in America as an option.

As far as fuel economy, the Ford Focus 6-speed automatic will get you 28 city and 38 highway mileage. The 5-speed manual offers 26 city and 36 highway mpg. If you need more than that, the Sedan SE model with PowerShift, semi-automatic dual clutch transmission can give you a mind-blowing 40 mpg. Good job, Ford. The Ford Focus all-Electric model debuted in 2012 in only a few states in the U.S. and most are used as commercial fleet cars, with some availability to retail markets in various states.

Angela Krause Ford Lincoln on Mansell Road in Alpharetta has a full inventory of the new and used Ford Focus. This great little compact car will get you wherever you need to go in comfort, will cost you fewer dollars at the gas pump, and a ton of Aftermarket products are available to make it your own, unique ride. We are close to North Point Mall, and near Milton, Marietta, Cumming, and John's Creek. And just like every good car deserves a good home, so does a good dog. We are right next door to the Humane Society, so come on out and make a day of it.


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