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A freshening didn't hide the fact this was a nine-year-old design. Once among our top-rated small cars, this version rated only midpack. It retained some of its agile handling, plus the composed ride and roomy interior. But fit and finish and noise remained weak points. Further, there was no longer a telescoping steering wheel, or assist handles to aid access. Braking distances got longer.
Alerts
There are 2 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
0 to 60 mph 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit,
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
NA
2001
NA
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
Safety Equipment
ABS and side air bags available. ESC available 2001-2003, 2009; standard from 2010. Side and head protection air bags standard from 2008.
Road Test

A freshening didn't hide the fact this was a nine-year-old design. Once among our top-rated small cars, this version rated only midpack. It retained some of its agile handling, plus the composed ride and roomy interior. But fit and finish and noise remained weak points. Further, there was no longer a telescoping steering wheel, or assist handles to aid access. Braking distances got longer. Fuel economy improved, but it was still not great for the class.

Seating
2 front, 3 rear
Drive Wheels
Front
Warranty

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
coupe
sedan
Transmissions Available
  • 5-speed Manual
  • 4-speed Automatic
Engines Available
  • 2-liter 4 (132 hp)
  • 2-liter 4 (140 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2008 Ford Focus owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

A/C compressor

“It has recently stopped working”

Stephen D., VA (2008 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Corrosion of the unit caused fluid to lead into heating/cooling ducts creating an awful smell in the car. The entire AC unit had to be replaced at a cost of about $2,000. Car was no longer under warranty. To me this issue was a defect in the unit,”

Anonymous, IL (2008 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“One of speeds no longer works. Said could change resistor but not guaranteed to fix problem. To replace switch involved entire module at $600. Living with problem”

Anonymous, KY (2008 Ford Focus SES 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Condenser

“Condenser is failing, so car does not cool off in hot weather”

Anonymous, MA (2008 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Had to replace”

Gary B., TX (2008 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Small leak detected. Added Freon and was OK for the summer. Now needs again. Price of new evaporator estimated at $1,600”

Richard L., MI (2008 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Corrosion in evaporator caused leak resulting in eventual failure of unit. Mechanic was unable to determine cause of corrosion in evaporator unit”

Oliver Z., VA (2008 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Total failure of the evaporator casing and housing”

Bernard O., FL (2008 Ford Focus Unsure 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Refrigerant leaks

“Bad seals causing leak”

Anonymous, IN (2008 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Have had a very slow refrigerant leak for several years. Service tech has not found the source. It would require more expensive diagnostics to find and I have not found that to be worth the cose”

Anonymous, FL (2008 Ford Focus SES 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“see previous”

Richard L., MI (2008 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Related to failure evap casing”

Bernard O., FL (2008 Ford Focus Unsure 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Had to add freon last year 2 times. This year system needs freon again. Might need to take in for full repair”

Anonymous, KY (2008 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Leaking for past 3 years in condenser and compressor”

Anonymous, IN (2008 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Heater system

“Defrost is very poor. I have to wait or use a hair dryer”

Anonymous, SK (2008 Ford Focus Unsure 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Themostat module repaced”

Anonymous, IN (2008 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

“The wheel alignment was not correct”

Anonymous, MD (2008 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“alignment keeps going out”

Jason J., TX (2008 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Shocks or struts

“Front end squeak and rattle noise resolved by changing struts, shocks and sway bar”

Randy Y., MI (2008 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Shock and engine mount broken”

Pieter K., IL (2008 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Squeaky noises coming from front suspension”

Anonymous, AZ (2008 Ford Focus S 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“front struts had to be replaced”

Anonymous, CT (2008 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“needed to be replaced”

Anonymous, CA (2008 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Steering wheel vibration

“Car would vibrate at higher speeds”

Anonymous, MD (2008 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“tie rods became loose and worn and had to be replaced”

Ken C., ON (2008 Ford Focus SES 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Tire wear is uneven

“Handbook tires wore terrible on this vehicle. Currently have Michelin Defender XT tires and they seem to do better”

Pieter K., IL (2008 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“This is due to the alignment issues”

Jason J., TX (2008 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Power steering pumps and hoses

“Power steering Hose was leaking and needed to be replaced. This problem had a serious impact on the steering wheel and control of the car. This problem made it very difficult for my wife to drive up to the car dealer”

Anonymous, QC (2008 Ford Focus SES 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Wheel bearings

“All of the sudden in the past month (April), I get a noise that sounds like a loose muffler - worse on acceleration”

Anonymous, SK (2008 Ford Focus Unsure 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“The wheel bearings became damaged and caused the wheel to wobble significantly. This had to be fixed twice, possibly because of dealership repair error”

Michael M., CO (2008 Ford Focus SES 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

Air or water leaks

“By 'water leak', I mean water getting into the car due to some problem around the sun roof. We're talking front seats getting wet when it rains”

Stephen T., DE (2008 Ford Focus Unsure 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Squeaks or rattles

“squeaks when the temperature is below 50 F”

Anonymous, NC (2008 Ford Focus S 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Front end rattle noise when driving over road bumps and pot-holes. Resolved by replacing shocks, struts and sway bar”

Randy Y., MI (2008 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“The suspension makes a lot of noise, needs to be brought in and looked at by a mechanic”

Roland S., CT (2008 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“I have had the car serviced for this problems twice. It was fixed for awhile the 2nd time, but rattles now when I drive”

Hedy W., CT (2008 Ford Focus Unsure 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Has always been a noisy car, just various rattles that drive me crazy. Don't really know where noise comes from, I'd guess the suspension system. Mechanic says car is okay”

Sue B., IA (2008 Ford Focus Unsure 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Brake squeal after new brake linings installed. Rattle noise in the middle/rear floor area of the vehicle”

Anonymous, MI (2008 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Rattles in multiple place along the front dash”

Anonymous, TX (2008 Ford Focus SES 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“suspension squeaks probably spring or shock”

Ray R., WA (2008 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“front end sway bar bushings worn out and rattling. engine mounts worn out and causing vibration in front end too”

Anonymous, MO (2008 Ford Focus SES 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“There are various rattles and squeaks coming from the interior. Also, the front suspension creaks when you push down on the front end, or go slowly over a bump”

Anonymous, AZ (2008 Ford Focus Unsure 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Seals and/or weather-stripping

“This covers both seals & water leaks. When it rains hard there is water on the drivers floor mat”

Sue B., IA (2008 Ford Focus Unsure 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

What Owners Say

Thermostat

“Needed a new thermostat”

Anonymous, WI (2008 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Engine light flashed; diagnostic pointed to a stuck thermostat; found that the thermostat itself could not be replaced without replacing the entire housing assembly; cost: $750”

Mark H., OH (2008 Ford Focus S 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“The thermostat failed. However, it is designed so that it will bypass and not overheat during failure. Thank goodness!”

Anonymous, KS (2008 Ford Focus SES 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Check engine light keeps coming on saying thermosat is stuck open. Its been replaced 3 times, but light still comes on with the same error code. First time they said it was a software issue, and it was fixed...but it is NOT fixed”

Robert R., TX (2008 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Thermostat failed open, required replacement”

Anonymous, IL (2008 Ford Focus SES 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Thermostat stuck open so car would not heat interior properly.. Replaced myself to fix issue. Not to hard to replace compared to other things”

Anonymous, KY (2008 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Radiator

“Radiator had t be replaced due to a major leak”

George V., IL (2008 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

Doors or sliding doors

“Electric motor for Window stopped working driver side door”

Anonymous, CA (2008 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Locks and latches

“Front door latch broke, could not exit car”

Anonymous, MN (2008 Ford Focus SES 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Outside door handle became disconnected from inside mechanism”

Anonymous, CA (2008 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Broke from mounting”

Leland H., OR (2008 Ford Focus S 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Seat controls - temperature

“drivers seat heater failed”

Ken C., ON (2008 Ford Focus SES 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

What Owners Say

“They were sticking and I replaced the pins and pads”

Anonymous, VT (2008 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Calipers on both front wheels would stick intermittently, one at a time, causing excessive heat, an odor, smoke, and reduced speed”

Maurice B., WV (2008 Ford Focus S 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“uneven wear / rust”

Anonymous, MA (2008 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Changed front rotors, pads, calipers = $800”

Anonymous, ON (2008 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Normal routine brake wear

“No specific problems. Typical normal wear”

Patricia D., NJ (2008 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

Interior lights

“The interior light stay on all the time”

Anonymous, NC (2008 Ford Focus S 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“the light stay on all the time”

Lenwood P., NC (2008 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Door open sensor defaults to leave the interior lights ON until the battery is dead. BAD decision”

Casey C., IN (2008 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“The map light just stopped working”

Anonymous, AZ (2008 Ford Focus Unsure 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Exterior lights (other than headlights)

“Right tail light needed replacement,twice”

Raymond N., CA (2008 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

What Owners Say

Engine mounts

“Failure of right mount, causing failure of rear mount. Right mount has been replaced by FMC after I threatened legal action. This is a major design failure FMC refuses to acknowledge. Local dealer lied through their teeth and I do not go there any more”

Anonymous, TX (2008 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Had to replace the engine mounts, as the car vibrated violently. At least it was something I could do myself, as 2 places I took it to did not want to deal with replacing them”

Robert R., TX (2008 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“In last 2 years, have had to replace all 4 engine/transaxle mounts”

Anonymous, TX (2008 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Oil leaks

“Fixed several times, still leaking”

Patricia D., NJ (2008 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

“The paint aged poorly, it cracked and split in many places even though there was no collision or trauma there. Particularly on the front bumper”

Rachel L., TX (2008 Ford Focus SES 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“rocker panels on both sides rusted badly 3500.00$ repair yuk”

Bradley D., NS (2008 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Loose exterior trim or moldings

“Lower front plastic came loose and has not been repaired adequately. Still comes loose from time to time”

Anonymous, VA (2008 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“The plastic along the roof was coming up at the back and put a little super glue on it to put it back down”

Peter H., FL (2008 Ford Focus S 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

What Owners Say

Fuel injection system

“congestion in system from driving local instead of highway speeds”

Anonymous, WA (2008 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor)

“The mass air flow sensor malfunctioned and had to be cleaned”

Anonymous, VT (2008 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

What Owners Say

Electronic ignition

“computer issue with dashboard lights”

Julie D., SC (2008 Ford Focus S 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Starter

“Starter had to be replaced. Wouldn't start a few times for me, so it was replaced for $268”

Anonymous, OH (2008 Ford Focus SE 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

What Owners Say

Gear selector or linkage

“The pin for the gear selector snapped”

Anonymous, NJ (2008 Ford Focus S 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Sometimes hard shifting into gears”

Anonymous, MI (2008 Ford Focus S 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Transmission Major

Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

What Owners Say

Transmission rebuild or replacement

“I couldn't get the car to reverse, so we had the whole transmission rebuilt”

Rachel L., TX (2008 Ford Focus SES 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Driveshaft or axle

“wheel bearing - left frt. bad - teeth/gears axle shaft also & or damaged while installation of bearing??”

Anonymous, IA (2008 Ford Focus SES 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

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