ABS and side air bags available. ESC available 2001-2003, 2009; standard from 2010. Side and head protection air bags standard from 2008.
Sporty handling, relatively low noise, and a well-done interior make the Focus feel more like a small sports sedan than a humdrum compact. Though not blazingly fast, the Focus does get good fuel economy: We recorded 29 mpg overall in our tests for both the four-cylinder and three-cylinder turbo.
Several flaws keep it from being one of our top-rated small cars, though. The most irksome of those is the PowerShift automatic transmission, which stumbles at low speeds. While updates have improved refinement, this transmission is still hesitant in stop-and-go traffic and sometimes transmits drivetrain vibrations through the cabin. Rear-seat space is tight for this class, with little leg room for two adults and very cramped quarters for three people. A more minor consideration is the radio controls, which are needlessly confusing.