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Following a 2012 redesign, the Ford Focus sees only superficial changes for 2014. The top-level Focus Titanium is now available with a manual transmission.
The new Focus is offered in 4-door sedan or 5-door hatchback forms in S, SE, SEL, Titanium and ST trims--although hatchbacks aren't offered in base S form and the high-performance ST is hatchback only. S, SE and Titanium models can be had with either a 5-speed manual gearbox or 6-speed PowerShift dual-clutch automatic transmission, while SEL models only come with the automatic, while the ST is only available with a 6-speed manual.
All but the electric Focus and the Focus ST utilize Ford's 2.0L direct-injection 4-cylinder engine, making 160 horsepower and 146 pound-feet of torque. Ford's Ti-VCT variable valve timing system helps provide stronger response through the rev range while saving fuel at other times. Ford anticipates up to 40 mpg on the highway.
With a 4-wheel independent suspension--combining a semi-isolated front subframe and a control-blade multi-link rear suspension--along with 4-wheel disc brakes in all but the S and SE models, the Focus has stronger performance credentials than most small cars. The suspension is tuned to be quite firm yet has enough give to soak up heaves and potholes; Ford's electric power-steering system provides good steering weighting and responsiveness as well. In addition, a torque vectoring system, included with the standard stability control system, balances torque delivery between the front wheels for better poise out of corners.
Front seats in the Focus are supportive buckets, with even better, firmer bolstered ones provided with the Sport Package. Both the sedan and hatchback have about the same back-seat space--just ample for most adults. Cargo space is quite generous in either model, with a relatively wide trunk opening in the sedan. In either model, the back seat folds forward nearly flat.
The Focus S model is quite basic, but includes air conditioning, a tilt/telescopic steering wheel and CD sound. SE models add fog lamps, larger wheels, cruise control and Ford's MyKey system; SEL trims get SYNC, dual-zone climate control and upgraded trims. A Sport Package, including a stiffer suspension, larger 17-inch wheels, summer performance tires and sport seats, is included with the Titanium and available on the SEL.
All Focus models but the base S come with Sync, which provides voice-command-based connectivity with phones and media players and can perform other actions such as reading texts. MyFord Touch is included in all Titanium models (optional on SEL) and brings a huge, colorful 8-inch touch-screen display, which can also be controlled through steering-wheel buttons. This system includes advanced voice control for climate control, entertainment and other vehicle functions, and can also turn the vehicle into a wireless hotspot with a USB-based cellular data modem. It's also packaged with an upgraded Sony sound system, as well as satellite radio and HD Radio with an iTunes tagging function. Other available features in the Focus include multi-color interior ambient lighting, a rearview camera, push-button start and an Active Park Assist system that steers the car into a parking spot while the driver only modulates the brakes.
The Focus ST is far more aggressive than its siblings. Its standout feature is a turbocharged 2.0L engine producing 252 horsepower and 270 foot-pounds of torque. The ST's suspension has been beefed up and unique 18-inch wheels help to greatly improve the handling of the car, while larger brakes help slow it down. The exterior is also differentiated from standard Focus models with a unique grill, body kit and rear wing, giving the Focus ST a much lower stance and more aggressive look. Available only as a hatchback and with pricing similar to the Titanium model, the Focus ST offers a bit less luxury but a lot more performance.