Most significant changes: New SEL trim level fits between SE and Titanium in gas-engine lineup. Range on Focus Electric increases to 115 miles from 76.
Price change: Lower by $450 on the base S sedan and $340 on the SE sedan, and $750 higher on the SE hatchback. Base prices are $220 higher on the RS and $350 higher on Titanium models and the ST hatchback. Focus Electric is $50 cheaper.
On sale: Now
Which should you buy, 2016 or 2017? 2017 because of lower base prices on S and SE models and modest increase on Titanium.
Related: More Ford News
Ford’s compact car, the Focus, returns in four-door sedan and hatchback body styles for 2017, and the gas-engine lineup expands with a new SEL trim level that fits between the SE and Titanium in price. The hatchback also comes as the Focus Electric, sporty Focus ST and Focus RS performance version.
The SEL comes with 17-inch aluminum wheels, fog lamps and a power moonroof, features that previously were available only on the Titanium. Base prices are $21,650 for the sedan and $22,150 for the hatchback; all prices include an $875 destination charge.
On the Focus Electric, the driving range increases to 115 miles from 76, and a DC fast-charge system that allows a 75-mile charge in 30 minutes is standard. Ford says the battery capacity has increased 40 percent to 33.5 kilowatt-hours without increasing the size.
The gas-engine lineup starts with the S sedan with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and standard five-speed manual transmission, which starts at $17,650. A dual-clutch six-speed automatic is a $1,095 option. The SE sedan has a standard turbocharged 1.0-liter three-cylinder and six-speed manual transmission; it starts at $19,050. If you want the automatic transmission with the three-cylinder engine, you also have to buy the $895 SE EcoBoost Appearance Package. The automatic with the 2.0-liter engine is a $1,095 option on the SE sedan. The SE hatchback and SEL come only with the 2.0-liter and six-speed automatic. For 2016, a five-speed manual was standard on the SE hatchback. For 2017, the automatic is standard and the base price is $750 higher.
The Focus ST ($25,650) returns with a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine and six-speed manual, and the performance RS hatchback ($36,995) with a turbo 2.3-liter, all-wheel drive and six-speed manual. Neither has any powertrain options.
Like many passenger cars, Focus has been losing sales to SUVs such as the Ford Escape, so the prices are going down on some models instead of up. Good deals should be available on 2016 and 2017 models.