2009 Ford Focus

Change year or vehicle
$2,569 — $8,705 USED Shop local deals
SAVE
Key Specs
Our Take
Road Test
Photos
Reviews
Safety & Recalls
Warranty & CPO
Compare
Back to top

Key Specs

of the 2009 Ford Focus. Base trim shown.

  • Body Type:
  • Combined MPG:
    29 Combined MPG
  • Engine:
    140-hp, 2.0-liter I-4 (regular gas)
  • Drivetrain:
    Front-wheel Drive
  • Transmission:
    5-speed manual w/OD
  • View more specs

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Peppy engine
  • Front-seat comfort
  • Coupe's good-sized backseat
  • Cabin lighting
  • Fuel economy

The Bad

  • Gas pedal vibrates when engine revs high
  • Driver's-side rear visibility in coupe
  • Gauge legibility during the day
  • Some shiny plastic trim in cabin
  • ABS not standard

Notable Features of the 2009 Ford Focus

  • Sedan or coupe body style
  • 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine
  • Manual or automatic
  • Optional stability system
  • Optional voice-operated Sync system

2009 Ford Focus Road Test

Mike Hanley

The Ford Focus is one of those small cars that's fun to drive even though it doesn't have a high-horsepower engine. It gets good gas mileage, it has comfortable seats and its interior lighting looks great. So why can I only give it a partial thumbs-up? Despite the Focus' positive traits, a number of issues drag down my overall opinion of this car.

The Focus is offered in sedan and coupe body styles, and my test car was a Focus SES coupe. The starting price of this model is $17,865 but with options the as-tested price came to $20,615. To see a side-by-side comparison of the 2008 and 2009 Ford Focus, click here.

 

A Look the Kids Will Love?
The Ford Focus coupe received a number of styling changes for 2009 that Ford says were designed to attract "Millennial" buyers — people born between 1980 and 1995, using Ford's definition. The changes include a large mesh lower grille, a gray two-bar grille and headlamps with black accents. If you choose an SES trim level like the one we tested, you also get a spoiler above the rear window and 17-inch aluminum wheels with a silver-gray finish Ford calls "dark chrome."

The changes definitely distinguish the coupe from the sedan's more traditional styling, but I'm not convinced they make the car any more attractive to younger buyers. The changes may actually be less appealing to some who'd rather do the customizing themselves.

Going & Stopping
The only engine offered in the Ford Focus is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder: To the good, ...

The Ford Focus is one of those small cars that's fun to drive even though it doesn't have a high-horsepower engine. It gets good gas mileage, it has comfortable seats and its interior lighting looks great. So why can I only give it a partial thumbs-up? Despite the Focus' positive traits, a number of issues drag down my overall opinion of this car.

The Focus is offered in sedan and coupe body styles, and my test car was a Focus SES coupe. The starting price of this model is $17,865 but with options the as-tested price came to $20,615. To see a side-by-side comparison of the 2008 and 2009 Ford Focus, click here.

 

A Look the Kids Will Love?
The Ford Focus coupe received a number of styling changes for 2009 that Ford says were designed to attract "Millennial" buyers — people born between 1980 and 1995, using Ford's definition. The changes include a large mesh lower grille, a gray two-bar grille and headlamps with black accents. If you choose an SES trim level like the one we tested, you also get a spoiler above the rear window and 17-inch aluminum wheels with a silver-gray finish Ford calls "dark chrome."

The changes definitely distinguish the coupe from the sedan's more traditional styling, but I'm not convinced they make the car any more attractive to younger buyers. The changes may actually be less appealing to some who'd rather do the customizing themselves.

Going & Stopping
The only engine offered in the Ford Focus is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder: To the good, it moves the Focus quite well if you're willing to rev it, and this isn't a chore because it revs easily. Rated at 143 hp in the coupe (140 hp in the sedan), the engine gives you enough power to confidently merge onto the highway and pull out in front of traffic. It's peppy enough to survive the increasingly aggressive driving public.

Gas mileage is competitive. Manual-transmission models are rated at 24/35 mpg city/highway while the optional four-speed automatic gets 24/33 mpg. There are a handful of models that get better automatic-transmission mileage — like the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Kia Forte — but the Focus lags by only a few miles per gallon from the Civic's class-leading mileage.

What's less appealing about the four-cylinder is that even though it revs smoothly, at higher rpm you can feel some vibration through the pedals, which is something I haven't experienced in all of the cars I've tested. It's not something you want to feel when driving a new vehicle and it was a little annoying, though I did get used to it after driving the Focus for a while. Fortunately, you don't feel any vibrations through the steering wheel.

The manual transmission is also something of a mixed bag, though the good outweighs the bad. The shifter is tall, which puts it within reach of your right hand, and it slips easily from gear to gear. What I didn't really like is the bit of play in the shifter. The clutch pedal is light enough that it won't turn your left leg to Jell-O in stop-and-go traffic, and it's easy to work the clutch and gas pedals to accelerate smoothly from a stop.

I initially thought the Focus' brake pedal was a little soft, but I came to appreciate the amount of control I found beyond that initial softness. Once the pedal firms up, it lets you finely tune braking response with foot pressure.

Ride & Handling
The Ford Focus' firm ride quality is common among small vehicles. You'll feel bumps and cracks in the road, but the Focus isn't quite as sensitive to them as a Civic.

The payoff for this firmer ride comes in the corners, where the Focus' resistance to body roll encourages you to drive it quickly. It may not have the moves of a Mazda3, but it's still willing to play a little when you encounter curves. It's a nimble little car.

On the highway, the Focus is a comfortable cruiser. It feels stable, and that's thanks in large part to the vehicle's steering. There's no play in the wheel and the power-steering assistance isn't excessive, which gives the wheel a heavier feel than a Mazda3's wheel. There is a notable amount of wind noise in the coupe at 65 mph, though.

The Inside
The Ford Focus received a new interior for the 2008 model year, and the design looks contemporary. The most distinctive element of the dash is its large swaths of silver trim, which is specific to SES models. I usually don't find silver trim that appealing, but it looks nice in the Focus and is well integrated into the overall cabin design. However, there's still too much shiny black plastic, especially on the doors. The plastic trim on the driver's-side door grab was loose, too. I know this is an affordable compact car, but when you have models like the new Forte — which has lots of low-gloss, upscale-looking plastic in its cabin — it raises the bar for competitors like the Focus.

Ford paid particular attention to lighting; you'll have to experience it when it's dark to fully appreciate it. At night, the buttons for the audio and air-conditioning systems on the center control panel cut through the darkness with vibrant blue backlighting that's also found on the gauges. Optional ambient lighting lets you switch among seven colors to illuminate the cupholders and footwells. This is one of those things that distinguish the Focus from its competition, but there are a few problems with the implementation of it.

The gauges are legible enough at night when the backlighting is on, but during the day the wide hash marks on the dials blend together, making it hard to know your exact speed at times. Also, as Cars.com Senior Editor Joe Wiesenfelder pointed out in his review of the 2010 Ford Fusion, the ambient lighting casts its glow from visible pencil-sized portholes located around the cabin. They're not well concealed, so you don't get the same soft glow in the Focus as you do in other, more expensive cars.

The Ford Focus comes standard with cloth seats, but my test car had optional heated leather seats in black with white stitching. The seats are comfortable, but they don't offer a lot of bolstering to keep you in place during hard cornering, and the seat heaters only have an on/off switch rather than the preferred low/high or graduated settings. My SES coupe had a height-adjustable driver's seat; the overall driving position was decent, though it would have been better if there was a telescoping steering column (the Focus only has a tilt feature, which is odd because the previous generation offered a tilt/telescoping wheel). With the seat far enough back to comfortably work the pedals, I had to reach forward more than I like to hold the steering wheel.

Visibility in the coupe is good when looking over your left or right shoulder before changing lanes, but I wasn't as impressed with the view out the rear window when backing up. The rear window is large enough, but the driver's-side C-pillar limits your visibility on that side of the car.

The coupe has a three-person backseat, just like the sedan. Judging from the outside, you might think the coupe's backseat would hardly be usable, but that's far from the case. I was surprised by the relatively comfortable seating position and the impressive amount of headroom. With a large fixed quarter window to peer out of, it's not claustrophobic, either. However, there's probably not enough legroom to go around for two tall people to sit behind each other.

The coupe's trunk measures 13.8 cubic feet — the same as the Focus sedan. That's more room than you'll find in a Civic coupe (11.5 cubic feet) and approximately the size of a Chevrolet Cobalt coupe's trunk. The trunk opening looks a little bit like a slot — not ideal — and part of our test car's cargo area was occupied by a subwoofer. It's included with the $795 Moon & Tune Value Package, which also adds a six-CD changer and a power moonroof.

Safety
The Ford Focus received a Good overall rating — the highest possible score — in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's frontal-offset crash test. In the side-impact crash test, the coupe received a Good rating, while the sedan scored one notch below with an Acceptable rating.

The Ford Focus comes standard with six airbags, including side curtain airbags, but antilock brakes — an important safety feature that's becoming increasingly standard on small affordable cars like the Focus — is optional. It's bundled together with an electronic stability system. For the 2010 model year, both of these features become standard. For additional safety feature information, visit the Standard Equipment & Specs page.

The Verdict
The Ford Focus is one of the better-selling compact cars, and it's easy to see why car shoppers like it. It's an adept commuter car that gets good gas mileage but is still willing to have a little fun in the corners if you want. The cabin is comfortable for both the driver and passengers and has an eye-catching design. If you can overlook the flaws I've mentioned, maybe you'll be able to give it a full thumbs-up.

Send Mike an email  

 


2009 Focus Video

Cars.com's Mike Hanley takes a look at the 2009 Ford Focus. It competes with the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla.

Latest 2009 Focus Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.3)
Performance
(4.3)
Interior Design
(4.2)
Comfort
(4.2)
Reliability
(4.3)
Value For The Money
(4.5)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

great car

by Rud Ko from B C CANADA on August 26, 2018

best car i ever owned got 20000 KM on it just keeps on driving change oil every 8000KM changed tires on size up time for 2nd set of spark plugs Read full review

(5.0)

Great first car! 2009 Focus S (5 speed manual)

by Jack M. from Las Vegas, Nevada on August 21, 2018

Very fun car and has a great sound system compared to other cars in its class even in the base s trim. Very smooth and quiet ride. I have had no problems with this car at all and the clutch/... Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2009 Ford Focus currently has 1 recall

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2009 Ford Focus S

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
acceptable

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
acceptable
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
acceptable
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
acceptable
Structure/safety cage
marginal
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Manufacturer Warranties

Backed by Ford
New Car Program Benefits
  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 60,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    60 months / 60,000 miles

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits
  • Maximum Age/Mileage

    Less than 6 years old/less than 80,000 miles

  • Basic Warranty Terms

    12 months/12,000 miles

  • Powertrain warranty

    7 years/100,000 miles

  • Dealer Certification Required

    172-point inspection

  • Roadside Assistance

    Yes

  • View All Program Details

Change Year or Vehicle

0 / 0 0 Photos
0 / 0

Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Focus received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker