The 2013 Ford Focus is now the longest-lived domestic compact nameplate, having been around for more than a decade. That's not long compared to the stalwarts that have been with us since the 1970s--the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic--but it indicates that Ford is serious about competing head-to-head with the best.
The latest Focus, available as a four-door sedan and a five-door hatchback, is a far better car than its aged predecessor. Launched early in 2011 as a 2012 model, the U.S. Focus is substantially the same as the version sold in Europe. That means it handles well, and its high-quality interior gives no inkling that by U.S. standards, the Ford Focus is a small and inexpensive car.
Conventional Focus models come with a 160-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. A five-speed manual gearbox is standard, or you can order a six-speed PowerShift dual-clutch automatic. The manual drives well, though you have to rev the engine and use the gears in the smooth-shifting transmission....
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