Open Doors - 2010 Ford Focus 4-door Sedan SEnlarge Photo
For hundreds of thousands of buyers, the Ford Focus compact sedan has provided basic transportation for a decade.
The all-new European 2012 Focus is just around the corner, so we decided to take one last look at the soon-to-be-replaced 2010 model.
Our charcoal SE model came to us as a rental car with almost 26,000 miles. Rental duty is a good way to tell how well a car holds up under heavy use, and our year-old Focus did well on that count.
We racked up just under 400 miles of mixed freeway and city duty over two days in the sunny Pacific Northwest.
Given the age of its basic platform, the 2010 Focus provided surprisingly competent basic transportation without needless frills. It's hardly cutting edge design, but it's pleasant enough and a comfortable cruiser.
Overall it returned a creditable 34.2 miles per gallon, due to long smooth stretches at 75 mph. We felt the Focus was let down mostly by its nervous ride, truly astounding road roar on coarse surfaces, and its scattered controls.
Dashboard - 2010 Ford Focus 4-door Sedan SEnlarge Photo
The 2010 Ford Focus dates all the way back to 2001, with a comprehensive restyling inside and out for the 2008 model year.
It's far from Ford's latest styling idiom, which uses fluid lines and swept shapes to give even its smallest cars-the 2011 Fiesta subcompact, for instance-the appearance of being in motion while sitting still.
But the Focus looks modern enough. Its high-tailed shape and flat surfaces are distinctive, meaning it won't be mistaken for any other brand. And thankfully our SE model omitted the chrome chevron-shaped fake fender vent just forward of each front door that made the 2009 model appear downright garish.