Instrument Cluster - 2010 Ford Focus 2-door Coupe SEEnlarge Photo
Inside, the brown and cream plastic surfaces were attractive and modern, let down by the plain, flat swath of matte silver center stack surface. More than that, though, we counted 37 separate rectangular black plastic buttons, plus six blanking plates and six round knobs or dials, on that center stack-confusing, to say the least.
The Focus's age showed most visibly in the racy graphics on the instrument panel, which were trying way too hard to be modern. Their large, outlined, shadowed font impeded the basic function of the speedometer: showing how fast the car was traveling.
We got used to them in time, but they seemed out of character with the rest of the sensible little Focus, like a pleasant middle-aged soccer mom who shows up one day with a brand-new flaming skull tattoo.
The standard 140-horsepower, 2.0-liter four in the 2010 Focus was paired with a four-speed automatic in our rental (a five-speed manual is also offered).
(This antiquated transmission will be replaced for 2012 by Ford's impressive six-speed "PowerShift" automatic manual direct-shift gearbox, essentially a pair of efficient three-speed manual gearboxes controlled electronics that engage the clutches to shift at the best points for fuel efficiency and performance.)
In our 2010 Focus, the performance was perfectly adequate to move two of us plus luggage around at standard traffic speeds. Our complaints, instead, had to do with handling and road noise.
On Interstate highways, the Focus exhibited a nervous ride, requiring constant small steering corrections to stay in its lane. The ride was also thumpy on occasion.