Ace of Base: 2017 Ford Focus S Sedan
It wasn’t long ago that small sedans and hatchbacks were a sure-fire ticket to penalty box crudeness and motoring misery. In 2017, things have changed at the low-end of the price scale.
This week’s Ace of Base is brought to you courtesy of an inadvertent trip down memory lane thanks to Facebook’s infernal yet addictive ‘On This Day’ feature.
A few years ago, someone tagged me in a shot depicting a 17-year old Matthew standing next to his first set of hand-me-down wheels — a rusty, late ’80s Ford Escort LX. I recall learning the original owners paid $13,000 maple-sodden Canadian dollars for it in 1989, about $23,000 in today’s money.
This got me thinking: what does one find in a base Focus nearly 30 years later? And does the Focus pass the Ace of Base test? Let’s find out.
For 2017, Ford has no fewer than ten individual trims for the Focus, ranging from the base model S sedan shown here, to the tasty RS hatch, to the Electric version that promises a remarkable 118 MPGe in the city. Our base model makes no such claims, allowing its fuel economy to dip into the mid-20s when driving around town. The same 2.0-liter inline-four is standard in all sedan trims, whether one chooses the instant-ramen base model or the high-zoot Titanium.
Ford’s challenges with the PowerShift automatic found in the Focus are well documented, giving purchasers another reason to leave the $1,095 slushbox at the factory and stick with the no-charge five-speed manual. Front, side, and rollover airbags are present and accounted for, along with a bonus airbag for the driver’s knees. The steering wheel adjusts for reach and rake, and audio controls pepper the wheel. My old Ford Escort had an adjustable wheel too, thanks to an errant bolt which dropped out of the steering column at a very inopportune time. Hill Start Assist should reassure Ma & Pa that if they decide to toss Junior the keys for an evening, he won’t roll back into the car behind him. No amount of electronic nannies can keep him from making other stupid decisions, though, if my experience in the old Ford Escort is any barometer of teenage activity in small Ford cars.
Fast-forwarding to 2017, a rearview camera helps harried parents keep from backing over errant driveway detritus, while dual USB charging points placate teens who need a place to plug in their phones, lest they miss a chance to SnapGram their latest bowel movement. Keyless entry is standard on the base model, too.
Poverty-spec wheel covers on the 15-inch hoops announce one’s frugality quite loudly, but at least the 195/65R15 tires will be dirt cheap to replace. Ford offers a quartet of colors on the lowliest Focus — no jaunty greens, blues, or reds here. Selecting the shade of Shadow Black offsets the Wide Mouth Mason expanse of flat-black plastic grille. [s]Refrigerator[/s] Oxford White makes it look like a rental car.
Current lease incentives as of this writing total a not-insignificant $2,750, leading to a net price of only $14,900. That works out to roughly $7,600 in 1989 bucks. Folks looking to buy will find easy finance with 0-percent interest rates up to 72 months, plus a $1,500 incentive. That’s an attractive proposition for a handsome-looking small sedan with features I could’ve only dreamed of on my entry-level Ford nearly 30 years ago.
Not every base model has aced it. The ones that have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments. Naturally, feel free to eviscerate our selections.
The model above is shown with American options and is priced in Trump Bucks. As always, your dealer may sell for less.
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When I was shopping for a new car last year I did check out the Escort S with the automatic. The list price was close to 20K and it didn't included a cruise control. At least to me I found that unacceptable. That's a lot of money considering not having something I consider essential.
The lack of cruise control would be a deal killer here. I can't imagine getting a new car without that. kills the idea of a "well equipped" base model