2009 Ford Focus Gets Refocused Design


Ford is selling a lot of the 2008 Focus compact sedan and coupe. Sales have been up throughout 2008, thanks in part to the car’s high gas mileage — 35 mpg highway with a manual transmission — and low price, which starts at $14,395.

Ford has gotten knocks for the new Focus’ looks, though, especially in the coupe version. So tonight during “American Idol” it will debut a revised version of the two-door model for the 2009 model year. We hope it won’t be rolled out in a horrible Idol-ized commercial, but we suspect it will be. The 2009s will go on sale later this summer. The sedan will most likely remain unchanged.

In grand terms, not much has changed, but the alterations are all positive. Most notable is the deletion of the chrome side vent on the 2008 model, which is an omission we loudly applaud. A revised front end with a larger, rounder lower bumper and darkened chrome bars now make up the grille. Fog lights are now standard across the lineup. For more info and photos, keep reading.

There are just two trim levels for the 2009 coupe: the SE, starting at $15,920, and the SES, starting at $17,340. Both prices are before a $695 destination charge. Last year’s versions were $15,225 and $16,570, so the ’09 pricing is an increase of 4.6%. That’s not an insignificant bump for such an inexpensive car, and we wonder if the exclusion of the more affordable base S trim level coupe was a good idea.

The top, SES, trim level gets dark chrome 17-inch aluminum wheels that are reminiscent of the previous generation’s SVT model. A rear spoiler also adds some style. The SES gets a slight horsepower bump but will return the same mileage as before. Ford’s popular Sync system is standard in the SES.   

Stability control will be an option for the Focus for the first time, which should help it in the eyes of the safety conscious. It comes packaged with antilock brakes as a $744 option package.

What do you think? Do the changes make the Focus coupe more attractive?

By David Thomas | May 13, 2008 | Comments (39)
Tags: Car Buying, Ford


OMG! What happened to all of the pics that we saw last year of the Mazda2 clone? They're actually going to try to sell this ugly thing! It looks like it was made 10 years ago. Way to go Ford.

The Ford Fiesta you're referring to is smaller than this and will be out in 2010.

My bad - I thought we were getting this one-

It's probably just for europe and we just get the crap. And didn't they just do a re-design of the U.S. version?


The focus from that link is a very sweet looking car. Why couldn't they just make it look like that?


Its still the ugliest coupe out there. Disgusting.

Ziggy and Bloke
THAT IS NOT A REAL FOCUS! That is an artist's rendering of what a future Euro Focus might look like. The current European version ( http://www.ford.co.uk/ns7/focmca/-/-/-/-/-/- ) is nicer than ours but as mentioned before if it was sold stateside it would cost more money.

However, I do think in the future Ford will revisit the Focus and perhaps we'll get the Euro version after this one runs its course. That would still be in 2012 though. Especially if people keep buying them.

Yeah!!! Awww. Yeah!!!

I thought they were going to bring this one:


How do you improve a car and actually make it worse that the one before.

Just because people are reaching for cars that get great mileage, doesn't mean they will buy ugly.

It's the AZTEC coupe.


Okay Big D. I just really like that artist's rendering. I am hoping a Ford exec will read this and just be so smitten that they refresh the refresh and make it look more like that. High hopes I know. I don't really care too much about the chassis underneath or the interior. Even though they really could do away with all the silver.

Yeah Awww Yeah,
Ford has no plans on bringing anything over here besides the Fiesta as far as I know. A convertible for them like that would not be a good idea. Maybe for Mercury...


Great styling. Looks better than a BMW 1 series, for a whole lot less money. They'll sell a ton of these.

Technically, this is not the first time that stability control has been offered on the focus. It was an option for the first couple of years but was dropped. My guess is because it was an expensive option on a small car- like $1300.


Yeah!!! Awww. Yeah!!!

Either way, it's middle of the road. There are other cars out there that get the same mileage and look better. It's a committee car with the best of other cars made into this mediocre model. The fact anyone would try to "compare" this to anything other than the 2008 is tragic. Maybe it's the puddy liver color versus the electric blue of the 08, but looking at this car doesn't make me feel excitement. I feel sad. The Fit, Yaris, Smart4Two, Sentra, Civic and XB all out perform this car in looks. And thy are all from overseas. And in looks, at least some of them are polarizing. This is not. Great, it has stability control and gets great mileage...so what. It's a dud that people are buying because gas is expensive. It has Sync and that might be it's strongest selling point. But overall, it's vanilla.

If you had the same amount of money to spend on a car and gas wasn't through the roof, would you buy this Focus?




Why didn't they (Ford) just leave it alone and not try to "improve" its looks. They've just made it worse looking, IMHO. Wow!
Will they tamper with the sedan's exterior also?
I vaguely considered an '09 Focus for purchase, but now I'm NOT so sure.



I forgot to mention:
The coupe's red color is atrocious.
Liver red?


Yeah!!! Awww. Yeah!!! ,
Looks are subjective. I disagree with you on all the cars that you listed except the Sentra and fit, but that is my oppinion. This focus looks fine in my oppinion, an oppinion that is shared by all of the people that are buying it. And to answer your question about the gas prices- If it wasn't high I wouldn't buy any of them, but gas is expensive and this is not the only small car to benefit from that.

Also, you may want to look up the word polarizing.


Plain and simple...it's just ugly. The 08 model looked better and it was ugly. They've made ugly look uglier if that's possible. They'll have to do something to this when the fiesta comes out because they won't sell any more of these.


who cares what a manufacturer does with those little minor bits? most people who aren't into cars (which, i fear, accounts for most of the population) won't even notice the absence of the "Aston-wannabe" side vents.

however, EVERYONE notices headlights. it's like, there's nothing great you can do about the nose and ears if the eyes are weird and eyebrows are crooked or something. fix what people's eyes look at. those headlights are fuddy (just like the new Highlander's) and not too much different from the SX4's

anonymous chick

Oooh wee, what a stinker. They really laid an egg with this one. I agree with the top of the thread, it should look more like the non-US Focus. Surely they must think better of us American drivers...


Stability control was offered when the Focus first debuted (2000-01?), but deleted from the options list a year or so later.


The 2009 is REALLY out of focus. They should have called it the Ford Blur instead.


About those price increases.

The article says that stability control is available as an option with ABS for $744. For 08, ABS with traction control is $385. If Ford only offers ABS with the stability control, that will add another $360 to the cost. That's in addition to the price increase. That means that Ford knows they have a hit and are going to milk more dollars from it. Latest news was that retail sales of Focus were up 88% in April.

By the way, before posting this I checked dealer inventory on Ford.com. Of the 5 dealers I checked, they all stocked sedans at 10 times coupes.

Mike Spadaro

It's still ugly. And where's the rear disc brakes? Where's the five- or six-speed automatic with manual override?


What is wrong at Ford? Why don't they replace it with that sharp Fiesta or Mazda 2? This is without a doubt one of the ugliest coupes ever built. Heads should be rolling at Ford for whoever came up with this. I would not ever consider buying this and I'm 65. I'd much rather have a Mazda 3 five door. I'm glad Ford is selling a lot of Focus's, but style wise they suck big time.


It kind of has the side profile of a 1987 Tempo.

I know that looks are an opinion, but to say this car is even in the same league of the BMW 1-series is astounding.


As a previous 2002 Focus owner I'd have to say Ford has lost its way...it should at least be up to the level as the Mazda 3 at this point.


I think the new bumper and grille are definitely improvements, as well as the omission of the fender things (I refuse to call them vents). These changes should be made across the line. Now, if they would just put in a sculpted backseat with headrests...

The argument that the US can't afford European Ford vehicles has always seemed like a canard to me. But even if it is true, EXTERIOR STYLING costs next to nothing. With some minor changes, they could make the US Ford look like the Euro one and it would instantly get the respect it would deserve. It just doesn't make any sense. Its probably the case that their styling departments are separate, but I think they could benefit from some collaboration here. I LOVE the Euro Focus.


Another cosmetic surgery on a 10 year old car? Puuuuleeeeeease! Ford. Give us the real deal now! (Are they trying to make the Focus like MJ or what?)


Looks great! Nice job Ford. Clean, tasteful design work. Understated and still sporty. It does not look like a BMW, though it does have the clean design elements of many European cars such as BMW, yet it is still clearly a Ford.
Now where is the Wagon and where is the Hatchback?


how long has the current version of the civic been around? (remember, they re-bodied the previous model's chassis with this latest, sleek body) i think it's been about 10 years too.

i know everyone wants to see the euro-focus over here, but if the existing chassis is still competitive (which it is) and they made improvements on it (which they did), then people shouldn't complain about the age of the focus chassis just because ford didn't import the one from europe.



Oh really? So why are they coded EJ, ES, FA?

Even if they ARE using the same platform, do they look anything alike other than the ES looking alike the EK? The FA (at least from the looks) is a totally different animal.


Ford, you need to get your brains check immediately!!


Ford's euro line-up looks great - & mpg too!

How about it for US?

Vaya con Dios.


Ummm, how can anyone on this thread be complaining about this var looking "vanilla" when the cars you guys are comparing it to ARE THE EPTIOME OF VANILLA!

-----> The Fit, Yaris, Smart4Two, Sentra, Civic and XB all out perform this car in looks. And thy are all from overseas. And in looks, at least some of them are polarizing. This is not. Great, it has stability control and gets great mileage...so what.It's a dud that people are buying because gas is expensive. <-----

Uhhh, from what I recall the cars you listed are all uglier than the focus!! I'm sorry, the Fit and Yaris are so ugly that I would take a focus any day over it! IN fact, the 2009 tweaks make it look ALOT better, so I can't see how anyone is saying it looks worse, because that's just nonsense. And so what if people are buying it because gas is expensive? That's the reason people are buying cars like the Fit and Yaris too you idiot! Some of you people are complete bias losers.


Seems everyone hates the Ford Focus, and I can't understand why. Maybe it does lack the contemporary lines and current 'look' many of it's Japanese rivals have, but that doesn't mean it's inferior. Not everything has to be a Civic/Sentra/Corolla clone--think of how boring that would be. For sure, I did find those 'vents' on the sides to be gaudy and I'm glad they'll be deleted on the restyled coupe. But, many people who have purchased this car (those I've spoken with at least) don't seem to mind them all that much so let's all bury the issue for God's sake. One man's ugly wife is a babe to another, know what I mean?

And what's with all the fuss about 'Euro Focus'? Post after post after post I've read of people whining about what we don't get here. I've seen what Europe gets and frankly I think their version, while nice, is overrated. I like the refresh the U.S. car will receive and I'm waiting eagerly to see it up close sometime this Summer.

Ford's trying very hard to come back from the brink of death and they should be commended for the strong efforts they're making to regain consumer interest in their product lineup. The Focus has been a step in the right direction. If you have yet to drive the car and register a real impression, do so. I think you'll as surprised as I was.


I have owned two Focus's and currently own a 2002 Focus that is an amazing vehicle and very comfortable. We love the seats as they are kind to the back, and that is one of the reasons we stick with a Focus. I am truly disappointed in the 2009 design. When we are ready for another vehicle I will be looking for a used 2008 or a Toyota. Sorry Ford you really pulled a boner this time.


What a bunch of snobs.

I bought a 2008 Ford Focus Base (S) model and the base model NEVER had those phoney side vents. I put some pin stripes on the side to break up the long vertical line (cost $7), and ditched the 15 inch rims for some OZ Racing alloy wheels with upgraded 215/50HR16 tires and it looks and handles great.

John Matsukes

The 2008 Ford Focus is a wonderfull car! in fact, my wife and I liked it so much we each got a fully loaded "SES"! (SHE DOESN'T LIKE TO SHARE) the fit and finish is great! No squeaks rattles or bangs to be heard. Ford did lie a little about the fuel mileage though.... the 08 Focus is rated at 35MPG but both my wife and I get 38-40MPG on ours!. The heated leather seats are comfy and the upgraded 500 watt Audiophile stereo sounds like a concert hall!. We both traded in our Toyota's to buy the Focus and haven't looked back!. And with the thousands of bucks we saved by not buying a Honda or Toyota , we are going on a 3 week cruse in December to a warm island in the Caribbean! By the way, I raced a kid in a Honda yesterday and left him at the stoplight! you should have seen him sitting there with his mouth hanging open LOL! and, if you go on line on the Ford Focus web sight and request a brosure on the Focus you will find a unadvertised $750.00 coupon in the brosure when you get it in the mail! with that coupon and the cash incentives we got over $4,000 off the price on each car! plus we talked the salesman down even more on the price! We paid $15,237.49 each out the door on our fully loaded top of the line "SES"s price including everything! A GOOD BUY! and just wait until you get to use the new Sync system in the Focus! do you have some fun ahead of you!!!! (HINT) make sure you get the anti lock brakes and traction control option! (safety first!) now hows that for a review?


Focus sales are up 15.7% I hate say I told you so...(see 10th entry from the top).

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