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2005 Ford Focus Overview
If you aren't aware there's a new Ford Focus on the road, you haven't been paying attention. Ford is making a big deal of the revamping of its small car, the 2005 Focus. The automaker claims it is conducting an advertising blitz like it did on the F-150 pickup truck. Ads for the Focus have been plastered all over popular shows like "American Idol." They feature the Focus talking and "begging to be driven." The Focus is critically important to Ford, not necessarily in terms of volume and profits, but in that it reels in certain kinds of important customers, notably first-time buyers, first-time Ford buyers, women and minorities. The Focus is one of the many new or redesigned cars Ford introduces this year, its "year of the car." The Focus has been spruced up outside by a mild facelift, though it takes a sharp eye to distinguish the subtle changes. Designers made more changes on the inside, rendering a more traditional look than before. But the biggest news is under the hood where the engine line-up has been revised. Among them is a super-clean, 130-horsepower engine that's more powerful and slightly more fuel efficient; it qualifies as a Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle in California, New York, Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine. A new 136-horsepower engine is more powerful than last year's powerplant. Despite the makeover, the Ford Focus remains inexpensive, stylish, practical and fun. The sedans are comfortable and move people efficiently. The three-door hatchback proves to be economical and practical yet sporty and fun. The five-door hatchback makes it easier for rear-seat passengers to join in the merriment. The wagons can carry a ton of cargo. We found the sporty ZX4 ST fun to drive, if a bit noisy. It delivered strong acceleration from its 151-horsepower engine with sharp handling and precise steering from its sports suspension. It ranks among the most enjoyable cars in its class.