Automakers hate the term “compliance car,” but California and several other states have forced automakers’ hands in creating these electrified Frankenmobiles. Enter the 2018 Ford Focus Electric. From the outside and in the cabin, it looks and feels just like a normal Focus, but pop the hood, and you will find an electric motor. Everything seems well and good until you pop the hatch and expose its compliance car flaw: shoehorned-in batteries that gobble up cargo room. Despite its obvious flaws, the Focus Electric remains a competitive model in the EV space.

Best Value

The 2018 Ford Focus Electric isn’t your run-of-the-mill Focus. Yes, it has an electric powertrain, but it's also different because it has no trim levels. It comes standard with the equipment that’s the equivalent of a higher-trimmed gasoline-fueled Focus. These upscale features include 17-inch wheels, the Sync 3 infotainment system, heated front seats, HID headlights, rear parking sensors, ambient lighting, and more. As for options, there are very few to pick from, including leather seating ($1,080), a charge cord bag ($65), and a car cover ($370).

  • Model: 2018 Ford Focus Electric
  • Engine: 107-kW electric motor
  • Output: 143 hp / 186 lb-ft
  • Transmission: Single-speed automatic
  • Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive
  • MPG: 118 MPGe City / 96 MPGe Hwy
  • Options: None
  • Base Price: $29,995 (including a $875 destination charge)
  • Best Value Price: $29,995

Performance

Ford Focus Electric

The Ford Focus Electric inherits its personality on the road from its gasoline-fueled siblings, so it's agile, responsive, and holds well in the corners. The electric motor is fueled by a 34-kWh lithium-ion battery that allows the Focus Electric to zip around at a pace of 118 miles per gallon equivalent city, 96 MPGe highway, and 107 combined.

The Focus Electric can travel up to 115 miles on a single charge thanks to its 34-kWh battery pack. This puts it within range of most of its competitors, though it falls well short of the class-leading Chevy Bolt EV’s 238-mile range.

While its immediately available torque launches the Focus Electric nicely, you will want to take care on higher-speed highways, as its top speed is only 84 mph.

Style

The Focus Electric boasts the pre-refresh looks of its gasoline-fueled sibling. Though these looks are a bit dated, they have aged well and still attract the eye. You’ve got to give it to Ford for not going overboard in styling this electric hatchback.

Inside, the front seats are roomy and comfortable for the long haul, and the styling is just as well-sorted as the gasoline model. The interior is also very peaceful, thanks to the quiet electric powertrain. It does, however, take a hit in its rear seats, as they are tight with only 33.2 inches of leg room.

Cargo hauling is a huge problem in the Focus Electric, as Ford very amateurly hacked into the cargo area to wedge the battery pack into place. This drags it down to just 14.2 cubic feet of space, which is 9.6 cubes shy of the standard Focus Hatchback.

The Best and Worst Things

The best thing about the Focus Electric is driving past the gas pumps with nothing but a mild hum from under the hood.

That said, the hatchet job Ford did in the cargo area almost defeats the purpose of owning a hatchback. Plus, with only a 115-mile range, you'll need a backup car for long-distance drives.

Right For? Wrong For?

Ford Focus Electric

The Focus Electric is perfect for the buyer who has a short commute or no commute at all and only cruises around town.

Those with long commutes or who frequently go on long trips may want to pass on the Focus Electric.

The Bottom Line

The 2018 Ford Focus Electric does precisely what the automaker built it to do: satisfy certain states’ zero-emission requirements. Its status as a compliance car is made evident by some of its shortcomings – most notably its tight cargo area. That said, its range is competitive in the segment, and its looks are more traditional than many of its rivals.