It’s M, yet again with another car review! However, unlike all of my other reviews, this one is a Ford! A 2016 Ford Focus Electric to be exact.
The Focus line from Ford has always been a mixed bag. I love the hatchback mini style of the Ford ST, which is similar to my love of the older Honda Si-Rs. However, for the rest of the Focus trims, it does look a bit bland. Although it’s a sedan with four doors, it doesn’t feel much bigger inside than a Fit, although it looks a bit bigger than the fit on the outside.
I wanted the Focus Electric to have the over the top “Eco” look that other hybrids and electric cars have adopted to distance itself from the base models.
However, looking at the Ford Electric, nothing really stands out to a by passer that this Focus is nothing more than it’s base trim model, other than the modest “Electric” on the sides and on the back.
The interior of the Ford Focus is rather tame as well. I do enjoy the plastic/cloth stylings of most North American manufactured cars go for, and the Ford Focus Electric was no exception. The leather seats were really nice and definitely were a step up from the normal leather seats you come to expect in previous generation cars.
The gratuitous amount of plastic usually found in these American vehicles is a bit toned down here, but you can see remnants of it with the center vent on and off dials and the massive monstrosity of steering wheel controls.
I really liked the all LCD display of the speedometer. The left hand side with all the information of your battery and misc. information was really helpful albeit no over the top animations.
I found the GPS screen to be a tad small, but otherwise, having your phone’s playlist available to you without Apple CarPlay was a great experience. SYNC 1 was in the model I was driving which unfortunately did not come with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. You have to pay a bit more for SYNC 3, which enables those smart phone syncs. Otherwise, all of the middle components (climate control, sound control) felt top notch. The Sony powered audio speakers sounded great with deep bass and no distortion.
Ford definitely just took a Focus and fitted it with an Electric Vehicle and battery.
Opening the front, looks exactly like any other normal car. The trunk however, suffers because that’s where the battery lives. This massive block limits the size of the trunk quite a bit. You can probably barely fit a weeks worth of groceries for 2 people.
The small size is also a problem with the back seats. There isn’t a lot of room for the passengers as found in normal sedan cars so keep that in mind.
The push start button was a bit confusing to use at first because the radio doesn’t turn off like other cars. It’s only when you open the door, all the power goes off.
Being an all electric vehicle, the Ford Focus Electric accelerates fast! There are no gears, so there is no gear changes and the drive feels like you’re driving a glorified golf cart, with a ton of power. Pressing down on the drive pedal, feels stiff at first, but you get used to it. If you keep pressing down though, you’ll notice the batteries draining faster than an iPhone.
I’ve never had to worry about range, but the official range is a 120km, but it seems closer to the 90-100 km range if you drive perfectly. Even less if you’re a speed hog. Therefore this car is great for commuting, but little else. The already announced 2017 model is reported to have 160km, which is a great boost and probably worth waiting for.
The silent motor is great as you quickly realize how you’ve grown accustomed to noisy normal engines. Fun fact, going down hills and keeping your wheels spinning without pressing down on the pedal generates battery power as well as braking. Getting 100% energy returned on my brakes is a great mini-game during driving.
The 2016 Ford Focus Electric is an achievement of progress. 2006 me would’ve never guessed Ford would be selling a mainstream EV 10 years down the line. However, there are a lot of compromises to be made by skipping the fossil fuels. Low range and little trunk space. The starting price is high for a car this size that I’d just buy the Focus ST outright instead. There are government rebates that will lower the $29k starting price, but there’s so many other great cars at that price today.
The Focus Electric feels like a good effort by Ford to convert their Focus into an EV, but it suffers from the lack of optimization it could ultimately achieve from starting from scratch. I hope Ford comes out with their own BMW i3s or Tesla Model 3s in the near future!