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2009 Ford Focus Review
2009 Ford Focus Review
2009 Ford Focus Review

The Ford Focus is a very significant car for Australia, you see in 2011 it’s very likely going to be the model that ensures Ford Australia stays just that – Ford Australia, because then full production of the next model will begin in this country.

Right now, Ford has just released, a little belatedly as it’s been on the market overseas for some time, the updated LV model of the now 10-year-old Focus line in Australia.

We’ve just had a reasonably brief chance to drive what is probably the gem of the range, the TDCi with the all-new PowerShift, dual clutch, six-speed transmission, and we have to say it makes a good car even better.

The new gearbox, which works a treat, was jointly developed with German gearbox maker Getrag and it provides rapid, smooth changes and mostly well-matched ratios.

On our short 150 kilometre drive from Melbourne to the Ford Proving Ground, near Lara, and then back to Melbourne by a slightly more creative, self-created route, we noticed that the ratios from third to six seemed nicely progressive, but first and second were a little ‘short’ and ran out of breath rather quickly.

That said they do give the diesel Focus plenty of urgency when getting off the mark and mean that you are best starting in Auto Mode and then flicking the lever to Manual for the upper ratios if you want to drive the car in a sporting manner.

A sporting manner is entirely appropriate to the Focus TDCi, as we have always felt it provided the best opportunity to exploit the excellent chassis with its 100kW/320Nm, 2.0-litre, Duratorq, turbo diesel engine.

2009 Ford Focus Review
2009 Ford Focus Review
2009 Ford Focus Review
2009 Ford Focus Review

This drivetrain combination offers impressive fuel efficiency with no compromise to driving performance, thanks to its impressive torque output of 320Nm – peaking to 340Nm during brief over-boost periods.

We didn’t manage to replicate Ford’s claimed ADR Combined fuel consumption figure of 5.9 litres per 100 kilometres but we came pretty close with an overall figure for our short run, which included quite a bit of heavy freeway traffic, of 6.4L/100km.

We’ve extolled the virtues of the Focus chassis before and essentially nothing has changed, this is a neat handling car that really cries out for more power, which in the TDCi is at least answered by the huge gobs of torque that the diesel engine provides.

Tyre noise was a bit of an issue but seemed to be somewhat road surface dependent, in other words coarse chip surfaces produced more of a drumming effect, and it’s probably something that could be managed with tyre choice.

The six-speed PowerShift transmission is almost always in the right cog and the 320Nm means that the car can haul itself out of a corner at an indecently rapid rate, remembering that this is essentially a five-seat family hatchback.

The revised Focus isn’t just about the dual-clutch transmission though and there have been specification and appearance changes right across the range.

Kinetic design elements such as the large trapezoidal opening below the bumper line, new bonnet with defined contours, and new upper grille (with larger Ford badge) dominate the new Focus front design.

2009 Ford Focus Review

It is more expressive, more athletic and more in keeping with the overall on-road character of new Focus. In all, the new Focus is visually confident and modern.

Inside Ford’s new Focus, the emphasis is on improving the quality of materials and enhancing comfort levels.

The evidence is clear to see and feel. The black soft-touch dash pad, along with the soft-touch upper door trims, contrast beautifully against a tan coloured inner roof lining to visually lighten the Focus interior, while the dark dash greatly reduces windscreen reflection in bright sun conditions common in Australia.

The driver now sees large-face tachometer and speedometer set deeply into individual binnacles. Positioned above are small-face water temperature and fuel gauges, with each surrounded by a silver bezel.

Between the two large gauges is an LCD information screen displaying time, outside temperature, tripmeter and odometer. The LCD screen also displays menu options for distance to empty, average speed, and average fuel consumption.

A revised centre stack and redesigned window and mirror switches accompany new intuitive controls for air conditioning, heater and ventilation system. At night, the centre stack controls are illuminated in soft red light, which is more soothing, as opposed to  the stark white of the previous generation Focus.

A new premium centre console has been designed with an emphasis on improved comfort and function. It features a moveable soft armrest that slides forward 80mm, two cup holders with butterfly lids, a coin holder and a cardholder.

The 107kW, 2.0-litre, Duratec engine continues to power petrol Focus models – CL, LX and Zetec – and can be matched to either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission.

To enhance the overall Focus safety package, larger exterior side mirrors improve driver’s side visibility.

The Focus range also benefits with a clever automatic hazard warning light activation system, which warns following drivers of emergency braking manoeuvres.

Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) safety technology is standard across the Focus range, while Focus LX, TDCi and Zetec models also offer interactive vehicle dynamics as standard equipment.

This adds DSC, Traction Control and Emergency Brake Assist (EBA) to assist the driver to maintain vehicle stability during all driving situations.

The PowerShift is a very definite plus for the Focus range, shame it’s not available with the petrol models, but then we think the diesel is the gem in this range anyway.

CarAdvice will be testing the new Focus TDCi with PowerShift more extensively in a couple of weeks and we will also be putting the visually revised petrol versions of the Focus through their paces as well.

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2009 Ford Focus Review
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  • Milsie

    Ford needs to do some serious marketing & brand image improvement to convince me to buy something with a blue oval stuck on it. Compared to the main competition, which has a shiny, chrome, winged shaped ‘M’ badge…

  • Andronicus

    After driving a few different Ford’s recently I have to say I have become quite a fan of their product line and also how the company has reacted during the global economic downturn; unlike some…. I mean you GM.

    It’s great to see Ford are continuing to improve with each new model but this latest Focus comes to us already looking dated. Can’t say it really seems to be living up to the ‘kinetic styling’ mantra that we have heard so much about. Here is hoping the 2011 model is a more attractive package; for both consumers and also our local industry.

  • Tom

    Great car, id buy one over the competition anyday of the week.

  • Sam

    The way things are going with the GFC I wouldn’t bet the house on Ford Australia manufacturing the Focus here in 2011.

  • http://skyline The Salesman

    I try where I can to drive everything in the market. We have several Ford dealerships in our group of companies so I am normally one of the first to see new products in the flesh. The Focus is generally well received by the Ford faithful and has convinced some to join the Ford flock based on style, options, price and reliability. I like the drive but I find myself constantly taking my eyes off the road to find the buttons and controls, the centre console pushes into my left leg until it almost touches the steering wheel and the pedals feel off set to the steering colum. I had it overnight so I got to drive it through the rain the next day. Working out the rear wiper was what I think driving the space shuttle must be like for someone with out training. My summery was I like the look, ride, handling and power. But I felt awkward and uncomfortable in the drivers seat and annoyed at all the buttons and leavers that were difficult to operate on the move.

  • Bavarian Missile (.)(.) AKA DA COGAR

    Great car, fabulous interior and the icing on the cake that Getrag gearbox……….

    I have to say I notice the close ratio between first and second in the M3 {they also use the Getrag }around town and in traffic I take off in second simple. Best gear box Ive ever used ,nice and notchy!

    Would be a great behind the XR5 or RS version of the Focus I imagine ;)

  • Frontman

    CA being fair to LV Focus, Europe didn’t get the LT facelift that the southern hemisphere got so this sort of just brings us into line whilst still not being the same as the Euro car.
    I do whole heartedly agree with your sentiment on the DSG though, it will make Focus the best diesel in class.
    Sam, Focus is ceasing production in SA. Hence the reasoning behind using Aust to build it (and variants) as we have a much more adaptable production line.
    Milsie, just a question? Wher do you think the #’s floor pan and suspension and driveline come from? What vehicles did Ford Eu use as test mules for the current generation Focus? Wouldn’t have been the 3 & the S40 would it? ;-)

  • Frontman

    Salesman, be honest you have longish gangly legs anyway, and IIRC more than two moving parts got a tad confusing for you :-)
    (Friendly banter Mods)
    Just so that you understand for the next time rear wiper you simply follow the arrows on the control arm and pull it toward you. However if you simply wipe the front screen before moving off, then engage reverse the car will automatically wipe the rear to save you the hassle ;-)
    Pther feature that Focus have are lane change indicators (ie slight movement of controller and it flashes four times) Global locking on LX up (All windows down by the key fob) and something simple like an extra wipe one second after using the windshield washers. All very usable inclusions but not the glitzy chrome and pretty stuff that the Asians like. Damn those Germans for being more sensible than showy!

  • Frenchie

    Salesman says:
    My summery was I like the look, ride, handling and power. But I felt awkward and uncomfortable in the drivers seat and annoyed at all the buttons and leavers that were difficult to operate on the move.

    I find that in all Fords.

  • adam (aka mada)

    Frontman, took the words right out of my mouth.

  • Oliver

    I normally prefer Holdens, but Ford’s recent styling of their small and medium cars has given me cause to consider a test drive…

  • Alex

    I would be interested to see what your review says CA because in Europe, the Focus is considered best in class, even over the Golf by some people. Be interesting to see if you have the same findings.

  • http://caradvice onepoppa

    A great mechanical package. Just a pity that Ford only offer it on a model which is trimmed and equipped to LX standard, rather than in more upmarket specification, like the old Ghia, or the British Titanium spec. I guess that they wanted to keep it significantly less than VW Trendline, or Peugeot 308.

  • Frontman

    Onepoppa, also LX trim spec is the bulk selling model in the line, so with low volume seller like diseasel it makes sense to trim it that way.

  • Reckless1

    The big problem with the car is it’s now 10 years old, and even an excellent 10 year old car is not class leading today. It’s looking quite dated now, but has always had a “classic” styling which has enabled it to look good for many years (unlike the opposite Megane – controversial styling, dates quickly). The engine at 100kw/320nm is well below par on power and economy.

    Its main competition is the Golf, but the Golf is much newer, with a much better diesel engine, and a much nicer dash and console. And you can get it in a few variants – Golf, Jetta, Tiguan – no such variants with Focus.

    The Focus is playing catch up, but it won’t match or get ahead of the Golf any time soon.

  • adam (aka mada)

    How is the current platform focus 10 years old?

  • Alex

    Well Reckless, the journalists disagree. When the face lifted version came out, Top Gear wrote about this particular model that it made you feel good about riving in 2008. It’s not feeling dated just yet and most still call it class leader. I’d personally buy a Golf first but that’s just because I like how perfect the Golf is.

  • Reckless1

    Para 2 in this very article

    “Right now, Ford has just released, a little belatedly as it’s been on the market overseas for some time, the updated LV model of the now 10-year-old Focus line in Australia. “

  • John

    Yeah, it’s improved, but…. I wouldn’t touch another South African-assembled Focus if you paid me. I had an LS, then bought an LT, both were definitely poorly built with poor quality paintwork. I sold the LT after 4 months as it was a deadset dud (in my opinion).

    I think the Focus, if properly built, with decent components, would be a cracking car. The Europeans get the best Focus, we get the worst.

  • HAL

    John, you just have to buy the best of the Focus’s, the german engineered and built XR5. awesome little beast.

    • Julian

      I agree HAL,

      Along with the XR5 the first Foci Zetec’s and the ST170 were German imports to Australia (the non Zetecs were Spanish built). I have to say the build quality on my, now 7 year old Focus is above what I’d expect from any hatch that was designed and blue printed in the 90′s. Same goes for the paint. There are a couple of stone chips now on it and you can see how deep the paint layers are.

      German built cars all the way…


  • adam (aka mada)


    I think they were talking about the focus namplate being 10 years old in Oz, not the current vehicle itself…

    Regardless, the current focus is NOT 10 years old.

  • adam (aka mada)


    I would agree that the SA built focus isn’t a match for material/build quality for the Euro built version.

    I think Oz built, next generation focus will be better than the SA versions.

    As HAL says the focus XR5 is german assembled.

  • adam (aka mada)


    The focus was released in OZ in 2002, that was the previous shape, the current platform/shape was released in late 2004.

    The article is wrong altogether.

  • Sean

    This Focus body shape and platform is not 10 yrs old – it is the Focus name that is nearing 11 yrs old in Australia.

    We still don’t have the “full” Euro facelift. The door panels are common to the previous model and not shared with the Euro built XR5.

  • adam (aka mada)


    Very good observation!

    Mind you the focus name was introduced in 2002.


    great car from Ford. Looks, performs, handles great. Great easy to use interior with nice feel. Ford really do have nice ergonomical interiors in their cars, compare VE cheap interior and poor ergonomics with the lovely interior of the FG, no comparison. No coincidence that this Ford platform lies beneath another nice car.Mazda 3. Focus is class leading in most things and has a great reputation in lots of countries. I hope it sells well because it really deserves to. Nothing from Holden comes close to this, Mazda\Ford partnership still going strong and they have the 2 best cars in this class.

  • Chris

    Thats right Sean & Mada,

    The Current Focus Platform differs from the MK2 platform.
    MK1 was built under Ford of Europe from 2002 to 2005/6.

    The MK2 Platform (known as C1 from Memory) was built under the supervision of FPMG (Ford Premier Motor Group) as it was a joint effort with Volvo & Mazda.
    It is the same platform used in the S40, C30, Mazda 3 and Focus.
    It’s a brilliant Chassis given more balls by its Full independent suspension. Particularly the XR5′s they handle like they’re on rails.

  • Chris

    correction, first line. Meant Mk1, the Model that introduced “Edge” Philosophy

  • Alan

    A good car with a great chassis, but i think the styling is starting to look dated already, especially the tail. Also not a fan of the silver centre console, it looks cheap and korean. Although a highly praised car in UK, seems focus hasn’t found the same fan base here in Aus, and i doubt this revision will make much difference.

  • Phil C.

    Ford’s problem is it’s image. Unfortunately people’s perception takes a very long time to change. Luckily for Ford they have had terrific cars for a number of years now and can continue to improve the volume of showroom traffic.

    A case in point is the excellent new Fiesta which has created a sales surge here and abroad.

    This model update isn’t huge, but it keeps the vehicle fresher with an improved interior, some minor exterior changes and a nice DSG behind the diesel.

    The radical new model with eco-boost and DSG gearboxes isn’t due until 2011 as the article stated.

  • QwkEddie

    The Golf doesn’t have a better diesel engine.
    The Mk VI has 103Kw/320Nm,basically the same as the Focus.Interms of fuel economy there is probably little difference.
    The Golf hasn’t even got a overboost function which gives an extra 20Nm to the Focus.
    Talking about platforms,isn’t the Golf’s like 20 years old?Oh! I forgot the Golf has that timeless…..classic…enduring…zz!zz!zz! styling! ops! I just dozed off for a moment sorry!
    If VW had built this particular Focus,they would’ve claimed it as the next generation!

  • Simon

    I’d like to see a road test comparison between this car and the new golf.

  • Andrew M

    the Falcon also has the extra wipe thingy with the wipers, and the one touch lane change thingy.

    Is this out yet CA???
    i was of the belief that it isnt released till may.

    I was holding off my purchase till i get a look in at this new revision. might get a better price on this than the mazda, but thats if i can stand more than 5 minutes with a brain dead ford salesperson.
    The biggest problem with ford is its sales people.
    If you are lucky enough to get assistance, you will probably wish you didnt as they dont know squat about what they are selling

  • Confused

    Nobody noticed that ford still lacks commitment for safety: vehicle stability – not standard; Not even traction control; air bags – meager 2 in base models.
    People bitch about old style, etc etc, but don’t care about basic safety. No wonder these cars sell.

  • Golfschwein

    QwkEddie, you’re a bit short on knowledge there, old chum. The Golf does 5.6l/100kms for the record and it’s not 20 years old. The MkV platform of 2004 was brand new, and it included the sliding and tilting centre armrest that Ford are so proud about in this new Focus.

    It’s on record that the roof panel is the only carried over external panel in the new Golf. Everything else is new. The Focus is a good car, but the Golf has it licked just about everywhere except the so-called overboost.

  • maximark

    There’s no doubt that the Focus has great handling,like the mazda 3. But if it’s still built in South Africa then there will be quality problems like the current model. Anyone who want to buy the Focus, please check this site I’m sure you will change your mind. I would wait until it’s built in Australia.

  • Frontman

    That is correct Andrew M, Focus was the first Ford with it in Aust, and as far as I’m aware, the only car in the group to have them. As far as the age of the car, 02 was first Focus in Aust the Ls was intro’d in 05 as a complete new car. Two face lifts in 4 years does not make an OLD car CA!!! All new model would never be considered by any manufacturer in such a short time. Sorry for being critical but today has not been your most insightful or factual.

  • Frontman

    Maximark, since LT introduction the build quality has been improved tenfold, (okay not hard from first issue LS) but the biggest issue with LS was (as with BMW M/Benz & Toyotas out of SA) paint quality.

  • Cupid Stunt

    The European Focus in this basic shape has been around since 1998. This is the fourth? facelift, some of them quite major.
    Its a great car and is pretty much in the top 10 sellers in the UK alongside Mondeos, Vectras, 3 Series Astras. It has only been beaten lately by the Astra.
    Salesman – I take your some of your critism of the layout however time wil mae them more intuitive. The Focuses I have driven I have never felt part of the car, you seem to sit on them rather than in them. To this respect the Astra is a far better drive IMO.

  • Cupid Stunt

    And the Golf’s I’ve driven suffer from the same road noise which increases greatly above 110Kmh, at 130k’s its tiresome. It ain’t a perfect answer in reality….well not for me.

  • Bob

    Confused – the Focus comes standard with ABS and 4 airbags in base CL form, including side head/thorax airbags, not 2. Safety pack including curtains and DSC is optional, as it was on the LT model too. All other models of LV have 6 airbags and DSC standard.

    Cupid stunt – The original Euro Focus was released in 1998 in Europe on the Mk 1 platform (C170). Australia’s first Focus was actually the Mk 1.5 European Focus in September 2002 which was called LR here in Oz and which had revised bumpers and lights amongst other features.

    The Mk 2 model (C307), all new from the ground up was launched globally in 2004. Zetec engines replaced by all new alloy Duratec units. Named LS here but effectively a Euro-spec Mk 2 that came from South Africa.

    The LT was an Asia-Pacific only Mk 2.25 let’s call it.

    Europe then updated to Mk 2.5 last year which is effectively now what the LV is. They never got our 2.25.

    Were now all on a Mk 2.5 effectively.

    Then there’s the USA, which to this day still uses the C170 Mk 1 platform with a totally reskinned and unrelated body to the rest of the world… confusing. That’s genuinely an 11 year old platform.

    I owned a Mk I.5 Zetec with DSC optioned and it was absolutely divine chassis-wise. Incredible handling car. Sold it after 5 years and still miss it to this day.

    My sister has now ordered an LV Zetec and couldn’t be happier. It also includes standard iPod integration and USB connection amongst other features not mentioned here. A very nice package indeed.

    I’m somewhat of a Focus nut as you can tell :)

  • Bob

    Guys – your server time’s a bit out… it’s telling me I posted it at 2:00am when I only posted at 1:00am. Daylight Savings still on? I wish!

  • Adrian

    Well as much as I loved my LR focus I think I’ll stick to my corolla for now. There’s really nothing that impressive about them compared to the original. Although if ford Australia imported the 2009 RS I’d buy one in a heart beat. Now that car is impressive.

  • FremontCAHotel

    amazing ride, thanks for the review

  • Tony

    why does the center console, hvac, shifter and shifter plate look so 1989?

    i don’t like the way the euro design fords have that theme

    even the FG Falcons look better

  • Devil’s Advocate

    What I found interesting though was that Ford decided to use the PSA 2L diesel in the Focus/Mondeo and not the more powerful and torquey (320Nm vs 360Nm) 2.0L Mazda MZR-CD engine. Especially considering they use Mazda’s 4 cyl MZR petrol engines in the Focus/Mondeo (with a different head).

  • Technofreak

    i want the RS, i want the RS….lalala!…cant here you….blah,blah,blah…i want the RS.

  • Will

    Golfschwein and Reckless1, yep agreed. Reckless you forgot to mention Audi and Skoda, and the fact that the Skoda badge is far more impressive than the blue oval (yuk).

    Technofreak, I can only assume you are referring to the Skoda RS. Good choice, far superior machine.

  • GoldSpike

    Very good stuff, thanks for the review.

  • Daniel Dacey

    When the Ford dealer network is as interesting and works as well as these new cars, then Ford might stand a chance.

    Its rather more important for the ownership experience then just the car, although Ford haven’t figured that out yet, given some of the people they continue to allow to hold a franshise.

    Meanwhile Mazda offer a similar vehicle without the Ford badge. Sales seem to reflect people prefer that.

  • Andrew M

    Confused, (you obviously are)

    as already corrected, the focus comes with 4 airbags standard.

    also for the further record, the mazda 3 and lancer (the bigger players in the market) dont come with side airbags nor curtains as standard

  • Simon

    Cupid Stunt Says:
    And the Golf’s I’ve driven suffer from the same road noise which increases greatly above 110Kmh….

    Cupid, VW have particularly targeted noise levels in the new golf.
    “The new Golf has about 120 sound insulation components, yet they increase the car’s weight by only one kilogram.”
    – Volkswagen Magazine (Australia) Summer/Autumn 2009

  • Elitebiz

    I purchased a Focus hatch in December 2007 with the four speed auto and safety pack. The window sticker said it would get 8.7 litre per 100 Km. So far I have done 13,000Kms and have only every got 11.2 -11.5. When I had it serviced at the dealers I complained but they were unable to fix it. Admittedly I live inner city and do short trips but I also occasionally drive to Bendigo from Melbourne. I don’t consider myself a lead foot – I am past that stage (I’m over 60. I also use Premium fuel from time to time. What am I doing wrong? Are other driver of Focus CL experiencing the same thing.

    • Scott

      That fuel consumption does seem quite high. We’ve got a manual Focus we bought last year and we have averaged 7.5l/100 over its first 15000km. That has a higher percentage of highway driving than you do living in the city though. Automatic transmissions make small capacity engines work harder than they would in a manual due to the extra friction losses inherent in the torque converter. It also has only the four speeds meaning you need more throttle input to get similar acceleration as a manual which has a spread of the 5 speeds to choose from.

      All that said I would have guessed that consumption still to be quite high as most people with autos seem to be averaging more like 9l/100 from what i’ve seen. Again though they may do a higher percentage of open road driving than yourself.

  • Rob

    Hope to get some advice for you learned dudes.

    I am either buying a 2009 Focus diesel 6speed auto or the Mazda 3 sp 25 5 speed auto. I am leaning toward the Ford because it is more roomy inside and more powerful and fuel efficient and 2K less. The mazda is great but i felt cramped inside and overwhelmed with all the electronic gadgets. I know mazda have great resale value and Ford not so great and I have read so much bad stuff about the Focus previous models, i do not want to buy a lemon. My 2003 Astra has done 79000 kms and is costing me $3000 atm when the timing belt snapped.

  • kris

    I hope it does not have the dash rattles of the golf or the electrical problems or do we blame that on SA lol german cars much over rated, better off with a mazda or toyota

  • kris

    I believe the 60k service cost on a dsg type trans is $700?

Ford Focus Specs

Car Details
Body Type
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
Engine Size
Max. Torque
185Nm @  4500rpm
Max. Power
107kW @  6000rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
Bore & Stroke
Compression Ratio
Valve Gear
Drivetrain Specifications
Drive Type
Final Drive Ratio
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
Fuel Tank Capacity
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
8L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Ground Clearance
Towing Capacity
Brake:750  Unbrake:650
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
Turning Circle
Front Rim Size
Rear Rim Size
Front Tyres
195/65 R15
Rear Tyres
195/65 R15
Wheel Base
Front Track
Rear Track
Front Brakes
Rear Brakes
Standard Features
Air Conditioning
Control & Handling
Electronic Brake Force Distribution
Power Steering, Trip Computer
Radio CD with 4 Speakers
Fog Lights - Front
Power Windows Front
Dual Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Seatbelts - Pre-tensioners Front Seats
Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Optional Features
CD with 6 CD Stacker
Metallic Paint, Smooth Pack
Safety Pack
Service Interval
12 months /  15,000 kms
36 months /  100,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
Country of Origin