I have some really bad news for our friends overseas. The best compact car in the world right now is made in Detroit. And though the new Chevy Cruze is truly world class, in my opinion, the best is made by Ford.
I had a chance to drive the original Ford Focus on the Autostrada in Italy before it came to the States. It drove wonderfully and looked, well, odd. Part swoopy, part stubby, sort of like the cast of Jersey Shore.
The new Focus though, is everything the old one wasn’t. And you have my permission to ignore the sedan version and concentrate on this five-door hatch. It is gorgeous from any angle. The grill is obviously borrowed from Audi, but hey, if your going to steal, rob a bank not a grocery store.
The interior is just plain delicious. Who would have thought that a burgundy and dark green leather combination would be so downright gorgeous. The dash is curvy in all the right places, which is my preference in most anything I can think of. The door shuts with an authoritative thunk that I thought the Germans had copyrighted. I think the Focus owes them royalties or something.
Our car was equipped with the 5-speed manual, which is really one-speed short to be truly competitive these days. It is connected to the 2-liter, 160-horsepower 4-cylinder engine that will move this little sled to 60 miles per hour in 7.8 seconds. Not eyelid peeling, but not embarrassing. Handling is excellent, with electric power steering and the sport suspension and it’s 16-inch wheels. The Focus will make the daily commute feel, if not like the Mulsanne Straight at LeMans, at least more fun than bumper to bumper on the Loop.
All this goodness starts at just over $16,000 and our loaded version just reached $22,000. For a car this good looking, that qualifies as grand theft auto.