Ford Focus
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Ford’s updated mainstream compact is now available with the same fuel-sipping three-cylinder engine from the Fiesta along with smoking-hot ST performance, or, oppositely, electric economy.

160-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder connected to a five-speed manual transmission or optional automated manual; new 1.0-liter EcoBoost three-cylinder with a six-speed manual; ST still uses big turbo and extra gear to handle 252 horses; optional all-electric drivetrain with 143-horsepower motor.

Ford is making great use of its parts bin to continually improve its cars. The 2015 Focus gets similar styling tweaks found on the smaller Fiesta, including a new hood, LED head- and taillights, grille, bumpers and more. But it’s under that new metal where the Focus gains the most. The 1.0-liter three-cylinder turbocharged “EcoBoost” engine will find a second home in the larger Focus, although it still packs the same 123 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. And while the Fiesta only has five gears in its application, the Focus will get six. Fuel figures have yet to be revealed, but expect this to be a significantly greener machine given how much “oomph” you give up compared with the base model. At the other end of the spectrum, the ST performance model takes all the positives of the Focus and then adds a list of improvements aimed at buyers who otherwise might be in the mood for a Volkswagen GTI. The 2.0-liter “EcoBoost” turbocharged four-cylinder produces 252 horsepower and even features “overboost” with a giant slug of mid-range torque added. The ST is still front-wheel-drive, but uses a stiffer suspension, bigger and stickier tires and a variety of electronic systems to make it a true back-road hero. The ST gets unique parts inside and out, including more supportive seats and only comes with a six-speed manual transmission. The Focus Electric continues with its 143-horsepower motor and lithium-ion battery pack that can deliver a claimed range of 76 miles. By Ford’s clock, recharging takes three to four hours from a 240-volt home station. The car gets special wheels, low-rolling-resistance tires and other wind-cheating aids. Like other electric cars, the Focus isn’t inexpensive with an MSRP of $39,200 before tax rebates and other incentives, but there aren’t many downsides if you can afford it. All the “unique” Focus models only come in four-door hatchback form, but the “regular” cars can be had as sedans. The standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is rated at 160 horsepower and is connected to a five-speed manual transmission. Optional is a six-speed automated manual gearbox with paddle shifters.