REVIEW: 2016 Ford Focus SE – Affordable and Fun

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2016 Ford Focus SE Front

The 2016 Ford Focus SE is an affordable sedan for the budget-minded. Its pricing makes it an ideal first car, and its fuel economy makes it a good choice for those with lengthy commutes.

What is it?

The Ford Focus SE starts at under $20,000 which makes it a very affordable car. It has a modest interior wrapped in appealing styling, and the Focus delivers a surprisingly fun driving experience that defies the economy car mold.

2016 Ford Focus SE Profile

Pricing and trims

There are eight Ford Focus models available, starting with the base S sedan at just $17,225 and moving all the way up to the performance-oriented RS at $35,900. There’s a lot of variety in that range.

Most Focus buyers will be looking towards the mid-range SE or Titanium. The SE starts at $18,515 and is available as a sedan or hatchback with a modest interior. The Titanium delivers a significantly improved interior with leather trims and better audio.

The ST adds performance features and styling for $24,425, while the electric version ditches the gas for an electric motor with a starting price of $29,170. There’s a Focus designed for every buyer.

2016 Ford Focus SE Badge

Our test model was the 2016 Ford Focus SE priced at $22,995 with options and destination charges.

Looking for a new or used car? Check out BestRide’s listing search here.


Standard safety features on the Ford Focus include seven airbags, electronic stability control, and tire-pressure monitoring system.

2016 Ford Focus SE Safety

Active park assist ($395) is available on select trims. The Titanium Technolgy Package ($795) adds blind spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert and lane keep assist.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2016 Ford Focus SE its highest Good rating in all categories except for Small Overlap Front, which received its second highest Acceptable rating.

2016 Ford Focus IIHS


Our test car came equipped with an optional 1.0-liter, 3-cylinder EcoBoost engine with 123 horsepower and 125 lb-ft of torque. It’s a small engine for a small car, but it delivers a surprisingly strong performance.

2016 Ford Focus SE Engine

Press on the gas and the engine is quick to respond. It’s very strong from a full stop and good even at highway speeds with only a slight delay between when you press the gas and get a reaction. It’s noticeable, but not enough to cause frustration or worry that you won’t get the speed you want when you want it.

2016 Ford Focus SE Shifter

The engine is paired to a six-speed PowerShift automatic transmission with SelectShift. It includes a switch on the gear knob that allows for manual gear shifts and takes full advantage of that powerful little engine.

Even without using SelectShift, the transmission is smooth and well-timed. Upshifts happen higher in the rev range, which can be noisier, but delivers a more powerful and more responsive drive.

Looking for a new or used car? Check out BestRide’s listing search here.

Ride and handling

2016 Ford Focus SE Wheel

The ride in the Focus SE is smooth with bumps being mostly evened out to produce a comfortable ride. Take a pothole at high speed, however, and you will absolutely feel the jolt.

Driving the Focus SE is fun despite its economy price and styling. Handling is crisp and responsive making it easy to weave the Focus through heavy traffic and through crowded city streets.


2016 Ford Focus SE Front Seats
Seating is comfortable, though in no way plush. The fabric surfaces look and feel like they belong in an economy car, but seats are still supportive. Taller riders will find that legroom is narrow.

Seats are six-way manually adjustable for the driver and four-way for the passengers. Finding a good driving position is no problem with the car’s small size making it easy to find a good view of the road.

2016 Ford Focus SE Rear Seats

Rear seats are comfortable, but very tight. Headroom is okay but shoulder room is narrow and the 33.2 inches of legroom is very small.

Even with a smaller passenger up front, rear passengers will have their knees pressing into the backs of the front seats. The Chevrolet Cruze with 36.1 inches of rear legroom and Honda Civic with 37.5 inches of rear legroom are much more spacious.


The trunk offers 13.2 cubic feet of cargo capacity, which lags behind competitors. The Chevrolet Cruze offers 14.8 cubic feet and the Honda Civic offers 15.1 cubic feet making both better choices for those who need the cargo capacity.

2016 Ford Focus SE Trunk

Infotainment and controls

The Ford Focus SE comes standard with Ford’s SYNC infotainment system. It includes voice activation, AM/FM/CD/MP3, 6-speakers, rearview camera, audio input jack, and two USB charging ports. Although easy to use, the small infotainment screen is set so deeply into the dashboard that it is difficult to see.

2016 Ford Focus SE Infotainment


The 2016 Ford Focus SE offers is an economical small sedan. It is priced affordably with great fuel economy and is fun to drive.

Those who are shopping for a first car or a commuter car will find exactly what they’re looking for in the Focus. Its engaging driving experience overcome its no-frills design and features.

2016 Ford Focus SE Rear

The infotainment system is sorely lacking unless you’re willing to opt for higher trim levels or options packages, and the interior is unrefined with a cramped rear seat, which makes taking friends along for the ride a dubious proposition.

2016 Ford Focus SE

Base price: $18,515

Price as tested, including $875 destination charge: $22,995


Ruby Red Tinted Clearcoat: $395

Reverse Sensing System: $255

Exterior Protection Package: $245

Cargo Area Protector: $75

6-Speed PowerShift Automatic Transmission: $1,095

SE EcoBoost Appearance Package: $895
16-inch Painted Aluminum Wheels with Dark Painted Pockets
Rear Disc Brakes
Black Gloss Upper Grille
Black Headlamps Bezel
LED Signature Lighting
Fog Lamps

Cold Weather Package: $645
All-Weather Floor Mats
Heated Front Seats
Heated Steering Wheel
Heated Mirrors


  • Pricing
  • Fuel Economy
  • Responsive Engine


  • Rough Automatic Start/Stop
  • Short Rear Legroom
  • Small Infotainment Screen