REVIEW: 2015 Ford Focus SE is the Fun Starter Car You’ve Been Looking For

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2015 Ford Focus SE Profile

The 2015 Ford Focus is a compact sedan with an affordable price point that still manages to be fun, stylish, and comfortable. All of that in one package is quite a trick to pull off, but the Focus makes it look easy. It starts with a wide, aggressive grille that’s new for this year and does away with the boring, bland styling that makes so many compacts lackluster.

That stylish exterior leads to a pleasant and very comfortable interior. It has seating for five, but realistically only two people can sit in the back. This is, after all, a compact and not a big family sedan. The cloth seats are comfortable and supportive.

Front bucket seats are 6-way manually adjustable for the driver, 4-way for the passenger with enough legroom for even tall passengers to get comfortable without having their knees pushing hard surfaces. Moving the seats back does not leave much legroom for rear passengers. Kids will be fine, but larger adults will have their knees pressing the front seats.

2015 Ford Focus SE Rear Seating

The cold weather package ($645) heats the front seats and adds a heated steering wheel and power heated mirror. That’s a great price for an option package that will make the cold weather months much easier to bear.

There are several different flavors of Focus including the fancier Titanium, but this is not that car. It’s also not the price of that car with our tester coming in at only $21,250 with options. The materials in the SE are less plush than higher trims in keeping with its lower price point. They’re nicely done, however, and never come off cheap or low quality.

2015 Ford Focus SE Dash

The standard Sync infotainment system includes AM/FM/CD/MP3 with a 6-speaker sound system. There is no touchscreen like you’ll find in models equipped with MyFord Touch, but the old school buttons under the screen are easy to use and refreshing. Sometimes, it’s nice to have a button right there instead of having to dig through menus and flip through infotainment screens.

The engine in our tester was the 1.0-liter, direct-injection, turbocharged EcoBoost. It’s Ford’s first 3-cylinder engine and it has 123 horsepower and 125 lb-ft of torque. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but this is a small car so that little engine has plenty of power. It’s paired to a 6-speed manual transmission which makes accessing that power in exactly the way you want all the easier.

2015 Ford Focus SE Rear

An indicator on the instrument cluster shows a green arrow and a gear number when it’s time to shift. This indicator isn’t particularly well-timed. Knowing how to drive a stick, I ignored it and was just fine, but I tried shifting at its direction and found it consistently early and the engine lugged. Ignore that little indicator and use your best judgement.

The peppy little 1.0-liter EcoBoost was very responsive, never letting its small size become an issue. It took off from a dead stop with strong acceleration and was just as happy accelerated on the highway, even just sitting in 6th gear without shifting down, although downshifts made it a little rocket. There’s plenty of fun to be had with this car.

2015 Ford Focus SE Front

Those looking for fuel economy will be very happy with EPA ratings of 29 city/40 highway/33 combined. This excellent fuel economy combined with a low price point make the Focus an exceptional value.

2015 Ford Focus SE

Base Price: $18,460
Price As Tested: $21,250 (not including destination charge)


  • Bold Exterior Styling
  • Fantastic Fuel Economy
  • Responsive Engine


  • Inaccurate Shift Indicator Light
  • Tight Rear Seating