EV Review: 2018 Ford Focus Electric
Electric vehicle technology is slowly becoming more commonplace, and the Ford Focus Electric is one of the old-timers already. The Tesla Model 3, new Nissan LEAF, the Kia Soul EV, and several other models are late to the party comparatively. Although the Ford Focus Electric has been around longer than most, it surprisingly hasn’t jumped out in the lead for sales or innovations.
The 2018 Ford Focus Electric offers fair value in terms of technology for the price tag. It’s a modest-looking hatchback that doesn’t scream ‘electric vehicle’, and it’s offered with a nice complement of features inside. Its performance isn’t anything to write home about, but there isn’t anything to complain about either.
As EVs go, the 2018 Ford Focus Electric isn’t impressive or repulsive. It’s simply middle of the road. The Focus Electric is like a middle child: it doesn’t get the attention it deserves and doesn’t make a big stink about it either. But in the quickly advancing electric vehicle realm, the Ford Focus Electric is at risk of being left in the dust if its range and performance isn’t updated soon.
It would be very easy to forget the fact that the 2018 Ford Focus Electric is an EV on appearance alone. That’s one of the problems with being a niche subsegment in a high-volume model, but it’s also something that many EV buyers like. It looks nearly identical to the gas-powered Focus but with an electric charging port hidden behind the traditional fuel door.
There’s only one trim level available that contains mid- to high-level Focus exterior trim. It has body-color door handles and mirror covers, LED signature lighting, LED taillamps, chrome beltline moldings, and a roof-mounted spoiler all as standard equipment.
It looks very much like the Ford Focus Titanium hatchback, which is good. A little more differentiation would be positive too.
Fit and finish interior
The 2018 Ford Focus Electric comes in just one trim level and has just one option package available. If you don’t like choices, it’s good. And the Focus Electric’s equipment suits the type of buyer who is interested in this car: a mid-income businessperson or an environmentally-conscious middle-class family person.
It includes as standard equipment ambient lighting, remote start system (presumably to warm or cool the interior), Intelligent Access with Push Button Start, and eco-conscious cloth upholstery with heated front seats. The infotainment system is the same on all 2018 Ford Focus Electric hatchbacks – a SYNC 3 system with Enhanced Voice Recognition, an 8-inch touchscreen, a Sony-powered 9-speaker system, and voice-activated navigation.
The only option package available adds a rear armrest with storage and leather-trimmed seats with an 8-way power driver’s seat.
The Focus Electric includes SmartGauge with EcoGuide instrument cluster. It gives visual cues on how to get better efficiency or range from your vehicle. Reverse Sensing and Tire Pressure Monitoring System are standard as well, but it would be great to have more driver-assistive features, or at least an option package with them. For the price, though, you can’t have everything.
If you’re looking for a high-performance car – a ‘hot hatch’ as it were – this isn’t the car for you. But if you’re searching for a car that is mildly enjoyable on the road and doesn’t burn a drop of gasoline, you’ll love the 2018 Ford Focus Electric.
Its 143-hp electric motor has just a slight hum as you press into the accelerator. The low-end EV torque is present off the line, but you won’t be winning many races with an 84-mph top speed. Interstate travel is achievable, although it doesn’t feel like there’s much more past the 75mph speed limit. Typical MacPherson strut front suspension and electric power-assisted steering give it the feel of a normal Focus on the road…minus the engine noise.
Regenerative braking on the Focus Electric does exactly as advertised, almost performing like a single-pedal vehicle. You can set its level for your comfort and the best efficiency too, and it definitely contributes to the Focus EV’s range. At just 115 miles, the 2018 Ford Focus Electric needs to be recharged more frequently than the 238-mile-range Chevy Bolt and the 151-mile-range Nissan LEAF, which certainly hurts if you’ll be using your EV for long-distance drives.
|Electric Range||115 miles / 186 km|
|Total Range||115 miles / 186 km|
|Time to Charge||5.5 hours (Level 2)|
|Electric Motor||107 kW|
|Battery Capacity||33.5 kWh|
|Top Speed||84 mph / 135 km/h|
|Warranty||3 years/36,000 miles or 60,000 km|
The 2018 Ford Focus Electric is intended for people playing the long game. It’s priced $5,000 more than the Focus Titanium, so the payoff for choosing an electric car comes when parity happens with fuel savings. It’s probably five years or more, depending on the mileage you drive.
Unfortunately, it’s only available in select states and from certified Ford dealers. Only a few thousand Focus Electric cars will hit the road in 2018. They’ll go to people near those certified dealers, and will typically be environmentally-conscious families or business commuters from the suburbs.