Quick Take: 2015 Ford Focus 1.0-litre EcoBoost

There have been a few changes made to the 2015 Ford Focus's equipment list, along with a number of minor styling improvements, but the biggest news is the 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine that is now available with the compact car. Previously seen with the Ford Fiesta hatchback, for 2015 the turbocharged three-cylinder unit is offered with sedan editions of the larger Focus.

I had the chance to drive the 1.0-litre EcoBoost Focus from the Team O'Neil Rally School in Whitefield, New Hampshire all the way to Montreal, Quebec, and the three hour ride gave me the opportunity to reflect on how much better suited the economy-focused unit felt in the larger car as compared to the Fiesta. Specifically, the five-speed manual transmission that is standard with the 1.0-litre Focus offered more appropriate gearing, with less shifting required around town and adequate power on the highway (although dropping a cog on steeper hills was necessary to extract the full 123 horsepower on offer from the motor).  Fuel efficiency figures for this configuration are listed at 5.9 l/100 km on the highway, a believable number after my experience with the car in colder weather.

Another change worth mentioning in the 2015 Ford Focus: more active safety. You can now load the sedan and the hatchback up with a blind spot monitoring system and a lane keeping system, which gives the car an advantage over many of its more modestly-protected rivals. Technological superiority has become a hot-button issue in the entry-level segment, and Ford's willingness to embrace these kinds of features won't go unnoticed by shoppers who don't want to compromise on safety just because they are choosing to buy a smaller vehicle.

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