As a term for describing the relative merits of a product, "checking all the boxes" might well be a cliché, but clichés usually come about in the first place because there's more than an element of truth in them. So, it's not out of order to say the 2017 Ford Focus checks all the boxes because it does, and then some. Whether you are looking for style, economy, performance, practicality or value for money from your next car, there's a model somewhere in the Focus lineup that's going to fit the bill.
Although it may be stretching the point to call the Focus a chameleon, it certainly does wear a number of different outfits. In lower trims it can be a sensible, economical family runabout without any unwarranted complications, while at the other end of the trim scale it's capable of becoming a tire-shredding track monster that can offer more thrills and spills than just about anything else in its class. In between those extremes there are models to suit all types of tastes and requirements. With sedan and hatchback body styles and six different trim levels of S, SE, SEL, Titanium, ST and RS, this is a car with genuine mass-appeal.
Ford usually keeps trim levels down to a manageable amount, but it does like to offer a wide selection of engines for its models and the Focus is no exception. Across the six trim levels there are five different engine options, so what you’re looking for is likely to be in there somewhere. Most Focus models you're likely to see on dealer lots will have the standard, naturally aspirated 2.0-liter Ti-VCT that develops 160 horsepower and 146 lb.-ft. of torque. That's perhaps the most sensible powerplant, but if you want the total opposite there's also the 2.3-liter EcoBoost in the hooligan Focus RS performance model, which puts an incredible 350 horsepower and 350 lb.-ft. at your disposal.
Practicality and economy
It's up to you whether a four-door sedan or a five-door hatch is the more practical option for your requirements, but there's no denying how practical and versatile the Focus can be. Even the 165 mph Focus RS with its 0 to 60 mph time of 4.6 seconds has rear doors, so even the most hardcore Focus has at least one eye on practicality.
It's a similar story when it comes to fuel economy, with EPA-estimated figures as good as 30 mpg in the city, 40 mpg on the highway and 34 mpg from 1.0-liter EcoBoost models mated to the six-speed manual transmission.* The standard 2.0-liter non-EcoBoost still gets a respectable 26/38/31 mpg for city/highway/combined driving cycles, while the ST is an excellent blend of economy and performance with 22/30/25 mpg, respectively.
Value for money
For what the Focus offers, it really does represent excellent value for money. Yes, you can find less expensive models in this segment, but you'll be hard-pressed to come up with a rival that offers as much as the 2017 Ford Focus does for less money. The starting MSRP for a Focus Sedan S is just $16,775, while the most expensive model is unsurprisingly the RS at $36,120. The RS really should be considered as a separate model in its own right though, as the extremely well-equipped Titanium hatch is just $24,075 and even the performance ST costs from as little as $24,775.
*All vehicle mileage based on 2017 EPA mileage estimates. Use for comparison purposes only. Do not compare to models before 2008. Your actual mileage will vary, depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle.