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2009 Ford Focus SE coupe

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I just got home from driving an '09 Focus SE coupe. For 2009, the SE is the "base" coupe trim level, but it comes pretty well equipped for about $16,800 MSRP. Black grille, darkened head- and taillamps, foglamps, low rear spoiler, and body-color power, heated mirrors and door handles lend the car a sporty look. The lack of fender vents cleans up the sides of the car. The one I drove was Brilliant Silver, with the Stone cloth interior. The paint really glistened nicely under the lights on the lot. I'd prefer the black interior, though, to better contrast with the silver center stack. The car I drove had no factory options, but was equipped just about perfectly, features-wise.

The height-adjustable seat and steering column worked together to afford a commanding driving position. I set the seat to the fullest height off the floor and I still had plenty of headroom, even with my substantial 5'5" height. The seats themselves are large and well-padded, and the door armrests have a thick Rubbermaid-like pad, which beats the hard, cloth-covered (which would be harder to keep clean) Cobalt door armrests, imo. Everything is easily accessible and clearly marked. I appreciated the blue and red interior lighting. The radio seemed to have slightly weaker reception than my Sierra, but the Sirius feature is nice. I kind of missed the feel of a leather-wrapped rim on the steering wheel, but the optional Driver's Package includes, among other things, a leather-wrapped wheel.

Driving the car, I noticed a slight amount of harshness on one certain stretch of road, otherwise the car rode smooth and quiet. The car wears Pirelli P6 tires, which impressed me because most Cobalts wear cheapo Hankooks. The Focus handled well on highway on- and off-ramps. I gave it a goose and it held its line nicely. The manual shifter worked smoothly, but had a bit less feel and longer throws than the sporty '09 Honda Fit I recently drove. The 2.0L engine seemed to have good power, no complaints about engine harshness, aural or tactile. It is a perfectly livable little car, with a nicely-sized trunk.

I know a Ford is a good car, even though we GM fans love to hate on them from time to time. A cousin of mine bought a new '88 Escort and drove it for about 170k miles before retiring it, and I have an uncle who drives his diesel Ford trucks into the ground, racking up lots of towing miles. With my employee discount, I could buy the car I drove tonight for approximately $14k (a guess), not a bad deal at all. I expect to hear from the sales kid tomorrow around noon, after his manager "shops" my truck to a few GM dealer friends of his. We'll see what happens... and I have found an '09 Cobalt 1LT manual coupe in Silver Moss with Chrome Package at a dealer about 25 miles away, so I will head over there tomorrow and drive it to see, once and for all, how it compares to the other two small cars I've driven so far in this latest round. Stay tuned.

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Hey blu, I enjoy your writeups, you should do one of the Caliber, or better yet, an `09 Patriot if you can find one.

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