Monthly auto sales increases from the end of the 2009/2010 recession through to mid-2016 appears to have stalled. Wayne Gerdes – CleanMPG – Sept. 1, 2016 2016 Ford Focus SE Sedan w/ the 1.0L EcoBoost I3 and 6-speed MT (Titanium 5-door shown) - $19,885 to start incl. the $875 D&H charge offers owners a 30/42 mpg city/highway. It has been a while since we have had the opportunity to drive a Ford product. All the way back to the Midwest Automobile Media Association (MAMA) Spring Rally at Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI. This week's ride is an American built 2016 #Focus SE sedan ($18,515 to start) equipped w/ the multiple National and International award winning 123 hp and 125 lb-ft of torque 1.0L EcoBoost I3 w/ Start/Stop ($495). Why is this one special? Let us just say it has a 6-speed MT and is rated at an eye opening 30/42 mpg city/highway. Although I only have about 2 miles in it so far, the independent rear suspension tuning makes it a corner carver while the 3-cylinder motor makes it efficient. It also includes bright ruby red paint ($395), reverse sensing system ($255), ext. protection pkg. ($255) - not sure what that includes, and a nice fitting all-season cargo liner ($75). D&H adds $875 and the total list is $20,885. Do not let the retail price scare you however as I have seen this exact car on lots for < $16k. I am not a fan of capless refueling systems as there is no good way for calibration over anything but two full tanks but I did the best I could... With that, she is full, the displays and Garmin are reset and we are going to find out what this Ford compact is really worth on our first lengthy drive of the 1.0L EcoBoost. Notice the "Hat of the Day" courtesy of Team Ford Racing under the Garmin? Yeah, that is cool too. Let's roll down the monsters we call the 405 and 5 here in Southern Calif… Results The 2016 Ford Focus SE w/ the 1.0L EcoBoost put up some respectable results today. 66.3 mpg over 95.4 miles indicated and 98.3 miles actual. I am not even thinking about trying to complete a calibration with the Ford Capless refueling system over that short of a distance and that little fuel consumed but she is reasonably topped off again... Some of its strengths include the 1.0L I3 between 45 and 65 mph. 60 to 80 mpg under some partial loads. It has great front seats with the right amount of lower seat cushion length, limited bolstering, and the headrests are not bent forward nearly as much as other OEMs headrests for improved static Crash Test ratings. NHTSA Crash Test Ratings Good results. IIHS Crash Test Ratings The small overlap is suspect. Upscale multi-color looking cloth textured door inlays - shadow creates the effect, nicely padded center arm rest, telescoping sun visors, wheel controls feel modern and are more robust than past Ford toggles. A very well designed, high res, tri-color driver display rounds out the pluses. Ford has been great at displays since implementing their EcoGuide on the 2008 Fusion Hybrid. While the Focus driver display is small - a 3.5" maybe?, it is easy to read at a glance and there are two trip meters incorporating Trip miles, aFCD, numeric iFCD, DTE, outside temp, odometer, and direction. Full coverage Sun Visors. All-season OEM Cargo mat. Interesting play with light off the upscale cloth door inserts. Where it lacks is a 3.5" - it might be 4" - central display that looks absolutely 2 generations behind the competition. What good is a rear view camera when looking at a screen the size of a 10 year old flip phone? Static guidelines as well. Audio is barely sufficient on the quality side but SYNC 3 works as expected. The vents and control surrounds are low quality plastic and the rear seat room and B-segment passenger volume of just 90 cu. ft. does not cut it in this day and age of mid-size C-segments from Honda, Hyundai, and Toyota.. This 3.5" central display just does not belong in a car from the second decade of the 21st century. Low rent dash control surrounds. The 1.0L struggles on both the efficiency and NVH front in the heavy traffic stop and crawls when cruising between 0 and 35 mph and back. Most engines allow EPA highway while accelerating gently in this realm. The Ford 1.0L unfortunately does not. 2016 Ford Focus SE Conclusions Here are some last minute thoughts about the 2016 #Ford #Focus and its award winning 1.0L I3 EcoBoost. Competitive efficiency. Enough so that 3 years ago I would have called it the best in class. Today the Civic 1.5-T and Elantra 2.0L are more efficient, powerful, and refined. The stick's throw is a bit long and notchier than competitors sticks so some updates could be applied here as well. Regarding the platform, the 104.3" wheelbase and passenger volume at less than 91 cu.ft. is not enough with other more modern C-segments providing 95.8 to 98 cu. ft. on 106.x" wheelbases along with much more rear seat leg room. Its 13 cu. ft. of cargo cap is not meeting to date C-segment norms of mid 14 to mid 15 cu.ft. either. The lower right pic shows how the lower left dash protrudes in towards the wheel. I smacked my knee on that darn protrusion when getting in hard enough to cause me to limp for a day. Fit and finish was just ok. The plastic A-pillar covering was noticably separating from the cloth textured headliner. It could be the tough life that a press car is put through but I would be asking for repair if I owned one for myself. Exterior looks are on target as the updated grille and headlamps make it look like a modern compact. Ride and handling? Possibly the Focus' finest attribute as it felt planted with decent road feel and was easy to drive. On the infotainment front, SYNC3 never missed a voice command but neither does Android Auto which this Focus did not have. It is the very small 3 to 4" central display that ages the Focus' to the point of turning customers away at first glance. No sunglass holder and the lack of separate driver/passenger map lights did not help. All in, the 1.0L drivetrain keeps the 17 Focus in the game but the rest of #car clears it strictly for rental fleets. Ford August 2016 Sales Overview Ford sold 214,482 vehicles in August, down 8.4 percent from the 234,237 sold in August of 2015. YTD sales are up 1.9 percent however with sales of 1,784,009 over the 1,750,589 sold in August of 2015. Ford August 2016 Sales Highlights Ford F-Series sales of 66,946 trucks was down 6.1 percent from the 71,332 sold kin August of 2015. Ford stated it was the F-Series’ best retail month of the year. YTD sales of 527,847 are still up 6.7 percent over the 494,800 sold through the same period of 2015. The interesting stat from Ford’s August sales results was the Fusion HEV (3,002 sold, up 23.0 percent over the 2,441 sold in August of 2015) and Energi PHEV (1,422 sold, up 49.8 percent over the 949 sold in August of 2015). YTD sales of the Fusion HEV and Energi 4.2 percent and 64.1 percent respectively. August 2016 U.S. Automobile Market Share Detail In August, Ford’s U.S. market share was down a significant 0.7 percent. Subaru on the other hand experienced an uptick of 0.7 percent thanks to their blowout August results shown below. On a volume basis, August of 2016 US Auto sales of 1.51 million vehicles down a rather steep 3.8 percent below August of 2015s 1.57 million vehicle sales result. 2016 YTD sales of 11.2 million is up 0.3 percent above the 11.58 million vehicles sold through the same period of 2015. U.S. August 2016 Sales vs. August 2015 Sales Ranks and Results for the top 14 Automobile Manufacturers GM August 2016 Sales Down 5.2% with 256,429 Vehicles Sold Ford August 2016 Sales Down 8.4% with 214,482 Vehicles Sold Toyota August 2016 Sales Down 5.0% with 213,125 Vehicles Sold FCA August 2016 Sales Up 3.1% with 196,756 Vehicles Sold Honda August 2016 Sales Down 3.8% with 149,571 Vehicles Sold Nissan August 2016 Sales Down 6.5% with 124,638 Vehicles Sold Hyundai August 2016 Sales Up 0.0% with 72,015 Vehicles Sold. Subaru August 2016 Sales Up 14.7% with 60,418 Vehicles Sold. Kia August 2016 Sales Down 7.9% with 54,248 Vehicles Sold. Mercedes-Benz August 2016 Sales Up 2.1% with 31,909 Vehicles Sold. BMW August 2016 Sales Down 7.2% with 30,500 Vehicles Sold. VW August 2016 Sales Down 9.1% with 29,384 Vehicles Sold Mazda August 2016 Sales Down 12.8% with 26,109 Vehicles Sold Audi August 2016 Sales Up 2.5% with 19,264 Vehicles Sold In August, Toyota moved within 1,357 vehicles of overtaking Ford for the 2nd position. The Juggernaut called Subaru overtook Kia and has now placed Hyundai clearly in its gun sights. The seasonally adjusted annual selling rate (SAAR) for light vehicles in August was 17.2 million vehicles. On a YTD sales basis, light-vehicle SAAR was 17.3 million vehicles.