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Ford Focus: MPG-Real World Numbers



  • comp386comp386 Posts: 56
    Wow my MPG suffered after going to 100% highway. I recently moved and I go about 70 (yeah I follow the speed limit) on the freeway for my entire commute and I'm down to 29-30 MPG. I was getting better fuel economy going local with some minor gridlock. Very odd :confuse: .
  • Update: well, I've got a few more miles on this now but I'm still not too impressed. On two different in-town mileage checks, 20 and 24.7 (acceptable), and a 180 mile day trip that was 80% highway cruising got a hair under 29 mpg, with no A/C usage. As said previously, I could have done as well in the Olds Intrigue (except for the 24.7 city.
  • I turned over 20k miles. My last trip from SLC, UT to Olympic NTL Park, WA - mostly highway 65-75 mph, but some urban (Portland, Boise, Olympia). I averaged 36 mpg. I also was able to remove the back lower seat (only 2 bolts), drop the back rests, put my luggage behind the front seats and create a 6ft 5 inch X 4ish foot bed. Inflate the thermarests... Perfect for those windy nights when camping outside was just too loud!
  • These results are for a 2005 Ford Focus ZX4 ST with the 2.3 liter Duratec engine and 5-speed manual transmission (as are all STs)and 25,000 miles. I bought the car used but there are no obvious signs of wear. It is fully optioned (so I assume the heaviest version.) It easily passes for new. It does mean someone else did the initial break-in of the engine. The original owners were happy enough to replace the Focus with a new Ford Fusion -- a returning customer is a good sign with a used car.

    So far with about 2,000 miles of experience, I am averaging 27-28 mpg. My standard gasoline is a 10% ethanol blend that may cut economy some as ethanol has a lower energy density than pure gasoline. My mix of highway and city is about 60/40. The lowest measurement was an all-in-town tank at 24.8 mpg.

    Interstate driving at 70 mph + is yielding right at 30 mpg with several runs between Des Moines and Minneapolis at around 70-75 mph (the prevailing speed).

    I've really only done one long road trip on 55 mph roads and as an experiment pegged the cruise at 55 to see how much better I could do than at Interstate speeds. Pretty good as it turns out. Over 250 miles it yielded 37.9 mpg.

    I'm happy with these results as the 2.3 liter manual is a very flexible drive train in the Focus. In town it cuts and thrusts with verve. Freeway entrance acceleration is great. My only complaint is road noise at highway speeds, but it is an economy car, not a Buick. The road noise is more tire noise than wind noise. The throaty exhaust note is great and part of the fun and I wouldn't change it.

    The ST delivers a fun, flexible sedan that can be sporting when your foot is heavy and efficient when you're willing to go slow. It is tempting when the engine responds so willingly.

    There are cars that do much better but the cost of acquisition is generally much higher or they are much smaller. I had a much loved Suzuki Swift for many years that was reliable as could be but frankly a tin can for safety. I never tested the Swift's crash worthiness but was always aware I didn't want to hit anything in it. The Focus by contrast is a real car, larger and more solid, with only slightly less fuel economy and a huge boost in perceived power and sophistication. I still don't want to hit anything but the ST has better active safety (serious P6 tires, ABS and traction control) and reasonable passive safety (side air bags and reasonable front collision scores for a small car). In the value equation the Focus ST scores well in my experience.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 12,029
    imo, great review. i have an '04 zts with the same drivetrain. the engine is amazingly flexible.
    my car has slightly smaller tires, so it gets a bit better mileage. it has never been on a 250 trip.
    wish i had that exhaust system to 'st' has.
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2014 Ford F-150 FX4
  • i thought this forum was for svt focii strictly, all i see is focus wagon and sedans , whats up ???
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 12,029
    thre are several ways to get to a particular forum. they are not always obvious. 2.3 kicks butt! ;)
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2014 Ford F-150 FX4
  • fnewbyfnewby Posts: 4
    2001 Focus, 2.0 liter 16 valve engine, 5sp trans. I get 32 mpg on a regular basis - 35-36 on trips (drive to DC from the Philly area 1-2/month). One trip to North Carolina got 40mpg. Best car I ever owned!!
  • 28.25585295 mpg
    140517.6 miles
    4973.044 gallons

    11/26/2000-2/22/2007 (Purchased 11/20/2000 with 20 miles)

    2000 Ford Focus SE
    16 valve 2.0L Zetec

    $5779 in maintenance costs
    Maintenance Cost per mile: $0.04/mile
    Gas Cost: $.08/mile
    Total Purchase Price: $21000
    Cost per mile (200000mile lifespan): $.105
    Total CPM: $.225/mi
  • I've got 9950 miles on my 2007 ST.

    The comments on the 2005 ST also pertain to the 2007. It is a wonderful little car, IMO, the best "bang for the buck" in compact cars today. If I could change one thing, it would be to make it RWD. I traded a 1999 Miata in for the Focus, and the Focus is as much fun, in it's own way. If it were convertible and RWD, I'd not miss the Miata at all.

    I've only made 2 modifications to the car. I replaced the stock rear sway bar with one 1mm larger, which gave the car near neutral handling, and replaced the mediocre Pirelli P6s with Goodyear Eagle F1 GS-D3s, of the same size as stock. Those two things really transformed the car.

    I have kept very detailed records of fuel economy.

    Overall is 27.01MPG with roughly 75% of that on cross country trips.

    Worst fuel economy has been 20.41MPG with pure short trips and lots of idling. The next tank under the same conditions got me 21.96.

    Normal Houston city commuting has been in the 24-25 MPG range.

    Highway fuel economy has been higly dependent on speed.
    Best has been 32.33MPG keeping speed in the 65-70MPH range.
    70-75 usually gets 29-30MPG, while 80-85 nets 27-28MPG.

    Looked at on a graph, fuel economy has been steadily climbing, especially in the first 5000 miles.

    I wish the car had a higher final drive like the 2004s. I'm sure the fuel economy would be a good deal better, and I doubt acceleration would be hurt much, as the engine has torque to spare.
  • dball1dball1 Posts: 4
    Ditto to most everything written here. I too bought a used 05 ST with 25775 miles on it. My mileage has been consistently at 29.8 for the past three months. I gave up a fully loaded 05 Altima and paid cash (11288 incl tt&l)for this car and I absolutely LOVE it. I had a 96 Escort all the way till last summer when someone hit my daughter on the highway at 70 mph ad spun her. She was hit two more times by two other cars before coming to a stop. She had a cut on her foot and her two passengers were uninjured. The car was a total loss but actually, still started one more time even with the pulleys on the right side of the engine smashed in! I carry a piece of the front grill in the trunk of my Focus. I know, that's nuts but I can't help it. The car had 160000+ on it and still had the original clutch! I had recently replaced the original hoses and radiator on the car... Original hoses!!

    This ST is like the Escort on steroids. Very fun to drive, loaded like the Nissan was and I'll take Ford reliability over Nissan any day. If you're thinking Focus, you owe it to yourself to test drive an ST!
  • lee292lee292 Posts: 1
    We have two Focuses (Foci?). The '07 SE with standard engine, 15" wheels and auto gets between 27 and 33 mpg, while the '01 ZX3 with the Zetec engine, 5 speed and 16" wheels varies between 24 and 35 mpg. They have 48K and 85K miles, respectively.
  • jimtxjimtx Posts: 3
    I drive my 200 ZX3 a mix of city and highway, mostly to work and back, and have consistently gotten an average of 29.5 mpg. I tend to drive at about 70mph on the highway and could probably improve my mileage by slowing down a bit. On the other hand, I have gotten 80,000 miles on my first set of front brakes, so I must not be wasting too much gas mileage to braking.
  • mark1960mark1960 Posts: 2
    I purchased a used 2001sedan LX earlier this year. White in colour and very clean, although I have found out it has had a respray, it had 105,000 miles on it. I purchased it after seeing it advertised online from a five star dealership ( Chrysler ) after running a carfax report on it which turned up no nasties. I paid $3900 plus fees and tax. I am very impressed with the economy, I drive 125 miles a day to and from work, and about 70% of my miles are freeway, and after five tanks of gas I am getting 33.4 MPG overall which is excellent.
    A nice easy car to drive and park, smooth manual gearbox, an all round nice economy car. So far very pleased.
  • leroyanleroyan Posts: 2
    I have about 2,000 miles on my Focus now and bought it Feb 13, 2008. I average about 35 mpg. I wanted to get a car with good gas mileage and able to fit a lot in the trunk and the Focus does that. I have a 5 speed transmission which is the first vehicle I have owned with a manual transmission. My last tank I got 450 miles on the tank. I have noticed that with a strong head wind driving 65mph the mpg does drop down to 32 - 33. I also did some experimenting and noticed that driving 40 mph I get 45 - 50 mpg. Of course no one drives at that speed much but it tells you what speed differences do. At 55 mph I get 37 - 38 mpg. Back and forth to work I get about 35 mpg. That includes interstate at 65 mph, two lane road at 55 and a small amount of town driving. My 97 Taurus that also does good on gas mileage only averaged about 27 mpg going back and forth to work. I also like the Sync which is really cool. Nice car so far.
  • Usually between 27 and 31. Pretty good for a 124K car.
  • I bought my 2007 Focus SE 2.0l about 2-3 months ago when it had about 1200 miles on it. I have been getting about 34-37 MPG with about 80% highway. I had one trip on the interstate where I did get 40 MPG. I have a little over 4000 miles on it now and I wonder what kind of mpg I will see in the future. This is a big improvement over my 2003 Ford Ranger I was driving it was getting around 18 mpg. Since I drive over 80-100 miles a day this car is paying for itself in gas savings alone. Its always nice to give your money to someone else or save it instead of giving it to the oil companys. I am also a big guy and having a car that gets good gas mileage and is comfortable I thought was going to be a challenge but not with this car it has plenty of room.
  • randomnessrandomness Posts: 10
    Do ALL the focuses have the "low fuel" light?

    I always refill my tank around 293 miles because that's when it's practically on the E. Once I let it get lower and at one point while driving it seemed like it was going to run out soon it was acting werid.

    Also I average about 26mpg with my 05 Sedan...mostly highway driving and I tend to speed but I don't do a lot of braking or stop and go.
  • carlt1carlt1 Posts: 6
    My 08 Automatic SE has 3500 miles on it and gets better and better mileage. On a 60 mile trip to New Haven (mostly I-95 rolling hills) I hit 50mpg at the end of the trip just as I got to the slow down at the usual construction slow down outside the city. I drive very carefully to maximize efficiency. Passing up a Prius ws not that bad an idea since most of my trips are short.
  • 0311vn0311vn Posts: 48
    I just put 3800 miles on my 01 Focus wagon that had 101K on it when I left San Diego two weeks ago. I had never surpassed 34 mpg before in it, but on a stretch of Rt. 50 going east from Reno toward Ely I got a tad over 38 mpg. I clocked every tank on the trip and averaged 34 to 36 mpg on each one.

    I noticed, however, on one tank in South Dakota with 87 octane blended with ethanol that the mpg dropped to 32 on all Interstate driving in terrain much flatter than where I had been more west of there. Does anyone else notice that with ethanol blended gasoline than the mpg drops off a bit?

    In Colorado I went over some passes eight to eleven thousand feet while staying in the 33 to 34 mpg range.

    I kept the tires a pound or two over the recommended 32 psi. I also kept the cruise below at around 65 mph. I only drove over 70 when passing as I wanted to save fuel and not push a seven year old car with 101K plus on it.

    Also, at most up hill grades, I shut off the AC. Does this save much on mpg, or does it merely give the engine a bit of a break?

    I told my neighborhood mechanic that the mileage had dropped off on the Focus after he did the 100K tune up on it. He said he had put 20w oil in it because it was an older car. Before I left he replaced it with 5w20 as recommended by Ford, which he said might be an mpg factor; I never heard of oil being much of a mpg factor.

    The cheapest gas I came upon was around Cheyenne, WY at 3.85. lays out 2300 miles San Diego to Detroit. I did the equivalent of Detroit to Anchorage on this trip. My only complaint for a car this old with over 100K on it is that when temps hit 90ish the AC struggled to cool the car. I suspect a wagon with more glass and more interior volume involves more cooling than a sedan.
  • dromedariusdromedarius Posts: 307
    There is most definitely a drop-off in mileage for ethanol. I've tracked mileage on our last three vehicles (CR-V, Prizm, Focus) and have noticed a drop of 1-2 mpg on a tank of 10% ethanol. Our 2000 Focus is pretty consistent, getting around 31 mpg in mixed driving. When my wife drives that drops 2-3 mpg, which is pretty standard as she drives more aggressively stoplight to stoplight.

    We purchased this 00' Focus ZTS w/91k miles in April after I totaled my '01 Prizm, and while the mileage isn't as good, the ride is far superior, so much so that we use it as our primary vehicle from time to time, depending on the situation. I NEVER had my little boys in the Prizm; it was just far too small.
  • 0311vn0311vn Posts: 48
    I have an '01 Focus wagon. Several people have asked about it and I told them it no longer come in wagon model.
    Heading east on US 50 from Reno recently I was surprised to clock a tank at 38 mpg, the highest I have ever achieved with this car. Driving with the wind may have helped as I have noticed before that sometimes driving west to east with a noticeable wind coming from the west that I got better mileage. Dropping from the elevation near Lake Tahoe may also have been a factor.

    On US 50 from Reno to Gunnison, Colorado I consistently clocks tanks at 34 to 36 mpg. I kept the cruise at 65 mph and cut the AC when going up grades.

    The NY Times of 26 Jul page B1 has an article about how ethanol may reduce mileage with car with smaller engines. I suspect in Nevada and Utah that I was running 100 percent gasoline that got me those 34 to 36 mpg tanks. In South Dakota running with "corn pone" (as I call it) blend a tank dropped to 32 mpg.
  • mschmalmschmal Posts: 1,757
    1 gallon of E85 has less energy than a gallon of regular old gas which has less energy than a gallon of diesel.

    Fact is that there is less energy in a gallon of E85 than was spent turning dirt and seeds in to E85 and getting it to your tank.

    Corn farming requires fertilizer made from Oil.
    Corn farming requires tractors that burn oil.
    Corn has to be transported to an Ethanol plant by trains or trucks that burn Oil.
    Ethanol requires production in a plant that uses Electricity made from Oil/coal
    Ethanol then has to be transported by a truck or in a tank car by rail again burning OIL!!!!!

    At every stage of production, Ethanol is less efficient than plain old OIL.
    Corn can't be transported in Super Tankers or pipelines.
    and neither can Ethanol.

    Ethanol is a GIANT SCAM!

  • I previously reported mileage after about 2,000 miles of experience with my used 2005 Ford Focus and 27,000 total miles. At that time I was getting about 27 MPG. Now with 65,000 on the clock, it is time to update that report.

    It's all good. Over the 40,000 miles of driving, I'm averaging slightly better than 30 MPG. The ST is still rock solid and a joy to drive. I decided to update today after realizing just how much fun the Focus ST is on a beautiful morning drive. It still makes me grin. No squeaks, no rattles. Perfectly composed handling and steering. Zero unscheduled maintenance costs. It still looks and performs as new. I've gone through P6 tires at about 30,000 miles for each set. I've used Valvoline pure synthetic oil. I've performed all factory scheduled maintenance. And that's it. Absolutely great car. I've since bought a 2008 Mercury Milan Premier with the same engine for my wife's primary car and it yields 27.7 MPG average in the bigger car with a 5-speed automatic. Very impressive. My experience matches the recent quality and reliability surveys that suggest that Ford is now on par with Toyota. The Focus is remarkably competent for an affordable economy car. The purposeful styling hides a driver's car that is truly a blast to drive and is still easy on fuel, more important now that gasoline is a $4.00 per gallon. I thank my lucky stars I test drove the Focus. I think it had languished on the dealer's lot because not that many people can drive manual transmissions any more. It fit me perfectly and was fun then. Nothing else I was looking at then would be saving as much money today and still be as much fun. Thank you Ford.
  • I know that 34K miles isn't that much, compared to when these cars can go over 200,000 miles easily on their engines if taken care of properly. I'm a firm believer in using oil cleaners and gas additives to make sure engines are properly clean.

    I used to drive for courier company in New Mexico, USA, and we use Focus ZX3 with 5 sp manual tranny. When brand new, they were rockets!! I was lucky that I wasn't caught checking how fast it would go on interstate, like some of other drivers did. But most of these cars were driven HARD, and I was able to make 33-35 mpg at 75 mph speed limit on freeway, which is where I always drove my car, with very little city driving. But that was because I always used gas additive to clean engine. I also changed oil myself many times, occasionally using "Motor Flush" to clean out oil completely. Some might feel I wasted my money, but I got the mpg I desired from it.

    But even your car probably wouldn't gain great benefits from what I've described above. Seems like something else might be the problem, possibly mechanical. I know that automatic transmissions don't get as good mpg as 5 sp tranny's, but I've gotten my beatup 1991 Geo Prizm with 240K miles on it to go from 28 mpg to 35 mpg highway by cleaning up engine inside and out.

    Only other suggestion I might make is to try Bosch "+2" plugs. They burn the gas mixture more effectively, and is what allowed my junker to finally achieve the 35 mpg on highway.
  • 0311vn0311vn Posts: 48
    My best ever clocked tank was 38 mpg while driving west to east on US 50 in Nevada. I think several factors may have been in play: A) driving east with the wind. B) Descending a bit in elevation from Reno while driving toward Fallon. C) The possibility that I bought a tank of 100 percent gasoline in Nevada without ethanol bringing down my mileage as happen later in South Dakota. And, D) keeping the cruise control at 65 and turning off the AC while going up grades.

    I'm not a mileage geek as portrayed on ABC Nightline a few months ago where one fella never exceeded 20 mph while driving to work in Chicago on tires 10 to 20 pounds over inflated. But I am curious if anyone has ever cracked 40 mpg in a Focus.
  • misamisa Posts: 1
    I have a 2003 Ford Focus ZX3 manual. I drove 380 miles from Binghamton, NY to Pittsburgh, PA going mostly the speed limit or under, ranging from 45-50 mph in construction zones, 55 mph zones and 65 mph interstate. I got 48 mpg with gasoline from Mobil. I didn't use A/C or the cd player. I had the windows up and the fan going at 2.

    On the way back, I used gasoline from BP and got all the way back to Binghamton without having to stop for gas. I only used 8.8 gallons of gas for 382 miles so I got about 43 mpg. There were alot of stop and go construction on the way back on 80 E. I was amazed I could get so much mpg from a Ford Focus.

    I didn't use the brakes very much and was able to coast down the hills without using the accelerator.

    When I used to go 75-85 mph, I only got 30 mpg. When I went 95 mph, I only got 26 mpg. For regular city driving, I get about 29 mpg.
  • mschmalmschmal Posts: 1,757
    I was wondering if anyone who swapped in a K&N Air filter got better fuel econ.

  • 0311vn0311vn Posts: 48
    I advise using your AC since you paid for it and it doesn't cut mpg much. Also, from what I read an air cleaner does not effect mpg much when it becomes dirty. Using a electronics such as a CD player in a car will not drop your mpg due to using battery power.
  • I have an 08 Focus, 5 spd...mostly expressway driving, usually 75 mph, and usually get 33-34 mpg (display usually says 35). I think driving around the speed limit, you should be able to get 38 or so- my wife took it to SC, and said she thought there were times they averaged 40. I usually accelerate briskly as well...someday, I'll try to have patience and just see what I can average for a week...80 miles round trip to work.
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