The 2018 Ford Focus Electric is a battery-electric five-door compact hatchback that directly competes with the Chevrolet Bolt EV, Hyundai Ioniq Electric, Nissan Leaf, and Volkswagen e-Golf. Like all, except the 238-mile Bolt EV, its recently expanded range falls between 105 and 125 miles, seemingly the norm these days. The Ford Focus Electric comes only in a single trim level, roughly equivalent to a higher-end gasoline model, and its sole change for 2018 is one new paint color.
The 7-year-old electric Focus shares some advantages with its gasoline counterparts, but it’s clear that Ford isn’t that interested in making the car truly competitive. Last year it finally got a battery-capacity upgrade and DC fast-charging capability, making it at least possible to take longer roads trips in it. But it remains a niche product selling a few thousand a year, versus 100 times that for its gasoline brethren, and it’s neither sold nor serviced in large swathes of the U.S.
The styling echoes that of the conventional Focus, though there’s no EV version of the Focus four-door sedan offered. Without training, you’ll never know it’s an electric car by looking at either the inside or the outside.
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Performance is roughly average among its competitors, as is its range, and like all Focuses, the electric version holds the road well and offers predictable, sporty handling, making it more fun to drive than the Leaf and others.
Against its competitors, in fact, its main drawback is a severely compromised cargo area due to the location of the car’s onboard charger between the rear wheel wells. A creative two-level shelf doesn’t much help with the fact that the cargo bay is far less usable than any gasoline Focus; it’s a problem that Nissan fixed way back in 2013, but its persistence into the seventh year of Ford’s sole electric car shows the company’s disinterest.
Overall, the Focus Electric gets similar ratings to its gasoline counterpart, with a point deducted for the reduced cargo space and flexibility but a perfect green score of 10 for its zero-emission operation. Overall, we rate the 2018 Ford Focus Electric at 6.6 points out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)