Billed by Ford as smarter and more refined, the new Focus is indeed sleek, sporty, and filled to the brim with improvements both looks and performance wise. After a quick four-day jaunt with the top-of-the-line sedan, I was sorry to let it go. I love the Aston-esque grille and tapered headlights of the new Focus. The rear ain’t so bad looking either with its updated taillight cluster and spoiler. Viewed from the side, my Magnetic Metallic test unit looks polished with its 18-inch tires and Y-spoke wheels. Ride comfort is good, and there’s minimal jarring even when passing over jaw-rattling potholes. Steering, meanwhile, is incredibly responsive, allowing me to easily maneuver through turns and tight spaces. Don’t judge a car by its small engine displacement. The 1.5L EcoBoost engine is smooth and refined, and the power arrives effortlessly. If you suck at parking, you’ll be glad to know that Ford fitted the Focus (Titanium+ and Sport+) with an Enhanced Active Park Assist that’s simple and easy to use. It works in both parallel and perpendicular parking, so you can just let go of the wheel and let the car do all the hard work. According to Ford, the technology also actively scans for a parking space; unfortunately, I wasn’t able to test this feature. Sadly, I can’t pass judgment on the car’s fuel economy. There just wasn’t any chance to test the frugality of the engine because I was crawling through Metro Manila traffic—worsened by the holiday rush—at 10-14kph. That said, I still got an average 6.6kpL mileage, which could only mean fuel economy will get better on the highway. It’s nice to have a talking dashboard when it’s as intuitive and responsive as the Ford SYNC 2. While it “misheard” a couple of voice commands (or maybe my enunciation was bad), it worked well overall. Interior fit and finish felt very good, the leather seats offer good support, and there’s ample space for front and rear passengers. As someone who occasionally eats inside the car, I’m not a fan of the stain-prone black-and-beige interior. I like the layout of the controls on the center console. The 8-inch touchscreen is responsive, but has a knack for accumulating fingerprints. Sadly, while the Focus has front and rear proximity sensors, the touchscreen doesn’t offer a rear view camera.