The 2008 Ford Focus and Microsoft’s Sync System

As a general rule, new automobile technology tends to debut on high-priced, luxury cars, so most of us do not get to experience the new technology until it is old news. This year’s newest technological gadget is making its splashy debut on the low-priced Ford Focus. The new Sync system that is now installed in the 2008 Ford Focus (not available on the base S models) is a Microsoft-developed, voice-activated system that can read text messages off of Blackberries and similar devices without the driver ever having to take his or her hands off of the steering wheel. It also allows the driver to ask ‘what’s playing?’ on the stereo and the car will answer with the name of the singer or group. Pretty fancy technology for a car that starts at $14695 for a coupe with a standard five-speed manual transmission. Ford has an exclusive agreement with Microsoft for the Sync system that expires in November of 2008, so the Sync system will probably be available from other automakers after that. The Sync system is not all that is new in the 2008 Ford Focus. While it doesn’t qualify as a new-generation model, it has new upscaled styling, a little more power in the four-cylinder engine (3% more horsepower), more standard safety equipment, new seats and a retuned suspension. Another big perk in the 2008 Ford Focus is that it has a government mileage rating of 35 miles per gallon or more, with a city mileage rating of 24 miles per gallon. When it comes to space, the 2008 Ford Focus provides more room in the front seats than before. The rear legroom of 36.1 inches is the same in both the coupe and sedan models, and the head room is also the same at 38.1 inches. When it comes to hip room on the back seat, the sedan offers 2.5 more inches. The trunk size – 13.8 cubic feet – is also the same in both models. A spare tire is an available option, as the Focus comes equipped with a portable tire inflation system as the standard. The 2008 Ford Focus now offers standard air conditioning and curtain air bags on all models, but the antilock brakes and traction control are still options. All in all, for a low priced automobile, the 2008 Ford Focus, with they new Sync system from Microsoft, gives a lot of car for the dollar.