Ford has announced that it will begin offering a five-speed manual gearbox in the flagship Titanium trim level of its wildly popular range of Focus compact vehicles. The Blue Oval cites buyer demand as its motivation for the decision and states that customers that migrate from upmarket import brands would frequently ask for a manual tranny — especially automotive enthusiasts (never heard of ’em…).
The Motrolix Take
Well, this is a huge step in the right direction. It never really made much sense to us that Ford only offered the stick in the base S and SE trim levels while forcing Titanium buyers into a rather boring six-speed PowerShift Automatic; even though the auto has SelectShift manual control, it’s still not the same.
But that’s not to say that we’re completely satisfied with Ford’s manual transmission offering. A five-speed? What is this, the 1990s? In a time when every compact vehicle that matters offers a six-speed manual transmission standard — including the Chevy Cruze, Dodge Dart, Kia Forte, and Hyundai Elantra — The Blue Oval seems to be short-shifting us by a gear. Needless to say, we’re not fans of the practice… and neither will be your top-of-the-line Focus when you’re traveling 75 MPH on the interstate and its poor 2.0 liter four-banger is struggling to get by at 3,000+ RPMs.
As of this writing, Ford’s online configurator doesn’t offer the manual transmission just yet, but we’ll be first to let you know when it does. Who knows, maybe the stick will even result in a lower base price for the Focus Titanium model…