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300 Miles in Ford's Focus EV Electric Car

The Focus EV also completely lacks real-time individual tire pressure monitoring, as well as an analog auxiliary, or AUX, jack. Given how complex and poorly digital inputs work -- including Bluetooth in particular -- the lack of an analog AUX jack is a major complaint for me. I would find it hard to consider owning a car that doesn't have one.

Next to the dashboard are also the ever-important cup holders -- not for holding cups, but multiple smartphones and other trinkets. Ford doesn't do as good a job here -- or in the C-Max, for that matter -- as the Chevy does with the Volt.

4. Suspension: In the Volt, you feel every pothole. There's harshness and noise coming from the front wheels in particular, resulting from every imperfection in the road. The Ford, on the other hand, is relatively smooth and quiet.

3. Rear-seat comfort: The Volt fits only two people in the rear seats, whereas the Focus EV is like most any car, able to fit three if need be. On the other hand, in the Volt, the two passengers can be 5'11" tall and sit comfortably. In the Focus EV, you're OK only if you're 5'9" or shorter.

4. Luggage space: The Ford's luggage space is severely constrained, as a result of the second battery. You can forget about large bags or a baby stroller. If you're going to pick someone up at the airport, be prepared to use the back seat for all but the smallest bags. This makes the Focus EV effectively into a two-seater -- and a deal-breaker for many people.

The Big Question: The Price

Loaded, the Ford Focus EV sells for approximately $41,500 before tax adjustments. Is it worth it? Let's compare:

Nissan LEAF: A loaded LEAF lists around $35,000. It has a bigger luggage space, but the interior is a bit weird in comparison, and the battery may not hold up as well over the next many years. Overall, these two cars should sell for approximately the same money -- although at that point my personal taste would tip the choice in favor of the Ford.

Chevrolet Volt: A loaded Volt lists around $44,000. It's highly subjective, but I think it's easily worth at least $5,000-$8,000 more than the Focus EV.

Toyota RAV4 EV: Available only in California, the Tesla-based Toyota RAV4 EV lists at $50,000. It is a superior car to the Focus EV in almost every aspect: better range, faster, better back seat, dramatically bigger luggage space. It is easily worth $10,000 or much more than the Focus EV.

Stock quotes in this article: F, GM, NSANY 

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