Broad ap­peal

Ford looked to Europe for a nifty small car but the diesel auto was a flawed Fo­cus

Herald Sun - Motoring - - USED CAR -

NEW

THE mar­ket was in a state of tran­si­tion when Ford re­leased the LV Fo­cus in 2009. Buy­ers were turn­ing their backs on the big cars that had been so pop­u­lar for many decades and switch­ing to smaller mod­els such as the Fo­cus.

Other com­pa­nies were well placed with a range of small and medium mod­els but Ford — hav­ing based its busi­nesses on the big­ger cars, as had Holden — had to ad­just to the new mar­ket norms.

Hav­ing ready ac­cess to a range of Euro­pean mod­els, Ford was bet­ter placed than Holden to make the shift, but it was still a ma­jor chal­lenge for the lo­cal arm of the global gi­ant.

The Euro­pean Fo­cus had great road man­ners, with re­spon­sive and ag­ile han­dling, and should have re­ceived more at­ten­tion than it did. The ex­ten­sive model range in­cluded hot hatches and sporty mod­els but we’ll deal here with the mod­els that ap­pealed to the broader mar­ket.

Roomy for their size, the four-door sedan pro­vided con­ven­tional se­cu­rity and the five-door hatch had prac­ti­cal­ity as its strong suit.

The petrol en­gine in the CL and LX was a 2.0-litre four that de­liv­ered all the per­for­mance needed for a car if its size, while the 2.0-litre turbo diesel four in the TDCi pro­duced am­ple torque but re­turned miserly fuel consumption.

Trans­mis­sion op­tions for the petrol en­gine were five-speed man­ual or a four-speed auto. The diesel drove via a six-speed man­ual or a six-speed du­al­clutch auto.

All vari­ants had a good ar­ray of stan­dard fea­tures, in­clud­ing air­con, cruise con­trol, power win­dows and mir­rors, four­s­peaker au­dio and front fog lights.

Buy­ers were treated to fives­tar safety thanks to ABS, elec­tronic brake­force dis­tri­bu­tion, trac­tion con­trol, and front and side airbags. In ad­di­tion, the diesel had sta­bil­ity con­trol.

NOW

The diesel Fo­cus has been plagued with prob­lems with its dual-clutch au­to­matic, the so­called “Pow­ershift” trans­mis­sion. Petrol mod­els em­ploy a reg­u­lar au­to­matic.

When test driv­ing a diesel with Pow­ershift, take par­tic­u­lar note of any hes­i­ta­tion on take­off, shud­der­ing on ac­cel­er­a­tion and missed gearshifts.

If you de­tect any­thing that seems wrong walk away and con­sider buy­ing a man­ual model.

The LV Fo­cus was built in South Africa and it ap­pears that the build qual­ity was of a lower stan­dard than if built in Europe.

Plas­tic trim parts tend to break and come away and the paint tends to fade and peel in time.

The petrol en­gine and its trans­mis­sions be­have well and give lit­tle trou­ble, and that’s clearly the best route to choose when con­sid­er­ing a Fo­cus.

Check for a ser­vice record to make sure your po­ten­tial pur­chase has been well treated.

OWN­ERS SAY

Jack Westfield All round, my 2010 LX has never given me any trou­ble me­chan­i­cally. The thing I dis­like the most is the park brake be­ing on the pas­sen­ger’s side, the worst thing that has hap­pened is that the paint has started to peel in var­i­ous places.

Roy Ge­orge We have two 2010 LX auto Fo­cuses in the fam­ily. My wife’s has done 75,000km, mine has done 60,000km, and we haven’t had any trou­ble with them at all. They are well bal­anced, han­dle well, have good brakes and ride smoothly.

Grant Burgess I only had one is­sue with my LV Fo­cus, and that was with the cen­tral lock­ing ac­tu­a­tor. It was a petrol man­ual and both the en­gine and gear­box were great and gave no trou­ble at all.

Trent Al­ford My 2010 TDCi has been a dis­as­ter, with prob­lems with the trans­mis­sion, elec­tron­ics, and the ra­dio. My ex­pe­ri­ence was made worse by the dealer

me­chan­ics who didn’t seem skilled in work­ing on th­ese cars.

Richard Rogers I bought my LV LX new in 2010 and apart from a lit­tle road noise it has been great.

Me­gan Ed­wards I bought the Fo­cus be­cause it was cheap and I could af­ford to pay cash for it. I have done 60,000km in it and I have not had any me­chan­i­cal prob­lems.

SMITHY SAYS

Good driv­ing car with Euro­pean flair but dodge the diesel with dual-clutch auto.

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