Focus is on style and a wee bit of grunt
ARE THERE any bad cars being made these days? Well, as a journalist, I must confess to having had a somewhat negative opinion of cheaper cars, as well as cars manufactured in the East (excluding Japan).
My friend Jennifer drives a 1.2-litre car made in the East and I must admit to having been pleasantly surprised by her little car. At the end of the day, you get what you pay for.
Eight years ago, I bought one of the first Fiestas with the new shape for R151 500. The press had raved about it.
Today, a similar Fiesta is about R85 000 more expensive and the baby cars cost pretty close to what I paid for my Fiesta.
I have had the new Ford Focus 1.0 Powershift for a week.
Having driven most of the newgeneration of Fords, I was not surprised by the quality of the Focus. It is noticeably bigger than my Fiesta, with lots more legroom, especially for rear seat passengers. The boot space is big and deep and for a trip away the space should swallow all your luggage with ease.
It feels well planted on the road and the brakes have a nice feel to them. Driving on the freeway with the cruise control activated is relaxing.
Sound damping is good, with little outside noise making it into the cabin. I liked the muted-interior finish. With a quiet interior, the quality sound system could be heard easily at minimal settings. The 1-litre, 3-cylinder motor is a gem, as is the Powershift auto gearbox. The motor is very responsive and the car is deceptively quick for a 92kW 170Nm powertrain.
One thing I didn’t enjoy was the lane assist. It felt alien, especially on bends on a freeway when one strays near the lines on the road. Still, I admit that once one is used to it, the lane assist has the potential to make one a better driver, as well as keeping one awake when the steering feedback kicks in.
A well-made Ford – quiet and comfortable and with enough oomph – it is a great all-round car. Great about town, with its stopstart feature, park assist, warning sensors and relaxing with the cruise control on the open road.
Finally, the price tag: Ambient Powershift: R252 400, Trend Powershift: R270 900.
The quiet, comfy Ford Focus has oomph and is a practical and great all-rounder.
The quiet, comfy Ford Focus has oomph and is a practical all-rounder.