Autocar - - Buying Guide -

1997-2004 Price: £1000 This is the one: the car that rein­vented what we thought a Ford could drive like. The first fam­ily­sized Ford that was re­ally good fun to drive in all forms, per­haps since the demise of its rear-drive pre­de­ces­sors.

Un­der the en­gi­neer­ing stew­ard­ship of Richard Par­ryjones, and with ‘New Edge’ styling, the Fo­cus to­tally re­ju­ve­nated Ford’s line-up. Al­most every car since – Fiesta, Mon­deo, plus those Ford has di­ver­si­fied with – has been among the best in its class to drive. It was the Fo­cus that set the prece­dent, mak­ing Ford’s en­gi­neers and, ul­ti­mately, buy­ers care. They might not know why they think a Ford is nice to drive, but they like the fact that it is.

Own­ers of hot Fo­cuses tend to know. The ST170 was ca­pa­ble if un­in­volv­ing, but it and the RS be­came the model lines we know and re­mem­ber to­day. And the RS was a truly special car, al­beit ex­pen­sive, hav­ing to be pulled off the line for fin­ish­ing, in a way that is un­think­able to­day.

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