FORD FOCUS MK1
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.