Enthusiasm as Ford focuses on the economies
Frederic Manby likes the look of the new Ford Focus.
FORD is cutting back on the guest list at its Press launches of new models so I missed “the cut” for the debut of its high output three-cylinder one-litre turbo petrol engine in the Focus.
I read the enthusiastic reviews and wondered if the gloss of the launch party had muddied objectivity.
Now I have tried one on home soil and feel pretty much the same enthusiasm as the other testers.
This latest in its EcoBoost engine family is sold in 98.6bhp or 123.2bhp tune. Ford says: “It delivers the power you’d expect from a conventional 1.6 engine, but uses up to 20 per cent less fuel. That means a considerable saving at the petrol pump.
“Its diesel-like fuel consumption is thanks to a fundamental reengineering, resulting in a faster engine warm-up and reduced friction, among other benefits.”
On paper there is nothing in its class to match its combination of power, economy and emissions.
Ford says: “This is a classleading engine for fuelefficiency and emissions, so a great choice for any discerning driver.” So, no misunderstandings there, then.
The engine weighs less than 100kg and the cast iron block is small enough to sit on an A4 sheet of paper. A small turbocharger, direct fuel injection and twin variable camshaft timing bring economy, plus an unbalanced flywheel to offset the typical throb of a three-cylinder engine.
It has stop-start ignition, a six speed manual gearbox.
Among the engines it knocks spots off is Ford’s outward-bound petrol 1.6 which, in its 103.5bhp tune, records 47.9mpg and 136g/km of CO2. The 99bhp one-litre newcomer records 58.9mpg and 109g/km and costs from £16,445 in Edge trim – a £245 premium over the less competitive 1.6.
The one-litre engine is also available in the Focus estate from £17,545 – with a slight loss of mpg and rise in CO2. It will also be offered in the C-Max and Fiesta models.
My test Focus had the 123bhp tune engine, which records 56.5mpg overall (44.8 urban, 67.3 extra urban) and 114g/km CO2 on standard 16 inch wheels.
The factory demonstrator was on 17-inch wheels which will alter the figures slightly. Its 0-62mph time is a respectable 11.3 seconds and its maximum torque of 125 lb ft is delivered over a wide band from 1,400 to 4,500rpm. This is the peak achieved by the 99bhp version but the 123bhp version has an overboost to 148 lb ft for a short extra overtaking burst.
This delivery of high torque at low speed, normally a feature of diesel engines, with relatively high gearing, helps make the new Ford engine so economical,
At 70 in fifth it is running at a relaxed and unstressed 2,500rpm. The drive train is smooth, quiet, refined and rather lovely. The 123bhp prices start at £17,945 for the Zetec specification, which is a £500 premium on the 99bhp Zetec. The test car was in Titanium specification which costs from £19,195.
Extras included candy red pearlescent paint (£745) with a quality finish worthy of a car five times the price. Another £850 went on the “driver assistance pack” which brings active city stop, lane departure warning, lane keeping assistance, driver alert monitoring, wing mirror blind spot warning, automatic headlight dipping and speed limit recognition – shown on the fascia. Some of the speed signs were inaccurately read and thus not safe to rely on.
KEEN: Ford’s latest version of the Focus has received a warm welcome.