Mercury (Hobart) - Motoring - - FRONT PAGE -

Pre­vi­ously a man­ual-only propo­si­tion, the Fo­cus ST is now avail­able with an au­to­matic trans­mis­sion at no ex­tra cost. That’s an at­trac­tive sell­ing point, as au­to­matic op­tions can cost be­tween $3000 and $4000 on per­for­mance hatches.

The trade off for a self-shifter is slower ac­cel­er­a­tion, a lack of launch con­trol and a small in­crease in fuel consumptio­n from the heav­ier auto. Bud­getary con­straints ruled out the sort of snappy dual-clutch auto of­fered by VW or Re­nault (and soon, Hyundai), which might not be a bad thing as Ford’s pre­vi­ous Pow­erShift dual-clutch auto was par­tic­u­larly trou­ble­some.

Ford reck­ons the ma­jor­ity of ini­tial buy­ers will be hot hatch af­fi­ciona­dos who must have the man­ual, though the con­ven­tional seven-speed au­to­matic will even­tu­ally represent about 75 per cent of sales.

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