Focus – a treat with a turbo
THIS car is one of the headliners of 2011.
The Ford Focus did not win Car of the Year 2011 award because it was not on sale in time, but its trail-blazer, the CMax, on the same chassis, was short-listed.
Nissan’s all-electric, shorthop Leaf won the title, plus the World Car of the Year title – showing that the voting jurors are keen on electric cars in principle.
Ford will have a hybrid electric/battery car on sale within a year but is some way off an all-electric rival to the Nissan Leaf. Most of my motoring could be done in a car like the Leaf but at £23,000, it is expensive.
Most of us will continue to run a car on petrol or diesel for at least the next 10 years.
My test car was painted in Candy Yellow, a £745 de-luxe extra, triple-coated finish, which received a melange of hoots, shock and approval. I have seen Mazda and SEAT hatchbacks in a similar colour. It resembles a mix of the yellow from Brassica napus and the stuff to combat green water in my frogless pond. (Once again, the winter killed them off).
The only standard colours offered on the Focus are red or white. You’ll pay extra for the others, which are variations of red, silver and blue, plus “panther black” or, I suppose, black panther. Green is absent this time – a shame because I like a green Focus.
So, any colour you like as long as it is red or white, or you have to pay extra. It is not long ago (a cliche, because it is several years) that Focus and its ilk were a lot cheaper than they are now. In 2002, a fivedoor, with a 1.8 diesel engine, cost around £13,500. You can add £5,000 to that price today for its successor.
The car I tested cost £19,745 in Titanium trim with a beefy 1.6-litre petrol turbo, less the paint charge, £400 for 18-inch wheels, £525 for parking assistance and power-fold mirrors, and £750 for a package which was worth having if you are a dozy driver. Viz, low-speed crash prevention, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assistance, sleepy-driver alert, automatic headlamp dipping, blind-spot mirrors and traffic sign recognition.
This latter item flags up speed limits. In theory, a smart idea. In practice, on the demo car it was often inaccurate and somehow spotted a sign for 100, plus no-overtaking signs which did not exist.
I asked Ford to comment, and am still waiting. My conclusion is that these and other signs are in its library. Spain, for example, has those signs and the overtake, don’t overtake signs are common. There was also a loose panel on the transmission tunnel – possibly caught by a size-12 boot.
There is a lot to like about the Focus. Its shape is attractive and stands comparison with an Astra, Megane or C4. Some commentators say it does not feel as sharp-handling as the last Focus. I can see their point, but it is not important.
This car is lovely to drive. However, the over-size wheels were to blame for a lumpy ride over bumpy roads.
EYE-CATCHING: Ford’s Focus fitted with a beefy 1.6-litre petrol turbo.