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Ford's best-selling Focus has dropped to a new emissions low in conventional, diesel-engined guise.
The brand's lower medium model can now be had with emissions of 88g/km and official fuel economy of 83.1mpg from the 1.6 TDCi Econetic engine.
The 88g/km model is only available with the lowest-spec Edge trim level, so standard equipment is sparse. That aside, the lowest-emitting Focus (if you don't count the electric version) has all the best bits about the regular car.
It's about as good to drive as conventional lower medium cars get, with responsive steering, great handling and a comfortable ride. The Mazda 3 and the pricier BMW 1-series are arguably the only competitors that really come close for driver appeal.
Cabin quality is impressive too, but the 316-litre boot trails the sector's average, and it's easy enough to find a rival with a capacity of 350 litres or more.
Either way, the Ford's sub-£19,000 price tag, tried-and-tested status and rock-bottom running costs from a conventional engine will be a big draw to the business car community.
It will come as no surprise, though, that the Ford's biggest stumbling block is its chief competitor, the Volkswagen Golf Bluemotion. At £21,215, the VW is £2825 more expensive on P11D alone, but in terms of cost per mile there's less than a half a penny between the two, the Focus with 41.9ppm and the Golf at 42.3ppm.
There isn't a big enough gap between emissions or economy on either car to make a significant difference, but the Volkswagen has a near 10% residual value advantage at 38.3% versus the Ford's comparatively meagre 29.6%. It's also better specced, with key fleet kit such as Bluetooth and DAB radio standard.
That's not to say that the Focus is a bad car - it's exceptionally clean and frugal and an extremely competent all-rounder - but the simple fact is, the Golf is the better fleet option.
Ford Focus Econetic
Model price range
Service, Maintenance and Repair
Vehicle Excise Duty
Cost per mile
BIK 20/40% per month
Boot space min/max
Low spec only, but as clean and frugal as Ford's best-seller gets