Our Fleet Test Drive: Ford Focus - Final Report
21 October 2011
When picking the most interesting model in Ford's new Focus line-up early this year, the eye and mind were instantly drawn towards the 1.6 Ecoboost as the most interesting car to run for six months on BusinessCar's long-term fleet.
The technology is designed to use turbocharging as a way of maintaining power and performance while reducing engine size, and the 150hp 1.6 is the best example yet of Ford's application. It's a cracker of an engine, although the fact that it's such a strong performer may have had a hand in the economy averaging out to 34.3mpg, with only one light-footed tank averaging over 40mpg. We proved it was possible, but it was an effort of patience that I didn't fancy repeating on a permanent basis. That compares with the official combined figure of 47.1mpg, so not close, and high-mileage drivers should still take the diesel, although the Ecoboost is certainly the sweet spot of the range emotionally.
I was also keen to sample the £750 Safety Pack, which subsequently won a BusinessCar Techie Award in August, pulling together a range of safety systems into one package. Some aren't perfect - such as a system that reads speed signs and shows the most recent on the dashboard, but has a habit of missing some, or finding 90mph road signs - but overall the package is well worth the money, and in preventing a single accident over three or four years it will pay for itself. All credit to Ford for making such a useful set of seven individual systems, including fatigue detection, blind-spot monitoring and lane-keeping assist , so affordable.
The Focus ran as flawlessly as should be expected. As far as complaints go, its basic size was the biggest one. Both rear seats and the boot would have been more useful if slightly larger. The 316-litre luggage area doesn't compare favourably with the 350 litres of VW's Golf and 351 of the Vauxhall Astra. The issue became more prevalent during the Focus's time with us, as it was transport to the hospital for my deep-into-labour fiancee, and two June days later transport home for my baby girl . Unfortunately, from then the boot was pretty much entirely taken up by our admittedly chunky pushchair, but if luggage space is important, it's worth taking a good look at a new Focus before committing.
Otherwise it's impressive, although the Candy Yellow paint still failed to grow on most people, despite me edging towards almost liking. At least it stood out when parked among cars of other less distinctive colours . Paint apart, I'm a fan of the styling, and in particular the £400 optional 18-inch alloys fitted to our car.
The Focus drives well, is well screwed together and has a logical interior, even if the mass of buttons on the steering wheel can initially be intimidating to work on the move. I was a big fan of the old Focus, and its replacement is another hit for Ford.
|Ford Focus 1.6 Ecoboost?Titanium |
|Our average consumption||35.3mpg|
|Actual CPM||53.6p |