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Ford Focus Zetec-S: Test Drive Review

Date: 23 January 2012   |   Author:

Category: Lower medium
P11D price: £21,290
Key rival: Vauxhall Astra

Ahead of the new 250hp Ford Focus ST's arrival later this year, the Blue Oval has added a more sporty look to its Focus range with the launch of the Zetec-S trim level.

Priced the same as the Titanium specification, and based on the Zetec trim, the Zetec-S adds 17-inch alloy wheels rather than 16-inch, a full body styling kit, sports suspension, LED tail lamps and sports pedals.

Four engines are available: the 2.0-litre 163hp diesel driven here, a 115hp 1.6 diesel and two petrol engines of 125hp and 180hp.

It's instantly obvious the Zetec-S is different from the rest of the range, thanks to the front and rear spoiler and side skirts, although it's not the most dramatic of transformations. The lower-powered models will have something of a sheep-in-wolf's-clothing about them with a sporting hint not backed by the performance.

But the 1.6-litre 180hp Ecoboost, an engine debuting in this model, certainly has plenty of performance on tap, and the 163hp diesel is also pretty rapid, if above average for noise levels. Emissions of 129g/km are decent for this power level, although Vauxhall can get a 165hp Astra to 119g/km.

The tweaked suspension helps the Zetec-S feel sporty. It's a noticeably harder ride than the standard Focus, but not to the point where it crashes too badly over bumps or would become wearing over longer distances.

The interior could have done with a little more lifting to take it above the standard Zetec, but is up to the latest Ford standards of good quality if a little cluttered in terms of the sheer number of control and buttons.

The Focus Zetec-S is appealing for those that want something that will stand out despite being the most popular fleet car on sale. It does look sportier than the standard car so it will come down to whether drivers look for the style of the Zetec-S or, for the same money, the substance in terms of the extra specification that comes with the Titanium trim level.

Ford Focus 2.0 TDCi 163 Zetec-S
P11D price£21,290
Model price range£13,995-£25,445
Fuel consumption56.5mpg
CO2 (tax) 129g/km (19%)
BIK 20/40%
per month
Service interval12,500miles
Insurance (1-50)group 19
Boot space min/max316/1101 litres
Engine size/power1997cc/163hp
Top speed/0-62mph135mph/8.6secs
On sale November 2011
VerdictMost visually striking
Focus, though petrol
may be better value


Most visually striking Focus, though petrol may be better value