- We like...The way it drives
- We don't...Cabin looks cheap in places
Latest small Ford is super- economical all-round and it's a little belter to drive, tooOne of the great things about Fords is that they have a strong ‘family’ feel. By which I mean that, if you like driving one, there’s a strong chance you’ll like others. This comes through strongly in the latest Focus.
If you’ve spent time piloting the latest Mondeo, a fantastic car (we reckon), you’ll already know much of what there is to tell about its littler brother. Because the Focus has that same, serene and secure vibe as it moves along the road; like a Mercedes but minus the lofty price-tag. It's firmer than you'll experience in some rivals, but is well controlled and comfortable. And above that, it also steers and responds to changes in surface and direction with a sureness you’ll find only in the best of its competitors.
We sampled the Econetic, one of the more interesting cars in the line-up. With it, Ford follows Volkswagen and others in assembling a model that runs clean and sips at fuel. This Focus achieves best-of-range fuel economy and ultra-low CO2 emissions. Ford’s engineers have left the engine as it is, but fitted easy-rolling tyres, tweaked the car’s body to slip through the air more cleanly, lowered the suspension a touch and even put low-friction oil in the gearbox. The upshot is a diesel engine that can travel 65.6mpg and emits just 115g/km of CO2. That sounds good, and it is. But the ‘regular’ model with the same 110bhp 1.6 diesel engine manages 62.7mpg and 119g/km. So is the Econetic worth having? Well, it costs £250 more than the equivalent diesel-engined ‘Style’ model.
To help you decide, let’s tell you how it drives. You might think that a car fixed up like the Econetic would feel gutless to drive. Not a bit: it pushes down the road easily, its diesel giving only a distant-sounding rumble when pushed. The gaps between gears are as you’d want them: it asks nothing extra in return.
The cabin is smart and beautifully made although, in common with other Fords, some bits of trim look low-rent. Look at the top anchor-points for the front belts, and check for yourself.
The seats are very well shaped and easy to reach through its big, wide-opening doors. The deckchair-stripey fabric that covers the chairs mightn’t be to your taste, though. The boot is ample and well shaped and the rear seats drop easily to enlarge it.
Outside, it looks just like a regular Focus, aside from a discreet blue badge on the back. The other difference is one that you smart from, though: steel wheels with plastic covers. All other but entry-model Focuses get treated to alloy rims.
Should you buy one? Well it’s a little dearer than its nearest rival, Volkswagen’s Golf Bluemotion. But it has a quieter engine and uses even less fuel. The Golf, however, looks a little classier than the Ford and at least benefits from a retuned engine, making it significantly cleaner and more frugal than other Golfs. The VW will also lose less of its value as it ages than will the Ford. Even so, we’d snap one up, mostly because it's a gem to drive.
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- Engines1.6 TDCi
- 0-60 mph10.9sec
- Insurance groups7
Motors.co.uk value verdict: