New Ford Focus – It’s Going to Spoil You for Everything Else
Its unusual to begin a car review with a bold statement, particularly one that sums up the rest of the article and so probably removes any reason you’ve got to read the full review, however, that’s what we have decided to do, so here goes:-
“The new Ford Focus is a stunning car to drive and it is plain & simply, head and shoulders over absolutely everything else in its class”
Well, that’s our opinion, so if that’s all you need to know, you can be off now, however if you are interested in some history about the Ford Focus and if you would like all the facts and figures on the new car, read on McDuff.
The old Focus was the best selling car in the world for 5 years and the best selling car in Britain for 10 years and that’s not by accident. Way back in September 1998 when the original Ford Focus was unleashed on the world, it set completely new standards and left everything else in its shadow. It shocked hardened motoring journalists by just how complete it was and just like Goldilocks porridge, everything about it was “just right” and because of that, that it sold the world over and it sold in huge numbers.
For the first time it seemed, a volume car maker had produced the perfect car, but they hadn’t done that by tinkering with the model before as Focus was all new and in terms of styling and technology, it was light years ahead of the aging Escort it was to replace.
Focus came with an array of innovative and truly desirable features and indeed, the Focus pretty much re-invented the hatchback, but the one thing Focus did have that set it apart from its competition was in what a nice car it was to live with on a day to day basis and the way that it drove and indeed, we cant think of a medium sized hatchback that has ever driven better than the Focus.
Beauty however wasn’t just skin deep, as Focus went on to behave, it went on to be a reliable and even just recently, I was speaking with a person that told me that their 99T reg 1.6 petrol Focus had been unbelievably reliable, never having had any problems, although it did have to have a new speedometer fitted when the old one failed with over 220,000 miles on the clock.
Second generation Focus built on the success and popularity of the original car and just like Focus 1, it remained the class of the field for anyone who enjoyed driving. If there was a criticism by some, it was in the way it looked as the original Focus was radical at the time it was launched and Focus 2 definitely wasn’t, it was classy and understated, but for some, that translated as bland and dull, yet despite any reservations, it also sold in massive numbers and its owners loved it.
So the new 2011 Ford Focus has big boots to fill, but we never doubted that the 3rd generation Focus was going to be anything less than superb and continue the legacy of being a fantastically easy car to live with, and one which gives you a buzz every time you get behind the wheel. In terms of styling “bland it aint” and if you’ve seen a new Fiesta, or the recently launched C-Max, well you’re going to know roughly what new Focus looks like, as it shares a very strong family resemblance to its siblings as its “bang on the money”, leaving most of its major competition looking sombre and old fashioned
Ford say new Focus is going to be a truly global car, with up to 80% of its components common to cars in all of the 120 markets it which it will be sold, whilst the car itself will be built in six different factories. The platform (or chassis) will be used for 10 different cars in the ford range, with new C-Max and Grand C-Max already taking advantage of it.
Available as a 5dr Hatchback or 5dr Estate, new Focus comes in all the flavours we’ve been used to in the past. Even the lead-in car, the Edge has a superb level of specification including Air Conditioning, Dab Digital Radio/CD with Bluetooth and USB Connectivity, Remote Central Locking, Electric Front Windows and of course, its also got all the techy and safety features that all new Focus get, including, Traction Control, Electronic Stability Programme, Emergency Brake Assist, Front Side and Curtain Airbags, Torque Vectoring Control and Fords Intelligent Protection System, so new Focus is one nice bit of kit, even if you choose the cheapest model.
Go up the range and Zetec comes next, and adds a few nice extras such as 16” Alloy Wheels, Quickclear Windscreen, Front Fog Lights, Sports Style Front Seats, Heated Door Mirrors, plus of course more colour coded and sparkly bits. Titanium is next in the line up and takes the spec list a bit further, with Automatic Headlights, Rain Sensitive Wipers, Rear Lights with LED Technology, Dual Zone Air Temperature Control, Cruise Control, Hill Start Assist, nice interior lighting, plus even more of the classy bits. Top of the range is the Titanium X, which in addition to all the others, gets Part Leather, Bigger 17” Alloy Wheels, Bi-Xenon Headlights, Active Park Assists including Front & Rear Parking Distance Sensors, Heated Front Seats, Power Operated Drivers Seat, Power Operated Mirrors and nice touches such as LED Daytime Running Lights and Ambient Multi-Coloured LED Interior Lighting. Eleven colour choices, compliment the car of which 9 are metallic, and two are solid which of course had to be Red, or White.
As you would expect, there is a choice of engines, with 3 petrol and 4 diesels. Petrol comes in 1.6Ti-VCt with either 105ps or 125ps options and has a 5 speed gearbox whilst the “Eco-Boost” 1.6 with start-stop that produces a very healthy 150ps and like the rest of the range is standard with a 6 on the floor. The oil burners come in two versions of the 1.6TDCi, one with 95ps and the other with 115ps. Look to a 2.0ltr diesel and there are two choices again, a 2.0TDCi 140ps and the most powerful 2.0TDCi 163ps. Automatic comes in the shape of Fords excellent “Powershift” 6 speed transmission and is available only in the 2.0ltr diesel versions of the car.
Co2 emissions are very much on everyone’s mind and Focus ranges from a high of 139g/km down to a road tax busting 109g/km, meaning your annual visit to the Post Office can cost you as little as £20 and if Co2 really is your thing, it’s rumoured that a battery electric version could be around by 2012 and a hybrid, or plug-in hybrid version could follow in 2013-2014, but of course, these are only rumours.
Price wise, the new Focus sits well alongside its competition, starting at a touch under £16,000 for the 1.6 Edge 5dr, whilst the popular Zetec 1.6TDCi 115 5dr comes in at £18,415. You can spend more, in fact almost up to £24,000 for the top of the range Titanium X with the 2.0TDCi 163 Powershift Auto. Estate versions are around £1100 more than the hatch.
On the road, new Focus is as taut and crisp as it ever was and responds to the drivers inputs perfectly, despite the Focus now having an electronic power steering system as opposed to the older fashioned hydraulic power steering used on the first two generation Focus. The chassis, or body is stiffer, albeit no heavier and you really feel part of what’s going on and properly connected to the road. The Focus suspension is even better than before smoothing out the bumps and producing a quiet and refined ride. The level of grip when pushing the car into corners is very impressive but its not going to appeal to the boy racers as its all done in a much more relaxed and mature fashion making the car feel grown up and refined.
We all know that price is important when buying a car, it’s often forgotten that the amount you get back for your car when you eventually sell it, is also a major factor, as the more you get back for your car when you’ve finished with it, the less you’ve actually lost whilst you owned it, so the cheaper its been for you to own it. So don’t just look at the showroom ticket price, as it only tells half the story.
Presently, statistics say that New Focus will be worth around 6% more than its closest competitor when you decide to sell it in 3 years time and whilst for sure, that’s not cast in stone, based upon past Focus performance, and we can’t see any reason to imagine that might change.
To support that view, motor research professionals CAP who advise the industry on used car prices (they make those little books that dealers look in when giving you a price for your trade in) have put together a panel of experts to judge what they feel the best used car is and they were looking for a car that excelled in a number of areas, affordability, practicality of ownership, sustained popularity and trusted reputation. Guess what? they voted the Ford Focus as their “Used Car Of The Decade” and don’t forget, new Focus is even better, so if you want to make running your car as cheap as possible, remember, buy one that’s going to be popular when its time for you to sell it.
Presently there are no 3dr versions of new Focus however it likely at some point there will be an ST, or perhaps RS version and these have most traditionally been in the 3dr body style, so we will have to wait and see.
Ford have always campaigned Focus in rallying and recently in the British Touring Car Championship and have unveiled the new 2011 Ford Focus BTCC Touring car on their stand at the Geneva Motor Show, which will be run by UK based Arena Motorsports Team Aon and will compete in all 10 rounds of the BTCC Championship making its debut at Brands Hatch as early as the 2nd & 3rd of April.
When buying your new car, there are lots to choose from and for the main part, to be fair, they are all pretty good. If you were given any of the latest cars to use, or perhaps you’ve recently bought one, well you are going to be extremely happy, but for us, having any of those cars would be a bit like having your six numbers come up in the lottery, only to find you have to share the jackpot with 4 other winners. Yes you would be happy to have won, but when you think of what you might have won had you been the only winner; you’re going to be less happy. The new Ford Focus is like getting all six numbers in the week and being the only winner. Both situations are good, but one is clearly far better than the other.
So how do we sum this up? Well, every car maker, even the obscure ones, has upped their game and has done a damn good job, so it’s unfortunate for them, that Ford has produced a truly excellent well equipped car in the Focus. In our opinion, the Focus is still the leader in terms of ride and handling and its just so easy to live with on a day to day basis, so for us, the Focus is back where it belongs on the top step of the podium as our absolute class winner.
Admittedly, this is an early review or taster of the new Focus and it’s our intention to take a look again after we have tested the car on more of a long term basis, but we really are not expecting a change of heart to occur as we still love old Focus and the new Focus has just got even better.
For a quotation on the new Ford Focus or on any other new Ford, please contact us.