We like the new Ford Focus so much we awarded it our Family Award in 2018, but how will the car stack up under prolonged scrutiny? News editor, Russell Campbell, finds out…
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Having learned to drive in a Ford Focus and owned a Fiesta, it’s fair to say I’ve always been a fan of the Blue Oval so was pretty smitten when I found out my new long-termer would be wearing that badge.
What model did we go for? An ST-Line with the 1.5 TDCI EcoBlue – a combination of words, numbers and abbreviations that means this is the most economical Ford Focus coming with a 1.5-litre diesel engine and a six-speed manual gearbox. The ‘ST-Line’ bit denoting that, despite sipping fuel, it also looks sporty inside and out, has firm suspension that stops it leaning like a tower in Pisa around corners and larger 17-inch alloy wheels with grippier tyres.
To that, we added a few choice options, including Frozen White paint (£250), Ford’s SYNC3 sat-nav upgrade (£350), Ford Pass Connect in-car WiFi (£250), which includes a wireless connection to the car; and tinted rear windows (£250). The biggest addition, however, is the £750 Convenience Pack. It bundles together a load of handy kit including a rear-view camera, door edge protectors and park assist. All in, that gets us to an on-the-road price of £24,700.
First impressions? Well, having spent a few months driving our excellent, but ultimately rather numb, Skoda Kodiaq, it’s nice to get in a car that I can truly enjoy driving. The Ford’s combination of direct steering, generous grip levels, well-weighted pedals and snickety gearbox mean it really is fun to chuck down a decent road.
That’s despite it having an engine that, on paper, sounds like a real party killer. In fact, 120hp, the mid-range diesel is smooth for its ilk and feels surprisingly nippy – quicker than its 0-62mph time of 10 seconds would suggest. That’s because the stuff that matters – the 300Nm of torque – arrives at just 1,750rpm so you have a decent amount of acceleration for overtaking. And, it’s impossible to argue with the Ford’s fuel economy – with a little bit of effort, I’ve seen nearly 60mpg driving through central London on a busy Saturday morning.
What else do I like? Well, while I’m not a fan of white cars, I think our Focus is a bit of a looker thanks to its lowered suspension, ST Line body kit, twin exhaust pipes and charcoal alloy wheels. Even the red-stitched seats appeal to my inner boy racer. Then there’s the high-definition display for the rear parking camera, which makes other cars’ cameras feel like you’re peering through a pair of steamed up goggles. Finally, there’s the solid front bumper which deflected the failed parking attempt of my dear old mum (relatively) unscathed.
There have been teething problems that can’t be blamed on someone else, mind you. Such as the driver’s door that’s developed an annoying vibration – even when the stereo’s barely turned up – and has a window that sometimes needs a couple of goes to get shut (it gets caught on its rubber seals). Oh, and despite numerous attempts, I have thus far failed to connect to the FordPass Connect app, so can’t yet comment on how handy it is to be able to check things like remaining fuel wirelessly from the comfort of my living room.
We’ll be getting these niggles sorted in time for our next report. For that and more on living with the new Ford Focus, bookmark this page to read our regular updates.