FORD FOCUS ADDS ESTATE VERSION
IF you haven’t yet driven Ford’s latest Focus I recommend that you do because in my opinion, this is about as close to perfection as you will find in a mass market car.
I’ve just been driving the new additions to the range, the estate models, and was again blown away by how good Ford’s current offerings are. Time and again it shows this amazing ability to perfectly tune a chassis to the UK’s testing road surfaces and deliver a car that puts a clear gap between itself and others in the class in terms of ride and handling.
Ever since the original Focus arrived it has enjoyed a reputation as being superb to drive and this latest generation is even more so. I challenge anyone to find a better- sorted spring and damper set up, or to find such sweet steering as that possessed by the Focus. The estate car is a fraction longer and slightly wider between the wheel arches and has different suspension settings to the hatchback (on account of the extra weight it might have to carry) but it is still such a good car to be in.
But there is more. At the recent press launch for the estate I grabbed the keys to a 1.6 petrol EcoBoost model, the 150PS version, which Ford rightly labels as a `hero’ engine.
EcoBoost has been round for a couple of years and is proving to be hugely popular and with good reason. It allows drivers to downsize their engine with attendant benefits in mpg and CO2 figures but with no drop in performance. Turbocharging allows engines to be very efficient and I thought the 1.6 was a gem. I tried a 1.6 TDCi diesel too by way of comparison and although the diesel has more torque and better overall mpg (average 57 mpg against 47 for the petrol) the petrol was very impressive, very smooth, responsive and a lovely engine to drive.
The Focus estate also bristles with hi-tech options. You can specify features such as Active Park Assist which measures, and then steers, the car into a safe parking gap for you, all sorts of collision-avoidance systems and so on and they don’t actually add too much to the bill.
Prices begin at the £17,000 mark and go up to £25,100 for the all-singing, all-dancing Titanium X version, the top of the four trim levels.
What a really great car!