Fleet News

Ford Focus 1.8 TDi LX estate - 286 miles

Ford

Review

##fordfoe.jpg --Right##AFTER a break of just over two years, I have returned to the 'Fleet group' fold - and a pleasant surprise awaited me in the shape of the Ford Focus 1.8TDi LX estate. Two years ago, if the editor had offered me a diesel-powered Escort estate as a long term prospect, I may well have turned down the offer in a less than complimentary fashion. But two years in motoring development is a long time.

And whereas the old Escort - in my view - was a mediocre offering in the extreme, its replacement is anything but that. After 10 minutes behind the wheel of the Focus estate, I reflected that I could happily spend three years at work in this car, was I required to do so as a fleet driver. The 'new-edge' lines of the Focus are unmistakable on today's roads and while the estate is not quite as dashing as its five-door brother, it still stands out as one of the best looking load-luggers in the lower medium sector.

Inside, the stylishness continues, with the dashboard a mass of curves and swirls. I think it looks great, although certain members of my family disagree. Legroom is sometimes a major problem for me in smaller cars, but here the Focus excels. With a driver's seat that adjusts every which way and a height adjustable steering wheel, there is plenty of room - and more - for my leggy 6ft 3in frame, making the car feel bigger than it really is.

The illusion of space continues in the rear. With the back seats folded down, I was pleasantly surprised when a fridge/freezer disappeared inside with room to spare. And with no lip at the back end, loads can be inserted with ease. Specification is reasonably high by today's standards or staggering if you judge the car by the standards of two years ago.

Driver and passenger airbags come as standard, together with electric front windows and sunroof - and not forgetting that wonderful Quickclear screen which is vital for drivers like myself who have to leave their cars outdoors during winter. The Focus arrived with 150 miles on the clock, so the diesel engine has yet to loosen up properly.

But already, acceleration is impressing me. The turbo gives the car a kick that you wouldn't expect from a diesel, and I was surprised to note that official figures give a 0-60mph time of 12.9 seconds - it seems much quicker. A top speed of 114mph is plenty (and more) for any self-respecting fleet driver. So after two weeks behind the wheel of the Focus, I couldn't think of a better welcome back to Britain's top fleet news service.

Trevor Gelken

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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