Fleet News

Ford Focus 1.8 TDi LX estate - 2,466 miles



##fordfoe.jpg --Right##HAVING heaped praise on the sturdy Focus in my last road test the car repaid me by breaking down several days later, leaving me to be ignominiously towed by the RAC to the nearest garage. With just 800 miles on the clock, the power steering pump gave up the ghost, taking with it the belt that drives it. It was 10 out of 10 for the breakdown man, who arrived in double quick time and sorted me out efficiently and with a friendly smile. But it was a definite 'two out of 10, could do better' for Peterborough Ford main dealer T C Harrison, which seemed totally unconcerned about my plight.

'Could it be fixed today?' I asked the service receptionist. 'Did you book it in?' she queried. 'No,' I answered. 'I've just been towed in by the RAC.' 'Well, we can't possibly look at it this week and maybe not next week either,' was the verdict. And no, while I asked, I couldn't borrow another car in the meantime. Even when told I was a motoring journalist and was making careful notes about all this, the woman didn't bat an eyelid.

'We're very busy at the moment - you should have booked it in first,' was the only explanation. To be fair, when the receptionist discovered the car was under warranty, she offered to arrange a hire car for me (at Ford's expense), but as we had a spare car at Fleet Towers, I decided to take that option. Had I been a busy rep who missed an important meeting because of all this, I would have been a very unhappy man. I couldn't help feeling that had the car been Japanese, the breakdown wouldn't have happened, and that if it had, I would have been treated very differently by the local dealer.

Such an incident is a crying shame, as all those at Fleet NewsNet who have driven the Focus agree that it is a very fine car indeed. Returning about 44mpg at present and with the kind of legroom and comfort a car of this stature has no right to be offering, it's no wonder the Focus is top of the fleet pops when it comes to sales. And Ford engineers must have swelled with pride to discover in a recent survey by What Car? magazine, that the Focus was voted best car in terms of ease of access, driving position, seat comfort, control layout and visibility.

So having vented my spleen, I still say I liked driving the Focus so much that I'm prepared to overlook a busted pump and give Ford's lower medium cracker my vote of confidence.

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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