Fleet News

Ford Focus 1.8 TDi LX estate - 4,028 miles

Ford

Review

##fordfoe.jpg --Right##HAVING covered a whopping 3,000 miles since the last time this car appeared in the long-term test reviews, the Focus remains as fresh as the day it appeared on our fleet.

The niggles mentioned in that first report, regarding the unsettling nature of the 16 valve engine, have been ironed out thanks to my increasing familiarity with the car and in particular the automatic transmission.

Back in March the auto transmission seemed far from a no-fuss alternative to the five-speed manual, but my opinions have changed and in just a little over two months the ease of the auto has meant troubling times during the odd days when I've been back in a manual car. Keeping your hand on the steering wheel at all times helps when negotiating busy city streets and the smooth gear changes help you flow with the traffic.

I remain a little disappointed in the speed the engine responds in tight corners when rapid acceleration is needed. The extra 1.3 seconds in 0-62mph time between the auto and the 1.6 manual seems like a lifetime when you catch yourself in a tight spot and the rev counter is reaching for the 6,000rpm level before the car really begins to respond.

The mpg rates I've achieved have varied to suit my varyingly aggressive driving style. Between the last few fill-ups the car has returned 35.3mpg and 30.1mpg. The 36.2 combined rate from Ford remains my Holy Grail. I'll keep working on it.

The only gripes otherwise this time round - and I'm desperately trying to find them - are an occasional brake squeak and an annoying rattle in the back somewhere. It comes and goes so I haven't been able to locate the source yet. Other than that, I'd be well satisfied had I spent mine or my company's money, on this car.

Jeremy Bennett

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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