Fleet News

Ford Focus Coupe-Cabriolet

Ford

Review

On the face of it, Ford has missed the boat on this one. It’s now six years since Peugeot launched the first affordable metal folding roof coupe-cabriolet with its 206CC, and since then pretty much every manufacturer has jumped on the bandwagon with their own folding hard-tops.

But not Ford. The first incarnation of the Focus didn’t have any kind of convertible model at all, so this new Focus CC is the first excursion into lower-medium top-down motoring to come out of Essex since the Escort Mk VI cabriolet ceased production in 1998.

Most of its competitors have offered folding hard-tops for some time – the Vauxhall Astra TwinTop, Peugeot’s 307CC, and the Renault Megane CC to name but three.

Has the Focus CC got what it takes to dethrone its more established rivals?

It’s a tough ask, but Ford is having a good go at it. The Focus is aggressively priced, starting at £16,795 – around £350 cheaper than the equivalent Astra TwinTop and almost £3,000 cheaper than the Volkswagen Eos.

The front end of the Focus CC looks virtually identical to the standard Focus, bar a more aggressive bumper.

But the back of the car has had the Italian treatment from Ferrari-fettling coachbuilders Pininfarina.

It’s a neat conversion, although the long boot needed to accommodate the roof is at odds with the chunky look of the front of the car.

Standard equipment on the entry-level 1.6-litre petrol-engined CC-1 includes alloys and air-conditioning, while the fleet-friendly 2.0-litre diesel engine is available on the higher-spec CC-2 and CC-3. The unit produces 134bhp and 250lb-ft of torque, with emissions of 156g/km of CO2.

It costs from £19,270 for the CC-2 – with 17-inch alloys and leather steering wheel – or £20,270 for the CC-3, which adds cruise control, CD changer, automatic lights and wipers and chrome detailing.

The mid and higher-level cars are also available with a 143bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine, which produces 179g/km of CO2 and matches the 0-62mph time of the diesel engine at 10.3 seconds.

Mark Deans, Ford’s southern sales director, said the retail to fleet split for sales of the Focus CC was likely to be 80/20, with fleet emphasis on user-choosers.

“The fleet user will tend to favour the diesel and that will drive the diesel take-up,” he said. “Retail sales will be almost exclusively petrol. I think this year we’ll sell about 5,750 to 5,800 units and about 6,000 in the full year.

“The Vauxhall Astra TwinTop is our natural competitor, as well as the Volkswagen Eos. It’s a style-driven segment.

“We’ve done a lot of work in trying to make it a very sassy coupe and I think we have the edge in practicality. The two-piece roof makes it a non-compromised car.

With the roof up there’s a huge 524-litre boot, and roof down there’s still a large amount of space under the roof panels. It’s a combination of style, practicality and ease of use.”

Residual value-wise, the Focus diesel outperforms the Astra. According to CAP, after three years and 60,000 miles the Focus Coupe-Cabriolet will retain 38% and the Astra 37%. But both are beaten by the Eos, with a 46% RV.

Behind the wheel

A common problem with coupe-cabriolets is that the extra weight from the folding roof mechanism can compromise handling.

With the standard Focus being arguably the best-handling car in the segment, it’s a relief that Ford’s engineers have done a cracking job in minimising the effect of lopping the roof off.

When cornering hard, the extra weight can be felt, but generally the traditional Focus handling traits remain. That makes it nimble and sure-footed and far more athletic-feeling than a car weighing more than 1,600kg has any right to be.

It’s genuinely fun to drive away from the motorway, and with a seemingly nuclear-powered seat heater it’s possible to be comfortable with the roof down even in cold weather.

The diesel engine, despite having less power than its petrol equivalent, is my preferred choice. As well as being more economical (47.9mpg versus 37.6mpg), it has much more oomph at low revs. The petrol engine is good, but requires more work to get decent performance out of it.

Downsides? As with the standard Focus the interior is uninspiring, but it is well put together.

There’s some room in the back for kids, although it’s hardly spacious. And even with the Pininfarina touch it’s still not a beautiful car.

But with a strong engine and great handling, coupled to an excellent six-speed gearbox, you’ll be having too much fun to care.

Verdict

A common problem with coupe-cabriolets is that the extra weight from the folding roof mechanism can compromise handling.

With the standard Focus being arguably the best-handling car in the segment, it’s a relief that Ford’s engineers have done a cracking job in minimising the effect of lopping the roof off.

When cornering hard, the extra weight can be felt, but generally the traditional Focus handling traits remain. That makes it nimble and sure-footed and far more athletic-feeling than a car weighing more than 1,600kg has any right to be.

It’s genuinely fun to drive away from the motorway, and with a seemingly nuclear-powered seat heater it’s possible to be comfortable with the roof down even in cold weather.

The diesel engine, despite having less power than its petrol equivalent, is my preferred choice. As well as being more economical (47.9mpg versus 37.6mpg), it has much more oomph at low revs. The petrol engine is good, but requires more work to get decent performance out of it.

Downsides? As with the standard Focus the interior is uninspiring, but it is well put together.

There’s some room in the back for kids, although it’s hardly spacious. And even with the Pininfarina touch it’s still not a beautiful car.

But with a strong engine and great handling, coupled to an excellent six-speed gearbox, you’ll be having too much fun to care.

Fact file

Model:   1.6 petrol   2.0 petrol   2.0 TDCi
 
 
 
Max power (bhp/rpm):   98/6,000   143/6,000   134/4,000
 
 
 
Max torque (lb-ft/rpm):   110/4,000   136/4,500   250/2,000
 
 
 
Max speed (mph):   113   130   127
 
 
 
0-62mph (sec):   13.6   10.3   10.3
 
 
 
Fuel consumption (mpg):   39.8   37.6   47.9
 
 
 
CO2 emissions (g/km):   169   179   156
 
 
 
On sale:   Now        
 
 
 
Prices (OTR):   £16,765-£20,270        
 

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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