Fleet News

Ford Focus 1.6i 16v Ghia - 3,440 miles

Ford

Review

##fordfoc.jpg --Right##THIS week I have mostly been driving my family and neighbours round the bend - at one point there were two new test cars on my miserable little drive and another pair parked anti-socially in the street. While adding to the stockpile of Fleet NewsNet reviews, the knock-on effect of this localised logjam was to force other, wholly unimpressed, road users into seeking alternative inner city parking arrangements for their vehicles.

The curtains have stopped twitching and an uneasy peace has broken out in the Seymour household now that three of the demonstration cars have gone back to their makers, their temporary spaces quickly filled by motors built in a less eco-friendly decade.

It also means I'm back in the Ford Focus 1.6i Ghia five-door long termer - and what a relief. Yes, dandruff is still falling from the roof lining; yes, the boot is too small to accommodate the editor's golf clubs; and yes, the lack of cabin storage pockets is a pain. But the Focus is such a pleasant car to be in and to drive, whether that's one of these 100bhp 1.6 petrol hatchbacks or an estate with a rattly old 1.8-litre diesel, that the aforementioned niggles can be brushed aside - even the sprinkling of dust.

On the running costs side we have still failed to better the official combined Euro consumption figure of 40.9mpg, but considering the very high urban content of the Ghia's 3,440 miles to date, 36.2mpg isn't too bad. The latest forecast from CAP Future Residual Values gives this particular model a 37% rating on the basis of three years or 60,000 miles. It's short of the 40%-plus of price new for which Ford held high hopes on the car's launch last October, and it lags behind the rival Ford wanted it to match aspirationally - the Volkswagen Golf.

Frankly, I can't see it ever being as desirable a car as a Golf, but I believe it has the general edge on handling and ride, is, on the whole, more comfortable, and owns a design by which other medium category fleet cars will be dated and judged for the next four to five years.

If it's CO2 cleanliness you're after with a Focus, you may need the 1.8 TCi diesel. At 136/139 grams of carbon dioxide emissions per kilometre that's very close to the top of the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions' official listing, which starts with the SEAT Arosa 1.7 SDi at 119g/km and ends with a Lamborghini Diablo at 590g/km. The Focus 1.6i emits between 169 and 172 g/km - competitive for a petrol engine.

Gervais Seymour

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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