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Ford Focus 1.6 Ghia



STRANGE how familiarity breeds contentment. Now that the Ford Focus has established itself on Britain's roads, most people don't give it a second glance for all its radical styling and launch hype. In today's typical driving environment - sitting in a traffic jam covered in road grime - the Focus looks no more out of place than most other modern five-door hatches.

This is contrary to the car's perception at its debut when those radical love-it-or-loathe-it-looks caused a stir among traditionalists more used to melting into the background than standing out from it. It's this subtlety that underlines the cleverness of the Focus design. Far from looking wacky alongside more traditional offerings such as the Volkswagen Golf and Vauxhall Astra, the Focus is nothing less than a design that tends instantly to date its rivals.

Launched last October in three- and five-door forms only, with a choice of 1.4 75bhp, 1.6 100bhp, 1.8 113bhp and 2.0 128bhp petrol engines, the range completes shortly with the addition of the four-door saloon and five-door estate models as well as a new diesel engine, the 90bhp 1.8 TDdi. Four trim levels comprise CL, Zetec, LX and Ghia, helping to rationalise the range and ease choice, especially as a variety of models, trims and engines is available in seven price bands.

These prices start at ú13,000 for the 1.6 or 1.8-litre Zetec models in three-door or 1.4-litre CL and rise to ú16,000 for the five-door 2.0 Ghia estate. Tested here is the five-door 1.6 Ghia, which costs the same as the 1.8-litre Ghia, Zetec 1.8-litre TDdi estate, LX 1.6/1.8 estate and LX 1.8 TDdi five-door, at ú14,500 on-the-road.

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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