Nor has the 'false wood' and beige colour scheme interior - it has the sort of appearance my grandfather might, and I stress the word might, just find appealing. But the Focus does have its plus points. One gadget which has been extremely useful on cold winter mornings is the Quickclear heated front windscreen.
There's now no need to bend your head at a 90 degree angle to peer through a clear bit of the windscreen no bigger than your hand - not that I condone such behaviour after having recently been on an advanced driver training session. The car also has some handy steering wheel-mounted stereo control buttons which means you don't have to take your eyes off the road to crank up the volume to hear Terry Wogan's funnies during the drive in to work.
For a lower medium diesel, the car has ample power but the engine is a tad noisy. I'm more used to it now I've been driving it for a month or so but at first it felt like I was in a Transit.
In the last Focus test report, a colleague noted the boot strangely opened on its own while the car was in motion. It hasn't happened to me, but, as with my colleague, I also cannot open the boot using the dash-mounted button. It's a problem which other testers have mentioned when reporting on previous Focus models we have tested.
As reported in the first test report, the Focus's carbon dioxide emissions, which are just 142g/km, put it in the lowest banding for carbon dioxide-based benefit-in-kind tax for the first three years of the new system when it comes into effect in April 2002. So in the first year (2002/03), the Focus TDi driver will pay ú609 BIK tax based on 18% of the car's price, including the 3% diesel penalty.