Fleet News

Ford Focus Ghia 1.8 TDCi 115



ALLOY wheels can help give a car real presence, particularly when the standard vehicle has smaller wheels with plastic trims.

Upgrading the wheels from the basic steel items can help improve a vehicle's chance of finding a home as a used car afterwards.

However, upgrading to larger, meaner wheels when the standard car already has alloys can be a double-edged sword.

In this case, there isn't necessarily any benefit in the residual value as the used car customer is unlikely to pay extra for larger alloys.

Alloy wheels in the hands of those who are not careful when parking end up getting scuffed or 'kerbed' as they are driven along kerbs.

Some damage can be taken care of with smart repairs, but the worst scrapes are permanent and can take the shine off the car's looks.

The other disadvantage is the cost and availability of replacement tyres.

We were unfortunate in our Ford Focus to hit a pothole on a main road the other week. It was one of those that was too small to notice until it was too late, but big enough to cause problems for the tyre that came into immediate contact with it.

After fitting the space-saver spare, a replacement was sourced from ATS Euromaster in Peterborough.

Our Focus 1.8 TDCi Ghia has optional 17-inch alloys over the standard 16-inch items. The wheels are the same style, but sheer avarice prompted me to choose the larger wheels when we ordered the car. ATS Euromaster did not have a tyre in stock and had to order one from Continental.

We are still awaiting the invoice but have been warned that the bill is likely to be in three figures. Compare this with the replacement tyre we had fitted to a 15-inch wheel on our recent Honda Accord long term test car – which cost less than £80 – and there is a lesson to be learned.

This, however, is the only real complaint that could be levelled at the Focus since it joined our long-term test fleet in July.

It has provided uninterrupted service over the last 14,000 miles, with strong performance and fuel economy, and the Focus is still among the best in class when it comes to ride and handling.

It was replaced last week by the first car to mark the next Focus generation – the C-MAX. However, the bar has been set very high by our first-generation Focus, so we are expecting great things from the new car.

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