Fleet News

Ford Focus 1.6 Ti-VCT Titanium 5dr

Ford

Review

THE Focus has been on our fleet for five months now and it’s jam-packed with swanky extras including an ‘Advanced Telephone Pack’ which has a Bluetooth hands-free system and voice control activation.

Which is all very well, but in those five months no-one has managed to get this £250 optional extra working.

To be honest, hope was rapidly evaporating and the office was left scratching its collective head after four different mobile phones, all Bluetooth-equipped, failed to connect to the car.

Which means it has fallen to me to put my Luddite colleagues to shame and get this clever piece of kit working.

Five minutes after strolling out to the car and a few button presses later, the system was up and running.

What this means is that when I get into the car with my phone in my bag and turn on the radio, the Focus automatically picks up the wireless connection to my phone and turns the radio into a hands-free kit. Brilliant!

So now, if anyone calls me while I’m driving, all I have to do is press the ‘Accept’ button on the centre console and chat away without having to wear one of those weird Bluetooth headphones. The microphones are placed strategically around the car so you don’t need to direct your voice towards them.

These also work with the voice activation system, so you can simply bark an instruction at the car and it will respond.

The voice control functions are: Phone, Radio, CD Player, Climate control and Navigation. If this system was fitted as standard to vehicles I am sure it would reduce accident rates caused by drivers trying to locate temperature/radio controls on increasingly complicated centre consoles.

The system isn’t faultless, though. Numerous times I have tried to change the temperature and it’s asked which radio channel I want. Although hailing from the Fens, I don’t have a particularly strong accent and I still didn’t have 100% success rate.

The instruction manual says the system is language specific but maybe they should invest in a regional accent programme so more people from the shires can get the benefit from it.

So while the system is not perfect, at least we’ve mastered it. The only trouble is, our company car policy has just been updated and it bans the use of even hands-free devices while driving. Drat!

Model: Ford Focus 1.6 Ti-VCT Titanium 5dr
Price (OTR): £15,825 (£20,025 as tested)
Mileage: 12,900
CO2 emissions (g/km): 155
Company car tax bill (2005) 22% tax-payer: £52 a month
Insurance group: 7
Combined mpg: 43.8
Test mpg: 35.8
CAP Monitor residual value: £5,025/32%
Typical contract hire rate: £300
Expenditure to date: Nil
Figures based on three years/60,000 miles

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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