The thought of spending my days in a relaxed seaside setting does sound appealing, but I simply couldn’t cope with living there while driving our Focus.
The problem is the number of hills dotted around the south-westerly tip of Britain, and the amount of effort it took to get our Ford up them.
It is not a problem in the flat landscape of the Fens, but a recent trip down to Newquay highlighted the Focus’ lack of oomph when faced with steep hills.
Scaling these peaks involved second gear and an awful lot of revs and this has impacted on fuel economy.
Although the car’s previous keeper could only manage 35.3mpg (way short of Ford’s claimed 43.8mpg figure for this 1.6-litre Focus), I managed a best of 32mpg – and sometimes the car’s computer showed I’d dipped below 30mpg.
Hopefully, now I’ve returned from my Cornish break, fuel economy will improve, although that claimed figure seems well out of reach at the moment.
But it wasn’t all bad news with the Focus during my long weekend away. A five-hour drive anywhere can be daunting but the car proved to be a very comfortable companion on the long journey south. I arrived in Newquay with no backache, which is surprising as I do suffer with aches and pains in the lumbar area.
The seats are very firm but they support you in the right places. If only the driver’s seat had some more adjustment, though.
As in the old model, I feel as though I’m sitting far too high. If the driver’s seat would go a couple of inches lower it would be spot on.
Those niggles aside, I’m enjoying the Focus. To my eyes it doesn’t look as radical as the previous model and the interior design isn’t as good, but any car I can drive for five hours without giving me backache gets my vote.
Model: Ford Focus 1.6i Ti-VCT Titanium 5dr
Price (OTR): £15,825 (£20,025 as tested)
CO2 emissions (g/km): 155
Company car tax bill (2005/6): 22% tax-payer £52 a month
Insurance group: 7
Combined mpg: 43.8
Test mpg: 32
CAP Monitor residual value: £5,175/33%
Expenditure to date: Nil
Typical contract hire rate: £299
Figures based on three-years/60,000-miles