It used to be the UK’s most popular car, but has now given way to the smaller Fiesta, but the Focus is still a key model for fleets and we’ve decided to try the latest 1.6 TDCi.
The mainstream diesel Focus gets the benefit of stop/start technology with its 115bhp diesel engine, helping cut CO2 emissions to 109g/km and fuel consumption approaching 70mpg on the combined cycle.
We chose the Titanium version, and went for the optional safety pack which combines a range of technology that first saw the light of day on much more expensive machinery.
It includes a lane departure warning (plus an intervention setting), rear blindspot monitoring system, road sign monitoring, automatic braking intervention and a driver alertness monitor.
A camera reads road signs so is able to repeat speed limit signs in the information display, for those moments where you miss a sign and are unsure of the speed limit. It also recognises other signs such as no overtaking.
The driver alertness monitor sets a baseline from steering inputs at the start of a journey and detects potential tiredness from variances later in the trip, culminating in the display recommending the driver takes a break.
I remember when I first drive the Focus in Spain January, I lamented the switch from hydraulic power steering to electric power steering, sacrificing feel and feedback in pursuit of fuel efficiency. However, my regular road routes in the UK haven’t really seen me miss the old hydraulic set-up.
We also selected the optional navigation system with DAB, which is relatively inexpensive at £500. You get the security of an integrated navigation system and none of the dashboard clutter of a portable nav at a reasonable price along with DAB which all cars will eventually need.
The Focus is still one of the best riding cars on sale, managing to combine agility with excellent comfort, while the 1.6-litre diesel engine is supremely quiet.
Ford has set out to achieve the level of perceived quality that Volkswagen has achieved with the Golf, and the Focus is a great effort.
With only 1,000 miles covered since we took delivery, the fuel consumption more than 15mpg off the official combined figure is perhaps excusable, but we expect it to improve soon.
Author: Simon Harris