Fleet News

Ford Focus 1.8 TDdi Ghia saloon



##FocLTB.jpg--right##OUR Ford Focus has been with us for more than a year now, clocking up an impressive 17,645 miles and although now regarded as part of the family, it is bidding us a fond farewell.

This is the second period of time I have had the pleasure of taking the Focus home to put it through its paces with regular long drives to various locations all over the country, from the wilds of Aberystwyth to inner city Leicester, Holkham Beach in Norfolk and to Dunster in Somerset.

Add to that numerous trips back and forth to work, the nursery, in and around town and to the supermarket and I have spent a lot of time driving the Focus and have some fond memories of the car — I for one will be rather sad to see it go.

The thing that strikes me most about the car is just how spacious it is. The car doesn't feel like a small to medium sized car: the boot is roomy, there is plenty of leg room both front and back and even my 6ft 1in husband doesn't feel claustrophobic when it comes to head room.

Being only 5ft 4in, I use the driver's seat height adjuster to position myself perfectly and now wish that I had this feature in my trusty old Audi 100 at home.

The Focus is also extremely economical. I am averaging a wallet-friendly 48mpg — an attractive incentive for every fleet manager. The diesel engine may not be the best on the market but it is quick off the mark and unexpectedly smooth and makes driving a pleasure, particularly on long journeys.

Admittedly, the beige interior could do with an overhaul, and the mock walnut facia is decidedly naff but the dashboard is easy to see and read and everything is close at hand, including radio controls on a lever next to the steering wheel.

The recent and welcome spell of hot weather has seen the air conditioning used to its full advantage although after a long journey with freezing cold air being blasted into your face at force nine, one's tubes tend to dry out a little, which is why I prefer the gentler action of climate control. However, as the saying goes, beggars can't be choosers and air con does the job for which it is intended very well.

The infamous sticky third gear mentioned in the last report is worsening by the week and fifth gear is starting to crunch at times too.

During a long drive, I also noticed the car was getting jumpy in first and second gear, kangarooing me around like a nervous 17-year-old who had just passed the driving test. It has been put to me by my colleague, Julian Kirk, that I may actually have been driving like a nervous 17-year-old who had just passed the test but, then again, a man would say that, wouldn't he?

So all in all, the Focus saloon is a good all-rounder. It is economical, spacious, nippy and a comfortable drive. You could do a lot worse, although we much prefer the hatchback's looks.

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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