I’ve been using a right-hand drive pre-production ‘appraisal’ Ford Focus for a few days.
The new Focus has got all new panels – the only one that remains the same is the roof.
The Focus has always been regarded as a well-built, reliable workhorse with handling better than most cars in its sector.
So what could Ford have done to improve it?
The exterior styling gives it a more modern look, and improves on the current car. The front-end is similar to the new Mondeo and S-MAX, with a deep front spoiler.
But I had to go to my local dealer to borrow one of its old models to put the two side by side to see exactly what had changed.
It is not until you do this that you realise just how different they are.
Ford has also put time, effort and money into interior noise – it is much quieter than any previous Focus. The three main things I liked about the new Focus were the fresh exterior styling, the touch-screen multi-media and satellite navigation and the Quickclear screen – a must at this time of year.
The most disappointing, or annoying thing, about the new Focus is that nobody looks twice at it.
THURSDAY Down to the Midlands to have a meeting with Kia, mainly to discuss the new three-door model – the Pro-ceed.
It’s officially, and rather irritatingly, spelt pro_cee’d, but computer systems are unlikely to be able to accept this way of spelling it.
The cee’d three-door has about the same dimensions as a Vauxhall Astra SportHatch. It goes on sale on February 1.
Kia expects to sell around 2,000 units this year.
We drove a couple of cars around the outskirts of Birmingham, and it seemed quiet and fairly refined, but more importantly it looks good.
It has its own style, which should attract a younger audience. Kia is trying to move away from the cheap-and-cheerful cars and ways of doing business while at the same time increasing sales, not an easy thing to do.
The pro_cee’d is entering a market sector where there is little competition, with limited choice, so it should sell well.
Looking in my 2007 diary, and what a year.
I went on 96 planes and stayed away from home for 88 nights.
This year’s diary is already filling up with launches, events and meetings.
We also have a central diary of dates for new car launches, and again this already looks more than last year, and we thought it couldn’t get any busier.
We will endeavour to get information in as early as possible to ensure our customers get it on time.