Quality equipment levels are very high

I wasn’t sure about the new Ford Focus when I first saw it. It was bigger than I was expecting and the price tag seemed to belong to car from the class above.

Wednesday, 18th January 2012, 8:46 am

Funny how things grow on you, though, and now I’ve had a chance to live with the 1.6 EcoBoost model for a month, I like the way it looks (well, apart from the rather lurid green our example’s finished in) and I’m even more impressed with the way it drives.

There are a couple of gripes but I’ll come to those in a moment.

Well, all I can say is ‘if only’.

Now I know that, in real world conditions, few cars ever replicate their ‘official combined’ fuel figures, but I’ve constantly been surprised by how much unleaded I’ve had to pour into the Focus on my 3-mile commute to the office.

However light-footed I try to be, the best return I’ve seen on the trip computer is 37mpg.

I suspect it would do a bit better on a longer trip, but even so...

Still, that’s my only real gripe so far.

Another advantage of the sporty-yet-green design is that it hasn’t been given a rock hard suspension setup which means that comfort and refinement are excellent.

The seating position is a little lower than in the previous Focus, which is good, but the sharply-raked windscreen pillars are bulkier than I’d like.

I’m really pleased with the quality of the interior, too.

I remember the old Focus wasn’t too hot when it came to build and finish but this one is much, much better – almost as good as a Golf. But more stylish.

The centre console looks busy but it’s fairly easy to figure everything out quickly and the Sony stereo is a very classy touch.

Equipment levels are generous in this Titanium model which, as well as the torque vectoring, gets features such as ESP stability control, a heated windscreen, keyless start, hill start assist and a premium Sony stereo.

And some of the options fitted to our car are the sort of thing that would have been the preserve of flagship supersaloons not so long ago.

I’ve only recently plucked up the courage to try out the park assist system, which guides you into a parking space, but it works brilliantly.

It’s still freaky to watch the steering wheel twirling away all by itself, though.

Then there are the five systems that use a set of inbuilt cameras clustered just behind the rear view mirror. They’re called Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Aid, Driver Alert, Traffic Sign Recognition, and Auto High Beam.

In a Focus? Amazing.