The Focus is firmly back on the future
It has been a while coming and there has been a lot of talk about it, but the new Ford Focus finally made it here late last week.
All the talk about it has been positive. And, after a short enough time behind the wheel, it was easy to see why.
On a brief but enjoyable trip in north Wicklow, in both the hatchback and saloon, the driving ability and agility shone through.
The taut chassis and tight handling do set it apart, but I also think it looks an awful lot better than the old one -- though the first incarnation still retains a classic profile.
The saloon is now really smart looking, and represents perhaps the biggest visual advance on the old one.
The cabin is simple, uncluttered and comfortable with the dash and instrumentation unobtrusive, especially the latter, which is quite discreet.
They are at pains to point out a raft of new 'smart' technologies, claiming most are in a small-family car for the first time.
Among them is a system called Active City Stop, that automatically stops the car if it is involved in a low-speed collision.
And Auto-Start-Stop which shuts down the engine as soon as the car is in neutral and static for 0.5 seconds.
And Torque Vectoring Control which significantly improves cornering -- because the car 'reads' the road 100 times a second to give more grip and precise handling. The engine line-up comprises: 1.6 TDCi diesel (95PS and 115PS) Auto-Start-Stop, Band A; 1.6 VCT petrol (105PS and 125PS) Band B; and 2-litre TDCi diesel (115PS) 6spd Powershift automatic, Band B.
Standard equipment includes electric front windows, electric door mirrors, ESP with traction assist; body coloured bumpers, mirrors and spoiler (5dr), stereo radio/CD with USB connectivity and capless refuelling.
The Edge spec adds air con, remote audio controls on steering wheel, electric/heated door mirrors and comfort front seats.
Up next is the Zetec spec, which adds 16-inch 5x2 alloys; front fogs, Quickclear windscreen; sports-tuned suspension; sports-style front seats. driver lumbar support, centre console with arm rest and Z-design handbrake.
And finally there is the top-of-range Titanium, which packs in cruise control with automatic speed limiter, 16-inch 10x2 alloys, dual-zone electronic temperature control, automatic wipers and lights and hill-start assist.
Worth waiting for, I think.