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Focus estate completes the perfect line-up, writes Ian Mallon

THERE are some things in life that you just don't expect to happen.

Ireland winning the away leg of a playoff by four goals, RTE stars claiming they cannot pay their mortgages and serial killer Malcolm MacArthur bumping into David McWilliams on a busy street ... just some of those unbelievables that happened last week.

But the biggest surprise of all was driving around in a Ford Focus feeling like I was at the wheel of a station wagon.

A Ford Focus estate, now that would be unbelievable and what would be the point?

Well, for a start it's completely true, and as I discovered there are plenty of points in its favour.



SUCCESS



The Wagon is the final piece of the jigsaw in the new Focus range and it rounds off one of the great success stories of the year.

I've already harped on about just how exciting the latest generation Focus looks, feels and performs.

It is a terrific tribute to a model that has been setting the world ablaze since its launch more than a decade ago.

The new load lugger and more so its fellow models, the hatch and saloon, will have established the Focus as the top selling car in 2011.

The Wagon though is a bit like a Focus and a half.

Take all the excellent features from the range and throw in a cracking amount of space and you could well have the perfect reasonably priced car.

All this room comes from a versatile load capacity of 1,516 litres of space - ensuring that the Focus range now has a model to suit every type of buyer.

Eddie Murphy, chairman and chief executive of Ford Ireland summed this up when he described the latest member of the family.

"We are delighted with the new Focus Wagon, it is an all round great package with lots of space and of course, it has the great driveability that we have come to expect from the Focus," said Mr Murphy, like a proud father at the birth of his child.

What will be interesting for Ford will be how the Focus-loving punter will react in a country which doesn't have a very traditional estate-buying market.

In Germany, by contrast, 70pc of Focus sales are accounted for in the estate model.

The new carriage is available with a 1.6 litre petrol or diesel engine and a 2.0 litre diesel auto.

The 1.6 litre diesel has CO2 emissions of 117g/km, placing the car in the lowest priced tax band A, while the 1.6 litre petrol and 2.0 litre automatic powertrains fall into tax band B (136g/km and 139g/km) respectively.



VERSATILITY



"We are a long way off our continental cousins' love of estates or wagons, but there is evidence of a growing interest in Ireland in these models for the extra versatility that they can provide, in particular for families," concluded Murphy.

The Ford Focus Wagon starts at €21,925.


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