The 2012 Ford Focus has been given a revolutionary new petrol engine. Revolutionary because of the numbers involved – just 1.0 litre and three cylinders, 56.5mpg and 114g/km of CO2.
Not only is the Focus Ecoboost engine small and economical, but a turbocharger means it’s no underpowered eco-special. We tested the 123bhp version, although there’s also a 99bhp variant that manages 58.9mpg and 109g/km.
Expect to see a lot more of this 1.0 Ecoboost engine, too. It’ll go into the C-Max and Grand C-Max MPVs later this year, along with the B-Max that’s due in September. It’s a safe bet that it’ll also appear in the face-lifted Fiesta in the autumn and the new Mondeo in spring 2013.
What’s the 2012 Focus 1.0 Ecoboost like to drive?
Sensational. Leave your preconceptions about a Focus with such a small engine at the driver’s door, because a short drive is all you’ll need to realise that this superb unit is more than up to the job.
The first thing that’ll strike you is how quiet the engine is. Start it and it’s barely audible. Rev it and there’s an appealing thrum, but it stays in the background. It’s wonderfully smooth, with no vibration through the pedals or steering wheel.
Even more impressively, the Focus Ecoboost manages to combine this with plenty of low-rev punch. It’ll pull effortlessly from a little above idle, even in the higher gears, so you don’t have to change gear constantly to keep the engine on the boil.
When you need a burst of acceleration, it’s up for that, too; in fact, its strong mid-range performance means you’ll rarely call for high revs.
The rest of the package is standard Focus, which means a slightly firm but beautifully controlled ride, agile handling and precise steering that helps make low-speed manoeuvres easy and driving on country roads reassuring.
You’ll notice a little wind and road noise on the motorway, but it’s far from irksome.
What’s the 2012 Focus 1.0 Ecoboost like inside?
A bit of a mixed bag. There’s plenty of space in the Focus front and rear seats, and it’s easy to get comfortable behind the steering wheel.
There are too many buttons scattered around the dashboard, though, and some of the minor switches are tucked out of your direct line of sight. The boot is also shallow and the cabin plastics aren’t a patch on a VW Golf’s for quality.
Should I buy one?
Yes. If you want a small family car that’s fun to drive and cheap to run, this 1.0 Ecoboost is ideal. It’s economical, refined, brisk, smooth and, thanks to the low CO2 emissions, cheap to tax as a private or company car.
Forget the misconception that cars this big can’t cope with engines this small. They can, and this superb Focus is conclusive proof.
Read the Ford Focus review for parents at Mumsnet Cars
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