Our cars: Ford Focus 1.0T Ecoboost - February
Week ending February 22
Current mileage 9090
Driven this week 321 miles
The more I drive the Focus, the more I love the way it handles, rides and steers.
I took the long route home last night, just so I could drive on a particularly bumpy, twisty and undulating road. I'm glad I did because the Focus was brilliant fun.
The body is beautifully controlled and the steering is direct and offers good feel, yet there's enough suppleness to keep the wheels in contact with the road. 'Composed' sums it up pretty neatly.
It's this combination of control and comfort that so few cars offer, and what sets the Focus apart from pretty much all other small family cars when it comes to enjoyment on one road and relaxation on another.
Week ending February 15
Current mileage 8769
Driven this week 139 miles
The Focus is great to drive; it's agile and responsive when you're in the mood for some fun, yet comfortable and refined when you're not. Things are pretty rosy from the driver's point of view, then.
Not everything is quite as good as it could be, though. I blame the fiddly controls. Even after six months with the car, I still have to take my eyes off the road for too long when using the centre console buttons. You see, there are nearly 30 to choose from, including four that do different things depending on what the screen at the top of the dashboard is showing. It's not particularly easy to use when the car is stationary, let alone when you're driving.
My Zetec-trimmed Focus has the 'basic' dashboard, with its mobile phone-inspired collection of buttons. The thing is, even going up to Titanium trim and above doesn't help much. Although this brings a smart gloss-black Sony stereo, it swaps the awkwardly arranged controls for a selection of tiny buttons, and you still need to look at the screen to see what several of them do.
Week ending February 8
Current mileage 8630
Miles driven this week: 211
I usually spend my commute up and down the M3 motorway in a BMW 3 Series Coupe, which has bright white xenon headlights as standard.
Earlier this week, though, I borrowed our long-term Focus which, in Zetec trim, gets halogen headlight bulbs as standard. I accept that I may have been dazzled by the brilliance of my BMW's lights, but the Focus's seem particularly yellow by comparison.
There's nothing wrong with the way they illuminate the road, though, with a good spread of light, but I did notice something quite odd on my drive home. When it's pitch black, the lights tend to highlight the spray kicked up by cars ahead of you. It's almost as if you're driving through patchy fog, and I found it hugely distracting.
Week ending February 1
Current mileage 8419
Miles driven this week 318
Naturally, as soon as I wrote last week about how good the digital radio reception is in my Focus, the signal started cutting out.
It got so bad on a journey to work recently that I had to change to FM, which I've hardly listened to since I got the car in July.
At least the problem seems to have been easily sorted. The car had been through an automatic car wash the day before, so I checked that the aerial was properly screwed in and, hey presto, the DAB radio reception has been spot-on ever since.