Our cars: Ford Focus - January 2012
Week ending January 27
Driven this week 159 miles
Three days away, two adults, one baby... and no rear visibility.
The Focus's boot was overwhelmed by the travelling needs of Junior, and the parcel shelf had to be removed on a weekend away.
I'm expecting that as he grows the amount of kit he needs will shrink, and maybe our packing skills will improve. We live in hope.
Ford Focus review
Week ending January 20
Driven this week 447 miles
Of all our Ford’s myriad gizmos, one which really stands out is the DAB radio. This enlivens journeys that would otherwise be at the mercy of a lucky dip of local stations.
Once you have pre-set your favourite 10 stations, it is easy to scroll between them using the car's steering wheel-mounted controls. Having enjoyed the luxury of the Focus’s access-all-areas reception so far, it will be unthinkable to go back to plain old AM and FM.
DAB is an option I would always pay for in the future; happily I haven’t had to in the Focus because Ford fits it as standard across the range.
Week ending January 13
Driven this week: 68 miles
On maternity leave you can sometimes feel like you're somewhat out of the loop. But even I was surprised to find the speed limit in a built-up area had been changed from 30 to 80mph, or so indicated my Focus's road sign recognition system.
Before I found myself with a ban for speeding, I asked my local dealer what could be amiss. 'If a speed sign is not clearly visible to the car's camera or even is obscured by a branch, the system takes a good guess at the shapes it's picking up,' he told me.
Which is why 80 becomes 30. I've also had a 120mph sign displayed, which is even more amusing. But the joke could wear thin if you trust the system and end up doing 50 in a 30 zone.
Week ending January 6
Driven this week: 55 miles
I had to pay a visit to Dagenham Motors in Thames Ditton, Surrey, because the Focus’s stop-start system had, well, stopped.
The manual says rather vaguely that the system will not activate ‘at low temperatures’ but it’s been unseasonably warm in London over Christmas.
After it was checked over I was told that there was nothing wrong with it, but that the system will shut down if there are other heavy drains on the battery, such as the heating or air-con being used continuously, or even if the lights have been on.
So, it seems it doesn’t work when it’s dark or cold, making it pretty redundant in a normal British winter.
Maybe this explains why the Focus’s fuel figures are so poor. I am still struggling to break through the 35mpg barrier in a car that Ford claims will average over 47mph.