Our cars: Ford Focus 1.0T Ecoboost - March
Week ending March 27
Driven this week 258 miles
Ford Focus review
I think I’ve got to the bottom of why the Focus is tricky to drive smoothly at low speeds.
The engine’s shortage of power just above idle doesn’t help, and neither does the slightly slow throttle response, but the biggest issue is the clutch pedal.
Lift your foot off it and the pedal stays put for a split second, then moves upwards. This means that, until you’re used to it, you can be pressing the accelerator while the clutch is still disengaging, which makes you sound like an incompetent driver and can make the car stutter.
It’s annoying, but seeing as the car is due a service in 1800 miles, I’ll ask for the clutch to be looked at then.
Week ending March 22
Driven this week 269 miles
Only one thing really bugs me about our long-term Focus – the clunky mobile phone-inspired infotainment system.
For starters, most of the buttons used to control it look identical, so I find it tricky to work out which one to press without studying them carefully. Even when I do manage to identify the one I want, it’s not that simple to hit it cleanly because everything is so close together.
To make matters worse, you have to scroll through the clunky on-screen menus using a direction pad, similar to that found on a TV remote control; there’s no touch-screen or rotary dial.
The good news is that stepping up to Titanium trim gets you a much more user-friendly Sony system. The upgraded device is far from perfect – there are some oddly shaped buttons and you still have to make do with a direction pad control – but at least the buttons are more sensibly spaced.
Better still, the Sony system has a smart piano black finish around the buttons, which gives a welcome lift to the Focus’s otherwise cheap-looking cabin.
By Will Nightingale
Week ending March 15
Current mileage 10,167
Miles driven this week 260
Fuel range read-outs are usually pessimistic, so you can often go farther than they say you can. Rashly, I decided to test how far I could go in the Focus after its fuel range had dropped to 0.
I'd been driving particularly economically since I'd last filled the car, but this was different: I drove as gently and smoothly as possible, didn't rev the engine above 2000rpm and kept my speed low. After 22 miles, the pressure got to me and I pulled into a petrol station to fill up.
The 55-litre fuel tank took only 51.2 litres, though, so I could have stuck it out for another 30 miles or so. Still, I'll know for next time.
Week ending March 1
Current mileage 9626
Miles driven this week 536
The Focus was excellent on a trip to see my girlfriend's parents last weekend. It was stable, refined and comfortable on the Friday afternoon dash from Middlesex to Devon, so we arrived after three and a half hours feeling pretty fresh.
After a particularly cold Sunday morning walk on Dartmoor, we felt more frigid than fresh, so were grateful that the Focus's cabin warms up quickly. The boot lip is also the ideal height to perch on while taking off your walking boots, and anything that saves you precious seconds is a godsend when it's freezing outside.
The Focus shone on the moor for different reasons, too – it's fantastic on twisty roads. The body is beautifully controlled and the steering is direct and offers good feel, yet there's enough suppleness in the suspension to take the sting out of bumps. Whether you're having some fun on an empty stretch of road, threading the car down a narrow hedge-lined lane or just cruising along and admiring the scenery, the Focus is nigh-on perfect.
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