Our cars: Ford Focus 1.0T Ecoboost - November
Week ending November 30
Driven this week: 146 miles
It's all in the timing. As soon as the first frosts of the season arrive, my Focus is whisked away for the weekend, along with its standard heated windscreen.
A heated windscreen is one of my favourite labour-saving devices, but it's also a brilliant safety aid. Simply press the button and seconds later the screen is free from frost on the outside and condensation on the inside. There's no peeking through a slowly growing clear bit of glass for me!
Sadly, with more cold weather due this weekend, I'd better keep my scraper handy.
Week ending November 23
Current mileage 6238
Miles driven this week 533
The Focus's economy continues to disappoint. It's hovering just below 38mpg at the moment, but drops alarmingly if the smooth, quiet engine is worked hard. Economy has twice dipped below 30mpg, so it's clear that to get even half-decent figures, you need to drive the Focus slowly and carefully.
With this in mind, I decided to drive the Focus as economically as practically possible for an entire tank of fuel. Most of the miles were done on motorways and A-roads, but plenty of time was spent in town and on hilly country roads, and after 340 miles the Focus had done 42.2mpg. That's a mediocre result for what is supposed to be an impressively frugal petrol engine.
It's also proof that it's one thing to engineer an engine to be economical in a laboratory, but it's a completely different thing to get an engine to deliver good economy in the real world.
Week ending November 16
Driven this week: 594
Ford Focus review
Like most people, I tend to lock a car as I'm turning around to walk away, usually deep in thought. Thankfully, the sound of the doors locking or the flashing of the indicators tell me the car is secure. Not so in the Focus, because its doors don't always lock.
Even when I'm standing next to the car with the key in my hand, I often have to press the button two or three times before it'll work, and it's the same with both keys.
As is typical with car problems, sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't. It's not too annoying at the moment, but if it gets any worse, a trip to a dealer will be in order.
Week ending November 9
Driven this week: 361 miles
One of my bug bears in a car is an oversized, fat steering wheel that you struggle to get your fingers around – it's like gripping a piece of pipe lagging that masks any feedback.
It's your primary point of contact with any car, so one that feels comfortable and just right in your hands is important.
Happily, this is one thing that the Focus does perfectly. It's of a relatively slim diameter, has just enough padding, with a thicker, sculpted section at the ten-to-two position for your thumbs to fall on either side and for me it's just about perfect.
Week ending November 2
Driven this week: 172
Ford Focus review
The Focus is a really sweet thing to drive because its suspension strikes a great balance between comfort and composure, and most of the controls are perfectly weighted. Only the clutch irritates; the pedal tends to stick when it is fully pressed to the floor, before suddenly popping free.
This wouldn't be enough to stop me buying the car, but the fuel economy probably would. Our 1.0 Ecoboost model is currently averaging 35.9mpg (20.6mpg less than the official figure), and when I got into the car after a particularly lead-footed colleague the other day, the trip computer was showing closer to 31.
By Steve Huntingford