I had the car for a week and I was glad to get rid of it in the end.
It didn't have the performance I wanted for safe overtaking, and made lots of noise but less actual progress.
Its fuel economy seemed particularly poor for such a small modern engine. Its cabin seemed poorly put together - poorly specified and very drab inside.
It did drive well enough but the other shortcomings cannot be ignored. When you look at what Skoda can offer for similar/better money, brand snobbery may have to take a back seat.
No redeeming features spring to mind, although the colour was OK!
If this is Ford's best attempt at a modern hatchback then back to the drawing board I'm afraid.
Contrary to other peoples opinion, I find the 1600 diesel to be noisier than any other car I have driven of the same class / price range.
Fords insistance that everything is an option (even the grotty spare wheel has to be requested) means that the rough plastic interior combined with hundreds of blanking plates looks unfinished.
The ride of the vehicle is hard and with 205 tyres it follows every rut in the road at low speeds. The optional roof rack, which surprisingly is well made and reasonably priced, is terrifying to install having to take a screwdriver and dig through a layer of sealing putty in the roof trim - a job that requires great care.
Compared to any other car in the same class or price range, I think a better car can be found in many other manufacturers.
I have recently taken delivery of my new Focus 2000 Ghia and have covered about 100 miles. This car is superb, comfortable, quiet and so easy to drive.
The interior space is enormous and exterior is easy on the eye, boot space is cavernous. A lot of models in this class are all fiddly and complicated and decorated like Christmas trees, but the Focus has more style and poise.
The quality is in a different league. It seems very well put together and the whole package equals, if not beats, cars costing vastly more. The only niggle is the handbrake that is offset to the left - it's a bit strange to get used to but not a real problem.
The engine is a delight, so smooth even when pressed hard (not too hard yet). This is my third Ford Focus and I thought they would be hard act to follow, but the new Focus has moved the goal posts even further. The competition has a lot of catching up to do.
I was invited to drive this car on a Ford day and got to drive the Ghia diesel and a Zetec petrol version.
The diesel was a seriously good car. The Ghia spec (including sat-nav) was excellent with decent seats leather-covered wheel and good climate control. The gearbox was superb - very smooth and easy to use with a light clutch and the steering was very precise and light at low speed and weighted at high speed.
The brakes were a little wooden, but I expect they would be easy to get used to. The Zetec spec was less comfortable, but the driving experience was just as good, but the petrol engine needed more beans than the diesel to get things going.
Will I get one when I change cars next year? Almost certainly.
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