The 2012 Ford Focus has been given a revolutionary new petrol engine. Revolutionary because of the numbers involved just 1.0 litre and three cylinders, 56.5mpg and 114g/km of CO2.
Not only is the Focus Ecoboost engine small and economical, but a turbocharger means its no underpowered eco-special. We tested the 123bhp version, although theres also a 99bhp variant that manages 58.9mpg and 109g/km.
Expect to see a lot more of this 1.0 Ecoboost engine, too. Itll go into the C-Max and Grand C-Max MPVs later this year, along with the B-Max thats due in September. Its a safe bet that itll also appear in the face-lifted Fiesta in the autumn and the new Mondeo in spring 2013.
Whats the 2012 Focus 1.0 Ecoboost like to drive?
Sensational. Leave your preconceptions about a Focus with such a small engine at the drivers door, because a short drive is all youll need to realise that this superb unit is more than up to the job.
The first thing thatll strike you is how quiet the engine is. Start it and its barely audible. Rev it and theres an appealing thrum, but it stays in the background. Its wonderfully smooth, with no vibration through the pedals or steering wheel.
Even more impressively, the Focus Ecoboost manages to combine this with plenty of low-rev punch. Itll pull effortlessly from a little above idle, even in the higher gears, so you dont have to change gear constantly to keep the engine on the boil.
When you need a burst of acceleration, its up for that, too; in fact, its strong mid-range performance means youll rarely call for high revs.
The rest of the package is standard Focus, which means a slightly firm but beautifully controlled ride, agile handling and precise steering that helps make low-speed manoeuvres easy and driving on country roads reassuring.
Youll notice a little wind and road noise on the motorway, but its far from irksome.
Whats the 2012 Focus 1.0 Ecoboost like inside?
A bit of a mixed bag. Theres plenty of space in the Focus front and rear seats, and its easy to get comfortable behind the steering wheel.
There are too many buttons scattered around the dashboard, though, and some of the minor switches are tucked out of your direct line of sight. The boot is also shallow and the cabin plastics arent a patch on a VW Golfs for quality.
Should I buy one?
Yes. If you want a small family car thats fun to drive and cheap to run, this 1.0 Ecoboost is ideal. Its economical, refined, brisk, smooth and, thanks to the low CO2 emissions, cheap to tax as a private or company car.
Forget the misconception that cars this big cant cope with engines this small. They can, and this superb Focus is conclusive proof.
Read the Ford Focus review for parents at Mumsnet Cars
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