Ford Focus 2.0 TDCi 140 driven
* Smooth diesel engine and good kit * 56.5mpg, 129g/km CO2 * Discounts to be slashed...
Ford has embarked on an ambitious three-year programme to improve the resale values of its cars.
As a result, it's cutting showroom discounts, trying to control the sale of nearly new vehicles and selling cars only in specs that it knows will be popular with used buyers.
As a result, a lot of work has gone into getting the new Ford Focus editions right.
Only the lowest-powered petrol and two lowest-powered diesels are available in the entry-level Edge trim, because Ford knows that used buyers looking for a bargain will consider them, particularly with generous standard kit such as DAB radio, Bluetooth, USB connectivity and stability control.
In contrast, the 138bhp 2.0 TDCi diesel that we drove is available in Zetec and Titanium spec only, the mid-points in the range, which will account for more than 70% of all new Focus sales between them. It's going to be a popular engine choice, so Ford is insisting you buy it with the sort of standard kit that will keep resale values high.
Zetec adds alloy wheels, a Quickclear heated front windscreen, leather-trimmed steering wheel and front foglamps. Titanium cars get keyless start, dual climate control, automatic lights and windscreen wipers, and cruise control.
What's it like to drive?
Drive the car and it's easy to understand why it's expected to be so popular. The engine is willing and reasonably refined, providing decent pace at low revs and having enough punch to aid overtaking if you extend it. All this, and economy remains good: it averages 56.5mpg and emits 129g/km of CO2 when linked to the manual gearbox that we drove it with.
The handling is sweet although perhaps not quite as engaging as in the lower powered Ecoboost petrol we also drove on this test and the gearbox slick and brakes progressive.
Wind-, road- and engine noise are all subdued well. The cabin is comfortable and engaging, if not as classy as a Golf's. On the optional 18-inch wheels the ride is firm, and will be too jiggly for some, but it does settle larger bumps well, and the pay-off is that sporty driving appeal.
However, before committing to this engine, buyers do need to weigh up their options, because there's also a 161bhp 2.0 diesel engine available in top-spec Titanium X trim only for those who want more performance. Although this engine is 23bhp more powerful at 161bhp, there is no sacrifice in terms of economy or emissions.
The 138bhp diesel starts from 19,495 in Zetec trim and 20,745 in Titanium. The 161bhp diesel costs from 22,745, for which you get the added performance plus the addition of kit such as part-leather seats, a powered driver's seat, and bi-xenon headlights.
For most buyers, and especially company car leasers, the 138bhp diesel will deliver more than enough performance. However if you want that little bit extra, the higher-powered car is worth considering especially if Ford achieves its goals because you'll get more cash back when you come to sell.
What Car? says