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Old 10-15-2004, 07:07   #1 (permalink)
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UK:Ford Focus Ti-VCT Titanium 3Dr

Ford Focus Ti-VCT Titanium 3Dr

Auto Express
by Chris Thorp

We've poked it, prodded it, driven it in left-hand drive across Europe and seen how it compares to top-class rivals - but now Auto Express has brought the Focus to the UK. In one of the first three-door 'right-hookers' to hit these shores, we have completed a gruelling test - and only now can we judge whether Ford's new family star really makes the grade here in Britain.

As well as our usual thorough first drive assessment, we put together a series of tough challenges for the new Focus to rate its practicality, refinement, handling and economy here in the UK, where it matters most - see how we did this on Page 26. Subjected to all the rigours of British motoring, has the Focus got the mettle to follow its top-selling predecessor - or will it prove to be a bit of a disappointment?

With the previous-generation Focus offering hot hatch handling no matter what was under the bonnet, expectations are predictably high for the new variant. As a result, it's no surprise that the first part of our test was conducted from the driver's seat.

The good news is that despite the extra challenges presented by the UK's winding, potholed tarmac, Ford's high dynamic standards have been maintained. With immense front-end grip, the Focus is capable of carrying plenty of speed through corners, and has a superbly balanced chassis. Diehard fans will miss the pin-sharp steering and lively characteristics of the outgoing version, but the extra maturity and composure offered by the new model make this Focus a more complete package.

Tackle a long motorway journey and the car really comes into its own. Thicker glass and greater sound deadening make the interior quieter, while the suspension smooths out even the worst UK road surfaces. Our model was powered by Ford's all-new 113bhp 1.6 Ti-VCT (Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing) petrol engine, which replaces the current 1.8. Easily the most advanced petrol unit in the range, the four-cylinder motor boasts 14bhp more than the conventional 1.6, but is claimed to return a five per cent improvement in fuel economy, resulting in 43.8mpg in the combined cycle - although we only managed 32.7mpg. Our only complaint with the new powerplant is its lacklustre performance at low revs. With the peak torque of 155Nm not arriving until 4,150rpm, the engine needs revving to get the best from it. Ford's official figures suggest 0-62mph takes 10.8 seconds, and the unit felt every bit as quick as that on a private test track.

But the blue oval hasn't forgotten what compact family cars are about. While the five-door is the better choice for buyers who carry adults in the back, the three-door is still spacious enough, and offers impressive boot space. The materials used are also of a higher quality than those in the outgoing model, while the cabin is more comfortable.

So has Ford created the perfect compact hatchback? Almost. When it comes to the styling, the Focus is something of a letdown. It immediately blends anonymously into the British traffic, and although the three-door is undoubtedly the sportier of the two, it still appears bland from many angles.

Go for this top-of-the-range Titanium model and you get 17-inch alloys, which provide some visual impact - but the price is likely to be a turn-off. In three-door form, this Focus will cost £14,925, although it comes with standard equipment including part leather-seats and air-con. Opt for basic trim and the Ford offers far better value.

There's no doubt the UK offers a unique set of challenges to any new car, but the Focus answers most of them comprehensively and is sure to be a hit.

First Opinion
Focus owners used to be jealous of the VW Golf's solid build and engineering, even though the Ford was better to drive. But they won't be any longer. Some of the original's chassis dynamics have been lost and the new design is unadventurous, but the car has matured in every other area - proving itself to be a winner in the UK.

At a Glance
* Focus three-door, five-door and estate on sale in January
* Saloon out in spring; CC in 2006











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Old 10-15-2004, 07:22   #2 (permalink)
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Re: UK:Ford Focus Ti-VCT Titanium 3Dr

Well i might be the first one to say it but... I prefer the look of my focus compared to that one....

It just seems really bland... But maybe if they stuck a engine bonet scoop on it???
Ford Australia listening to me?

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Old 10-15-2004, 14:36   #3 (permalink)
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Re: UK:Ford Focus Ti-VCT Titanium 3Dr

Wow, those seats look mad comfortable!

I like the look of the car myself, with a fat set of mags, custom front bar, I'll have a turbo diesel please....

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Old 10-16-2004, 16:10   #4 (permalink)
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Re: UK:Ford Focus Ti-VCT Titanium 3Dr

Looks awesome on the inside now, unlike the current model which is decidely bleck in comparison. The outside on the base models now looks a bit boring now though, which is a real shame. I think I'd be in the market for a upspec or ST model should I buy one.
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Old 10-16-2004, 17:30   #5 (permalink)
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Re: UK:Ford Focus Ti-VCT Titanium 3Dr

Yep gimmie a TDCi !.. if only they had them here !

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Old 10-16-2004, 17:48   #6 (permalink)
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Re: UK:Ford Focus Ti-VCT Titanium 3Dr

to me it seems alot like the new astra??? think I will have to see it in the flesh when it arrives and see what a bodykit and 17' mags do for it....I dont think it looks like bad car mind you, just looks like an astra...
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Old 10-16-2004, 23:18   #7 (permalink)
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Re: UK:Ford Focus Ti-VCT Titanium 3Dr

Hmm i think that is what i was trying to say without saying the "A" word...

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Old 10-17-2004, 01:06   #8 (permalink)
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Re: UK:Ford Focus Ti-VCT Titanium 3Dr

Let me critically analyse this article... My personal opinion and anyone is entitled to disagree

Ford Focus Ti-VCT Titanium 3Dr

Diehard fans will miss the pin-sharp steering and lively characteristics of the outgoing version,
(Do they get any more Diehard than me? I want my current steering, it's the BEST feature of the car!!!)

but the extra maturity and composure offered by the new model make this Focus a more complete package.
(yawn)

make the interior quieter,
(great, now it's turning into a grandpa car.. j/k, that's a good thing actually)

Our only complaint with the new powerplant is its lacklustre performance at low revs.
(Where have I heard that before? If releasing the car here with too little power was bad, can Ford accidentally OVER tune the first 1000 and give one to Wheels? I'll take another...)

When it comes to the styling, the Focus is something of a letdown. It immediately blends anonymously into the British traffic, and although the three-door is undoubtedly the sportier of the two, it still appears bland from many angles. (So it's either too much or not enough. Why can't people stop criticising the bloody thing and just like it?!!! Talk about Tall poppy syndrome.)

Go for this top-of-the-range Titanium model and you get 17-inch alloys, which provide some visual impact - but the price is likely to be a turn-off. In three-door form, this Focus will cost ?14,925, although it comes with standard equipment including part leather-seats and air-con. Opt for basic trim and the Ford offers far better value. (As long as it doesn't cost $51700 like the top of the range Golf. If you'd pay $51k for a Golf then can I please come and mow your lawns for $350 an hour? Sounds a fair compromise...)

There's no doubt the UK offers a unique set of challenges to any new car, but the Focus answers most of them comprehensively and is sure to be a hit (Hmmmm but isn't the current model a hit in the UK too??!!!)

First Opinion
Focus owners used to be jealous of the VW Golf's solid build and engineering, even though the Ford was better to drive. ( but as for the build quality, rattles just add character and personality)

But they won't be any longer. Some of the original's chassis dynamics have been lost and the new design is unadventurous, (just bloody brilliant, the major two reasons I bought my car over the others)

but the car has matured in every other area - proving itself to be a winner in the UK. Again, I remain sceptical. I don't toss for success in the UK, I want success here.

OK So all the smartarse comments aside, sounds like the next model might have lost a little of the spark that makes the current model an absolute honey of a drive and makes those who actually buy one, LOVE it to death. The problem is, (not that it's a problem for Ford) by dulling it down and softening the styling, looks like the muppets out there might actually start buying them and them becoming the new "oooh it's SO European, What great fuel economy..." Corolla-esque vomit. If I see another Toyota ad trying to portray a blatantly boring Japanese car claiming it's "SO European" simply because Mr CEO's twice removed dog's third nephew has a friend who saw a postcard from Rome and it was 5km away from th Design Studio at the time... I will deadset scream!!!

I propose a couple of new ads for the car... mainly one showing the new Focus sitting there and a couple of bimbos walking up and going ga ga over it with the driver being some good looking bloke (I'd put up my hand but I'd fail on the test)
"Ooh it's so European"
Bloke says - "aah yeah that's because it's actually designed, tested and honestly built in Europem unlike other cars that claim to be European..

"But I bet it's not a fuel efficient as mine..." (bimbo grins)
Oh Really? Didn't know that the new Turbo Diesel will pull 800km on a full tank?

It's not an imitator. I wanted a reliable car that had a strong sales history and was the best one I could find. But beyond the reliability, I also wanted strong build quality, good looks, great space and comes from a company that actually knows how to make a car handle better than a matchbox car. Why buy a good car when you can have the best? Why buy an imitator when you can get the real thing?

The new Ford Focus - Get Real, Get a Focus

Aah if only...



I like the looks of it, and anything even remotely close to the current car in dynamics has to be good because the current Focus is STILL the class benchmark even against the Mazda 3 for handling and ride, if not for power/engine performance. I am just a little cynical because now my beloved baby has lost it's difference, the reason people look at it because it's different
and now I'm seeing it possibly be a little duller, a little softer around the edges. I think the whole maturation process is great, I just want to be sure that when the car comes out in Australia that it's not only as good a drive, but a BETTER drive than the current one. That doesn't involve much at all, The CL/Zetec/ST suspensions were brilliant and didn't need to be changed and the steering was literally out of this world. I just hope it doesn't get dumbed down like the styling - the intersting thing being that taking away the polarising factors will probably mean that it'll sell really well, as long as the price is right. We've all seen those shots of the Red Focus with the twin exhaust outlet and that looked absolutely gorgeous. But I just hope it is able to leave a current MKI Focus for dead on the road, or at least give it a run for it's money.

Being passionate means I'll either love or hate something, agree or disagree and be liked or disliked but all I know is that I love my current Focus and the way it drives and am looking forward to driving the next model equivalent (Zetec) to what I'm used to to see just how good it really is.
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