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Old 08-14-2003, 06:06   #1 (permalink)
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U.K.:Focus gets LPG and sporty diesel power

Channel4.com
13/8/2003

Ford is launching two new Focus models, the Focus Bi-fuel with a 1.8-litre 115bhp petrol/LPG engine and a limited-edition TDCi Sport.

The Bi-fuel features Ford's own factory-fitted LPG (liquid petroleum gas) system, and comes with a three-year/60,000-mile warranty as usual. The system has been engineered by Ford with significant engine modifications over the standard 1.8-litre petrol unit, including hardened valve seats and unique spark plugs, and has been fully crash-tested. Its LPG fuel tank is located in the spare wheel well, with a tyre repair kit provided instead of a fifth wheel, so boot space is little affected.

Dealers within the M25 area are reporting particular demand for this model, as alternative-fuel vehicles are exempt from the 5 London congestion charge, as well as attracting favourable company car tax costs. The Focus Bi-fuel returns 26.9mpg, which doesn't sound particularly economical compared to the 51.4mpg of the TDCi (which also develops 115bhp), but LPG fuel is taxed at a much lower rate than either diesel or petrol, and tax rates have been frozen now until next year. The bi-fuel system is a 2000 option, bringing the price of the model up to 15,000, but 70 percent of the premium (1,191) is refundable via the Government's Powershift scheme, which encourages people to buy alternative-fuel vehicles. Ford now offers around 40 LPG-equipped models; bi-fuel versions now account for 2 percent of its car sales and 4 percent of commercial vehicle purchases.

The Focus TDCi Sport, however, may well be more appealing. Besides its 51.4mpg fuel economy, its specification includes 17-inch seven-spoke alloy wheels, part-leather upholstery, front sports driving lamps, air conditioning, remote central locking and traction control. Its 115bhp 1.8-litre diesel engine develops 207lb ft of torque, accelerating the TDCi from 0-60mph in 10.8 seconds and up to a top speed of 120mph. Available in three- or five-door form, prices start from 14,995.
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