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Right at the heart of Ford in Europe is the Focus which was originally designed by the company’s German and British teams and it has enjoyed huge success since it was launched on the European scene in 1998. The Focus succeeded the Escort, which was another major success for Ford, not just for the everyday motorist but it enjoyed success after success in competition on the rally stage and circuit racing and various other forms of motor sport.

Throughout its relatively short history, I have been able to test drive all the various models to wear the Focus badge right up to the latest model which in my book sets new standards in terms of build and drive quality. You may well ask the question is this the best Focus to date? Yes, I firmly can give it my vote after having spent a week behind the wheel of a Titanium X. The new model with its clean lines adopts a different style from the previous model and for the design and engineering team it surely is a bold step to bring something fresh to the market to follow on from the success enjoyed by previous generations of the Focus.

Once again, I am reporting on a small capacity engine which never fails to amaze me. Powering my test car was a one litre EcoBoost with a power output of 125PS, enough to take this Focus to 100kph (62mph) in ten seconds and on to a top speed of 199kph (124mph) where legal to do so. The good news comes with the low emission figure, 111g/km and it is lowering emissions that have become the goal of most manufacturers. Allied to the zesty little power unit was a very slick six speed manual transmission and when it comes to such, Ford are amongst the best. Handling and comfort are key demands of the modern car and in this respect I certainly was not disappointed. The ride is firm but in no way harsh and the handling precise. Put this cocktail together with the engine and transmission and the sums add up to a very enjoyable drive experience and lets face it, that is what most of us desire from our set of wheels. With Titanium trim you get a bundle of goodies all designed to make the drive experience even more enjoyable and safe. Riding on seventeen inch alloys amongst the safety/driving aids, Pre-Collision Assist with Autonomous Emergency Braking and pedestrian/cyclist detection, post collision braking, ESP, Intelligent Speed Assist, cruise control and selectable drive modes. There is more Lane Keeping Aid with Lane Departure Warning and for those tight parking areas, front and rear parking sensors.

More and more these days, we want to keep connected and to be entertained so I enjoyed Ford’s SYNC 3 DAB Radio/Navigation with floating eight inch TFT colour touch screen, voice control, Bluetooth, Emergency Assist, two USB Ports and App Link Android Auto/Apple CarPlay. Of course there is a menu of options and my test car was something of a moving showroom with an array of goodies, my favourite the B&O sound system- simply superb. If I may highlight two other items which would be on my shopping list, a heated steering wheel and the heads up display. My test example also had two packs- Driver Assistance and Convenience. The new Focus is right up there with the best in the hatchback club and despite the current trend for buying SUVs for many a hatchback is the choice.

Ian Lynas


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