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For the latest in a long line of hire cars I was presented with the 5 door, 1.6 ltr hatchback. At first impression it isn't too bad, very ordinary to look at but it's a Ford, so what do you expect?
The boot space is adequate, but marred by the awkward lip, which seems to be a Ford hallmark. With a little juggling I was able to get all my tools and spares in.
It is pleasant to drive but unremarkable performance. I often feel that I am driving in third gear when in reality I'm in fifth. It will park in a fairly tight space but you have to be careful as the rear view mirror is deceiving when trying to judge distances. There is a lot of unnecessary road noise which gets annoying on a longer run. Some extra soundproofing would be very useful.
Stowage is quite poor, the door pockets are small and oddly shaped, making it hard to get road books and paperwork stowed safely.
Seating is fairly good, the drivers seat supports the back well and is quite adjustable, unlike the horrible one in my last car, the Vauxhall Vextra estate, which I handed back after a day.
Being a petrol engine the economy isn't great. If I drive very carefully I can achieve around 38 mpg, which in this age is nothing to celebrate. when you consider that the Citroen Xsara Picasso diesel gave me 56 + mpg, performed better, and was more roomy and comfortable, the Ford needs to improve, especially as it is more expensive to buy.
I found the light switch a bit quirky, if you turn it two clicks to the right it brings on the headlights. Pull and turn again brings on the foglights. return it to the vertical and pull again, turning to the left and you will activate the parking lights. totally pointless and a great way to inadvertently flatten the battery overnight.
Good points? The level of equipment is pretty good, the radio is adequate and the on board computer, once you learn its quirky ways, gives a fair amount of useful information. There are plenty of them on the road so you should never need to wait for tyres or spares.
As for a buying recommendation, I would say get one if you want a medium sized car at a decent second hand price and aren't too fussed about carrying loads, looking cool or travelling great distances.
I've always heard good things about focus's test drove the ST model and wow now thats a car!
Focus's are well known for handling well tbh maybe fuel economy was bad because it's a hire car and had a life of abuse and needs a service :-)
plod591 20.04.2008 13:03
has your company heard of Skoda ? Great value for money and you'd certainly get all your stuff in, the new models have even more space and are much cheaper than rivals :>)