I was pissed when my PR dodo told me he arranged a test-drive during my self-imposed break from road tests. It didn’t help matters when he said the only car he managed to get was a Ford Focus. I went and picked it up today, with a minor confusion as Ford and Jaguar/Land Rover are separating their offices, for obvious reasons. On top of that, the tester turned out to be the 1.6-litre version, instead of the larger-engined one. However, it is in Ghia trim, with upgraded 16-inch wheels and 205/55 tyres. After taking it away and pulling it through some corners, it just confirmed my previous beliefs — that the Focus has the best ride/handling balance in the history of compact economy cars.
While I’ll reserve the actual driving experience for the actual road-test article, I’ll just point out some things which instantly caught my attention this morning.
The a/c is rather unremarkable, and I felt uneasy enough to stop and buy a drink, only to realise that the Focus has no real cup-holders. Simply accelerating hard is enough to spill your Bebzi.
Notice the rear legroom, which is just enough actually, but nowhere near what the Civic and the Corolla offers. Also notice the shallow rear cup-holders, and the funny storage spaces in the centre-armrest and under the seat.
Cargo room is pretty good, and the hatchback offers flexibility for tall items. The orange thing is a bag containing a fire extinguisher. Our tester also came with 3M tint.
While checking out the tyres, I realised the rear has cheap drum brakes. Hopefully the higher models get rear discs.
Last but not least, there is a weird thick credit-card-sized stereo controller behind the steering wheel, which doesn’t help reduce the number of buttons spread about the dashboard.
You may have seen TV ads for the Focus on MBC channels (the ones where it spins out and crashes, of all things), but the real deal really is fun to drive, if you get up to speed in time. Go for the 2.0-litre. More soon in the review, after I drive it over 3 days. Now I have 6 reviews pending.