Ford Focus: Company maths

  • Is the Ford Focus a good choice as a company car?
  • Our company car tax calculator does the hard work for you
  • Could, however, the 2.0-litre diesel version be a better bet?

When it comes to picking a company car, the monthly cost is usually the most important factor.

Working out company car tax can be a bit of a chore, although not overly complicated if you've a pen, paper and calculator to hand.

Fortunately, to simplify the process, Parkers offers an automated company car tax calculator. All you have to do is pick the required options from the drop-down menus and, voila, you'll be presented with the monthly cost of whichever car you're interested in.

My Focus is a 2010/60 registered 115bhp 1.6-litre TDCi Titanium model. The Parkers company car tax calculator shows that, for the 2011/12 tax years, I’d pay either £43 per month on the basic 20% rate, or £86 per month on the higher rate 40% band. Earn £35,000 or less and you pay the 20% rate, over that and you pay the 40% rate.

These figures are negating options, and based on a P11D value of £19,970 for the Focus. That's the list price of the car, including VAT, any options, delivery charges, but not the car's first registration fee or its annual road tax.

An equivalent Volkswagen Golf, such as the 1.6-litre TDi Match, costs £41 or £83 a month. That’s based on a P11D value of £19,840.

Alternatives like the Vauxhall Astra 1.7-litre CDTi 16V ecoFlex Exclusiv, with 125bhp, would cost £43 or £85 a month. That's with a P11D value of £19,675.

So, as you can see, they’re all much the same in terms of company car tax. The Astra doesn't come with as much kit, and the Golf looks a little drab. Logically, I'd take the Focus.

As always, however, there’s something niggling away in the back of my mind. The more powerful 2.0-litre diesel Focus, which has a P11D value of £20,790, costs £66 or £132 a year in company car tax.

Now, over the course of a year, that’s a difference of £276 or £552 compared to the 1.6-litre diesel - depending on which tax band you fall into.

Obviously that’s quite a substantial amount of money, especially if you’re in the higher tax rate band. The 1.6-litre version will also potentially be fractionally more economical, and slightly cheaper to maintain.

I would, however, be inclined to pay the premium. The only issue I really have with my Focus is its slightly lacklustre 1.6-litre diesel. It’s just about adequate but the lack of low-down pulling power can tire sometimes, particularly when overtaking or moving off from junctions.

The 2.0-litre version is much more flexible, and as a result more relaxing to drive. That’s an important fact to consider if you’re going to be doing lots of driving. It'll also return similar economy figures, as it doesn't have to work as hard to keep the Focus moving along.

It’s quicker, too. Every cloud has a silver lining, and all that jazz…

Current mileage: 13,762 miles

Average mpg: 43.6mpg