Ford Focus (14-): First 1,000 miles

  • Our first foray out in the Focus
  • Technical hitches don’t dampen experience
  • For a brand new car, fuel economy is great

I’m 1,000 miles into my time with the Parkers Ford Focus, which is just long enough to burn through few tanks of diesel, get the car dirty and report my first impressions.

It started well. Though it’s a little muckier now, when this car arrived it was immaculate. I was expecting a grey diesel with all of the monotony that implies, but actually, I think it’s really smart. That grille looks so good with the rest of the Focus’s lines and the 18-inch alloys match well too.

The problem is that they also detract a little from what is in general a seriously comfortable car. They introduce a very slight bumpiness to the ride when travelling over rough surfaces. But it’s not the end of the world by any stretch, and I’m more than happy to make the sacrifice. Let’s be clear: it’s nowhere near as bad as my previous long-term test car and actually it’s still one of the most comfortable cars I’ve had during my time at Parkers.

It’s a problem when a car is as proficient as the Focus, you see. Picking faults can be a real challenge. Take the engine, for example. It’s a 1.5-litre diesel, which sounds mind-numbingly boring, but it’s a great thing to drive and I’ve not even run it in properly yet. The surprising thing is how responsive it feels, with next to no lag when you push the accelerator and a healthy dose of torque. Appealingly, it’s also telling me it’s doing over 50mpg too, which is always a good thing.

But while we’re talking about niggles, I have to mention the rear doors. Well, not the doors themselves, but the door edge protectors. This £85 optional extra prevents you damaging the paint or your car and also anyone you’ve parked next to by deploying soft plastic to cover the door’s extremities.

Unfortunately since the rear doors are small and light, it’ll sometimes retract fractionally slower than the door shuts, meaning the door doesn’t terminate properly. You don’t notice until you’ve got in, put your seatbelt on and fired the car up, and it’s doubly annoying when it’s lashing down with rain.

I’m hoping it snows instead, actually. This is the best-prepared car I’ve ever run for winter motoring. I’m totally intoxicated by its heated seat/steering wheel/windscreen cocktail and have no idea how I went through life before I discovered it.

OK, so that might be dressing up my enthusiasm a touch, but it’s great when it’s cold. All three warmed components operate very quickly too, so there’s not much in the way of sitting there shivering of a morning.

As you can probably tell, I like gadgets, so unfortunately for me, for the first few hundred miles the SYNC2 multimedia system didn’t function correctly. It would connect to stream music from my mobile, but the telephone function didn’t operate at all and no amount of Googling or reading the manual brought me any closer to fixing it. Then, out of the blue, I pushed the Power-on button on a Saturday morning and it worked perfectly and has been fine since. A puzzling oddity.

Still, it’s been a fantastic start to my six months with the high-spec Ford. I’m looking forward to seeing how things develop, especially in terms of fuel economy.

Mileage: 1,080

Fuel economy: 42mpg