VW Golf: Ford stereo test

Stereo war

We haven't done a proper twin test with my colleague Lewis Kingston's new Ford Focus and my Golf, so you are going to have to wait for that one, but I did spend a weekend driving the Focus and my initial reactions to it were very good.

However, I want to focus - sorry - solely on the functionality of the two cars' audio systems, particularly when you are using MP3 players. That's iPods to you and I.

I can safely say, without reservation, that the Golf has been found massively wanting in this respect. Most of the time when I am in the Golf I am faffing around with the controls trying to find the track/album/song I want to listen to without crashing into the car in front. To find the track, or even the album of your choice requires the patience of a saint and the manual dexterity of a Rubik's Cube champion.

To get where you want, you have to click on the menu, go to browse, realise you've pressed the wrong button (again), go back, click on the button marked 'Up', wait while it reads until you have a full beard growth and then eventually give up. At this point you'll just be happy to listen to the radio.

With the Focus it's all very easy. You fick easily through the menu system using the north, east, south and west arrows on the steering wheel to get to where you want. It takes seconds.

I would say that the only downside with the Focus is the placement of the MP3 connection: it's in the chuffing glovebox which makes absolutely no sense at all. At least the Golf's connector is in the central console, which I find a lot easier and it seems to fit in to the compartment nicely.

Sound-wise the audio units are both pretty good, but the Ford's stereo is much better, particularly with low frequency sounds. The bass, I would say, is particularly wonderful.

So that's it. The Ford wins the stereo twin test, but I just wonder whether the Focus will have the edge when we put the two cars back-to-back for a full-on comparison. 

Current mileage: 6,009

Average mpg: 39.6mpg