Ford Focus long termer: Final report

The Focus Zetec S is being collected this week after a three-month spell with us.

So are we sorry to see it go, or happy that the ageing Focus has been taken off our hands?

Overall, we would have to say sorry-ish. It is the oddest car in the Focus line-up but, being a Focus, it is still one of the best drives in its class.
First the oddness. As mentioned in the last report, the Focus uses the standard 1.6-litre engine, but enhanced with variable valve timing to boost its power from 100 bhp to 115 bhp. We are fans of this engine when fitted to the lighter Fiesta Zetec S where, in 120 bhp form, it makes the Fiesta a genuinely zippy little car. However, in the heavier Focus, it is hard to see much difference over the standard engine.

We hoped it would steadily loosen up, but after 6,000 miles it still gave relatively little performance advantage over the basic 1.6. Fuel consumption was also pretty similar – we averaged 35.5 mpg over our tenure which is what you would expect from a modern 1.6-litre family hatchback. That is 17% below the official combined consumption figure but, then, aren't they all?

Given the fact that the Zetec S looks usefully more sporting than the standard car, the performance was always a bit of a disappointment. However, it should be said that the disappointment tended to melt away on country roads, where the Focus's excellent suspension and accurate steering made driving a joy.

It might be one of the oldest cars in its class, but the chassis is still ahead of its rivals. Despite the fairly modest power, it was also a surprisingly decent long-distance car. One of our team drove from London to Scotland to visit his folks and reported that the trip was much less tiring than he had anticipated, in spite of the fact the engine is spinning at 3200 rpm at 70 mph, and the fact that his normal drive is a Lexus IS 250.

Everything else about the car was completely painless. Nothing broke, rattled, came loose or showed any sign of doing so in the foreseeable future. The only part of the car that looked like it might not age too well was the sporty-looking upholstery: on the driver's seat, it was just beginning to look a little rough on the spot where the driver sits.

As to whether we would recommend one, that depends entirely on what deal can be done. Ford dealers are offering it at around £13,995 at present, which is reasonable for a fun-to-drive family hatch that is getting towards the end of its life. If we could find a Zetec S TDCI 110 bhp for around £15,000 from a Ford dealer, we would choose the latter, but deals on the petrol version are a lot easier to find.
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