If you can live with its quirks, it is fun to drive
1. Recalled to service brakes. The explanation was that there was a batch of cars with brakes, which were too sudden, too violent. They changed a cylinder and indeed the brakes improved their response.
2. Recalled to service automatic transmission. The problem this time was that the car could stall without warning because of a sensor fault. In fact it did happen that to me once, although it was only once and I had not given it any importance. It has not happened again since the repair.
3. Non-metallic thud or noise in front of the driver's seat, below the driving wheel. It took me a lot of protesting and two different service dealers to find the fault. It seems it was something loose in the pedals. No further problems after it was detected and repaired.
Inside is spacious, comfortable and decent build quality. Car stereo wonderful, it plays all my home-burned CDs without a hitch. Boot space is scarce, especially with the full-size spare tire option.
Outside is beautiful, but not very well built. Solder points are too obvious, car panel alignment is dismal, rear boot door closes but only just, it is a few degrees misaligned with the rest of the car.
The engine is very nice, it manages to pull the car very effectively in the day to day commute from A to B. And most important, it is very sober, it has never gone beyond 9.5 l every 100 km even in dense, slow city traffic. And on the motorway it dips as low as 7.2 l every 100 km (at legal velocities).
Automatic transmission is very comfortable in city traffic. Unfortunately it is rather slow in taking decisions on the open road, very reluctant in reducing a gear, sometimes the only way is to force its decision with the manual button that disconnects the over-drive. Overall, I wish it were a bit more intelligent, but I am happy enough to be convinced for the automatic camp (in Spain most cars are manual, even big Mercs).
Behaviour on the open road is very pleasant. It never wobbles, it hardly leans in tight turns. Maybe it has too small tires (185/65) for its handling, but from the other point of view the engine wouldn't be able to pull anything bigger. The suspension on the hard side favors its handling too, but it crashes in pot-holes rather ungracefully. Overall, I have to say it is fun to drive (which is lot to say from me, that I don't usually like to drive).
Technological gadgetry works without problems (ABS+TCS+ESP). I live in a part of the world where it rains a lot, roads are slippery and maintenance lacking, often with mud on them, and that gadgetry helps, helps a lot.
Summing up my impressions, if you want quality and have the money, go for a Seat Leon or VW Golf. If you want to have fun driving and you can live with its inferior standards of quality, go for the Focus.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 11th April, 2001