It's a Ford? Really? Well... I guess Ford are pretty good after all..
Minor problems, only.
The fan-belt tensioner was noisy at start-up, replaced myself.
Scuffed interior (to be expected with the miles I think).
Silly tax-disc holder has lost stickiness, but cannot be removed without looking unsightly.
Wipers may clear screen, but the washers always manage to leave a big dribble-smear.
This is the first car I owned myself. Obviously, I used to borrow my parents cars to get around, which wasn't really a major problem except at weekends. And surprisingly, it's the Focus I love the most.
The Focus steers, handles, and changes gear in a manner that runs my Mum's Toyota Celica VVT-i very close (and I actually prefer my gear-change). It also rides well, if not a little firmly over our country-lane pot-holed roads... a friend's 306 DTurbo is softer, but also rolls far more around the twists.
Performance, however, is where it loses in comparison. Like the Celica, you need to work the gears to get the best from it, but it's happy to relaxingly go about it's business. But the performance is not a real problem in comparison to the mainstream and seems to be easier to progress in than my Dad's Rover 75 diesel, and the engine is smooth, even now. It has a noticeable rasp to the exhaust note that also enhances the sporty pretensions.
Now, as a family, we're not big on the mainstream badges... and Ford particularly, based on a the last family Ford being an Orion 15 years ago. But if you lay aside the idea that Ford is cheap, nasty, and falls apart, and judge the Focus on it's own, you could be fooled into thinking you were in a VW.
Actually, that's a lie. It's not as well built as a Golf IV, but it's better than any French car you can name, and the metallic dash (standard on the LX for my revised model) is clear and easy to use, whilst being more stylish than most in the class.
It's spacious, and the trim, even after the miles this car has covered, has yet to shake, rattle and fall-off.
The seats are comfortable, and the driving position superb (especially with the column-mounted audio controls). It does just all feel so right. Except visibility that is... I seem to have a pillar in my way wherever I look.
I like the exterior too, especially with the alloys, and the silver paintwork. The revised front-end isn't as clean as the original, but it is more practical.
This car is also quite refined, with all sources of noise well-hidden, making it easy enough to cruise on the motorway in.
It's also economical having a low-insurance group, cheap Ford spares, and the fuel economy stands at around 42mpg, which I find amazing, even considering my journey is 80% country roads, and 20% town.
I love this car, and dare any 1.6 Golf IV owners to challenge it, because while you may look down on us Ford-owners, we're the one's smiling at the end of a trip.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 23rd March, 2005