I think the fact that this is my second Focus says it all. My previous one was a 99 Zetec model in Aquafrost with the 1.6 litre engine. My current one is also the Zetec, but I now have the Panther Black with a 1.8 litre engine. The difference in performance is highly noticeable, but so is the fuel consumption. The extra fuel being used MAY be due to the fact that I am still running it in and the engine is still a little tight. I hope it is anyway! The 1,6 used to cost approx 11 pence per mile in fuel, whereas this one is quite a bit more. My most recent fill up was from 112 miles, and it was £8.60 at 73.9 per litre.
The handling is just as good as the last one, even though the tires on the new one are of a higher profile. The standard 195's will soon be replaced with a set of good 205's, as this makes a phenomenal difference to the handling capabilities of the vehicle. As standard though, the cornering and the agility of the car easily matches that of a BMW. Ford have done an excellent job with the chassis.
The changes to this model are fantastic. The new headlite design looks excellent, as does the change to the grille and bumpers. The inside changes are small yet appealing, including a new seat fabric design, a redesigned center console with improved cup holders, and a relocated pen holder which is not obscured my the handbrake. It also includes a rear 12 volt electrical socket.
Other improvements include covers for the sun visor mirrors, the rear wiper comes on when reverse gear is selected and the front wipers are in use, there is a lite in the glove compartment, the courtesy lite still dims, but quicker than the last model, the audible lites-on warning sounds much more pleasant, there is a CD player as standard (though I have my own Kenwood sound system installed including 2 x 12 inch Subs in the boot in a custom made box), and engine/road noise seems less intrusive.
I am disappointed that the alloy wheels are the same as on the previous model. I would have preferred a new design.