As mentioned, the interior looks good, and you can see that time was spent thinking about where to put things. The columns stalks fall exactly to your fingers, and are nice to use, the gearstick and pedals are where you'd expect them, the steering wheel and drivers seat are multi-adjustable to get a good driving position - it's simply stuff that any car maker should get right, but not many feel this 'right' so early on.
The steering wheel is leather bound, and feels great to use, the steering is also very nice, as predicted, quite weighty and with a 'tight' feel on the straight-ahead, which gives it a very planted stable feel when travelling straight, no slack is what I mean, I suppose.
The gearchange is quite good, especially for a diesel, which I feel usually have the poor relation feeling change.
The ride is quite good. It's a little bit fidgety, I think the Zetec has firmer suspension than the LX, but is not too firm. I haven't had the chance to take the car for a proper 'drive' yet, but I can feel that independent rear suspension working, the rear wheels feeling around into the road to keep traction, with excellent damping. It really does give the car a secure feel, you can literally drive along the same stretch of road that you're used to, at the same speed as you're used to, and the car just goes without trying; it's smooth, grippy and confident. Looking forward to going for some longer drives on some good roads.
The engine quietens down during driving, but doesn't let you forget that it's one of the older generation. This has good and bad bits. The bad bits are that it's quite vocal when pressed when most newer diesels aren't. The good bits are that it has plenty of torque right from 1500 revs, when many new diesels driver more like petrols, you need to rev more to get more.
No point revving too much in this, the power and torque's all gone not far above 3500 revs.
I could never describe it as a quick car, but it's actually pretty decent, it gives a nice medium sized splodge of steady-as-she-goes pull up inclines, never blowing you away, but quietly impressive I must say.
Disappointly boomy at 70mph, but quieter at 50-60.
Tyre noise from the front of the car especially, even at low speeds. I'd read about this, so was expecting it, it's pretty much as I thought, a little louder than you'd like, but not too intrusive.
Unlike the Punto, this car doesn't have a trip computer, so I don't know what mpg it's done, or can do. I will have to use the good old fashioned accurate method after a fill up.
The space in the car is about right, it's big enough for me to sit in the back without feeling too squashed, we've tried the pram in the boot and it fits (just!).
So, my early report is good, the car hasn't blown me away as I pretty much knew what to expect, but it has pleased me, and has begun to confirm what a good all round car these are reported to be.