11th Jun 2004, 04:54

You guys in the US seem to get a poor deal when it comes to the Focus. Apart from being by far the most enjoyable car in its class to drive, the European Focus has broken new ground for Ford in terms of build and reliability. The car came out top in the German ADAC reliability survey - almost unheard of for a Ford, beating, well everything else. It's also soundly beaten the supposedly "high quality" Golf, as well as every other non-Japanese competitor in the JD Power survey over the past few years.

My own 2 year-old UK model has racked up 70,000 fault free miles, save for a small rattle from the tailgate area which was fixed FOC by the dealer. It will be returned to the lease company when it hits 100,000 miles (around the end of this year, I estimate), but I don't doubt it will still be going strong.

One aspect of your review that did ring a bell with me however are your unfavourable comments on Ford dealers. While I have no complaints about the standard of work provided by my local dealer, they're not exactly the last word in customer service. They also look at you like you've grown another head if you ask for a courtesy car, or make you wait something stupid like 6 weeks before they can take the car in. With the mileage I cover, that can run the car up to 5k over its service interval.

My wife has an MX-5 (Miata) and the difference in dealer attitude and service is huge. Nothing is too much trouble, courtesy cars are provided without even asking, and they just go that extra mile to make you feel a bit special. As far as the Focus goes though, the product itself has been excellent.

DP, nr London, UK.