The two-litre diesel is smoothly unobtrustive until well past 4000rpm
The Zetec S can be had with a choice of two petrol engines and two diesels
The interior gets alloy pedals, a starter button and an upgraded centre console
What is it?
The Ford Focus Zetec S package turns the car into the sportiest edition yet before the ST arrives next year. It consists of sports suspension, 17in alloys, a mild bodykit, alloy pedals, a separate starter button, an upgraded centre console and LED tail-lamps.
A modest confection then, although Ford says that you’re paying just £1250 for it rather than £1700. It can be had with two petrols (the 180bhp Ecoboost is most potent) and two diesels, the more powerful 161bhp 2.0 TDCi sampled here. Curiously, neither this engine nor the petrol 1.6 get Ford’s suite of Econetic fuel-saving features, although the 2.0 TDCi provides a decent combination of 129g/km, an 8.6sec advance to 62mph and a combined 56.5mpg.
What’s it like?
The acceleration figures means this Ford Focus just about qualifies for the warm hatch status implied by its war-paint. What you’ll be more impressed are this diesel’s manners, which are smoothly unobtrusive until well past 4000rpm, a rev range that you rarely need explore because it musters decent enough shove much earlier.
The result is confident, restful progress that while not providing scintillating acceleration, does allow you carry enough speed into corners to benefit from the revised chassis. Which certainly delivers a firmer ride, but one that remains very capable over battered B roads, these absorbed with a taut civility.
So it’s rarely uncomfortable, lending the Focus a finer grade of athleticism and steering feel that’s of slightly weightier resistance at the rim. That’s good, although it doesn’t rediscover the feedback from the road below lost provided by the previous Focus. But, this chassis gels well and turns an already accomplished car into something a fraction sharper.
Should I buy one?
Whether this S pack tempts may depend on whether you like a bodykit that makes the Focus’s rather long body look a little under-rubbered.
Ford Focus Zetec S 2.0 TDCi
Price: £21,385; Top speed: 135mph; 0-62mph: 8.6sec; Economy: 56.5mpg combined; Co2: 129g/km; Kerbweight: 1412kg; Engine: four cyls, in-line, 1997cc; Power: 161bhp at 3750rpm; Torque: 251lb ft at 2000-3250rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd manual