From £13,785
Petrol powered Focus is lighter and more enjoyable to drive than the diesel
18 January 2011

What is it?

Our first taste of a petrol version of the all-new Focus, powered by Ford's turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder Ecoboost engine.

Although this engine will be sold in the UK, not initially with the 180bhp power output tested here. For the time being the most powerful version offered to UK buyers has 148bhp.

What's it like?

To recap our initial impressions of the Focus, based on the 161bhp 2.0-litre diesel reviewed last week. Now in its third-generation the Focus has grown up; it is now more comfortable, refined and upmarket than before, but in the process has sacrificed some of the dynamic magic that has won it such favour over the years. It is also not quite as cleverly packaged as we had hoped.

The petrol powered Focus is quieter still, and with an adequate spread of torque (the lower powered Ecoboost engine produces the same peak torque only over a slightly narrower rpm), for the majority of the time you rarely need to exercise the engine much beyond the mid-range.

That you may choose to is a different matter, because the Ecoboost engine is pleasantly keen to rev, and in the higher state of tune here, usefully brisk. Both Ecoboost versions will, on paper, also return a combined 47.1mpg, unfortunately, on this occasion, our test route was not long enough to produce a real world average.

One significant benefit of opting for a petrol motor, is that it saves 88kg over the 2.0-litre diesel. Furthermore, switching from the Powershift dual clutch automatic (optional on the diesel) to the Ecoboost's mandatory six-speed manual saves a further 40kg. From one extreme to the other (an automatic diesel to a manual petrol) that's 128kg fewer kilos over the front axle – and on the road it feels it.

While the petrol car doesn't address all our dynamic criticism of the new Focus – it still is less communicative than the previous generation, and not so inherently well balanced - compared to the diesel it turns in more keenly and resists understeer for longer.

Should I buy one?

As we say you can't buy this exact model, which in itself is a shame, but our experience here bodes well for the lower powered Ecoboost model. If you can live with the marginally increased consumption the petrol Focus is a more enjoyable car to drive than the diesel.


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Jamie Corstorphine

Ford Focus 1.6 Ecoboost 180 

Price: NA; 0-62mph: 7.9sec; Top speed: 138mph; Co2: 139g/km; Economy: 47.1mpg (combined); Kerbweight: 1333kg; Engine: 4cyls in line, 1596cc, turbocharged; Installation: Front, transverse, fwd; Power: 180bhp at 5700rpm; Torque: 199lbft (overboost) at 1900-4000rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd manual

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Join the debate


19 January 2011

The rear end of this car is truly ghastly

how have ford got the styling so wrong? Im sure it drives wonderfully but it would definately go in the garage at night.... i wouldnt want the neighbours to see it!

being a lifelong Ford fan im really peeved off about this car

19 January 2011

I was in the car today, and saw a couple of fiesta's and a couple of estate Mondeo's. Is it me, or does this car look exactly the same as the other 2 models? I mean, photocopy, decrease / increase to suit needs. People moan about Audi doing this.. I know I'd much rather be driving my A3 over this..

19 January 2011

[quote Brannen] I know I'd much rather be driving my A3 over this.[/quote]

+1 ;-)

19 January 2011

No matter what are the first impressions for this car or whatever readers think this car is going to to win every comparison test it participates for the next 5 years or until the golf mk7 breaks cover.

There are only 2 cars worth buying in this segment. The 170 bhp petrol, multiair Giulietta.

Or if you are sensible the risk free mazda 3 1.6 diesel.

They both drive great, look good (Mazda) of fabulous (alfa) and have the right engine.

19 January 2011

[quote andrepaul999]Im sure it drives wonderfully[/quote] Well, according to the reviews, it doesn't... The new Focus is damned with faint praise I guess. @PHILBY: I reckon that the right engine for the Mazda is the 2 litre petrol. But I also find that the Leon 1.8 Tsi drives fabulously.

19 January 2011

as hideous as it looks, it will probably still be the top selling car of its sector! shame should really go to something else. and the press will give it the usual praise! wouldnt be surprised if Ford pay them to say good stuff.

19 January 2011

The slightly better turn in on this model suggets that the rear roll stiffness has been reduced for the whole range and could probably be counter acted by offering a stiffer anti -roll bar to those who would like to specify it. This would have quite a marginal effect on ride comfort.

Many years ago the S option on many Ford models consisted of fitting a rear anti roll bar (and a few cosmetic changes) on models that did not have one as standard. Perhaps Ford should consider offering a stiffer rear anti roll bar as an option on this Focus for those who prefer sharper handling.

19 January 2011

Comparing the weight over the front wheels of the 1.6 petrol with the 2.0 Diesel is all very well , but it's the 1.6 Diesel that most buyers would be interested in, and Autocar seem to be ignoring it.

Upgrading the front end to electric Focus spec will help in the looks department , but I don't know what can be done with that rear end.

19 January 2011

Having owned a Ford my entire motoring life I think I would still consider this one. I think the front looks fine but agree that the back looks rather fussy! Somehow I think this will look worse on the ST model, which would be the one I would be waiting on. But I would be willing to set aside the looks of the rear because the interior is so much better than the MK2

19 January 2011

[quote Uncle Mellow]but it's the 1.6 Diesel that most buyers would be interested in, and Autocar seem to be ignoring it.[/quote] It is -probably- rather the situation with the production run-up, some derivatives may come later. [quote Uncle Mellow]but I don't know what can be done with that rear end.[/quote] I think that is the weakest point of the car. Cabin size and suspension tuning matter much less than color selection and design...


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