From £13,785
The best in its class, though that still means it's a compromised drive

Our Verdict

Ford Focus 2011-2014

Can the Ford Focus capture the hearts and minds of hatchback buyers, or have its traditional rivals managed to perfect the formula?

Matt Prior
20 September 2006

What is it? It says here that it’s a ‘Modern, C-segment 2-door Coupe-Cabriolet with electro-hydraulically operated retractable hardtop.’ And Ford insists that it’s all about ‘Italian elegance’ – it’s the automotive equivalent of a dark blue suit with tan brogues, don’cha know. To you and me: it’s a Focus with folding roof.What’s it like? Better than most of its rivals, but making these cars is a difficult ask. Lopping the roof off the Focus hatchback loses some ninety percent of its rigidity, and it has taken a weight increase to put some of that stiffness back. Even now, if you lower the Focus CC’s two-piece roof, the body gets 40 percent floppier.Still, it’s as good to drive as any hatchback-derived CC. Better than most, in fact. With the roof up, the CC feels quite solid. The steering’s nicely oily, linear and responsive; the damping well resolved and supple. Roof down, things aren’t as taut, but it’s still acceptable.Shame it isn’t a bit faster – the kerbweight’s around 1500kg, which the 2.0-litre diesel makes a better fist of accelerating, albeit noisily, than the 2.0-litre petrol does. There’ll also be a 1.6-litre petrol engine. We haven’t tried it yet, but it will take about a fortnight to hit 60mph, so we suggest you don’t either.Shame, too, that roofless Focus motoring doesn’t feel more al fresco. The car’s burdened with a massive header rail that you sit plumb beneath, on seats that are 20mm lower than usual (and all the better for it). So top down, buffeting’s minimal – but you don’t really feel like you’re outdoors.Inside, the cabin is pure Focus-hatch, with the exception of smaller rear seats that are fine for two adults on a short journey. The boot’s usefully sized, too.Should I buy one? If you must have a hatchback-derived CC, this is as good as any. Although we reckon the VW Eos is better looking, and looks count in this class. Accept that it’s a lethargic, slightly compromised Focus with the roof adeptly lopped off and you’ll be happy. But it doesn’t have much to do with brown shoes: don’t buy the Italian elegance stuff.

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