What is it?
The mid-range 138bhp 2.0 CDTi Ford Focus. We have already found out that the new Ford Focus remains one of the best family hatches out there, but in the guises we’ve so far tested it has lost some of the precision and energy that its predecessors specialised in. Predictably the same can be said of this model, which that we’re testing here for the first time.
What’s it like?
Expected to account for less than 10 per cent of sales in the UK this motor does have some very worthwhile strengths over the 114bhp oil burner that will be the volume seller.
Peak torque of 236 lb ft arrives from 1750rpm through to 2750rpm, which allows it to sit in high gears around town with relative ease and respond well without requiring much stirring of the well-judged and solid-shifting six-speed manual (the Powershift ‘box is an extra £1250).
It avoids the inertia that the smaller, lower powered diesel engine suffers from, spinning freely and responding quickly enough to the throttle. Work it hard and it can become vocal, but in general use it’s tyre noise that is the more intrusive background hum, with the engine settling to an impressively subdued hush when in its lower rev range.
The result is that this is one of the more pleasant Focus models to drive, particularly for long motorway miles. Yes, the artificial-feeling steering and merely composed rather than engaging dynamics are a disappointment but in most ways the Focus is exactly what it needs to be. Stable, refined and calming.