Yesterday I flew to Barcelona to drive the new three-cylinder, 1.0 litre Ford Focus, and discovered a truly remarkable car. You can read my first impressions of it here.
In our game, you usually know what to expect from a new model (a Lamborghini will always be intimidating, look amazing and be dominated by its awesome engine; a Mazda will always have light controls, do everything unobtrusively and be a great ownership proposition).
But the difference between what I expected from this tiny three-cylinder Focus engine and what it delivered was — I’m quite serious about this — one of the greatest shocks of my career.
Expecting a gamely-thrumming, hard-pressed and somewhat worthy tree-hugger's special, I discovered the sweetest, most refined and amazingly long-legged Focus of the entire model range, a car whose smoothness, fine performance and stirring engine-music are going to astonish anyone who drives it for the first time.
I now have two new ambitions concerning the Focus triple. First, to do a lot more miles on favourite roads. Second, to be a fly on the wall when VW's Ferdinand Piech drives one for the first time.
One of these ambitions is probably deliverable, the other looks difficult.