Alfa Romeo
Land Rover
Ford Focus CL, LX, Zetec and Ghia
Focus on quality
September 2005

THE new Ford Focus is smooth inside and out. From its flowing exterior lines to its silky smooth ride and quality fitout, it`s got everything going for it.

It`s so smooth it even has an optional "Smooth Pack". I kid you not.

And the new Ford Focus has something for everyone in terms of options as well: entry level CL in sedan or hatch, the feature-packed LX in sedan or hatch, the sporty Zetec hatch and the luxury Ghia sedan.

Now, let`s be right up front and get the only flaw we could find with the Focus out of the way.

The driver`s seat doesn`t provide enough upwards support on your legs, so after about an hour of driving my legs started to ache and after much more than about 90 minutes it was time to stop to stretch the legs.

On longer hauls this could contribute heavily to driver fatigue, so it`s something to be aware of.

It could also be argued that the Focus is highly priced in the upper end of the range, but you do get a lot of fruit in the basket.

The $20,990 CL (sedan and hatch) comes with air-conditioning, dual airbags, CD player and front power windows.

Options include a four-speed automatic transmission with Sequential Sports Shift and two value packs: the Safety Pack, which adds ABS brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and front seat-mounted thorax protecting side airbags; and the Smooth Pack, which adds alloy wheels, colour-coded power mirrors, cruise control and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

The LX, also available in sedan and hatch, adds stylish 16-inch alloy wheels, ABS with EBD, side airbags, front and rear power windows, power mirrors, cruise control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and front fog lamps for $24,990.

The sporty Zetec hatch is lowered, has an aggressive bodykit, 17-inch alloy wheels and a sports suspension kit for $27,490.

Topping the range is the luxurious Ghia, which gets the sequential auto as standard, dual zone climate control, six-disc in-dash CD player, leather seat trim and power adjustable driver`s seat for $30,990.

Told you there were plenty of options.

An increase in structural stiffness, along with wider track (by 40mm) and a longer wheelbase (by 25mm) means it suits this driver down to the ground.

It turns in sharply, has a great compromise between ride comfort and performance characteristics and has great stability when pushing hard through corners.

The electro-hydraulic power assisted steering system which does more work for you at low speeds, but at high speeds offers improved feedback through the steering wheel.

And, a big bonus in this class, the steering column is adjustable in rake and reach across the range.

The dynamics of the Focus really do have that European quality feel.

The latest Focus also has larger brakes and considerably better fuel economy (8.7l/100km/h down to 7.1 in the manual).

The tailgate handle has been equipped with a micro switch rather than the traditional mechanic handle for ease of opening. An increase of the cargo load length from 812 mm to 923 mm has increased luggage space of the hatch from 350 litres to 385, and in sedan from 490 litres to 510.

The interior is 140 mm wider than its predecessor, providing more space between driver and passenger, and is 25 mm longer, providing increased legroom for rear seat passengers.

All in all, the Focus is a top-notch piece of machinery, destined for high praise due to its quality and refinement as much as its good looks and fuel economy.



ENGINE: 2.0 DOHC four-cylinder Duratec 16V

POWER: 107kw @ 6000rpm

TORQUE: 185Nm @ 4500rpm

TRANSMISSION: 5-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission with Sequential Sports Shift


FUEL ECONOMY: 7.1 litres/100km combined cycle

PROS: classy, refined, excellent ride, comfort and handling

CONS: top models are up there in price; seat support lacking

BOTTOM LINE: Focus CL $20,990; Focus LX $24,990; Focus Zetec hatch $27,490; Focus Ghia sedan $30,990. Auto with Sequential Sports Shift $2000; Safety Pack (CL only) $1190; Smooth Pack (CL only) $890