Alfa Romeo
Land Rover
Ford Focus Coupe Cabriolet
Open season
January 2008

YOU would think that Brisbane’s longest dry spell in a century would be the perfect time to test a convertible.

Wrong! Melbourne weather arrived in the River City as soon as we picked up Ford’s stunning Focus Coupe Cabriolet.

Fortunately, this drought breaker has a hard-top folding roof that can be closed in a jiffy when sunshine gives way to a downpour.

All you have to do is push a small button on the centre console and spend 29 seconds watching the wonders of modern engineering whirr into action. It’s so nifty, passers by stop in their tracks to marvel at the ingenious sequence.

Convertibles are big business in Australia, with sales hitting about 11,000 per year. We now have 28 choices in this segment.

Such lifestyle vehicles are all about looks.

The elegant new Focus fits the bill wonderfully, turning heads wherever it goes.

It is German designed and engineered, but the styling has been done with the help of Italian fashion house Pininfarina.

The Ford certainly makes a bold statement, riding on 17-inch or optional 18-inch alloy wheels and featuring smooth flowing lines adorned with chrome highlights and the exclusive Pininfarina badge.

One of the striking vehicle’s most impressive features, and I say this with the greatest respect, is its rear.

This is extremely generous, due in part to the logistics of housing the roof when folded.

But even with the top stowed, it offers best-in-class luggage capacity.

By convertible standards, the Focus Coupe Cabriolet also is a winner as far as back seat room goes, with two adults comfortably accommodated.

The interior of the car oozes luxury and sophistication, with heated leather sports seats and a leather wrapped steering wheel.

Other creature comforts include automatic dual zone climate control, cruise control, automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers, heated power mirrors, glove box with cooling function and a Sony six-disc CD audio system with eight speakers.

Power for the new Focus Coupe-Cabriolet is provided courtesy of a 2.0-litre Duratec 4-cylinder petrol engine, which produces 107kW of power and 185Nm of torque.

The engine has been designed to deliver torque in the low rpm range, allowing for smooth power and strong overtaking, with 90 per cent of the peak torque available from just over 2000rpm.

The power plant is willing enough, but acceleration falls short of exhilarating.

The new model is available with a five-speed manual or optional four-speed automatic transmission.

Fuel economy is fair, with the vehicle returning consumption figures of 8.3-litres per 100km (automatic).

At 1465kg, the Focus Coupe Cabriolet is 150kg heavier than the standard Focus and, accordingly, has been given bigger brakes.

There are plenty of other safety features, including front and side airbags, and an array of traction and stability control systems such as a high-tech Rollover Protection Device (RPD).

RPD is designed to help protect passengers in the unlikely event that the vehicle rolls over. Electronic sensors and a gyroscope are at the heart of the system, and can detect an impending rollover. When this happens, two ultra-strong safety roll bars “fire" into position within a tenth of a second.

Priced from $45,490 for the manual version, the convertible Focus looks like a winner from every angle and Ford expects to sell about 100 a month.

Those who want a freedom machine guaranteed to lift their spirits _ and profile _ every time they get behind the wheel had better place their order. It’s open season!



ENGINE: 2.0 Duratec, 4-cylinder

POWER: 107kW at 6000rpm

TORQUE: 185Nm at 4500rpm

TRANSMISSION: 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic

FUEL ECONOMY: average 8.3 litres per 100km


PROS: Open-air style, solid feel, comfort

CONS: Performance doesn’t match hot looks

BOTTOM LINE: $45,490 (manual) $47,490 (auto) as tested