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Ford Focus road test (diesel/automatic)

by Stephen Walker

25th June, 2010

Home > Road Tests > Ford

Locally, diesel fuelled passenger cars claim just a small portion of total sales. But sales are improving as numerous car makers increase their diesel offerings. In the UK, by comparison, with higher fuel costs as a contributing factor the diesel share of the market exceeds 40 per cent. With our relatively cheap petrol we may never reach the UK market penetration for the frugal diesels. But, certainly, diesels are gathering the numbers.

Next Car has taken to the road again. This time it is with a diesel-engined Ford Focus TDCi hatchback. The test car was fitted with the optional 6 speed automatic transmission, which features a sequential shift arrangement for those who seek this sporty facility.

To ensure this small hatch was given a good 'run', we drove it from Sydney to Melbourne via the Hume Highway and back to Sydney via the Princes Highway. In total, our drive covered 2,741 kms. But let's go straight to the bottom line. Our drive was at an average fuel consumption figure of just 5.9 litres per 100 kilometres. We utilised no particular strategy to come in with such a low number. We just drove and drove and kept on driving as you do when you're comfortable behind the 'wheel'. Obviously, with strategies in place to maximise fuel economy it would be easy to improve upon this already very economical figure.

In the Ford Focus you are, indeed, comfortable behind the wheel. The car has good seating upfront with pleasantly integrated soft bolsters a feature for the cloth-faced front seats. There is a footrest for the driver's left foot. The centre console has two cupholders. The interior is spacious for two, with adequate seating for two adults in the rear as well. Luggage space is pleasingly adequate for this happy traveller. Comfort was never an issue in this Focus.

On the road, the Ford Focus really impresses, especially when you drive such a long distance as we did. The handling was superb, as clearly demonstrated on the roads in north-east Victoria and south-east New South Wales. The performance from the 2 litre diesel engine was always satisfying. There is just no good reason to doubt the performance qualities of European diesel engined cars.

Technically speaking, the DOHC 2 litre turbo diesel produces 100 kW of power at 4,000 rpm and 320 Nm of torque at 2,000 rpm. The emission level is rated at 157 grammes per kilometre, which is an eco-friendly figure. The fuel tank capacity is 53 litres. Brakes are by the normal four-wheel disc set-up and power steering is standard. Suspension is independent all-round with anti-roll bars fitted to both the front and rear. Four 16" alloy wheels are standard, whilst the spare wheel is of the space-saver type.

Standard equipment includes air conditioning, power windows (one touch for both up and down), leather-wrapped steering wheel (with remote audio controls), cruise control, AM/FM radio with CD player (single disc), 3.5 mm auxiliary audio input facility for iPod/MP3/CD or tape player (requires a suitable connection cable), USB input facility for music files and iPod/MP3 player integration (requires a suitable connection cable), front fog lights and tinted windows.

Safety aspects of the Ford Focus TDCi hatch include dynamic stability control, anti-lock braking system and 6 airbags.

The new car warranty is for 3 years or 100,000 kms (conditions apply of course).

After spending so much time with the Focus diesel I could find just two faults. One was the inadequate handbrake, although this was more likely a service problem rather than a design flaw. The other problem was poor interior lighting for back seat passengers. Other than that, the Ford Focus TDCi hatch was considered an admirable proposition.

With such incredibly low fuel consumption, a very comfortable ride quality and good performance, the Ford Focus diesel is an excellent choice for small car buyers who travel long distances.

More Ford News ..... here

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