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Ford Focus XR5 Turbo - LV series (copyright image)

Stephen Walker with the Ford Focus XR5 Turbo

ROAD TEST:   Ford Focus XR5 Turbo

by Stephen Walker

24th June, 2009

Home > Road Tests > Ford

Hot Fords of the small car variety have long been a regular feature of Ford's new car range. Over the years there have been Escort, Cortina, Capri, Sierra and Fiesta models with varying degrees of tune. Some mild, some hot, some very hot! Who amongst us would ever forget the Sierra RS Cosworth or the highly prized Lotus Cortina and the numerous Escort RS models. Many were quite successful in various rallying and racing events around the world. Additionally, they witnessed success in showrooms, too.

Continuing that heritage, the latest upgrade of the Ford Focus XR5 (LV series) demonstrates that the right ingredients will still make a dream come true for a car enthusiast. The Focus is one of three European Ford passenger cars on the local market, along with Fiesta and Mondeo. The new LV series has had an introduction to the local market just recently, whilst the sportier Focus XR5 arrived late last year.

We drive the Ford Focus XR5 Turbo for this road test. Happily, we can report that this car provides plenty of driving enjoyment. Car enthusiasts will readily identify with many of the attractions on offer.

Firstly, the attractive colour scheme will draw attention to this highly desirable piece of automotive machinery. The "Electric Orange" example that we drove featured an appealing interior cloth trim, known as Mondus Orange/Dark Flint, which matched the colour scheme particularly well. The two-tone cloth adds a dramatic effect to the stylish interior, which features Recaro sports bucket seats as standard equipment. Black leather trim on Recaro sports seats is available as an option.

Other important ingredients for a sporty mix is the engine and transmission. As the model name suggests, a turbocharged engine is an integral component of this hot Ford. The engine is a little unusual, being a 5 cylinder unit. With a displacement of 2.5 litres, the DOHC, turbocharged, 20V unit offers 166 kW of power at 6,000 rpm and a very healthy 320 Nm of torque at 1,600 to 4,000 rpm. Let me assure you, these figures will provide plenty of satisfaction for your right foot. A six speed manual transmission is the only choice for this front-wheel drive model. Driving enthusiasts who seek an automatic option will need to check out something from a competitor's line-up, because Ford aren't quite ready to offer a dual-clutch auto just yet. But be assured, we found the manual very pleasant to operate.

Ford Focus XR5 Turbo - LV series (copyright image)

Our Ford Focus XR5 Turbo road test covered
452 kms around suburban Melbourne.

Ford Focus XR5 Turbo - LV series (copyright image)

On the road we promptly determined that we were putting ourselves in a situation where we would be quietly admitting to ourselves that we were enjoying this car. Sure it looks good and it goes good too. But it feels good, as well. The driving dynamics demonstrate that Ford's considerable experience with sporty small cars has paid dividends with the Focus XR5. The steering, braking and handling, together with the ride quality will provide plenty of motoring enjoyment. And that's what it is all about.

Whilst economy isn't necessarily a consideration in the purchase of a sporty number, it is still a matter of interest for many people. Ford quote 9.3 litres per 100 kilometres as the anticipated usage on the combined cycle. Vehicle condition and driver's behaviour are key factors that may alter the integrity of the often quoted and keenly observed "combined cycle" figures. Premium petrol is the fuel of choice for the 55 litre tank. Interestingly, the capless (that's capless, NOT hapless) fuel-filler pipe has a mis-fuel inhibitor.

Emissions aren't likely to interest many people, but for the record, the Focus XR5 Turbo emits 220 grammes of CO2 (pollution) per kilometre. By the way, this is a good figure for a car with such an overt sporting 'manner'.

Standard equipment includes a premium 6 disc (MP3 compatible) Sony audio system, six airbags, 18" alloy wheels (space saver spare), keyless start, air conditioning (works well too), cruise control, centre console with 2 cup holders upfront, power steering and dynamic stability control.

Boot space is limited, but the interior is quite comfortable for four adults. Upfront the accommodation is very good. The driver will be impressed with the driving position. Alloy-look pedals are fitted and the steering wheel adjusts four ways. There is no footrest for the driver, but he/she will be so happy that they may not notice.

Looking good is what the Ford Focus XR5 Turbo is all about. But feeling good is the end result for the driver after a motoring assignment in this car. So what you get with the Focus XR5 is a mix of ingredients proving that this model is just one more highly regarded small sporty European Ford, just like so many that went before it.

It seems, though, that a question must be posed ..... is this another classic example of a Ford for the future to respect? The answer is ..... wait for it ..... yes, but not until today's enthusiasts have had a go!


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