A real frustrating drive!

LAME: Ford Focus needs focus.
LAME: Ford Focus needs focus.

WHEN the Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa invited me to the launch of its new Focus range I accepted without blinking.

WHEN the Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa invited me to the launch of its new Focus range I accepted without blinking.

I had good reason to since the Ford Focus is one of the darlings in the Ford stable, with the exception of the sedan version.

I do not want to get into the Focus sedan now since it is one of the most boring cars I have driven in my life. It lacks flair and character.

Let me rather focus on the hatch, the real darling. Most people I know love the Focus hatch, especially the ST.

I recently had the Focus hatch on test. The 1,8-litre petrol engine to be specific.

This is the car I picked as the best at the launch, and the one I enjoyed the most during the launch in Mpumalanga earlier this year.

How disappointing it was to have received it on test and having to bid it goodbye on a tow truck. I had faith in the 1,8-litre hatch from day one but it proved me wrong.

The car was delivered to me on a Friday morning and, came Saturday evening, I had to be push started.

This led to another episode where the engine would not start.

This was Sunday morning and I wanted to go out. I was overwhelmed by disappointment since this was the engineof which I had sung the praises after the launch.

The engine itself is of the sort that should be every motorist's friend. This engine is smooth, while the gearbox is responsive and engages the driver.

The Focus hatch is a good-looking car. The explanation I got from the fleet coordinators for the manufacturers is that the problem originatedib the computer box. The new 1,8- litre Duratec model replaced the previous 1,6- litre. It produces 92kW at 6000rpm and has a torque peak of 166Nm at 4000rpm. It is available with a five-speed manual transmission.

I asked for a retest of this particular unit and I am still waiting. Safety features include ABS, ESP and traction control.

X