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Car reviews - Ford - Focus - range

Our Opinion

We like
Same dynamic prowess as before, lusty 2.0-litre petrol unit, refined and comfy interior, great Euro styling, big safety upgrades, increased value for money
Room for improvement
Compared with the brilliant TDCi diesel, the petrol Focus engine may seem merely adequate, no Bluetooth or GPS availability

Ford logo9 Jul 2007

THE only thing that stopped us declaring the LS Focus as clear small-car class champion was its lack of respectable safety features for the money.

These days, dual airbags are simply not enough. Front side airbags were available, but the crucial curtain airbags did not figure on the equation, while ABS brakes cost extra on the base CL.

And particularly galling was the fact that stability control used to be available when the first-generation LR Focus was manufactured in Europe, but was discontinued when the LS’ South African source plant could not supply.

Anyway, that is all ancient history now that the LT Focus has arrived.

It still is the leader of all sub-BMW 1 Series small cars if linear steering, handling alacrity, a supple and absorbent ride and beautifully measured controls mean anything to you.

And the same pleasant interior, with its utterly functional but somewhat Euro-anonymous dashboard presentation, is still better than what the competitors can muster.

We drove the LT Focus petrol models alongside the new turbo-diesel TDCi and, although we have no qualms whatsoever with the way that the regular cars go, the 2.0-litre petrol pales in comparison against its startlingly sweet and powerfully punchy diesel-driven sibling.

It is a shame that the TDCi does not offer an auto, because then we would recommend that you save the extra $4000 needed to swing that deal.

Nevertheless, the standard 2.0-litre petrol powerplant is still one of the better units available in the small-car segment.

Stylistically, the sharper front bumper design adds a bit more aggressiveness to the Focus’ visage – but then if you needed us to point this out to you, then you are a trainspotting tragic that needs to get a life.

It should be apparent by now that the LT Focus petrol models are virtually identical to their predecessors, except that they now cost less and yet have more stuff included.

That is always a good thing… and considering that ‘more stuff’ means most of the safety kit that previously has held the Focus back from segment domination, then all we can say is that Ford’s 2007 small car contender is now best in class.

Now go out there and enjoy the drive.

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