2008 Ford Focus CC Review & Road Test
- 2008 Ford Focus CC 2.0-litre Automatic - $47,490 (RRP)
Stylish, stereo, interior, practicality
Engine, gearbox, handling, price
- Alborz Fallah
Here in sunny Brisbane it's hard to dislike convertibles, the weather is nearly always perfect, the sun is out, the wind is minimal and people usually smile at you when you have the roof down. With those pleasant thoughts in mind, I drove out to Ford headquarters to pick up, what would surely be another worthy convertible on the market.
At $47,490 for the automatic Focus CC, this convertible from the Blue Oval is by no means cheap. To put that price into perspective, the Peugeot 207CC which is arguably the best small convertible on the market is priced at $39,990 for the manual turbo (granted it's smaller than the Focus).
The Focus is priced directly against its main rival, the similarly sized Holden Astra TwinTop convertible, which starts at the exact same RRP.
The trip home was spent playing with the car's audio system, a Sony six-disc system with eight speakers. Now I am not one who would ever say anything nice about Sony audio (generally rubbish), but to give credit where credit is due, the Focus' audio system was well and truly above my expectations. Excellent clarity at high and low range, plus enough bass to let the whole street know you're coming home.
That's about when my fondness for the Focus started to wither away. You see, while I was too busy playing with the audio system, I had neglected to realise that everytime I put my foot down, nothing really happened. Power for the Focus Coupé-Cabriolet is provided courtesy of Ford's Duratect, 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine.
Out of a 2.0-litre, all the Focus can manage is a measly 107kW of power and 185Nm of torque. Compare this to the 1.6-litre turbo in the 207 CC (110kW and 240Nm) and even the 2.2-litre in the Astra (110kW and 210Nm).
So little power and torque for a car that weighs 1465kg means relatively lacklustre performance, but I haven't even got to the fun part, and that's the four-speed automatic. If you go for the Astra TwinTop, you get the same number of gears (although the manual variant is a six-speed compared to the Focus' five-speed) and given the market for these cars is generally female, the automatic is the most popular choice.
Although very few would pick the five-speed manual ($2000 cheaper) over the auto, the four-speed auto struggles to deliver a smooth drive and tends to change gears when you least expect it. Fuel economy is a plus however, 7.5 L/100km for the manual and 8.3 L/100km for the auto. However as the photo below shows, real world results are a little different.
The roof operation is typical of most modern convertibles, press and hold a button on the centre console, the windows go down and the roof slowly folds away. The operation takes a respectable 29 seconds. Not slow, but by no means the quickest in the business.
Okay, so let's come back to reality, no one is going to drive the Focus CC at speed or around any corners with much enthusiasm, what they are going to do is wait till the weather is right, pack a few small bags and head out to the beach. Great, let's do it.
Here is where the Focus shines, providing the largest luggage volume space among C-segment vehicles with retractable hardtops. Leave the roof on and you get an impressive 534-litres of space, go topless and you'll have 248-litres available under and around the stowed roof panels. Which is more than you'll get from any other similar sized convertible and large enough to take a few overnight bags for that special holiday you've been anticipating.
The rear seats, although present, have little to no space for any decently sized adult. They are useful for those short trips but ultimately serve no purpose otherwise.
Driving around the city, the CC behaves as expected, although with no pleasant surprises. Ride is comfortable and bumps are absorbed consistently.
Whilst driving the Focus enthusiastically may not be all that pleasant, sitting inside is a different story. Apart from the already mentioned Sony audio system, which offers iPod connectivity, Bluetooth and MP3 compatibility, there are heated (front) leather sports seats (driver's gets power height adjustment), proper rear bucket seats with head restraints, dual-zone climate control and even a cooled glovebox to keep your drinks at optimal temperature.
The steering is a bit light, but at least the four-spoke leather steering-wheel is pleasant to hold, it comes with integrated cruise-control and audio buttons.
Ford says the Focus CC borrows a lot of its suspension setup from the Focus XR5, that being the case, it certainly doesn't behave around bends like its turbocharged brother. Even with a 53/47 per cent front/rear weight distribution and 33 per cent stiffer (compared to Focus sedan) rear stabiliser bars, the rear consistently feels unstable and begging for grip. Perhaps a result of the narrow 205/50/R17 wheels.
On the third day of my test, the Focus CC broke. No, it didn't break down in the middle of the night, nor did it stop driving. The driver side window began making the most awful noise known to man. Something had come loose inside the driver's door, slowly and painfully scratching against the window, which meant earplugs were required every time the window had to go up or down, a rather frequent operation if the folding roof was to be used!
Given the pain I had to suffer everytime I entered the car, I started to take more notice of the exterior before getting in, thinking that perhaps by admiring the CC's looks, I could better handle the torture that awaited.
The looks, oh yes, you can't miss the proud and exclusive Pininfarina badges subtly placed around the Focus. Although the Pininfarina badge has lost a lot of its exclusivity (lets not forget they designed the Colt CC) the Focus CC is a looker.
Given it's a car aimed at the 30-something female market, I asked my girlfriend and a few other female friends to judge the Focus on its appeal. It was unanimously decided that despite all its downfalls, it's overall 'appeal', emphasised by very distinctive flowing lines and chrome highlights, is only let down by the fact that it's essentially still just a Focus -Pininfarina or not.
Safety features are aplenty with driver and front passenger airbags, front side airbags, Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) and Emergency Brake Assist (EBA) as well as Dynamic Stability Control (Ford's ESC) with Traction Control and a Rollover Protection Device (RPD).
The Focus CC is not a poor competitor in this convertible market, but given the strong competition, it requires a lot of justifications for the asking price.
As a package, the Focus CC will appeal to many. With a great interior and pleasant looks it ticks the right boxes. However it will find it a challenge to compete with the Astra TwinTop as the Opel-sourced Holden presents a better overall package.
CarAdvice Overall Rating: How does it Drive: How does it Look: How does it Go:
- Engine: 2.0-litre Duratec 16V four-cylinder
- Power: 107kW @ 6000rpm
- Torque: 185Nm @ 4500rpm
- Transmission: Four-speed automatic
- Brakes: Discs with ABS, EBA & EBD
- Driven Wheels: Front
- Fuel Type: 91RON Petrol
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 55 litre
- Fuel Consumption: 8.3 litres/100km (Combined)
- CO2 Emissions: 199 grams per kilometre
- Safety: ESP, front & curtain airbags, Rollover Protection Device
- Warranty: 3 years/100,000kms
- Weight: 14650kg