The Focus nameplate is one of the most recognizable in Ford's local lineup and the 2014 LW MKII series Focus aims to continue Ford's legacy of producing stylish and value-packed small cars with a sporty drive. The 2.0L Sport variant that I have been driving for almost one year remains relatively true to the Focus' roots except for one major flaw, which brings down the quality of the overall car.
First things first, I'm aware that style is a subjective phenomena but the Focus Sport has all the traits of a sporty hatch. The Sport traits that differentiate it from lower end models include the sports front bumper, side skirts and rear diffuser which are topped off by a neat spoiler.
CABIN SPACE, COMFORT & TECHNOLOGY:
Inside the cabin it's easy to be overwhelmed by the plethora of buttons on the dash, but over time I've realised that the main functions rely on only a few of the buttons. Some of the features that I've come to especially enjoy include the easy to understand satellite navigation, the quick syncing Bluetooth system and the high quality reversing camera with parking sensors. Each of these tech features are displayed on what is a relatively small screen in comparison to newer rivals, but I've found that the information you need is clear and easy to read.
In addition to these tech wins, the driver is also treated to a leather wrapped steering wheel; gearstick and handbrake while the seats offer excellent support, making the cabin a comfortable place to be. My only quibble with the interior is the lack of a digital speed readout despite having a generous sized LCD trip computer centered in tacho.
Moving into the rear of the car, legroom is reasonable for adults under 180cm although it does get cramped if you try to squeeze a third passenger in the middle seat. Further back, the boot is decently sized also and has plenty of room for bags after a day at the shops and the rear seats can be folded flat for when I've needed to transport larger items such as a bike.
RIDE & HANDLING:
In regards to the ride, the Focus Sport has an excellent suspension setup. Driving on roads with that leave a bit to be desired is no problem as the Focus Sport strikes a perfect balance between soft and stiff. In addition to this, the steering set up also feels direct and responsive, living up to the expectations of past Focus models. Overall the small car is smooth and quiet on your everyday commute while also offering some fun when you reach corners.
PERFORMANCE & ECONOMY:
Sadly, the worst thing about this car is undoubtedly the dual clutch automated transmission which often grinds gears at low speeds and send shudders throughout the cabin. This makes for an uncomfortable experience for both the driver and passengers, especially in start-stop drives. Despite this, the car averages 8.3L/100km in a mix of urban and highway kilometers.
It's hard to comment on the long-term reliability of the car as I do question the amount of life in the transmission, especially in light of reports of failures by other owners. Regardless of this, the Focus has only had one service which was complementary and foreseeable services should be capped at $330, excluding extras.
After living with the car for just under a year, I can describe the Ford Focus Sport as a car that packs good value, style and handling but is seriously let down by its clunky auto.
- Be sure to check out my video review here: http://thecorrespondent.caradvice.com.au/view/55b5845c8a0b8fd72900007d -