News: Ford Focus - Better than the Golf - in one sense

Actually, at this point something should be about the new attack of the lifted Ford Focus on the permanent bestseller VW Golf. However, that would be nonsense: at least from a global perspective, the Cologne Compact has long since outclassed its Wolfsburg-based adversary in terms of new registrations. In Germany, of all things, the market leadership has so far failed to do so. Why this is so, shows also the latest edition.

To avoid any misunderstandings, the Focus is a good car, and since the facelift it's even a very good one. The cold precision, the mature perfection and the classless elegance of its main competitor - and thus the points that apparently appeal to German buyers - are still missing. To some extent this is genetically based. While the Golf wants to conquer the world as a German car, the Focus is a world car that should also conquer Germany. Although the Ford was largely developed in Cologne, it was developed in such a way that it would also work in Knoxville, Tennessee or Canton, China.

Perhaps that was the reason for the somewhat crude design when it was launched in the middle of 2011. The lifting now beautifies at least the front, where a large shark mouth cooler makes you think a little of the design sports cars from Aston Martin. At the rear, which is still confusing and built-in, the sedan still has the strange tail lights with a duck foot look. The interior has also been improved, but also not consistently, where the impractical and confusing flood of buttons has finally given way. Especially the new touch screen is a win in this regard. The operating menus for audio system, navigation, air conditioning and on-board computer are stored in four areas. This looks good and works intuitively - but why the keys "Home" and "Settings" are so tiny that you can hardly hit them with your little finger remains a mystery.

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Perhaps because Ford assumes that the new voice control is primarily used for the operation. It actually works better with the Focus than with most competitors, but it's still a long way to perfection, because the conversations with the friendly computer voice last forever, at least when it comes to more complicated content than regulating the heating temperature. Then the digital counterpart likes to ramble, so that at some point you get annoyed when you press the touchscreen and enter the travel destination or phone number by hand.

But even pedants should be reconciled if they get behind the wheel. There it becomes clear that there is no need for the tens of thousands of driver size measurements that VW carried out during the development of the Golf. The focus also fits. In general, one of the advantages of Cologne is that it makes the driver feel very calm about being the master of the vehicle. The steering is direct and precise, the chassis taut and binding, the engine sovereign and reserved. The Focus is still one of the most dynamic models in its class, without being annoying with the hardness of the chassis or overly sharp driving behavior.

For the drive in the test car provides the last remaining two-liter diesel of the series (with the exception of the sports model ST), the rest are now replaced by the newer 1,5-liter diesel. The big engine with 110 kW / 150 PS does not count to the old iron, it combines nevertheless good driving performance and strong passage with neat smoothness and reasonable consumption. The four-cylinder engine consumes just under 5,5 liters if it is forced to turn slowly at an early stage using the crisp six-speed gearbox. This is not a problem, because even in the tour cellar are then still lush 370 Nm on.

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Ford requires at least 25.710 euros for the powerful Diesel Focus. Because the equipment is already lush in the base, a fair price. Necessities like air conditioning and radio are on board, but also luxuries like navigation system and leather steering wheel. For additional 1.150 euros, there are also various assistance systems in the package, such as blind spot warning and traffic sign recognition.

Whether the package of sportiness, fair price and small Lässigkeiten fine tuning is enough to the Gulf in Germany and Europe to be dangerous, but remains questionable. The individual car buyer can ultimately but do not care. The Focus is at least since the facelift a really good compact car. Not only in Chinese and American, but also on German roads.

Author: Holger Holzer / SP-X

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