Another week, another car to recommend or not recommend or get in trouble for recommending when somebody buys a variant that, when it arrives, it turns out they don’t like very much. Sigh.
Yes, it’s the new Ford Focus, a car that sets new standards for the class – in the right specification. Chiefly, with the independent rear suspension but in five-door form and with a manual gearbox and a petrol engine.
Other versions are fine, too. I’ve driven a 1.0 with a manual gearbox and a torsion beam rear suspension and in some ways it is a near-top-of-the-class car to drive, too. It’s even more agile, possibly it steers even more keenly – although that might just be the lightness of the engine – so what it gives away over the control-blade-suspension car, it gives away in comfort.
Other versions to that are also fine, but just, well, less so. They’re the kind of cars that get us letters. Stick a diesel in it, or an automatic transmission, or both, or give it an estate bodystyle in Vignale trim with a full-length glass roof and you still have a good car, but one that’s marginally less sparkly and rewarding than a regular Focus.
I haven’t tried one on really big wheels but that’s a chance somebody might take, too, idly ticking boxes on their company car specification sheet – adding wheel diameter and reducing sidewall here, adding weight equivalent to a pig on the roof (although they let in less light, to be fair), and so on. And then wondering why it’s not the dynamic marvel that they might have read it is.