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.