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Ford Focus Estate 1.6 EcoBoost Titanium

Click to view picture gallery“New Ford Focus estate launches
  at Goodwood Festival of Speed’s
 
Moving Motor Show...”

THE LAUNCH OF THE NEW FOCUS ESTATE range coincides with the centenary of Ford of Britain and although the new Focus Estate has been in Ford showrooms since May, there could be no better venue than Goodwood to reveal the range to the general motoring public.

The Goodwood Festival of Speed and the Moving Motor Show element (now in its second year), is the largest motoring garden party in the world and brings together a heady mix of cars, stars and motorsport icons. No other motoring event combines such a diverse display of new and past great cars or a star-studded line-up of drivers and guests. However, at events such as this the car, at least for me, is always the star: celebrities come and go; great cars just go mainly very fast!

At last year's first Moving Motor Show, I drove the hugely entertaining 345bhp Ford Focus RS500 up the 1.16-mile thin ribbon of tarmac that is Goodwood's hill climb, flanked by some imposingly large straw bales and a section of hard flint wall to keep the driver 'focussed'. And well insulated from the watching public an estimated 170,000 people attended the four-day Goodwood event which included both the Festival of Speed and the Moving Motor Show events.

“The new Focus estate
has the same low-
emission appeal as the
five-door version
with a full range of low-
CO2 powertrains and
the highest level ever
in its mainstream
volume car sector of
smart new driver-support
technologies
...”
This year, those tackling 'the hill' at the Moving Motor Show were a mix of invited motoring hacks, professional demonstration drivers and go-slow potential customers. The problem was there was such a difference in driving speeds that for many the chance to challenge the hill was lost.

As it turned out, that's precisely what happened to me. This year I was again in pole position with the 9am start time in the new Focus Estate (1.6 EcoBoost 148bhp direct injection turbocharged petrol engine) with stunt driver Paul Swift as ballast.

Then a tyre inflation warning light came on but after checking it proved to be a false alarm however, it got me relegated to a slot behind a new MG6 Magnette which was being 'paraded' by its pedestrian driver at 30mph, presumably to show off its bland Chinese-influenced styling.

Even though we were started 20 seconds apart I caught the MG in a matter of 200 yards and so could do no more than trundle up the rest of the hill. Surely such occasions at so renowned a location should be better used to show off the abilities of the cars rather than the looks, particularly with a sporting historic brand like MG.

Launched earlier this year, the new Focus estate is based on the Focus five-door hatchback and has already scored a healthy level of initial sales. The outgoing Focus estates accounted for 12.5 per cent of all Focus sales since 1998; the new one is forecast to reach 18 per cent (around 18,000 per year) 2,000 have already been ordered by British customers.

The Focus estate line-up starts at 17,100. Although this is no headline-grabbing bargain, the all-new estate comes with over 1,000 of additional standard equipment compared to the equivalent outgoing model no bad thing in this dismal economic climate. The added no-cost goodies include Bluetooth and voice control, USB connection, DAB radio, Thatcham Category 1 alarm, aluminium roof rails, luggage cover, lumbar adjustment on the driver's seat and torque vectoring control for the front-wheel drive system.

It also has the same low-emission appeal as the five-door model with a full range of low-CO2 powertrains and the highest level ever (in its mainstream volume car sector) of smart new driver-support technologies. Sizewise, the estate is 200mm longer than the 5-door hatch and has 100mm greater width between the wheel arches; the maximum load capacity is 1,502 litres in two-seat configuration or 476 litres used as a traditional luggage boot with the seats in place.

“Ford’s state-of-the-art
1.6 EcoBoost 148bhp
turbocharged direct
injection engine delivers
the strong low-end
torque and responsive
performance of a large
capacity engine but
with the size, weight and
fuel economy of a much
smaller unit
...”
The new Focus estate also offers the same class-leading technologies as the five-door, with many of these features new to the mainstream medium car market. These include the optional 750 Driver Assistance Pack comprising seven advanced technologies: Active City Stop, Traffic Sign Recognition, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Aid, Blind Spot Information System, Auto High Beam and Driver Alert.

Trim and equipment levels embrace Edge, Zetec, Titanium and Titanium X specifications. Of these, Zetec is expected to account for 55 per cent of the model mix.

The new estates are also available with the same choice of low-CO2 powertrain options as the five-door hatchbacks including the 1.6 TDCi 113bhp turbodiesel engine (with auto Start-Stop and CO2 emissions starting at 109g/km), likely to be the single best-selling powertrain.

The marginally cheaper 1.6 Duratec petrol units with 103 and 123bhp power outputs and CO2 emission levels of 136g/km will together account for almost half of sales and will appeal particularly to price sensitive retail customers.

The new Ford Focus range also includes Ford's 'hero' engine built at Bridgend in South Wales, this state-of-the-art 1.6 Ford EcoBoost 148bhp turbocharged direct injection petrol engine debuted on the C-MAX last year. It's one of a new generation of global, downsized, high-efficiency, low-CO2 petrol engines which deliver the strong low-end torque and responsive performance of a large capacity engine but with the size, weight and fuel economy of a much smaller unit.

A 2.0 TDCi turbodiesel unit (138 or 157bhp and CO2 emissions of 129g/km) is also in the line-up, although this will be a relatively small seller. Other power units will also be joining the range: the Zetec S, with a 157bhp EcoBoost turbo petrol unit, arrives later this year and the long-awaited ST with a 246bhp 2.0-litre petrol unit arrives in 2012 in time for the next Festival of Speed.

Away from the pizzazz of the Festival of Speed events, I had the opportunity to drive on normal, but busy, roads around Hampshire and West Sussex in the estate in top-selling Zetec trim with the 1.6 TDCi 113bhp turbodiesel unit.

“Its no slowcoach —
top speed is 120mph
with 0-62mph
taking 11.1 seconds.
Given the traffic
congestion on our roads
and the price of fuel,
higher mileage drivers
will be happy with
this version
...”
With tailpipe emissions of a low 109g/km, this model attracts zero first year road tax and then it's just 30 per year. For the main customers company cars users Benefit in Kind tax is a low 13 per cent and both private and company users will appreciate the official 67.3mpg Combined Cycle fuel consumption. I achieved 48.8mpg but during a brief test drive a week earlier, this same car, on busy roads, returned 54.4mpg.

It's no slowcoach either top speed is 120mph with zero to 62mph taking 11.1 seconds. Given the traffic congestion on our roads and the price of fuel, higher mileage drivers will be happy with this version.

I also drove the 1.6 148bhp EcoBoost turbocharged petrol unit in a model specced to Titanium level and priced at 20,850 this engine is only available with the higher levels of specification. The price of my test car was 20,850. Officially this direct injection unit will return 47.1mpg but on my test drive the real-life figure was 36.8mpg and that was a leisurely drive. Its 139g/km CO2 emissions mean a road tax cost of 115 per year. BIK company car tax is 17 per cent.

I can see retail customers who fancy a bit more performance and a bit more specification but travel less distances annually going for this particular version. It's nice to drive; the engine is very flexible with good low-down torque (177lb ft) and there's a good turn of speed when required. Max speed is 130mph and the zero to 62mph time is a brisk 8.8 seconds.

As regards to looks and driving appeal, the new Focus estate is a refined product with a well balanced ride and good comfort. The design looks seamless not just a 'load box' tacked onto the rear of the original hatchback bodyshell and the addition of more load space definitely enhances the exterior appearance. It looks and feels a classy product and despite its relatively high price offers a lot of specification and technology for the money.

Plus points include a spacious interior with a good sized load area, a compliant and refined ride, comfort and the classy styling. Against? Only the fact that in this lower medium sector it is pricey and the EcoBoost power and other technologies make it even more expensive.
— David Miles

Ford Focus Estate 1.6 EcoBoost Titanium | 20,850
Maximum speed: 130mph | 0-62mph: 8.8 seconds | Overall Test MPG: 36.8mpg
Power: 148bhp | Torque: 177lb ft | CO2 139g/km