Ford Focus 1.6L Wagon 2008 Review

ford-focus-stationwagon-fq

If you are a spy and want to get around unnoticed (yes spying is about NOT being seen, James) then the Ford Focus Wagon is for you. This car is stealthy. This car is so stealthy that when it first came to the Car and SUV offices, I couldn’t see it.

“The new Focus is here” announced Editor Cottingham. I looked out the window. “Where?” I asked. “Between the Civic and the MINI” came the reply.
At first all I could see was an empty space, but as I squinted toward the place where a car should be, a form suddenly materialised in front of my eyes like a tiger suddenly jumping out of the bush.
It is probably the unremarkable styling and the dark colour that helped to mask the car from view, as during my time with the Focus I completely walked past it in a car park; three times.
I wasn’t the only who had problems finding the car. Other people in the Car office also had trouble seeing it in the car park. “Where’s Ben? His car isn’t…oh there it is”

The Russians would have won the Cold War if they’d had this kind of technology.

The Focus seems a lot larger than its predecessor. It’s amazing to see the change in vehicle sizes over the last ten years.
All the small cars (Focus, Civic et al.) have become medium sized and the mid-size cars have become super-sized. Hell, the Mondeo I am driving feels as big as an early 90’s Falcon.

This increase in size is a good thing because it means you have a small-ish car, with minimal overhangs that is easy to drive, has good visibility and is easy to park. It can also fit a lot of stuff in when you go camping, shopping or when making a mad border-dash with the back chock-full of Bollinger and Eastern bloc women with funny names who may try to kill you.
However with a bigger car you need more power to pull it and if the stealth of the Focus ever failed, and Bond was found out, the two mice under the bonnet would have their work cut out for them in a high speed pursuit.

The lackluster 1.6 litre engine as tested is quite torpid and not suited to an automatic transmission. With this combination it is no surprise that the Focus is tardy. It would be a much better proposition with the Duratorq turbo-diesel and manual transmission. The diesel combo is a little more expensive but it’s not only more powerful, it uses less fuel.

Fuel consumption in the Focus is a bit thirsty for its size with a combined 8.4 L/100km. This could however stem from the fact that you need to drive it hard to get up to speed which is where the diesel would again be the better option.

The driving experience is fine if you take the engine out of the equation (again, a more powerful engine would be better) as the Focus handles well and has an excellent ride compromise between comfort and (semi) performance. Luckily the stealth factor is not present when driving and people can actually see you.

It has a huge amount of space in the back to put things (hindered only by the rear seats not folding compleately flat) and the glovebox is roomier than a supermodel’s lunchbox.

The Focus is a very good car for those who need to address practical issues like carting kids, shopping and pets around (boot blinds and dog partitions are available options).
The interior is decent with comfortable seats, good ergonomics and controls that are easy to use and understand. Despite feeling a little upright and flat, I really liked the seats in the Focus as they were comfortable and easy to get in and out of (am I getting old?) and had funky stripes.

The Focus is extremely practical and with the right engine could be a good choice for carrying stuff quite cheaply. You know that it wouldn’t get stolen (stealth factor), but then again you might lose it.

Although Bond would be as likely to drive the Focus as marry Moneypenny and start collecting stamps, it would be the perfect car for him to pick Pussy Galore up in without the missus knowing- ‘Oh James’ indeed!!

Click through to the next page to read the full specs for the Ford Focus 1.6L Wagon

Price: from $26,190 for the hatch and $27,890 for the wagon

What we like

  • Urban stealth
  • Practicality
  • Interior ergonomics and dash
  • Seats

What we don’t like

  • Lifeless engine
  • Interior door plastics cheap

Engine & Transmission

Feature

1.6L Wagon Automatic

Engine Type 1.6L Duratec Petrol with 4 Speed Automatic
Cylinders 4
Engine size (cc) 1596
Maximum power (DIN) 74 kW @ 6000 rpm
Maximum torque (DIN) 150 Nm @ 4000 rpm
Combined Fuel Economy: 7.7
CO2 Commissions 184
Euro Stage IV S

Tow Ratings

Feature

1.6L Wagon Automatic

Braked 800
Unbraked 600

Transmissions and Ratios

Feature

1.6L Wagon Automatic

1st gear ratio 2.82
2nd gear ratio 1.51
3rd gear ratio 1.00
4th gear ratio 0.74
5th gear ratio -
6th gear ratio -
Reverse ratio 2.65
Final drive ratio 4.20

Fuel Consumption Data

Feature

1.6L Wagon Automatic

Combined fuel economy (l/100km) 7.7
CO2 Commissions(g/km) 184
Euro IV compliance S
Fuel 91-98 RON (E10 Compatible)

Luggage capacity (litres)

Feature

1.6L Wagon Automatic

Rear seat upright 482
Rear seat folded 1525

Fuel Consumption Data

Feature

1.6L Wagon Automatic

Combined fuel economy (l/100km) 7.7
CO2 Commissions(g/km) 184
Euro IV compliance S
Fuel 91-98 RON (E10 Compatible)

Brakes

Feature

1.6L Wagon Automatic

Anti-lock Braking System with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution S
Dynamic Stability Control (including Traction Assist & Emergency Brake Assist)7 S
4 wheel disc brakes (ventilated front / solid rear) S
Front (mm) ventilated 278 x 25
Rear (mm) solid 265 x 11
Emergency brake light (Hazard warning light) S

Steering

Feature

1.6L Wagon Automatic

Hydraulic power-assisted steering S
Minimum turning circle (m) (kerb to kerb)

Words Ben Dillon – Photos Darren Cottingham

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