Ford Focus Zetec Estate 1.6 125PS PowerShift 2012 Reviews

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Ford Focus Zetec Estate 1.6 125PS PowerShift 2012
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“Doesn't quite meet my expectations”


written by martin99 on 05/04/2012

I used to be keen on cars. But not anymore. Now I just need something that does the biz and is as easy as possible to manage. So, for the past six years I had two Vauxhall Astra 1.8i ‘Life’ estate automatics and was broadly delighted with them. But this year I got a better deal on the Ford Focus 1.6 125PS Zetec PowerShift estate. I gather that ‘PowerShift’ is Ford’s name for its six-speed ‘automatic’ gearbox. Compared to the Astra, the Focus is a much neater car. Being slightly narrower and shorter it’s easier to get it into my tight garage space. I also feel more ‘in control’ of the vehicle because there appears to be less car between me and the outside world. In the Astra, although of very average build, I could never confidently see to the front of the bonnet, which made approaching walls a little scary. But in this regard at least the Focus raises my self-assurance. Squeezing through narrow gaps in the traffic is also a lot less nerve-racking. Inside, however, it’s a different story. While there’s about the same room in the boot (without the back seats down) as there was in my previous two cars, compared to the Astras, the cabin room in the Focus is a lot more cramped, especially for those unfortunate enough to be riding in the rear. Indeed, come to think of it, there isn’t the same leg-room in the front either, as my other half will readily testify. And she’s just a little person with not particularly long legs. All the same, we are both agreed that the Focus seats are far more comfortable and ‘body-hugging’ than those in the Astras. Since getting the Focus I haven’t suffered quite as much from sore backs, as I often did in those previous cars. But inside, the Focus fitments feel a lot flimsier than they were in the Vauxhalls. The steering wheel, auto-select lever and switches don’t exude the same solidity. Furthermore, although the electric windows only require one long push of either switch to go ‘down’ on their own, you have to keep pulling on either switch to bring the windows fully ‘up’. Whereas, on the Astras one single long push or pull was sufficient to make the windows go fully down or up without having to keep holding the relevant switches. So far, this is the Focus ‘feature’ that I have found most irritating. The Focus has lots more gadgets than the Astras, and this will doubtless appeal to people who love those sorts of things. But I’ve never had much time for bells and whistles and mainly concentrate of the bits needed for driving. There’s a sophisticated DAB/FM/AM radio-cum-CD player, which produces excellent quality. The menu settings are easy to adjust without reference to the owner’s manual. However, I have not so far been able to get a cheap out of the DAB radio. Even though I live in a large city in a densely-populated part of the country, every time I switch to DAB it says ‘ no service’. Meanwhile, there are loads of other buttons for adjusting the clock, setting the date and a whole raft of other parameters that are too many to detail. Gadget fans will be in their element. I believe there is also some way of connecting a mobile telephone to the system and answering calls from buttons on the steering column. But you’ll have to check this out for yourself. I switched off when the bloke was enthusing about all that stuff. I would say that the Focus is a quieter car than the Astras. At 70mph there’s slightly less engine and road noise. Compared to the Vauxhalls the Focus is also nippier and more manoeuvrable. Verging on the ‘sporty’ might be too strong a description. But I think you get my drift. Mr Focus can certainly dart around town with ease and is perfectly at home stretching his longs legs on country roads, dual carriageways and motorways. He would go a lot faster than I would ever dare to take him: that’s for sure. Fuel consumption is average for this type of car. Slightly better than the Astras, which had larger engines, but not mind-bogglingly so. Then again, if the cost of fuel is a major concern, you wouldn’t be running an automatic: would you? Other things I like about the Focus are: 1.Its capless fuel-filler which means you’ll never again leave your fuel cap at the petrol station and never fill up with diesel instead of petrol – cos the diesel nozzle won’t go in; 2.The slightly longer front doors and lower suspension, which make it easier for the arthritic (like me) to get in and out; 3.The alloy wheels that give the car a superior overall appearance; 4.The lighter power-steering; 5.The interior lighting arrangement and front fog lights; I could prattle on. But, as with everything else ‘new’, compared to the Astras the Focus has some good points and bad points, and most of them will, at the end of the day, be matters of personal preference. Even so, I don’t think anyone would disagree with me that the Focus is not as substantial a car as my previous Vauxhalls. While not exactly ‘tinny’, everything on the Focus seems a lot less solid than what I’ve been used to for the past six years, and it’s not just a matter of ‘feel’ either. When I took delivery of the Focus I asked the sales chap to drive the old car and the new one side-by-side so that I could take a few pictures, and from these you can see immediately that the old, 2009-reg Astra is the more imposing, stronger-looking vehicle. Therefore, I would highly recommend that you take far more time than I did when changing the car you’ve been driving for a long while to another make and model. If I sound ambivalent about the new Ford Focus Zetec Estate auto 2012, I can assure you that I am. But you must view my position in context. I've been a Vauxhall driver for six years and have never really forgiven Ford for ceasing to make the Classic, the Cortina Mk.V, the Granada Mk.III 2.8 GLS, the Capri and the Escort. Nuff said!

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Bruce.williams's Response to martin99's Review

Written on: 21/09/2015

I bought my daughter a 18 month old Ford Focus powershift 1.6 petrol car from a car supermarket last Feb with 6000 registered miles. Soon after she realised that the car only returned 23 MPG against a quoted 44 MPG The car went into Ford for checks but despite 3 attempts they failed to fix it. I gave the car back to the car supermarket and they agreed to replace it. The replacement car was exactly the same model and colour with a similar mileage but amazingly had the same problems. This car then went into Ford for repair and they had it in their garage for 5 weeks before handing it back in exactly the same condition as it went in! Despite complaing to Ford about their poor customer service they insist that I should now rebook the car into the dealership so they can diagnose the problem. You would of thought after 5 weeks theyd know the problem. The car is a total wreck, as it drives dangerously and doesn’t seem to be able to select gears properly, surging forward when breaking, and I see online that in the USA there’s a lemon law action against the company on this model. We’re unable to take the car back to the dealership as my daughter is only 20 and the hire company that Ford uses to give out courtesy cars charge £35 a week for insurance for U21. So far this year my daughter has paid over £250 in additional insurance that Ford refused to refund. I can’t believe I’m the only one out there with this problem.

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