999 cm3. That’s the exact capacity of the engine powering this latest arrival in the CAR fleet. Ford has reason to be confident in the downsized EcoBoost powertrain, having scooped multiple wins in the International Engine of the Year awards since it was launched in the Fiesta in 2012. That vehicle is lighter, though, so we were intrigued to find out how the powertrain fares in a larger body designed to cart families. As an initiation, my wife, kids and I chose the Focus for a weekend getaway to the Cederberg in search of wild flowers.
Finding enough packing space for all the stuff a family of four needs is tricky, but the 376 cm3 boot swallowed all our detritus. The Focus has been around for some time, and nowhere is that more obvious than in the cabin.
Despite a fairly recent facelift, the interior appears a bit dated owing to this Trend model’s tiny infotainment screen (a colour TFT that can also incorporate a view of the reverse camera is optional) and expanses of flat, grey plastic. That said, it’s all solid and Trend spec doesn’t lack important safety and comfort features. The scenic mountain passes outside Clanwilliam reminded me of the prowess of Ford’s chassis engineers, as the vehicle steered precisely while the ride remained supple and comfortable over varying road surfaces. These surfaces included long stretches of gravel on the way to Wupperthal, which proved that a sedan is perfectly capable of venturing off the paved surface if needed. The Focus felt surefooted and composed.
The engine (delivering 92 kW and 170 N.m) provides enough punch to execute safe overtaking manoeuvres and it can easily keep to the national speed limit.
Two slight annoyances did surface, though: the six-speed dual-clutch transmission lets the revs drop too low (1 500 r/min) during cruising, which results in some vibration entering the cabin; and the fuel consumption.
The trip computer showed 7,4 L/100 km for the leisurely trip, which is a long way off the claim of 5,5 L/100 km. This figure was achieved while driving conservatively – even below the speed limit – in search of patches of flowers bordering the road. We will keep our eye on the consumption during the year to see if the situation improves.
Did we find flowers? Yes, indeed, and the kids remember the stunning rock formations of Pakhuis Pass as well as the starlit skies of Biedouw Valley. If these are the types of memories that the Focus Sedan can etch into our minds, it promises to be a great family vehicle.
After 1 month
Mileage now: 1 233 km
Fuel consumption (litres/100 km): 7,59 litres/100 km
We like: refined ride; spacious boot and cabin
We don’t like: ageing cabin; higher-than-expected consumption