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A one-litre Ford Focus? Really? Pack and punch come to mind...
It didn't take long for the first comments to emerge.
"It's a what?"
"No way is that a one-litre!"
And my personal favourite. "Watch out Bill Oddie, I'm on my way... the future is green!"
| The Ford Focus One-litre EcoBoost has been making
appearances at events across Shropshire this year
Except, these weren't comment from other drivers, or even passengers. They were from me, after I had been driving the Ford Focus one-litre Ecoboost for just a few minutes. Yes, I was talking to myself. Again.
I must admit that when I was first handed the keys to the Focus from Furrows, there was a hint of trepidation. I have driven one-litre cars before - my 1987 Nova would have struggled to outrun a barge on the Thames.
But the EcoBoost Focus isn't like that. Oh boy, it's not. Imagine a normal 1.6-litre Ford Focus, and stop there. Don't go any further. The latest engine from Ford may be stuffed full of bells, whistles and gizmos, but the performance makes all those years of development worthwhile. There is very little difference between the two.
In fact, if I hadn't been told I was driving a one-litre, I would have assumed the Focus was a regular 1.6-litre or perhaps, even larger. Okay, the sticker on the side of the car was a giveaway and the words "THIS IS A ONE-LITRE FORD FOCUS" spoiled the surprise. But believe me, in terms of performance, this latest Focus engine is an absolute winner.
Famously, the engine block is small enough to fit on an A4-sized piece of paper and once you look beyond all the pipes and turbos, it is tiny. That, of course, means superb fuel consumption. Latest figures put the Focus at 58.9 miles per gallon and it isn't hard to agree with that. My journey took me from Wellington, to Telford town centre and then to Shrewsbury. New cars these days don't have petrol needles, as such, but on a long run, we were hovering at just over 55 miles per gallon.
So that's bit at the front out of the way - what about the rest of the Focus?
As we have come to expect from Ford, the interior is immaculately engineered, with all sorts of buttons to keep a driver and his passengers entertained. I must admit, however, that the radio took some time to work out. Ford are better than many other manufacturers at making their control panels easy to navigate, once you learn them. And bear in mind I was given a set of keys without the normal handover procedure from our Ford-trained sales executives. So once I had worked out how to change the station, I was happy.
Clearly, Ford have taken their time in designing a car that fits all the usual high-standards in terms of safety and security. The latest model breezed through the NCAP five-star rating tests and is amongst the safest cars on the road. And security is taken care of via a host of immobilisers and the alarm.
One of the most interesting features is the start-up process, which involves keyless ignition. Once again, I have had experience of so-called 'advanced' starter-systems. You know the sort - jam the key in the slot, hope it stays there and pray the battery doesn't run out. With the Focus, the key only needs to be within range of the dashboard. So as long as it is anywhere inside the car, the security-encoded key will enable the press-button system and everyone's a winner.
So that's the Ford Focus one-litre EcoBoost. It hasn't got the same-sized engine as it's bigger brothers, but if it offers similar power, acceleration - and most importantly fuel consumtpion - none of that matters anyway.