Among the many C-Segment cars sold in Malaysia, only a handful few – usually reasonably safe models – will make it to the top of the sales chart. The Ford Focus, for what it’s worth, should be moving in great numbers. But it’s not, and it’s the least qualified to face such a harrowing predicament.
For the past 12 months, over 65,000 units of the Ford Focus were sold in Britain alone. That makes it the third best selling car in the country, more than 1,500 units ahead of the Volkswagen Golf. Okay, market differences aside, there really is no reason why the Ford Focus isn’t worth your consideration. What could it be? Resale value? Poor/incompetent after sales? Costly spare parts?
Alright, in fairness, I will gladly concede those points. I’m not here to disprove nor invalidate your opinions, be it from hearsay or personal experience. This article is simply to pay tribute to a car so deserving of praise, and hopefully by the end of which, you’ll find a reason or two to at least give the idea of purchasing some thought.
It’s the most powerful car in its class
With an engine displacing 1.5-litres, the Focus EcoBoost flexes a maximum 177 hp at 6,000 rpm and 240 Nm of torque from 1,600 to 5,000 rpm, thanks to a sole turbocharger. In comparison, the Honda Civic‘s – currently the hottest selling C-Segment car – turbocharged 1.5-litre engine makes 171 hp at 5,500 rpm and 220 Nm of torque from 1,700 to 5,500 rpm.
The Focus is more powerful, albeit by a small margin. Its biggest selling point however, is the six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission.
Conventional automatic > CVT
Previously, the Focus came with a six-speed dual clutch auto (PowerShift). It wasn’t the smoothest of operators, and is far inferior than Volkswagen’s DSG, both in terms of shift speed and reliability. Ford completely overhauled the power- and drivetrain setup, which should brave the test of time much better, in theory at least.
If given the choice, between the Civic and the Focus, I’d go with the latter simply because it has a better gearbox. This is the part where it becomes subjective. For drivers out there like myself who enjoy the occasional Sunday drives up the mountains, a cogged transmission is the way to go.
CVTs lack the ability to hold revs, meaning you get little to no engine braking – something gravely important for the descent. However CVTs are programmed, it’ll never be as satisfying or engaging as conventional autos or twin clutch setups.
Again, this isn’t a common indulgence, so to each their own.
Premium, quiet cabin
I cannot for the life of me, by way of sensory, distinguish whether the Focus or Civic has better cabin insulation. They’re both dead equal in this regard, but in terms of comfort, the Civic takes the cake. It’s a small compromise to make because the Focus is a remarkably comfortable car to be in for driver and passengers alike.
The suspension setup is delectably balanced, never too soft for spirited driving and never too hard for the notoriously long balik kampung journeys. Couple that to a well insulated cabin smothered with high quality materials and you have yourself a standout performer.
We’re not paid a cent to say any of this, by the way. It’s just an honest commentary to what we think is one of the best value for money, non-Japanese offering in the market. The entire Focus range is turbocharged, with the entry-level variant priced at RM119k (before insurance). This option won’t give you techs like auto parking or ambient lighting, though. If you can live without those, it really is a no-brainer purchase.
Is now a good time to buy the Ford Focus? In fact, it is. Shrewd enthusiasts can take advantage of the ongoing promotion which lets you drive home a brand new Focus from just RM668 a month. It’s subjected to terms and conditions of course, and it’s probably not as attractive as Kia’s Future Value Guarantee programme. But if you can see yourself past the crippling social stigma and give the Focus a shot, what we can guarantee you is the door to many, many good times behind the wheel.