The Ford Focus began its roots as a European compact hatchback. That explains why it’s much more popular as a hatchback since it began life that way anyway. It also explains why the headlight switch is peculiarly mounted on the dash compared to what I have been used to. But most importantly, it asserts how a 2.0 liter Turbo Diesel Commonrail Injection (TDCi) found its way into the Focus.
In my opinion, the Focus is one of the better-looking sedans on the road today internally and externally. The wide wheel arches and gaping front grill are distinctive to the Focus. And as you may have noticed, its posterior is a bit short and stubby, a typical characteristic of a hatchback. The dash looks and feels great, embellished with pieces of silver trimming and encrusted by plastic that’s soft to the touch. And as much as the seats are beautifully covered in leather, chunky guys like me might find the front seats slightly narrow and strenuous for a long drive. On the plus side, there are rear air-con vents, which is a big plus for anyone sitting at the back. My only gripe is the general lack of storage space as the center console can only accommodate two small cups and a handful of candies.
If any of you still remember, the first Ford Focus TDCi batch that came to the country was only offered with a 6-speed manual transmission. And to some people’s dismay, only two colors were available - blue and light blue. But what I remember the most were those catchy billboards that advertised the Focus TDCi as “Fast, Surprisingly Fast”. Having 136 horsepower and 320Nm of torque in tap, this car was fast indeed. It was so fast that Tuason Racing School even made a racecar out of it. With all the manual versions long gone, Ford now bundles the Focus TDCi with a 6-speed PowerShift® dual clutch automatic transmission which claims to shift gears in under 0.01 of a second according to the brochure. Also, it now comes in eight different colors, six of which are not in a shade of blue.
Well, I’m very pleased to tell you that even with an automatic transmission, the Focus TDCi is just as fast and just as fun to drive. And I wouldn’t be surprised if this would be your first time to see the words ‘diesel’ and ‘fast’ in the same sentence. Yes, it runs on diesel and accelerates faster than any other sub 1.2-million Peso four-cylinder family sedans I’ve ever driven.
When the engine torque peaks at 2,000rpm, it leaps into action with the help from the turbo and gallops all the way up to 5,000rpm. But the fun doesn’t end there. May you opt to use the +/- manual mode or leave it in D, it will shift through the gears seamlessly and accelerate on until you break all the road speed limits leaving you begging for more. The Focus was so enjoyable, that I had to share this experience with my friends. But since it was a test unit from Ford, I couldn’t just let any of them sit behind the wheel. So they all had to ride with me shotgun. I gave them the ride of their life, darting the Focus all over the place in the safest manner possible of course. *cough cough*
I had a blast with the Focus TDCi. Besides giving my friends free rides, I also drove it to work a couple of times and even entered it in a rally in Subic. Then the consequences of my actions dawned upon me. With all that hard driving, I surely had to bear the financial pains of refueling the little beast. I knew I should have charged my friends for the rides I gave them. But to my surprise, the on-board computer told the true story that I was able to do all my antics at an extremely economical 16 Km/L.
Fuel for Thought
Up until recently, all compact sedans sold in this country ran on unleaded fuel. Gasoline, or better known as ‘gas’, is clean, powerful and is more expensive than beer per liter. Still, it was the more popular choice compared its adversary diesel. We were made to believe that diesels are dirty, slow, and produced a lot of pollution. It’s more synonymous to industrial or commercial use rather than on a family sedan. Ford on the other hand, broke all boundaries with the Ford Focus TDCi.
Going back to my bitter childhood memories, I most certainly believed then that having fun had a cost involved, and it was certainly a fact when it comes to driving fast cars. You see, every time you step hard on the gas pedal, it burns a hole in your pocket. But spending a weekend with the Focus TDCi changed all this. I drove the Focus hard. Believe me, I did. Still, I got an exceptional fuel economy that some motorists can only dream of. Then, if you factor in the fuel expenses, the savings are magnified as diesel only costs a fraction compared to gasoline.
I almost can’t believe that I drove so spiritedly without using up much fuel. If I had driven more conservatively, I bet I could do a lot better than the 16 Km/L recorded. Now I’m convinced that you can have lots of fun and not break the bank. Considering the P1.159-million price tag, it’s positioned very competitively in its class. But if you also take into account the cheaper cost of diesel and the astounding fuel economy the Focus, you’re sure to get back your investment within a few years. With the Ford Focus TDCi, indeed you can get more for less.