• Oct 5, 2006
We spend so much time on this blog bemoaning the fact that Ford has yet to offer to the "Euro" Focus in the United States. So much time, in fact, that we fear the concept of a C1-based Focus on U.S. soil has been placed on a pedestal and is widely considered to be the smartest move Ford has never made.
While all that might be true, it was refreshing to read Edmunds editor Erin Riches recount her experience renting a Ford Focus ZX5 TDCi in France (Editor's note: we have no idea if she visited Paris while there, but who goes to France and doesn't visit Paris?). Franc-ly, she was not impressed. Knowing the Euro Focus is based on the same platform as the lauded Mazda3 and Volvo S3, perhaps she was expecting a car that could carve a twisty path between wineries and plow down cobblestone streets with aplomb. Alas, she found the ride "soft, soft, soft" and the steering uncommunicative, which surprised her considering how fun our Focus can be to drive in any trim level. The nail in the coffin was Ford's 1.6-liter TDCi diesel engine, which while able to lurch around for 400 miles between fill ups, was noisier and clunkier than modern day diesels from Volkswagen.

Of course, this doesn't mean Ford is off the hook with the North American market. It just means that now we want Ford to fix the soft suspension, sharpen up the steering and have a better diesel available before it brings the Euro Focus to our dealers. You know what? Forget all that, just sell the Focus ST here and we'll call it even.

[Source: The Driving Woman]


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  • 21 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      I've driven a low mileage Ford Focus rental for 2 months through about half of Europe (yes road trip!) and was very very pleased. Was it the greatest ride? No. But it was absolutely comfortable, responsive, economic, ... handled quite well and had plenty of power for the autobahn.

      The one thing I did not like was the heating wires throughout the entire front windshield. I had to actively 'focus' into the distance or my eyes kept looking at these lines in the windshield. (I can't stand a dirty / foggy / ... windshield btw) ... and ... it throws off cameras' focus too.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Bring me "soft, soft, soft" and I'll "buy, buy, buy".
      • 8 Years Ago
      The only good reviews I hear about the Euro Focus are about the ST (stated above). I know people who travel to Europe constantly who rent Focii with different trim levels and they are never really impressed. Personally, I would like to drive one just so I could see what its like. From what I have gathered from friends and reviews, you might as well buy the ST or go with the Mazda or Volvo.

      Honestly, I would be happy with the Euro design (exterior and interior) on our current platform or maybe a heavily modified one. My sis has an 06 sedan and its a blast to drive. The ST we get is also a lot of fun to drive...
      • 8 Years Ago
      S30??? read between the typos - you know fill in the obvious mistakes with your own knowledge!!!!

      The upcoming Volvo S30 is basically a rebodied Euro Focus ST - same engine/tranny and chassis.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "8. You cannot really assess the quality of a model based on your experience with a *rental* car!!! Most rental cars get through so much bad treatment that they have little to do with "normal" ones!..."

      I always hear this argument and think its ridiculous. Yes, there are some bad drivers out there, but how BADLY can someone screw up a car, especially when those cars have very low-mileage? That's like arguing you should never test-drive a pre-owned car because it was probably screwed up by its previous owner.

      Personally, I think its a great indicator of how well a car ages since it is used more often.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The constant bitching at being denied the new Focus is unfounded. The old Focus is the best-driving car in the compact class, and nearly flawless ever since some real Mazda engines replaced the Zetec crap last year. The Focus's only flaw is the cheap-ass interior and seats, which have nothing to do with age.

      Did we really need to send someone to Europe to tell us the original Focus is more fun? One back-to-back drive of a Focus and our own numb-steering Mazda 3 oughta do it.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Gee, I've been trying to tell people for almost a year now, that the Euro Focus is only SLIGHTLY better than the N.A. Focus. After the "new" Focus debutted in Great Britain, many different editors from CAR magazine tested it and were LESS than impressed. One editor who owned an "old" model Euro Focus said that the new car would never replaced his much beloved old model Focus. The C-1 Focus is a better car than the Focus it replaced...but only marginally. (It's hard to improve what is a pretty good car.)

      And by the way, yes, the 1.4 liter turbo diesel Focus is probably it's worst engine and it's possible that the extra weight of the diesel may have something to do with the "soft, soft, soft," ride/drive experience.
      • 8 Years Ago
      doug wrote:
      "S30??? read between the typos - you know fill in the obvious mistakes with your own knowledge"

      If one has never heard of a Volvo S30 then one can't fill the gaps can one? BTW, I thought he might be referring to the C30 but interchanging S3 and C30 are not typos, more like brain-flatulence.

      • 8 Years Ago
      What sub-compacts offer a premium-grade ride? Oh, I'm sorry--you seem to think Smarts and Fiats ride like Benzes and Bimmers.
      • 8 Years Ago
      well you just have to travel to mexico because the euro focus sedan will be available in october
      • 8 Years Ago
      I rented a Peugeot 206 in Ireland last month. It had 5000 KM on the clock... It threw error codes left and right and felt like it was going to fall apart. The engine didn't sound so hot either.

      So let me ask: Is the 206 just a terrible car that won't last 3 years, or did I get a CRAPPY RENTAL that was driven into the ground by rental customers that did not care one bit about the car since they didn't own it? And maybe on top of that, the car was "maintained" by some guys that didn't like their job?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Some folks praise the Euro Focus without having driven it. I agree that the US Focus should borrow the Euro's upgraded cosmetic work inside & out, but European sub-compacts aren't known for offering premium-grade driving experiences.
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