Archive for March, 2015|Monthly archive page

Focus on Downsizing

In FORD on March 20, 2015 at 10:32 pm

Front 3 quarters FocusFrom the blue propellor to the Blue Oval.

Here’s my first chance to experience the recent trend for downsizing.

“What?” You ask.  The latest Focus seems so much bigger than the regular version which replaced the Escort decades ago.

Focus Rear 3 quarter

So what am I alluding to?

The engine.

This “mid-size hatch” is actually powered by a tiny 3 pot 1.0 litre engine.

Let’s give you some context here.  In all probability you’d probably expect at least a 1.6 litre in a family hatch of this size.

There were 1.4, 1.6, 1.8, 2.0, and 2.5 litre versions down through the years.

Now we get the chance to hug trees with a frugal 3 cylinder pumping out 125 bhp.


Truth is that’s just about enough, but get this I once bought a Clarkson favourite 1.0 litre 3 pot Daihatsu Charade.  Back in 2003 that engine gave us just 57 eager horses.

12 years on Henry offers more than twice that.


Plus points on this motor are a pleasant and unobtrusive warble, with tolerable economy and emissions.

Boy Racers will hit the loud pedal and count to ten, it isn’t rev hungry like some modern units.

What else can I say about the car which i ran for a day around Jersey?

1. It has a lovely fascia and dash layout.

DAshing FORD

2. Comfy seats.

3. Light controls.

4. A great chassis.

5. So-so looks (the original looks better)

6. Great ride.

7. Adequate space, front, back and in the boot.

Focus boot

8. My one had so many gadgets moulded to the screen visibility was not too clever.

9. High Price new.

10. Mega depreciation in Year 1.

But sadly as much as I’d welcome Ford doing well on merit there’s still one significant problem.

Build quality.

Everything on my 1000 mile version was fine apart from what sounded like a dodgy thrust bearing (or slipping fan belt) ever time I pulled away from a stand still.

For me this (and the shoddy dealers) are what let’s Ford down.

Come on FORD, your 90% sorted sort out these last two items and you’d be up with Audi & BMW.

I personally love the new Mondeo, they look fantastic.

My verdict on the 3 Pot Focus?

EIGHT out of TEN.

If you want one they can be snapped up for around £10,000 off £22,000 list price at a year old, with 6000 mile son the clock.





In BMW on March 16, 2015 at 10:14 pm

120 D M sport 5 DoorHere’s my latest steer.

It’s a 120D M Sport auto in Estoril Blue.

If I were to open the garage door you’d find an almost identical BMW inside.

2 Series

Ours is a 2013 BMW 125i M Sport with a petrol engine.

What’s particularly fascinating about these two cars is that despite the outward appearance they drive totally differently.

Whilst we have a flash set of alloys just like these they’re our Summer tyres, and not currently in use.

Thus logic would suggest our 125 should have the smoother ride, as the wheels are inch smaller and there’s a lot more rubber in the sidewalls.


Even on these rubber band Pirellis the 120D is far more cosseting over bumps and potholes.

Then there’s the power delivery.

With ample torque this thing just gets up and goes without any histrionics.  Our petrol posts better figures than this oil burner, but sounds far more frantic in the process.

Seats? Ours has heated leather. This one has unheated cloth.

The cloth ones look smarter.

Other differences concern the iDrive controls, the DAB radio has prettier graphics (but loses a signal far more frequently than our 320 or 125).

The steering wheel is a new design, better than my 3 Series standard issue, but not as sweet to hold as our 2013 M Sport.

I still love the Estoril Blue, but neither this nor our 125 has Xenon lights.  The cross country blast tonight would have been better if I could have seen more clearly.

All things considered the 2014 model year 120 D M Sport is a much better car than our 2013 125 M Sport, but the loan car makes do without flappy paddles, which is one option I’d miss if this was mine.

My verdict – 120D M Sport 5 Door – 9 out of 10

Blue two

Toodle Pip, happy motoring to you all.

ending in blue