I have always loved Ford Escorts and tended to go for the mid-range sporty machines - a very Zen-like, middle-of-the-road attitude - (1.6 early types, and later the XR3i and finally the 1.8 si). I would probably still be driving one now if Ford hadn't replaced it with the Focus.
As far as I was concerned, if it aint broke, don't fix it so I was a little sceptical when it came to this new model. "Haven't you got any Escorts?" I asked the saleman.
He looked at me as if I had just landed from another galaxy and then proceeded to show me this light blue metallic Focus Saloon Ghia. "This is Ford's flagship," he assured me and due to the fact that the rear seats fold down, there is probably more room in there than in your Escort." He was right - the boot was surprisingly roomy and the car a good bit longer. I was beginning to get well and truly hooked.
I was then told that the Focus won the Car of the Year award in 1999 due to its unique new styling and suspension lay-out which made it an entirely different (but improved) car to drive as it gradually replaced the Escort. And on the test-drive I could see why. The car drove and handled like a dream.
An on-board computer showed a cruising fuel consumption of 40+ to the gallon on the test drive and if I wanted performance - boy was it quick! I was convinced. This was no Escort - in comparison it was motoring luxury. Ford had really got it right with this quirky looking motor. After the test drive, I had fallen in love with it - I just had to buy it.
A few technical details:
The Focuss engine is controlled by a sophisticated engine-management system with a multi-point sequential fuel injection coupled with a distributorless ignition system. The exhaust gases are fed through a three-way catalytic converter in full compliance with the modern-day stringent emission-control laws. This makes the 2 litre very clean running, yet with bags of power.
The engine is mounted transversely and drives the front wheels through a five speed gearbox that is very smooth to operate.
Other pleasant surprises followed. I discovered the cambelt was guaranteed for up to 100,000 miles, and other servicing needs were very infrequent. In conclusion, I have to admit that I am still in love with this car. Being the Ghia, it has more extras than I can mention...
Fuel computer, Outside temperature gauge, Radio cassette/CD changer, Front/Rear heated windows, Air conditioning, Anti-lock 4-wheel disc brakes, Infrequent servicing requirements, Alarm/immobiliser, Central locking, Electric windows back and front, Electric door mirrors, Radio controls on steering wheel stork, Electrical adjustable drivers seat, and more...
There was no doubt, I was sold on the car, but the next worry was the cost of insurance as the car was a 2 litre, so the salesman made a quick phonecall to FordSure (Ford Insurance) and came up with a quote of £246.15 - that was nearly £100 cheaper than the Saga cover I had with my Escort. And what a difference of fuel economy on a 2 litre! The older Ford 2 litres had always proved to be very thirsty.
I am now in my 10th month of ownership of this car and still I have no complaints at all. Every morning is starts without problem. One thing I must say on starting is that just twice since I've owned it, it has taken several more revolutions of the engine before firing up than normal - but this could have been me letting go of the starting key before the car had a chance to fire up thus flooding it a little. So Ive nothing to complain about there.
I have done several long trips over to Suffolk (approx 230 miles), a few hundred miles down into the West Country and the car has done the journey without effort. And due to the superb air-conditioning, driving it around in the recent heat-wave has been a pleasure.
My model is a 2001 "Y" reg ghia. It had one private owner before me with full service history and had covered 45,000 miles. It was bought from the Main Ford dealer (Fordthorne) in Cardiff for £6,000 in a cash deal after some haggling. It had obviously been well looked after and is in mint condition.
Thanks for reading..