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Ford Focus
6/10

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Road Test

Ford Focus 2.0TDCI 145ps driven

Driven July 2011

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Grown-uppedness. Inexplicably, the word isn't in TG's office dictionary. But if it were, there'd surely be a photo of this car next to it. Our first UK drive of a new diesel Focus - a top-spec 138bhp, 2.0-litre turbodiesel - confirms our suspicion that the MkIII is, as the politicians put it, a more mature candidate.

A refined candidate too. Road and wind noise are minimal, closer to Big German Saloon standards than Small Family Hatch. The big diesel is strong and dismissively torquey - it'll crack 60mph in less than nine seconds and return 57mpg - while all the new gadgetry is deftly integrated. The speed limit recognition, in particular, works a treat, spotting 30mph signs whether bent or buried in a hedge.

But the new, grown-up Focus has lost some of the youthful zing that defined its previous generations. It isn't much: a fractional hesitation in throttle response, a slight deadness to the steering. Most will see the extra tech and sophistication as a fair trade-in, and, in truth, the new Focus is still towards the top of the handling class. But without the instant buzz of even its most utilitarian predecessors, this Focus is a quick diesel, but a slow burner.

Sam Philip

We like: Expensive feel, quiet ride
We don't like: Lazy throttle, passive handling
The verdict: Great on the M-way, good on B-roads. Still a top car, but a little short on sparkle
Performance: 0-62mph in 8.9secs, max 129mph, 56.5mpg
Tech: 1997cc, 4cyl, FWD, 138bhp, 236lb ft, 1421kg, 129g/km CO2
Tick this on the options list: 18-inch alloy wheels, £400
And avoid this: Illuminated gearknob, £82

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