Is the Focus Zetec S a taster for the Focus ST? Well, it's got a turbo petrol engine, more powerful than anything we've yet seen in a UK edition of the new-shape Focus. And there's a slightly stiffer suspension. And a body kit. So is this a bucket of popcorn and a trailer while we wait for the main feature, the ST?
I hope not. It's a good car, but it's not part-way to being a hot hatch. It's not exciting or involving enough to be called that. The engine isn't very interested in big revs, the steering doesn't have enough feel. The ST (oh, please say it will) is going to need a far wilder streak.
The Zetec S is a very good car, mind, simply because all Focuses are. Well-mannered on the road, refined, quiet. The cabin's very well made. You just jump in and drive: everything's how you expect it to be, which makes you feel warm and content.
What's wrong is the body kit. For a start it makes the 17-inch wheels look small. But more important, it makes you think this will be a harder-edged car than it is. Like all those S-line Audis, really.
1596cc, 182bhp, 199lb ft, 47.1mpg, 139g/km CO2, 0-62mph in 7.9secs, 138mph, 1333kg
Extra 30bhp over the regular 1.6 Ecoboost is nice enough, but don't you go getting any ideas now...