Focusing attention

Focus-ing Attention

They’re not usually backwards in coming forward at Ford, but you certainly can’t accuse them on being first past the post with the first power operated coupe cabriolet they’ve put on the European market…

In fact, they’ve sat back and watched their main rivals take the plunge before giving the nod for this neat version of the Focus.

So are they coming up on the rails after giving the rest a head start? Well, not exactly. Because while the Focus CC is undoubtedly a smart looker that retains all the good points of the Focus hatchback – crisp handling, neat interior etc – in other areas it’s a little disappointing. It’s fairly well documented elsewhere that there have been the odd hiccough of two with the mechanism of the Pininfarina designed and developed hood. Problems that manifest themselves in more rattles per square centimeter than you would reasonably expect from a car that outwardly shows such flair and brio and is so downright desirable if you hanker after the merits of open top motoring if the sun ever shines and a snug interior come the cold dark days of winter.

With the roof down (it takes 29 seconds) the Focus comes into its own. Eveything feels nailed down and there’s no scuttle shake (windscreen flexing) to worry about, and it’s down to you to enjoy the experience of this full four seat coupe cabriolet. It’s not as smooth an operation as some of its rivals, in that the opening and closing of panels at the rear is accompanied by a resounding clunk in some instances that literally shakes the whole car. With your finger on the button you can feel it all happening behind you, and I guess some people won’t take to that experience

Our test car came with the 136PS 2.0 diesel engine, the same unit as in the C-MAX that passed through our hands the week before, but it came into its own in this guise, where the lower kerbweight made it feel quicker still. Its certainly more responsive and economical too. I managed to top 40mpg over a mixed few days that included a cross country run to Goodwood for the Festival of Speed (mark it in your diary as an event not to be missed on any count next year) and a lot of motorway miles.

Ah yes, the motorway. Make a mental note to scan the sky more carefully before lowering the hood and setting off. The first few drops of rain were soon followed by a torrential downpour between suitable parking areas on the A3 and the 29 seconds it took to shut out the weather quite enough when I eventually stopped and ensured the interior of the Focus was well and truly wet. Me too. Don’t you just love the English summer? On a smooth road the Focus is in its best environment – you just don’t notice any rattles at all. But unfortunately roads in Britain tend to be far from smooth these days… You name it – manhole covers, potholes, discarded ring pulls from beer cans, they all have the ability to make you wince. It’s not a secret either that there are ‘issues’ with leaks developing on the early cars – we had a dribble of rainwater in ours – but it’s not a problem Ford are unaware of and they’ve been working hard to sort it before letting cars go out to customers. Nice gearbox, no sloppiness and it has a precise feel to it which helps you build up a good flow on a cross country run as the Focus has the ability to change direction quickly and efficiently. And of course it’s a safe car with roll hoops that ‘fire’ into position in just a tenth of a second if the sensors detect the car is going to roll.

Price wise, if you’re in the market for a car like this you’re going to have to spend in the order of £20,000 for the privilege of a top end version. The Focus CC sampled here (CC3) costs £20,887 with its Bluetooth hands free option, but prices start at £16,795.It has that dash of Italian elegance, no doubt about that. The design is distinctive but still a Focus for all that.

A Ford in an Italian designer suit, if you like.

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