When I first got into the Ford Focus Trend, I absolutely had no inkling as to what kind of surprise I'd be in for. Starting the car, the first impression I got made me think initially that it was a diesel variant, but something was amiss: no muted modern-diesel clackity-clack-clack! This prompted me to check the tach, and the past-6,000rpm redline immediately dispelled my notions of this car being an oil burner.
I got another surprise--a pleasant one, for sure, as the responses my foot and butt dyno were getting told me that the car just really had to be a diesel variant. And perhaps with the global recession and all, someone at the bean counters decided for the oil and petrol burners to share tachs as a cost-cutting measure. Funny what sort of thoughts enter one's mind when confronted with an unexpected pleasantry.
But there was power beyond 4,500rpm. I thought the unit must be the 2.0-liter petrol variant then, as I played around the engine's power band to see how flexible it was. However, a quick message from editorial assistant Sharleen Banzon made me exclaim, "No way can this be a 1.8-liter!"
With that out of the way, I discovered while maneuvering through slower-moving traffic that even though the Ford Focus Trend was similar in external size to other vehicles in the compact class, it inspired confidence as it moved to occupy a vacant spot in traffic. Minimal blind spots and great all-around visibility help in this particular exercise. Exploring the brakes revealed that while they may not be as linear in feedback for the more track-oriented drivers, they are more than capable of stopping the car on a dime.
Driving position with the tilt-and-telescopic, airbag-equipped steering wheel is of the fits-me-just-right kind of rarity, and ride comfort is above par, toeing the line between a-whole-lot-better-than-most and I'm-already-nitpicking. The climate control is quick to cool the interior even when parked all day in the blazing summer sun, taking only a few minutes after you vent out the pent-up heat prior to moving off.
Of course, there's always a 'but', and in this case, it's that most people see the ford focus as an American car because of the Blue Oval badge on the grille. But the purposeful avant-garde exterior, superb interior design, and fit-and-finish are decidedly European. From the matte-textured glare-reducing finish on almost all of the surfaces, to the rotary switch on the dash that controls external illumination, it's all Euro.
Which unfortunately--nitpicky as this may seem--brings us to the spoiler: the universally disdained and unacceptable "Let the dealer deal with it" attitude surrounding the peeling paint on the matte-silver hazard switch, in a car with just 5,300 kilometers on the odometer. A spoiler, yes, but not a deal-breaker if you prefer to think of the Ford Focus Trend as a bargain European hatchback rather than just another cookie-cutter compact wagon. I know I do.
Want a brand-new Ford Focus? Click this link to see the entire Ford Focus lineup in the Philippines.
Source: Top Gear Philippines, June 2009