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First drive: Ford Focus estate



Focus estate (2011)
RV 3yr/30k
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In the midst of an extremely tough retail market Ford of Britain feels proud that it and its dealers already have 2,000 orders secured for the new Focus Estate just a few weeks since it entered showrooms.

That comes on top of the 10,000 sales of the new Focus five-door hatchback, 45% to retail buyers, since its arrival in March.

Ford expects the load-lugging derivative to broaden Focus’s appeal at a £1,100 price premium over the hatch. Its analysis of all the 1.4 million Focus sales in the UK since 1988 shows estates took a 12.5% slice.

However, it expects the new estate to deliver 18% of all Focus volumes.

The new model is kitted out to tempt both private and business motorists.

Even the base specification Edge includes Bluetooth and voice control functions, air-con, digital radio and a tonneau cover with one touch release to secure items in the 476-litre boot, which expands to 1,502 litres with the rear seats folded.

Zetec, the core trim, comes with alloys, heated windscreen and mirrors, premium centre console, sports-style seats and front foglamps.

The upscale Titanium and Titanium X add auto wipers and headlamps, hill start assist, cruise control and an engine starter button.

Dealers will have an opportunity to upsell depending on the buyer’s lifestyle, with a range of luggage nets and bars, dog guards, floor liners and cycle carriers.

As with the hatchback, Ford has put together competitively priced option packs.

The £250 ‘family pack’ has powered rear child locks, one-touch window controls and a rear seatbelt usage indicator, while a £525 ‘convenience pack’ adds active park assist and folding door mirrors, and a ‘driver assistance pack’ includes lane departure warning and assistance, active city stop to help avoid collisions, traffic sign recognition and blind spot warning for £750.

Like the hatch, the estate range includes a choice of three petrol and four turbodiesel derivatives ranging from 104bhp to 161bhp.

All have CO2 emissions below 140g/km, with the stop-start equipped 1.6-litre TDCI coming in best with 109g/km.

An Econetic version with even lower emissions is due in 2012.

Focus Estate is a fine, practical and stylish workhorse, but in a tough market it’ll be a close run thing for the small estate buyer’s custom.

Ford’s volume model, the 1.6-litre TDCI Zetec with stop-start, is priced at £19,595 against £20,120 for the Vauxhall Astra 1.7CDTi Exclusiv or £19,520 for the Renault Megane dCi110 Dynamique TomTom.

That means, for retail buyers at least, two vital elements in swaying their choice will be their trust in the dealer and the attractiveness of the manufacturer’s finance offers.

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