REVIEW DATE: 09 Nov 2009
Until now, there's always been a reason to dislike one or other of the affordable coupe-cabriolets but with the Ford Focus Coupe-Cabriolet, the objections start to vanish. Andy Enright takes a look at the 1.6-litre model.
The Ford Focus Coupe Cabriolet might score well on many criteria but when it comes to originality, it's awarded a big, fat zero. Ford accepts this and has paid the price in opportunity cost for the sake of bringing a very well-developed car to market. While the likes of Peugeot and Renault had their snouts firmly in the trough, Ford was quietly going about developing a model that would knock them into the next semaine.
That was the theory in any case. As it stands, the French aren't taking the threat to their hegemony laying down and have responded with slashed prices and increased equipment counts, so it's really a case of paying your money and making your choice. The inherently right fundamentals of the Focus will still swing it for many customers, despite the fact that many will see Vauxhall's Astra TwinTop as arguably the prettier car.
What needs to be made clear from the outset is that at Focus CC entry-level, you're not buying a whole lot of engine. The lion's share of your money has gone on the basics and that fancy folding tin top. Pay more and you'll get more in terms of brake horsepower but if you want to occupy rung one on the Focus Coupe-Cabriolet ladder, you'll need to manage your expectations and make do with 100bhp.
The Duratec 1.6-litre unit is a sweet-revving engine but it's not heavy on torque, which means that you'll have to prod it and use the gearbox if you're to make respectable progress. Ford quotes a 0-60 time of 13.3 seconds and a top speed of 114mph, which is reasonable if not rapid. Like all Ford Focuses, the multilink rear suspension is set up to handle the worst you can throw at it, although the springs and dampers on the Coupe-Cabriolet have been tuned to offer a more supple ride than the surprisingly, well, focused hatch. The electrically-assisted steering system is one of the better examples of its ilk, although owners of Mk1 Focuses will still probably mutter about how good the original was before realising they sound like their fathers.
"Even if the Ford drove like a bag of nails it would still bag a bunch of orders."
In the early days, most coupe cabriolet models looked rather ungainly, with huge distended rears that would open up like something from a Bond movie and then swallow the hood mechanism whole. That's no longer acceptable. Nor is having a car that features next to no luggage space. That sort of thing is all rather 2001 and the Focus Coupe-Cabriolet counters with 500-litres of room when the hood is up, although this does drop when the folding roof cartridge is in place. A full four-seater, the Focus Coupe-Cabriolet may not be the answer to the family motorist's prayers but it's a lot more practical than its fun-loving agenda may suggest.
The two-piece electrically-operated hard-top roof operates at the touch of a button and takes just 29 seconds, with no catches, latches or levers needing to be manhandled. Once the roof is stowed in the boot, the Focus Coupe-Cabriolet's lines are a good deal more elegant, with a classic rising waistline and a clean rear deck. Inside, the car's dashboard layout follows the style of other Focus models, but with a different colour scheme developed to distinguish it as a flagship. Two different colour schemes are offered: dark, sporty Ebony/Flint, and the warm, elegant Iris/Camel.
Although it at first appears that there are three trim levels on offer - CC-1, CC-2 and CC-3 - the 1,6-litre engine is only offered with the entry-level CC-1 trim. This features alloy wheels, an embossed chrome Focus logo at the rear, four-seats with sculptured rear bench, a range of unique colours (including Acqua metallic - previously known as Vignale Blue), electronically-operated and heated door mirrors with side turn indicators, Thatcham Cat 1 alarm, CD stereo and air-conditioning. That lot is yours for around £20,000. If you're wondering, the next model up the hierarchy is the 2.0-litre CC-2 at around £22,000.
Safety of course is paramount in a car like this and Ford's new Rollover Protection Device (RPD) plays a vital role in increasing the Coupe-Cabriolet's passive safety performance. In addition to standard front and side airbags, the RPD is designed to help protect passengers in the event of a vehicle rollover. If the system detects an imminent roll, two safety roll-bars "fire" and extend out by up by 20cm to provide a supportive safety strut along with the ultra-strong windscreen pillars to protect the car's occupants.
With strong demand, residual vales look to be firm and the 1.6-litre entry model is the best performer of the range, holding on to 48 per cent of its value after three years. That's a couple of percentage points better than the Renault Megane CC, although still not in the league of the entry-level Peugeot 307CC. The Ford hits back with Group 8 insurance which will really bring the Focus Coupe-Cabriolet within the reach of the younger driver looking for his or her first smart car.
Fuel economy is relatively good at 36.9mpg, and if you're looking to keep a lid on costs, this 1.6-litre Focus CC-1 is certainly the model to opt for, the slightly more fuel efficient diesel Focus CC-2 costing around £2,500 more. Unless your daily commute takes you to Istanbul and back, it's unlikely that you'd ever recoup the additional expense in fuel savings.
The key question when considering the Ford Focus Coupe Cabriolet 1.6 CC-1 is what else does your money buy. It won't get you the entry-level Vauxhall Astra TwinTop, nor will it be enough to put the most basic Renault Megane Coupe-Cabriolet or Peugeot 308CC in the garage. You'd still be thousands of pounds shy of a Volkswagen Eos or a Volvo C70. This fact alone will be enough to net Ford a big slew of conquest sales. Even if the Ford drove like a bag of nails it would still bag a bunch of orders.
The fact that it's possibly the best handling model in its class and is also very well-equipped for an entry-level car serves it well. It's also reasonably good looking, if a little J-Lo in the posterior dimension. In bringing a modern, well-engineered folding tin top to market for such a modest price, Ford should be applauded. It's right on the money.
The results below show the top FOCUS deals on buyacar
|Ford Focus 1.6 TDCi 115 Titanium 5dr diesel hatchback|
|Price £15,649||Save £4,496|
|Ford Focus 1.6 EcoBoost Titanium 5dr hatchback|
|Price £15,848||Save £4,202|
|Ford Focus 1.6 182 EcoBoost Zetec S 5dr hatchback|
|Price £16,431||Save £4,369|
|Ford Focus 1.0 125 EcoBoost Zetec 5dr hatchback|
|Price £14,456||Save £3,839|
|Ford Focus 1.6 TDCi 115 Zetec 5dr diesel hatchback|
|Price £14,923||Save £3,972|
|VIEW MORE DISCOUNT FOCUS DEALS|
|For FOCUS CC 1.6 RANGE|
|OVERALL||7.5 OUT OF 10|
|Space / Versatility||8|
Let our car quote assistant help you configure your ideal new Focus - it's 100% free and easy to use...
Click below for more information: