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Ford Focus, Acura RSX, Sedan
Oct 06, 2004 (1:01 pm)
"Comfort and refinement are marginally better, which is saying something given the high quality of the old model. Handling – the steering is now electro-hydraulic - seems to be just as agile and rewarding as the outgoing Focus."
Oct 06, 2004 (1:56 pm)
Even w/ electro-hydraulic power steering?
"Concerned that electric power assistance could blunt the steering's communication and responsiveness, Ford bit the bullet and used a more complex and expensive electro-hydraulic system. There's no doubt that Ford got it right, for the steering is undoubtedly best in class, with a well-weighted, incisive feel from straight ahead to full lock, and no dead spot, just pure and linear tactility.
The steering wheel imparts the state of the road surface and the level of traction and purchase back to the driver with almost telegraphic detail. It works in that sweetspot where there's lots of feedback and responsiveness, but not a skerrick of kick-back or over-reaction. In the history of front-drive cars, the Focus's steering can find itself in regal company, with that of the Alfa Sud, Golf GTi series I and the Peugeot 306 – few others come close."
#45 of 67 & how important is it to steer like the "Golf GTi series I"?
Oct 06, 2004 (7:03 pm)
"The Golf we should have brought along for this comparison is the MkI GTI. The first high-performance front-wheel-drive Volkswagen was light and chuckable, all verve and poise, with intuitive controls that needed no electronic assistance.
But we can't turn the clock back to this glorified, rose-tinted past."(p76, "BMW 120i vs VW Golf(series V)", August 2004, CAR)
#50 of 67 New 1.6 got weak low-end torque
Oct 15, 2004 (12:49 pm)
"Ford's all-new 113bhp 1.6 Ti-VCT (Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing) petrol engine, which replaces the current 1.8. Easily the most advanced petrol unit in the range, the four-cylinder motor boasts 14bhp more than the conventional 1.6, but is claimed to return a five per cent improvement in fuel economy, resulting in 43.8mpg in the combined cycle - although we only managed 32.7mpg. Our only complaint with the new powerplant is its lacklustre performance at low revs. With the peak torque of 155Nm not arriving until 4,150rpm, the engine needs revving to get the best from it. Ford's official figures suggest 0-62mph takes 10.8 seconds, and the unit felt every bit as quick as that on a private test track."
"The good news is that despite the extra challenges presented by the UK's winding, potholed tarmac, Ford's high dynamic standards have been maintained. With immense front-end grip, the Focus is capable of carrying plenty of speed through corners, and has a superbly balanced chassis. Diehard fans will miss the pin-sharp steering and lively characteristics of the outgoing version, but the extra maturity and composure offered by the new model make this Focus a more complete package."