Jeremy Clarkson - Ford Focus CC

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Apr 22, 2007.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Unlikely, but it’s a ray of sunshine

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    Jeremy Clarkson
    April 22, 2007

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    As I write, the Grand National has just been run in a bath of warm sunshine, Chelsea have beaten Blackburn in temperatures better suited to cooking meat, and the newspapers are filled with gloating pictures of people being all wet and soggy in the Costas.

    Britain, we’re told, is hotter than Athens. Which isn’t so much a piece of news as a yah boo sucks to the poor bastards who’ve shelled out for an Easter holiday in the Med.

    I think this is a rather mean trait, especially since I recently spent two weeks in Barbados under a dome of grey skies and light drizzle. “We’ve never known anything like it,” said the locals, as though that might make us feel better. The Daily Telegraph certainly didn’t, with endless shots of pretty young girls frolicking in the daffodils back home. The captions didn’t say, “Hey w****** in the Caribbean. How do you feel now?”. But that was the inference.

    We all want a holiday once in a while — I can’t see what’s wrong with that: it’s not paedophilia — and all we want from our holiday is a bit of sunshine. It’s not much to ask; a bit of skin cancer to go with your chablis. So why should those at home be encouraged to laugh if it’s grey and miserable?

    Oh, I’m long past the age when I care two hoots about a tan. In the past I’d stake myself out on a day bed and lie there blinking the sweat out of my eyes and rubbing Mazola into my secret gentleman’s areas. This would make me look rich when I got home. But by the age of 37 I’d realised that most of my hard-earned brownness would be left in a series of unpleasant flakes on the homeward-bound aeroplane seat.

    So I’d arrive back at Heathrow with one completely see-through layer of skin straining to stop my internal organs sploshing all over the luggage carousel. And I’d be in screaming agony because I always always always forgot to put sun cream on the top of my feet. So they looked like championship salamis.

    And it got worse when my hair started to recede, because then my afro was no longer able to protect the top of my head. The result was that every morning my pillow was covered in what can only be described as a Guardian reader’s lunch.

    That’s why I gave up sunbathing and decided to spend my time under a hat, a tree and a roof. It shouldn’t really matter, therefore, that I had lousy weather in the Caribbean this year. And yet it did. Sunshine, whether I’m in it or indoors looking at it, lifts my world and my spirits. I think more clearly, I write more coherently. I feel better.

    A while back some American doctor, who wanted some money, came up with the concept of seasonal affective disorder, or Sad. You may think it’s idiotic, suggesting that people get depressed if they don’t see the sun for long periods. You may argue it’s just an excuse for Scottish miserabilism.

    But genetically I think I may be 98% bear, with a sprinkling of hedgehog. All I know is that a bougainvillea bush on a grey day is just another plant. In the sunshine it can take my breath away. A well lit bougainvillea can even make Greece look civilised. Similarly, a ski resort in the cloud is one of the ugliest places on earth. And yet in the sunshine it can be one of the most beautiful.

    My office window here at my holiday cottage overlooks the sea, which for most of the year is a big wobbly grey thing from which I pull lobsters. On a sunny day, however, like today, it’s a shimmering, glinting, dazzling, inviting navy blue mass of possibilities. It makes me want to run about in the fields singing.

    Happily, due to circumstances beyond our control, Britain is becoming warmer and more sunny, but even now you can never bank on it. Just because you go to bed on a Friday under the dying ambers of a vivid scarlet sun doesn’t mean it’ll be there again in the morning. Red sky at night . . . who knows? That’s why I’ve always argued you should only plan a barbecue when it’s raining. This dramatically increases your chances of it being sunny when the charcoal reaches its correct operating temperature.

    And on the road, what you need is a convertible car. Yes, I know a convertible is always going to be heavier than the saloon or hatchback on which it’s based because it needs underfloor beams to replace strength lost when the roof was removed. And yes, I know that because of the weight, and the loss of structural rigidity, a convertible will never handle or accelerate quite as well as a normal car. But who cares when the sunlight is flashing its radioactive Morse code through the overhanging trees, and the morning dew is picked out in the overnight cobwebs and you have an excuse for putting on your Aviators and listening to some Don Henley.

    This brings me on to the Ford Focus CC, which like most of the mid-range convertibles these days has a metal roof that folds electrically into the boot. On paper this sounds good. It means that when you’re driving with the roof up it’s as quiet and as refined as a normal saloon. And when it’s parked the roof cannot be slashed by vandals.

    There are, however, some drawbacks. In order to fit into the boot a roof that is big enough to shield four adults the rear end must be as big as an aircraft carrier. You only need look at Peugeot’s effort to see the ugliness that can result.

    What’s more, you are bound to end up with very little space for rear passengers, and when the roof is down almost no boot space at all.

    At first it looks like the Ford suffers from all these problems and more. The extra weight, thanks to all the ironmongery, means the 1.6 litre version will barely move. Unless you want a diesel, you really have to go for the 2 litre, and even this struggles. And despite the best efforts of Ford’s chassis engineers, who are some of the best in the business at the moment, it’s not what you’d call a sprightly point-and-squirt car. It feels like you’re driving around in Al Gore.

    So yes, you get the vandal-proof roof but the price you pay is limited rear space, a small boot, a dramatic loss of performance and some suet in the handling mix.

    And yet, after a few days I began to like this car very much. Yes, it has the bulbous rear end, but actually when you stop and look at it, as a whole, you have to admit it’s a very elegant car. I don’t know why but it puts me in mind of a Riva speedboat parked in Portofino with an Agnelli at the wheel. It has a Sixties playboy look somehow.

    And while it may not be the best handling car in the world, it rides beautifully
    , soaking up the worst bumps and potholes without a murmur of complaint. In short, it’s tremendously comfortable.

    Of course, at this point you may be saying that you don’t care, because it’s still only a Ford Focus. True enough, but it’s built in Italy by the people who styled it — Pininfarina — and it’s available with a range of colours both inside and out that are bound to appeal.

    Will it go wrong? Well, I’ve had one of the old Focuses for six years and it’s still as tight and reliable as the day I bought it. So no, I don’t think so.

    It isn’t what I was expecting, the Focus CC. I thought it’d be an updated version of the old Escort cabrio, a molten banana with an Essex girl at the wheel. But it isn’t. It’s a refined, elegant, comfortable and remarkably well priced tool that’s ideal for those of us who are 98% motorist and 2% hedgehog.

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    Rating 4/5

    Verdict More Pininfarina than Ford


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  2. FryingPan

    FryingPan Certified Thread Killer

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    Euro Focus >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> US Focus :(
     
  3. spooky

    spooky OT Supporter

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  4. mucky

    mucky .

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    They get that nice Ford Focus and we get this piece of shit.


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  5. Shifty Bloke

    Shifty Bloke New Member

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    Essex girl at the wheel of the old one :bowrofl:
     
  6. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Ford doesn't think we'd pay the premium for the C1 Focus. The US Focus is dirt cheap.
     
  7. Light Speed

    Light Speed Guest

    focus is a budget car
     
  8. PlasticPants

    PlasticPants OT Supporter

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    I'd take either Focus
     
  9. FryingPan

    FryingPan Certified Thread Killer

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    What the shit is that?!? Another warmed over last-gen Focus? Good work, Ford. No wonder why your profits are in the shitter.
     
  10. Light Speed

    Light Speed Guest

    :ugh: looks pretty good to me for what you're paying for, and compared to its competition
     
  11. FryingPan

    FryingPan Certified Thread Killer

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    That doesn't mean it has to suck. Look at the Mazda 3, Honda Civic, etc.

    But then again, you're :lightspeed: and there's no chance of you pulling your head out of your ass.
     
  12. Light Speed

    Light Speed Guest

    ill take the focus and 3 over the civic, they look so much better
     
  13. 6SpeedTA95

    6SpeedTA95 OT Supporter

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    The US focus is also a shit pile as I'm sure you'd agree. The euro focus is a great car built on the Mazda3 platform. Which is a fantastic car especially from a drivers perspective.
     
  14. autox

    autox OT Supporter

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    Any more pics of it? I'd like to see other angles
     
  15. 6SpeedTA95

    6SpeedTA95 OT Supporter

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    thats an improvement it still looks like poopies
     
  16. _Ven

    _Ven Active Member

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    does look bad at all
     
  17. slowbird

    slowbird I am the son, and the heir, of a shyness that is c OT Supporter

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    Ford management is so dumb sometimes :hs:
     
  18. XPX

    XPX New Member

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    :bowrofl:
     
  19. midnite

    midnite OT Supporter

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    i :rofl: 'ed at that too
     
  20. XPX

    XPX New Member

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    Jeremy has a way with words...:rofl: when he said that anyone sitting in the back of a 4 seater cabrio looks like Hitler I laughed so loud that chocolate milk came out of my nose :wtc: :rofl: :o
     
  21. 1.8

    1.8 Guest

    Pointless bullshit

    Car opinions

    I hate Jeremy's writing.


     
  22. vudoodoodoo

    vudoodoodoo New Member

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    haha US cars suck. :(
     
  23. 6SpeedTA95

    6SpeedTA95 OT Supporter

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    Sometimes? Try 99.9% of the time :hsd:
     
  24. DeleriuM

    DeleriuM New Member

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    too much low quality wit
     
  25. slowbird

    slowbird I am the son, and the heir, of a shyness that is c OT Supporter

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    At least they put the Ford GT into production :o that's about the only thing they've done right.
     

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