The Ford Focus 1.0T Trend emerged victorious in the Compact Car Category in the first annual Cars.co.za Consumer Awards, announced on 14 January in Johannesburg.
Eligibility to compete in the Compact Car category is guided by several factors, including price, which in this case could not exceed R250 000 at the time of semi-finalist voting (June 22, 2015) and includes the cost of the following items (if they were optional): ABS, electronic stability control, dual front airbags, air-conditioning, USB/auxiliary audio support, Bluetooth compatibility and a service plan.
Numerous Pillars of Success also guided the judging process and these included the following: balance of fuel economy and performance, value for money, brand strength, design and quality appeal, ride/handling and safety features.
Why did the Ford Focus 1.0T Trend win?
The Ford Focus 1.0T Trend offers exceptional value for buyers, making it a worthy winner in the Compact Car category. In the recent Cars.co.za Consumer Awards, the Ford Focus 1.0T came up against some stiff competition in the form of the Opel Corsa 1.0T Enjoy and Honda Jazz 1.5 Elegance. After a rigorous judging process, the Focus clearly established itself as the best Compact Car available in South Africa.
In terms of fuel economy, Ford’s 1,0-litre EcoBoost engine has received considerable acclaim since it was first introduced. With 92 kW of power and a wide torque spread, it is one of the most powerful engines of its type. In the Focus, however, it needs to pull along a fairly large and heavy body, so performance is acceptable rather than brisk. Ford claims an excellent combined cycle fuel consumption figure of 5,0 L/100 km.
Value for money is where the Focus 1.0T Trend excels and given the fact that the Focus is a large hatch offered for compact car money, it’s off to a very good start in this department. But ultimately it’s not only its size that translates into value for money. It still offers a spread of comfort, info-tainment and safety features that compares well with the smaller, similarly priced cars it competes with here. Included is an excellent audio system, rake/reach-adjustable steering and cruise control. What’s more, by spending R11 940 extra for the Driver Assistance Pack you get a whole raft of desirable features, including Active Park Assist, rear view camera, Lane Departure Warning, Active City Stop, auto lights, auto wipers and a TFT colour screen for the audio system. And you’re still under the price barrier of R250 000 (at the time of judging)!
The Focus 1.0T Trend is also big on practicality and thanks to its bigger body, it holds an immediate practicality advantage. It offers considerably more rear legroom and boot space than the cars priced around it (barring the Honda Jazz). The rear seats are split 60/40 and fold down to make quite a large loading area available, too.
The Ford brand has been on the up for a few years now, and the Focus has been one of its most successful products – it’s a top seller worldwide. Locally it is seen as a very viable alternative to the likes of Volkswagen and Toyota. This model is backed with a four-years/120 000 km warranty and offers a four-years/80 000 km service plan.
Minesh Bhagaloo from Ford receives the Compact Car of the Year trophy from Cars.co.za's co-founder, Alastair MacMurray.
Following its recent facelift, the Focus has matured into a stylish offering that sits on the conservative side of the design spectrum. This gives it broad appeal. Available for R14 810 is a Styling Pack that, through different wheels and a tailgate spoiler, adds some sporty style to the package.
The Focus 1.0T Trend offers excellent ride and handling, something Ford has excelled in for some time already. At this price level the Focus’s combination of ride suppleness and dynamic sharpness is very, very hard to beat. It’s also quite a practical long-distance cruiser, which is not something that can be said of all its rivals, especially at this price.
Lastly, the Focus’s combination of space and features may lead you to expect that Ford must have compromised on specification elsewhere, but it’s certainly not done so on the safety side. The Focus features six airbags, ESP, Isofix child seat mountings and more. As mentioned before, the Driver Assistance Pack (R11 940) is a really good option as it brings safety focused features such as Active City Stop, Active Park Assist, Lane Departure Warning and smaller items such an auto-dimming rear-view mirrors and auto lights/wipers to the party, too.
Opinion From The Judges
“Ford must have sharpened its pencils an awful lot to offer this much car at this low a price. The Focus offers a very strong spread of talents. I’m not sure this price can last very long!” Hannes Oosthuizen
“Right now the Focus is an outright steal. It’s amazing that so much car is available at the same price as smaller cars in the segment below.” Ashley Oldfield
“The Focus has snuck in here purely on its price. It blasts the others out the water in terms of pricing as you’re getting a big car for small car money. That engine is just lovely too.” David Taylor