The Road Ahead : April May 2012
WWW.ROADAHEAD.COM.AU 54 THE ROAD AHEAD APR/MAY 2012 MOTORING ROAD TEST AT $31,190, THE Ford Focus Sport hatch auto would have made the ideal sparring partner for our Twin Test with the $30,990 Mazda SP20 SKYACTIV Luxury. However, test vehicle availability determined that the higher- spec Titanium ($33,090) would instead fly Ford's blue oval flag. Here's how the pairshapedup. . . FOCUS TITANIUM HATCH Focus is the first new Ford model to be built on a global platform, the idea of which is to keep costs down while offering a greater range of features and equipment at an affordable price. It would appear Ford has succeeded, given the Titanium's extensive and ultra-impressive standard equipment inventory. In addition to the items listed in the separate stats' panel, tick off auto parking, 18" alloys, smart key, heated seats, power tilt/slide sunroof, four-way power driver's seat, rear park sensors, adaptive cruise control, Bi-xenon headlights, static cornering lights and sat nav. There's also powered/heated mirrors, auto wipers and lights, follow-me-home lighting, Sony audio with nine speakers, auto dimming rear-view mirror, torque vectoring control, hill launch assist, immobiliser and a multi-info display. Running and repair costs are the other value for money item where Focus has the edge. Over five years, projected costs are in its favour by about $750. However, there is little between the two in terms of likely depreciation over the same duration and 70,000 km. Hop from one to the other and Focus feels the larger car, both in interior space and to drive. By our standard measurements, it wins on front head room, front cushion size, rear head and leg room and seat width. Power adjustment on the driver's seat contrasts with the SP20's manual-only operation. The v-shaped and heated front sports seats, in cloth/leather, support well, being firm but not too hard. The boot has a lower internal load lip that assists with loading and unloading heavy items, and there are no intrusions to the flat floor space, under which is a temporary use 16" steel spare wheel. If you like bling, then Focus's bold dashboard layout and design will surely appeal. The trade-off, though, is that it's a little fussy and hence not so easy to use. Focus has more power, but when Mazda3's lower mass (nearly 100 kg less) is taken into account, power- to-weight is remarkably similar -- 87 kW/tonne for the Ford, 85 kW for the Mazda. It's interesting, then, that the former holds the aces in most facets of performance. Its dual-clutch PowerShift small cars, big buying STORY BARRY GREEN. TESTERS: BARRY GREEN, JOHN EWING. STARTERS: Ford Focus Titanium Hatch, Mazda3 SP20 SKYACTIV Luxury Hatch. IMAGES: TOP, FORD FOCUS. BOTTOM, MAZDA3.
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