Good news! Ford now has a wagon that’s a little smaller than a Mondeo and a little larger than the venerable Escort, which should make it just about the perfect size for the Kiwi tradesperson.
But while Ford’s Focus wagon is a progressive step for the Blue Oval brand, Ford actually held us in suspense to allow for a full package in the wagon range.
Today then, we have a petrol automatic 2-litre and a 1.8 litre turbo diesel matched to a 5-speed manual transmission.
For this issue, we opted to showcase the petrol model, largely because the diesel was doing the media rounds.
This stylish wagon is built in Europe, specifically in Saarlouis in Germany. And you can see it in the high level of specification and build quality.
The Focus wagon only comes in to New Zealand with one specification level, and Ford says it is the entry level, but don’t let that fool you. Entry level is surprisingly good.
Entry-level specs impressive
Entry-level specification on the Focus includes the Intelligent Safety System, combining driver and front passenger air bags, plus front side and side curtain air bags, ABS brakes with Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Beltminder system, crash severity sensor and pyrotechnic seat belt pre-tensioners.
As well, the Focus wagon has cruise control, power exterior mirrors along with air-conditioning, a CD player with satellite audio controls on the steering wheel and a multi-function trip computer.
Base model? Yeah, right.
And while all this specification is pretty impressive stuff, especially for those cars that serve as family wagons on weekends, the Focus wagon’s real claim to fame is in its cargo capacity.
The boot opening is 1.16m wide with the load height being 56mm from the ground, making it easy to cram the cargo area without any straining.
With the rear seats up, the cargo is over one metre long, and once the 60/40 rear seats are folded down, that extends to 1.67m.
Maximum cargo height is 890mm and, yes, there is a factory-fitted privacy blind.
And so once you have the Focus full of stuff, how well does it drive? Well, the Focus wagon in petrol guise runs the same 2-litre powerplant of its hatchback cousins, and that’s no bad thing.
Fuel economy is, according to Ford figures and those of the trip computer on board our evaluation vehicle, 8 litres per 100km on a combined cycle.
You get a healthy 107kW out of it at 6000rpm and 185Nm of torque at peak rev of 4500rpm.
Power goes down to the front wheels via four-speed automatic with sports shift manual mode for those who want to play about with it.
Plenty of poke
Interestingly, the Focus really shows its stuff when you need it quickly.
Unlike other wagons, which tend to be a little reluctant to get going, the Focus gives you plenty of poke when you decide you need to give it some pedal — without protest, without hesitancy.
It also feels well in touch with the road.
Part of the attraction of the Focus range is the innate sense of being in control of a vehicle which is well set up on any given road. While the modern wagon is a far cry from the tail-happy haulers of the 80s, the Focus wagon lifts the game one peg further.
Not only is there no hint of instability from the rear, there is a feeling that you are driving a much smaller car than you are, and yet you have all that cargo area to play with.
And the price? Well, you do have a little more metal to pay for compared to the hatchbacks, but then the hatchbacks offer a little more in terms of range specification.
The wagon variants of the Focus range then, regardless of whether they are diesel or petrol, sit fairly much in the middle at $35,290 recommended retail.