Does this car have enough oomph?
August 3, 2010 9:03 AM   Subscribe

Any European mefites driving the 1.4L petrol Ford Focus? I am thinking at 80PS it might be underpowered.

It turns out I can get a very good price on a new 1.4L Ford Focus, but the fact that it only puts out 80PS (compared to the 96PS of the smaller Fiesta at a similar price point) is making me have second thoughts.

I'm not a speed freak by any stretch, but a smaller car would easily cover my current needs so I have no reason to compromise on horsepower to get the extra room. On the other hand, it's not that much bigger than the Fiesta and would offer significant future-proofing against possible long-term needs.

Are any mefites driving a recent 1.4L Focus? Are you happy with the horsepower available? Any other tips/gotchas you can think of?
posted by Dr Dracator to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total)
I would personally go for the Fiesta if you don't need the extra space of the Focus. The 80PS Focus will get you from 0-60 mph (96 kph) in 13.6 seconds. The Fiesta will do it in 11.8 seconds.

I don't know what your drive involves but if it involves having to overtake on bendy single carriage roads at a reasonable speed regularly then trying to do that in the Focus will be an exercise in pain and frustration (especially if the car is loaded). If your main journeys are of an urban nature then this won't really be a concern.

I assume both cars have the same options and that you're happy with what you get with each car.

/drives a 1.9 litre Golf TDI 105PS which could do with a bit more oomph
posted by Transparent Yak at 9:50 AM on August 3, 2010

I have only driven a couple of 1.4 focuses as rental cars, and they did feel a bit heavy and slow (compared to the 1.8 focus I used to own), but apart from that perfectly functional.

I ended up buying a new fiesta last year, and really like it except for the boot/trunk being annoyingly small.

I guess it depends how good the deal on the 1.4 focus is!

(And I had a 1.4 golf the other week and it could only be described as "sedate").
posted by samj at 10:05 AM on August 3, 2010

1.4 is a bit on the light side. In particular, what you might notice is at motorway speeds you need to get the revs sufficiently high that there is no benefit or a negative benefit on fuel economy. The 1.6 has enough poke for most driving needs.

The Focus is a good car, though, with a great chassis. However, one thing I've personally noticed is that it's not hugely comfortable on my right foot for long periods. It may just be me. If possible, I'd test drive.

It is also a 6 year old design. If you're buying a sixth generation Fiesta then it was introduced in 2008. The new Ford Focus comes in next year. For that reason, old stock should sell a bit cheaper, with better discounts. Bear in mind also that the Mazda 3 is based on the same platform as the Focus, so you might want to consider that in your search.
posted by MuffinMan at 1:33 AM on August 4, 2010

I have a 1.4 focus, and, yep, it is not exactly a speed machine. I believe the engine was described by What Car Magazine as "gutless". Other than that, though, it's a good car. My partner runs a dog-walking business from it, and it's put up pretty well with a lot of abuse. Fits lots of stuff in the back with the rear seats down. Two other "gotchas" which are apparently quite common with this model:

1. the exhaust heat shield has a tendency to come unstuck and hang down from the underside of the car, making a horrendous noise whenever you go over speed bumps.

2. the electronic door lock can sometimes stick in cold weather, obliging you to open the doors using the passenger side door.
posted by primer_dimer at 2:18 AM on August 4, 2010

Over here in the Western Hemisphere, we use HP for "horsepower." Wikipedia tells us that PS stands for Pferdestärke (German translation of horsepower), a name for a group of similar power measurements used in Germany around the end of the 19th century, all of about one metric horsepower in size.
posted by exphysicist345 at 10:34 PM on August 4, 2010

Thanks for the info everybody - based on your answers I would go for the Fiesta rather than the Focus. It looks like I won't be buying either though, as I have found out I can get a Subaru Impreza 1.5 for not much more.
posted by Dr Dracator at 11:25 PM on August 4, 2010

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