Summer was here; road trip was booked – Destination: Wales
It would have been a waste not taking both the Fiesta and Focus along to open up their lungs and stretch their legs.
Taking little brother and it’s bigger brother was by far one of the best convoys we’d ever done, we couldn’t have left one sitting at home!
By pure coincidence, the third member of our convoy turned out to be another ‘Ecoboost’ – a 1.0-litre Focus Zetec hire car. It would have been nice to see what the fuss was all about with this engine, but… if we weren’t jumping into the orange or red one by default, we just weren’t sober enough to drive. Better luck next time!
The Sun was out, the roads were practically empty, our route was picked;
Get in the Focus and you sit lower, with adjustable thigh support in the seats. The throttle pedal is heavier and the clutch is lighter. You handle a bigger steering wheel though, and a taller, longer-throw gearshift feels positioned too far back at first (which you do get used to).
Hop into the Fiesta and you’ll think you’re sat perched in comparison. While the seats lack the thigh support adjustability, they compensate with even more bolstering. The steering wheel size here feels just right however, and the shorter-throwing, stubby gearlever make the controls feel a bit more special. The sharper throttle response and heavier clutch pedal makes the engine feel more enthusiastic too.
Out on the road?
Well, first things first – as much as I’d love to, I’m not sure if there’s much point comparing performance figures in a table right now; it’s pretty obvious which one of these is the bigger performer at the end of the day.
On the basis of just attacking a road though – this ended up more like Scooby Doo and Scrappy Doo….
…OK maybe not entirely, but you get the idea of the smaller brother being feistier and more up for anything!
The Focus led the way first, the Fiesta led the return journey…
The Fiesta felt sharper, more enthusiastic, nimble, and being the less refined car here meant that more sensation was being felt throughout. There’s not much torque steer, but the extra noise levels, bumps and jolts all contribute to the experience.
The Focus is undoubtedly the more capable car here; its larger footprint meant better stability, a smaller sacrifice in ride, and the ability to carry more speed through corners. The variable ratio steering compensates for the larger wheel, and the engine feels more naturally muscular. Ultimately, this car asks less of the driver and is the more natural performer here.
See this picture here? This was my view for the majority of the weekend – This car is monstrously quick!
And speaking of pace…
Bear with me here – this could be an awful description – but the best way I can think of describing the difference between them is this:
In a straight line, this Focus could pull a gap from the Fiesta at a rate of ~a car length per second. That becomes a huge gap in very little time / distance!
The Focus pretty much proved itself when overtaking traffic on the way to Wales. Granted, we’re still stuck in a queue behind a caravan at the end of the day, but he’s managed to work his way down to being 4 cars behind and I’m still 7!
To me, the Fiesta sounded better inside and less artificial; sure, it’s more bass rather than a burble coming through, but in my mind the noise the Focus makes is too disconnected to the actual engine noise coming through the firewall. It could just be noticeable if you go from one car to another, but the more natural bass-heavy sound of the Fiesta makes the Focus burble sound a bit hollow afterwards – as if someone disconnected the sub from their stereo.
Personally it’s less convincing, but it’s still less annoying than if it were coming through the stereo speakers!
At the end of the day though, it might be that I’m a bit more juvenile and my friend is the more mature driver (and not just a size queen :P), but to me, because of the Focus’s natural talents it means there’s less of an event going on.
I fully appreciate that if you can’t be bothered at certain times and just want to cruise, this Focus is the better car to do it in. I don’t find the ride bad at all, and there’s not much compromise between this ST and the Zetec S I had previously. There’s no trick, fancy suspension either to do this and for my tolerance levels, it really can be the jack of all trades.
Besides, even if there’s great amusement to be had chasing after the Focus, I’m sure there’s just as much joy leaving a Fiesta behind in the distance!
I’ve yet to try it in the wet so I’m reserving judgement there but… in terms of just getting in and making any drive more of an event; I’m going for the Fiesta.
I haven’t stopped grinning like an idiot while being in this car. (This is also where my argument for this being the safest car I’ve ever been in comes in). It might not be as big, clever, or as comprehensive, but my facial cheeks will hurt more.
Obligatory Stats Table:
|0-62mph||31-62mph||Power (PS)||Torque (lb ft)||Max. Speed|