High alert

Thai it down, Sport


QUALITY of the Thai-built Focus inside and out is good, but there have been a couple of foibles. The gearshift boot removed itself from the rest of the centre console in the first month, which was easily corrected by simply clipping it back into place, but after a recent journey the rear parcel shelf came undone from one of its hooks – complete with the hook – meaning that it didn’t rise with the hatch when opened. This was also easily fixed in a matter of seconds, but it’s hardly what the doctor ordered.

Ignorance is bliss when the traffic warning system doesn’t work in congestion

FORGET the hot new Focus RS coming this way – it’s the more practical things about the Focus Sport that I’m starting to know well, and most of its systems are truly excellent. Most.

The sat-nav’s traffic alert system is surely intended to save large chunks of time. I haven’t had a lot of faith in these systems, often being stuck in a traffic jam before a robot’s voice says, “There are traffic delays on your route”. If it’s going to state the obvious it may as well say, “You’re driving a car” or “The capital of Peru is Lima”.

So I had to test the Focus’s traffic system for BS. On Melbourne’s Monash Freeway, the Sport’s nav told me to take the Burke Road exit to avoid queues further ahead. Bugger that; I kept on going. About 25 seconds later, stationary traffic. Game over. The nav was right. It’s the first time I’ve ever been glad to see a heavily congested road ahead.

This has taken the relationship to the next level, but now that I’ve offered my trust, it seems overeager to help.

Head into peak hour and the centre screen flashes up an alert with three options: Accept; Ignore; and Ignore All. Hit Accept on the touchscreen and it processes for five or so seconds before flashing up the new route.

That’s fine, but then you have to hit Start New Route again (way over on the left of the screen); surely it should just accept the route when I hit Accept.

All is well – for about three seconds – before the system reveals that it doesn’t work in a congested city. Just after you’ve hit Start to a new route, the display chimes again – that ‘seatbelt on’ airliner ding – for the process to begin all over again. The first time I was suckered in, but then it popped up instantly again… and again… and again… before I finally hit Ignore All. And it blocks your view of the nav, so you have no choice but to push one of the three options, as ironically you can’t actually ignore it.

So heavy traffic sends it nuts. And, while it’s doing its job, it is distracting and annoying. So hit Ignore All and be done with it. You’ll still be stuck in traffic, but at least you can ditch the damn thing, meaning someone at Ford thought this might happen.


Date acquired: December 2015 Price as tested: $26,910 month: 1065km @ 7.1L/100km Overall: 4364km @ 7.8L/100km Pric This Ove