Latest model is first Ford to use Stop-Start fuel-saving system and runs clean enough to qualify for 'free' road tax.

Ford has trimmed 5g/km from the emissions output for its most eco-friendly version of the Focus, bringing its tally down to 99g/km of CO2.

The car will go on sale next spring and the move matters because it will both match the performance of its keenest rival, the latest Volkswagen Golf Bluemotion, and also mean that it qualifies for zero-cost road tax.

This new Focus will use a Stop-Start device, meaning that the engine switches itself off if the car is halted in traffic with its gears to neutral and its clutch let up. When the driver wants to move off, he or she dips the clutch as usual and the engine fires.

While a growing number of manufacturers – including BMW, Audi, Fiat, Volvo and Toyota – employ similar systems, this is the first Ford to do so.

As with the current Focus Econetic, the car uses a conventional 1.6 turbodiesel engine that produces 108bhp and is capable of up to 74.2mpg across a mixed diet of driving. Aside from Stop-Start, it achieves these figures through the use of taller gear ratios, easy-roll tyres and lowered suspension that helps the car cut through the air more easily. The car’s electrical charging is also set up to ‘reclaim’ power whenever the car decelerates or brakes.

The current Focus Econetic (without Start-Stop) will remain in production and will be available as a five-door hatchback or as an estate. In this form, it emits 104g/km of CO2 and is capable of up to 70mpg overall.

Stephen Jury


September 16, 2009

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