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2011 Ford Focus

Hi-tech hatchback

Style counsel

My overall opinion of these driver aids is more mixed. Yes, they all work and only stick their oar in when they need to, but I can’t overcome the fear that excessive dependence on technology is removing the responsibility for driving safely from the driver to a black box under the bonnet.

Ford Focus 3G

It's a bit tight in the back...

Before I leave the driver aids, I should also mention that the camera housing is big and I was always conscious that there was something taking up a lot of windscreen real estate. Maybe owners will get use to it, but even after I week I still found my eye drawn to it.

Inside the cabin, technology is a little less obvious because Ford’s all singing, all dancing voice-activated Sync communication system doesn’t arrive in the Focus until early 2012. Even without that, you still get built-in Bluetooth phone control, and USB/3.5mm audio connections and an adapter cable to control your iPod from the steering wheel through the LCD screen mounted in the centre console.

Gadgetry aside, the Focus' cabin is a pleasant place to spend time. You sit low in very comfortable and supportive seats surrounded by high quality materials. There’s a large drivers footrest too, vital in any three-pedal foot well.

Ford Focus 3G

...but up front it's a pleasant place to be

My only criticism is the over-styled hand brake which has an unnecessarily long action and sticks up out of the centre console like the top of a Bronze Age hand axe.

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