Ford Focus Zetec S 2.0 TDCi

12 Dec, 2011 3:45pm Kyle Fortune

The Focus Zetec S has impressed in petrol form. Is the diesel version just as good?


The Zetec S gives impatient Focus fans a sporty choice until the ST arrives next year. Strong economy means this 2.0 TDCi version is more rounded than the 177bhp petrol car, but the latter is still more engaging. Suspension changes also give finer control without sacrificing comfort. With its extra kit, the Zetec S is an attractive choice.
Carter and Regan might be tearing around in Ford’s hottest Focus ST in a big-screen remake of The Sweeney, but those of us without Hollywood backing will have to make do with the Zetec S. The new model is the same price as Titanium-spec cars, yet brings more sportiness than luxury.

Those with an eye on ultimate performance should opt for the 177bhp 1.6 EcoBoost petrol car. However, this 161bhp 2.0-litre TDCi, the most powerful diesel on offer, is no poor substitute. From 0-62mph it’s only seven tenths slower, posting a time of 8.6 seconds, and it trumps the petrol car for economy, with a figure of 56.5mpg – up 9.4mpg.

Video: watch CarBuyer's video review of the Ford Focus

The diesel Zetec S feels quick rather than outrageously rapid on the road, with the engine’s low-rev torque giving effortless progress. But unlike a lot of turbodiesels, there’s incentive to rev it, as the TDCi offers a wide powerband and remains refined even at high revs. Plus, the gearshift is quick and precise.

The really big changes for the Zetec S are in its ride and handling. It’s fitted with what Ford describes as Sports Pack suspension, so the springs and damper rates have been stiffened by 25 per cent to sharpen up the car on the road. Larger 17-inch alloys also feature.

The result is a more alert steering feel and better resistance to body roll. Even better, this increased precision has been achieved without compromises in ride comfort – which Ford claims is due to having left the ride height as standard.

The Zetec S still appears to sit lower on the road, though, thanks to a beefy bodykit. Body-coloured skirts, lower bumpers front and rear, standard-fit foglamps and a roof-mounted spoiler set the new car apart from the regular Focus.

Inside, changes include a raised centre console between the driver and passenger seats, alloy covers on the pedals and Ford’s ‘Power’ engine start button.

The seats themselves are more heavily contoured to hold you tightly, while the leather on the steering wheel adds to the sporting feel. Otherwise, it’s all just standard Focus, which means the dashboard is well constructed, if rather busy, and backlit in blue.

The space on offer is as good as ever, although if you want the additional carrying capacity of an estate you’ll need to wait until February for a Zetec S wagon.

Disqus - noscript

Not only I find the front weird, the Focus has been the same design far more than I care to remember. Yes it is a capable car but I 'd rather look for something fresher like the Astra.

I had an 03 plate 115 zetec TDCi 3 door...brilliant car at nearly half the price. Focus then thought is should be an A3 and got bloated and prices shot up...they need to return to basics!

One of the best all-rounders out there; acceleration to surprise the boy-racers and decent handling, though the weight of the diesel engine did make it slightly less nimble than the petrol versions. It also had a reasonable amount of kit for the (inevitably discounted) price.
Ford have gone too bland with the styling of the latest model, however, losing all the DNA of previous versions. While it might be a good car, it's wilfully bland and anyone paying £21k for it wants their head looking.

impressive fuel consumption will ensure large sales.. i guess nobody will pay the full 21 k for this model surely...not a bad looking car but still think the Astra will be a better option or
a civic maybe

Focus has always been sensible, value and a more fresh choice compared to dull VWs or mediocre astras. But they always were more than happy to carry a family, with luggages.

This new one, I can't bear its styling but the worse part is, it seems to have compromise the room in the back both for occupants and the luggage space. And it sure seems this is due to the incredibly huge dashboard, which extends and pushes the whole cabin to the back. Just take a look to were the back seats are placed. Look at the idiotic plastic panels that extend around the shoulder area. Finally look at the luggage compartment. 277 litres is supermini time. No thanks.

Oh yeah, the prices have gone up.

The only redemption will be the 1.0 with the 125 hp. That will make it lighter, cheaper etc. Perhaps in a 4 door...(which should never be the best looking model in a midsize car).

Can I start by asking any of the posters if they have even taken the time to go and look at he new focus let alone drive it?

Reading through a few of the comments posted here and I see a pattern emerging. It seems people are not convinced with the styling of the new new Focus and I can see where some people are coming from, when I first saw a picture of the new focus I said to myself "what have they done". I am a long time ford customer and was waiting on this car to come out so I could change my wifes 06 focus. After a long diliberation I eventually when to see the car and I am so glad that I did as the car is a big leap forward in design and driving ability. I instantley fell for it and I can say my wife is more than happy with it.

Having driven my wifes standard 1.6 I am seriously considering downsizing my mondeo for a new zetec s (unfortunatley I cannot stretch to the ST:( ) and for all of you who say that it is too expensive have a look at these figures.

Astra 1.7 (110ps) with same spec, bodykit etc £21,795
Golf GTD 2.0 (170ps) similar spec £24,635
Focus Zetec S (163ps) £21,345

JTDm 170 Lusso £21,650


JTDm 170 Veloce £22,950

Looks fantastic, drives very well and is not boring

German made Focus is not for me.

I was that mad and paid 21k for the Estate and it is a great car and if i ever live or keep the car long enough to understand all the over the top electrics that are far too many and not necessaries in a car.
The big thing i wish AE and these road testers would do is expose Ford as with these new Eco models for the misleading fuel figures, no way can this get 67 to 76 mpg as per ford say, myself and all the real road tests only get in the 40's that's a staggering 40% less than they say, Ford you should be ashamed and start telling the truth.

I have the new focus titanium it is easily the best car i have ever owned and i have owned over the years 29 vehicles.the focus is economical quiet and very refined it is actually a good looking car,if i could alter anything it would be to spray those triangles at the front the same as the body colour GO DRIVE ONE!,i'me sure these comments are from astra owners this car is horrible with a fat arse,golf owners this one is same old boooring yawn,as for the honda civic this must be the ugliest odd looking car made in recent years. get off down to specsavers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

Key specs

* Price: £21,345
* Engine: 2.0-litre turbodiesel 
* Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
* Power/torque: 161bhp/340Nm
* 0-62/top speed: 8.6 secs/135mph
* Economy: 56.5mpg
* CO2: 129g/km
* Equipment: Bodykit, sports seats, Sports Pack suspension, 17-inch alloys, foglamps, roof spoiler, leather-trimmed steering wheel 
* On sale: Now