Ford Focus CC review (2006-2011)
Oh dear, Ford. The Focus CC comes across as a half-hearted effort that falls short in looks.
Road manners have always been the Focus's trump card, and the CC is no exception. Although the Coupe Cabriolet's frame doesn't feel as stiff as, say, a VW Eos's, it rarely succumbs to scuttle shake, because the Ford's soft, supple suspension damps out the shocks before they can unsettle the chassis. There is a fair degree of body roll, but it's well controlled and the handling is still relatively taut and agile. The Ford's steering isn't as weighty as it could be, yet the way the Focus tackles corners so effortlessly makes it satisfying to drive. We tested it with the 2.0-litre TDCi diesel - the presence of which isn't likely to find favour with everyone. But this is no clattery oil-burner. It's smooth, refined and unobtrusive, and engine rattle is only really detectable when crawling around town.
With styling by top Italian design studio Pininfarina, the Focus CC should have a head start in life. But we can only assume the firm was having an off day when it penned Ford's convertible. It simply looks dumpy and ugly. The rear view is the worst - it's too long and bulky, the taillights look odd and the slab of chrome across the bootlid makes the Focus look American. It seems to have been styled on a budget and lacks attention to detail - the two-piece folding roof itself suggests as much. Ford has pitched it against the Vauxhall Astra TwinTop, Volkswagen Eos, Renault Megane CC and the Peugeot 307 CC.
By opting for a two-piece roof when many rivals offer multi-part systems, Ford has made compromises. It can't fold away into as small a space, so the tail has to be bulky, back seat accommodation suffers, and although there's a 534-litre load space when the roof is up, when lowered that shrinks by more than half. Those sitting in the back will grumble at how their heads are pressed against the rear glass, but those in the front don't have much to celebrate, either. The layout is lifted straight from the hatchback, and although this ensures excellent ergonomics and logical switchgear, there's no sense of excitement. It doesn't feel as if you're driving something desirable. But all-round visibility is good, and the controls operate with a silkiness that's missing from rivals. However, because the windscreen comes back so far, even with the lid lowered, you don't feel as if you're driving a drop-top. Roof-down motoring is spoiled by a whistle from the aerial on the header rail at speed, though even roof-up, there's excessive wind noise from around the A-pillars. These many disappointments have led to residuals below those of rivals, though otherwise it shouldn't be too expensive to run.