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Automatic braking

Of all the technology our readers tested, none impressed more than Ford’s automatic braking.

Of all the technology our readers tested, none impressed more than Ford’s automatic braking. Active City Stop is the same collision-avoidance function that’s slowly filtering down to cheaper cars: it’s a £225 option on the new VW up!

On the Ford, it forms part of the £1,050 Driver Assistance Pack (it’s £850 on Titanium models). Active City Stop uses a forward-facing camera mounted on the windscreen to scan the road ahead for cars or obstacles the Focus is closing in on. If it senses an imminent collision, it activates the brakes automatically at speeds of up to 20mph.

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When our readers tried it, each was astonished as the Focus came to a halt inches from a cardboard box we had placed in its path. “I didn’t think the car was going to stop, but it did,” said Nathan. “This will prevent alot of accidents, no question. I’d pay up to a grand for it.”

Music to Ford’s ears – and it kept coming. Peter said: “That’s amazing. I’m really impressed. For my next car I’m definitely going to spec that.” He thought it would help cut rear-end accidents where he lives, adding: “In Milton Keynes we’ve got a lot of roundabouts, so this is something I’d definitely want.”

Mike spotted a benefit in cutting car insurance bills, telling us: “I’ve heard whiplash injuries add £90 to every premium. Everyone would benefit from this.” He said he’d pay £400-£500 for it on his next car.

When Pete tried the tech, he was the only one to nudge the box (albeit very slightly), and was sceptical. “I probably wouldn’t pay for it,” he explained. “But I’d like everyone else behind me to have it!”

Verdict: take it

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