Ford Focus Zetec S

Black Edition -

First Drive

Ford Focus Black Edition, front, action
Ford Focus Black Edition, front, static
Ford Focus Black Edition, side
Ford Focus Black Edition, rear
Ford Focus Black Edition, interior
Ford Focus Black Edition, trim
Ford Focus Black Edition, rear seats
Ford Focus Black Edition, boot
Ford Focus Black Edition with Ford Fiesta Black Edition

RED and black has become a winning combination for Ford with the two-tone colour scheme reserved for cars that are a bit special.

The distinctive paint jobs first made an appearance on the Fiesta last year and now they are being introduced on the Focus.

But the standout finish and the extra body kit that comes with the so-called Red or Black Edition models is not purely cosmetic.

Under the skin they have tweaked engines and uprated suspension that makes them a delight to drive.

They slot in between the regular models and the hot ST versions and for those who don't want a full hot hatch experience they are ideal.

In the case of the Focus that means the 1.5-litre EcoBoost engine has now been taken to 182ps (up from 150ps) and it manages 0 to 60 in a lively 8.6 seconds.

Top speed is up to 138mph but such is the efficiency of Ford's award-winning EcoBoost engines it is actually a fraction more economical with an official fuel return on 51.4mpg and emissions of 127g/km.

In the real world - and this is a car in which you want to have fun - it is good for high 30s and it will still leave a smile on your face.

Dynamically it is spot on. The Focus in any guise is nicely nifty but the special treatment for the Red and Black models moves it up a notch.

For a car priced from £22,520 the handling is out of the top drawer and not only does it feel rewarding but there is grip aplenty.

Ford trailblazed torque vectoring control, which automatically varies traction close to the limit and when allied to stiffer damping settings the car delivers a very precise drive.

With excellent feedback through the steering it is real driver's car and quick gear changes are there to be had through the six-speed box.

Costing some £1,500 more than the Focus Zetec S on which it is based but almost £4,000 less than a full-blown Focus ST-3 the special edition is a compelling proposition - and it looks the business.

The one we sampled was a Black Edition which, as the name implies comes with a black mica paint finish with a red roof and red highlights around the honeycomb grille, on the front splitter and the mirror caps.

Smart it is and all set off with 17-inch gloss black alloys, red brake callipers and a pronounced spoiler on the top of the tailgate as well as side skirts.

The colour scheme is reversed on the Red Edition models while inside the features include metal pedals, sports seats and red stitching in the trim.

Ford's SYNC2 connectivity system and an eight-inch touchscreen are included in the price but sat nav is a £250 upgrade and so are parking sensors at £225.

Even so, the finished article comes in at less than £23,000 and that's for a car that feels as good as it looks.

On the satisfaction scale these versions of the Focus are right at the top and like the Fiesta Red and Black specials - which now make up nearly five per cent of the total sales of Britain's top-seller - are sure to become hot property.


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