The new generation Ford Focus has been judged New Zealand's Car of the Year by the country's leading motoring writers and commentators.
Launched here in the third quarter of 2011, the new model is the third generation of the Focus, and the first to scoop New Zealand's highest new car automotive honour.
In reaching their decision to award the latest Focus the country's Car of the Year accolade, members of the New Zealand Motoring Writers' Guild assessed a number of variants in the range, which includes 1.6 and 2.0-litre petrol variants as well as a fuel- efficient 2.0-litre turbo-diesel version.
In addition to performance and handling, the facets under consideration included suitability for the task for which the Focus is designed, safety accoutrements, economy, visual appeal, value for money, ease of operation and its level of home comforts and quality of finish.
"Previous iterations of the Focus have also been highly regarded, particularly in the area of driver appeal, but in its latest guise the Focus pushes its segment forward in crucial areas such as powertrain efficiency, packaging, quality and equipment - all without compromising that fun factor for which it has become known," said Guild president David Linklater.
"The level of chassis sophistication engineered into the new Focus is remarkable. New- generation direct-injection engines and Ford's PowerShift dual-clutch transmission bring strong performance and outstanding economy. The petrol versions achieve an excellent 6.4 litres per 100km. The diesel is capable of 5.3 litres per 100km - incredible fuel economy for such a spacious, stylish family car.
"A particular appeal of the latest Focus is its excellence in a range of motoring environments; whether it is urban or highway motoring, or covering ground over the country's secondary roads, the latest Focus is always impressive."
"This is a point that the NZ Car of the Year is uniquely able to take account of, because it embodies the opinions of professionals in their field from across the country, each of whom has assessed the car on roads in their own region. The car that comes out winner must excel from many different perspectives, and in a range of Kiwi-specific conditions."
"This year's win for Focus is also a tribute to the quality of Ford's model range, said Linklater. "Three out of the last four New Zealand Car of the Year winners have come from the Ford stable, with victories for the Fiesta and Falcon in 2009 and 2008 respectively."
The Focus was one of twelve finalists for this New Zealand Car of the Year award, which is open to new passenger car models launched in New Zealand during the 12 months prior to 1 November 2011. The others, in alphabetical order, were the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, Audi A7, BMW X3, Hyundai Elantra, Kia Optima, Kia Rio, Peugeot 508, Suzuki Swift, Toyota Yaris, Volvo S60 and Volkswagen Passat
Recent past winners of the title, which is now in its 24th year, have been the BMW 5-series (2010), Ford Fiesta (2009), Ford Falcon (2008), Mazda 2 (2007) and Porsche Cayman (2006).
In recognition of the Focus's title win, Ford New Zealand will be awarded the Peter Greenslade Trophy, named after the now deceased motoring editor of The Press in Christchurch, who was one of the instigators of the Car of the Year award.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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