Ford's New 2000 Cars

FTLComm - Melfort
November 10, 1999

Auto makers have discovered that there can be to many choices and we are seeing a dramatic reduction of the number of models and there is a good chance this will improve both quality and consumer prices. The Escort, Ford's so-called "world car" was introduced in 1986 and was a successful economy car they eventually phased it out and used the name on a Mazda/Ford car that was considerably more expensive then the original but was an excellent value.

The Contour and Mercury Mystique were a mid sided compact that looked like and cost almost as much as the Taurus. To make things simply better Ford has eliminated the Escort and the Contour models and replaced them with this interesting machine that they call "Focus" and distinguish its various models with various meaningless letters from the alphabet.

The car looks like it was designed in Europe with its boxy slab sides and there is a hint of some of the designs seen in the German Mecure of the late 80s. I doubt if it will win any beauty contests because compared to the ultra sleek Mazda styled Escort and rocket shaped Contour this has the design features of a boxcar.
But, sports fans, appearance isn't everything, sitting in Melody Motor's show room the Focus looks radically rude compared to the majestic classic lines of the Mercury but open the door and the design features that make it ugly become unimportant. The doorway is huge. The easiest car other then a full size pickup to get in and out of and inside there is the feeling of roominess one experiences in a Windstar, this is a big little car.
Mike kept telling me that the styling would grow on me so I cut Mike down to size to show you the engine compartment which is typical of a modern car, pretty hard to recognise anything. This rather standard model in the show room had electric windows, locks, a CD player and this sixteen valve four cylinder engine that with only 2 litres displacement delivers an incredible 130 horse power.

The European nature of this car is very obvious, that handle in the middle of the front seats is a manual stick shift and that is the standard configuration for the car though you can order an automatic this is how the designers intended this car to be sold.

As for driving comfort and durability we will need more time to figure out what to expect from this new car but if it has any of the lineage of the Escort and Contour this will be a good car as Ford engineers have built in the safety and comfort to go with solid handling and ease of use, provided that you like to shift gears.

The sticker price is just over $19,000 and Ford Credit's lease programme for this car is $299 a month with no money down.