New Ford Focus

The new Ford Focus as a rental car

Ford Focus – the essence of mid size family car rental

When introduced back in 1998 the first edition Ford Focus was praised for its stunning ‘New Edge’ design and safe as well as entertaining driving capabilities.

The Ford Focus model soon evolved into a bewildering number of shapes, equipment versions and engine variations, and over the following years major car hire companies bought large quantities of this solid work horse for their fleets.

The Focus I was even successful in the United States reaching Top 10 sales shortly after being introduced; quite a rare achievement for a European car.

Often the rent-a-car Ford Focus in Portugal was the ‘run of the mill’ 1,4 litre Zetec version with 75 horsepower. It was a very reliable car, albeit a slightly pedestrian one with the smallest engine in particular. If the first Ford Focus with its advanced independent rear wheel suspension had not been so entertaining to drive, few would have missed more punch.

The Ford Focus II hire car – 2004-2011

In 2004 the game changed significantly with the introduction of a new Ford Focus model. The upgraded Focus, which in reality was a totally new car, is referred to as the Ford Focus II or Ford Focus mark II.

The total package of the car was greatly improved with better materials in the cabin, stronger engines and an even sharper drive compared to the Ford Focus I, which was by no means a bad car.

As always the car hire companies bought thousands and thousands of Ford Focus cars for hire all over Europe including car hire companies Avis, Hertz, Budget and Europcar in Portugal.

Quite a large number of the mark II Ford Focus cars are still available for hire in Lisbon and other major cities in Portugal. The large majority of Ford Focus hire cars (mark II version) are from model year 2007-2010.

Most impressively the quality of the plastics in the cabin of a Ford Focus is actually slightly better than that of the class leader VW Golf. Often the equipment level in the Focus frequently found for hire in i.e. Lisbon Airport is better too; because Ford Focus hire cars always were slightly cheaper to purchase and better equipped at base level than the main competitor from Volkswagen.

The Ford Focus mark II received a facelift inside out as from model year 2008. This included e.g. standard ESP (electronic stability control) on most European markets. Furthermore instruments came with a more user-friendly layout and seat fabrics were improved. The face lifted Ford Focus II are amongst the most common hire cars in Lisbon Airport when hiring this class of rental vehicle.

When receiving the keys to a Ford Focus hire car at the rental station in Lisbon Airport, you will soon learn that the boot swallows an impressive amount of luggage. A total of 385 litres is available in the Ford Focus hatchback.

Possibly the best hatchback family hire car

Almost all Ford Focus II for hire in Portugal are 5 door hatchback version with split rear seats for carrying extra load. The Ford Focus rental car can be found at many car hire companies in the estate version as well. Those are particularly popular with golfers visiting Portugal.

Being a cheap hire car favourite with holiday makers in Portugal, the Ford Focus II inevitably lose out to the likes of VW Golf, BMW 1-series and Audi A3 in prestige. You will rather be sitting in a small German ‘lifestyle’ hatchback than in a Ford. Often, however, the German prestige rental cars carry a premium price when booking car hire in Lisbon.

From a practical point of view you may in fact very well have chosen the best vehicle driving the cheaper Ford Focus hire car.

What the Focus car does not offer in prestige, it compensates for with loads of space for its class, comfortable seats with ‘up-market’ feeling and the equipment usually include a nice stereo system with a CD player, possibly even a climate control unit or as a minimum air conditioning.

As proof of its provenance the Ford Focus 2004-2011 share technical platform with the Volvo V40/V50; a reminiscence of the times when Ford owned the Swedish manufacturer of quality cars.

The Ford Focus III hire car – new bigger Focus from 2011
In 2010 Ford once again raised the stakes with its new entry to the fierce competition amongst medium sized family hire cars.

This year saw the presentation of the 2011 model Ford Focus III.

Car hire wise the Ford Focus 2011 like the original Focus from 1998 is a daring ‘Kinetic Design’ which looks much more advanced in real life metal than on print.

The Ford Focus in the new 2011 reincarnation now appears like a genuine large car with a dramatic sloping roof line; although the new Focus in fact only gained 2 centimetres in length.

Inside it has more or less the same ample amount of space as the previous model. With 363 litres, the luggage compartment in the new Focus hatchback is slightly bigger than the 350 litre in the VW Golf.

Produced in Saarluis in Germany the new Focus benefits from stronger and leaner Duratec and EcoBoost petrol engines as well as 2nd generation more frugal Duratorq diesel engines.

Apart from being physically bigger, the new Ford Focus 2011, thanks to technical innovation, also feels like a larger car with a more settled and comfortable ride.

The basic new Ford Focus model receives a 105 bhp petrol engine; a popular choice of compact hire car for many rental car companies. Some Ford Focus hire cars will have the new 95 or 115 bhp diesel units, but expect the petrol option to be more popular when renting a car in Portugal due to its lower price and maintenance cost.

From late 2011 or during 2012 customers booking a compact family rental car in Portugal will be able to enjoy this quite advanced vehicle with room for 5 people and their luggage. The car that gave name to the VW Golf class of hire cars may have found its most capable competitor.

Ford Focus hire car model year 2004-2011 – in Portugal mostly 2007-2011

Rental car class/hire car type: Compact, family car, CDMR, CDMV, CDMD

Fuel economy average:
Focus 1,4 5-door hatchback 80 bhp (petrol): 42,8 mpg – 15,1 km/l
Focus 1,6 5-door hatchback 95-100 bhp (petrol): 42,2 mpg – 14,9 km/l
Focus 1,6 TDCi 5-door hatchback 90-110 bhp (diesel): 62,7-64 mpg – 22,2-22,6 km/l
Boot space when using all seats (with rear seats folded): 385 (1525) L

Fuel tank capacity: 55 litre (diesel 53 litre)
Euro NCAP safety rating( max 5 stars): 5 stars

New Ford Focus hire car – model year 2011-

Rental car class/hire car type: Compact, family car, CDMR, CDMV, CDMD

Fuel consumption average:

Ford Focus 1,6 5-door hatchback 105 bhp (petrol): 47,9 mpg – 16,9 km/l
Ford Focus 1,6 5-door hatchback 95 bhp (diesel): 67,3 mpg – 23,8 km/l
Ford Focus 1,6 5-door hatchback 115 bhp (diesel): 67,3 mpg – 23,8 km/l

Boot space when using all seats (with rear seats folded): 316 (1101) L with the most common space saver spare wheel. A full size spare wheel reduces the load capacity to 277 (1062) L, where as a repair set in lieu of spare wheel increases the boot space to an impressive 363 (1148) L.

Fuel tank capacity: 55 litre (diesel 53 litre)

Euro NCAP safety rating (max 5 stars): 5 stars

When hiring a car in the VW Golf/Ford Focus class, the rental car suppliers have the right to provide customers with cars of a similar car rental class and with similar equipment as quoted e.g. air conditioning. From time to time it is possible to chose a particular car brand at the rental counter.

Please feel free to comment