Sunday 11 March 2012

Road - Rowan Atkinson and me, or not!

Well, there I was, in Rowan Atkinson’s bedroom. It was a big comfy room with an outlook over the sun-kissed Northumberland dales. Of Rowan  Atkinson himself, there was no sign. And that was no surprise, he left this place long ago to pursue fame and fortune in TV land to the south.

That’s because I was in the Best Western Derwent Manor Hotel which was built on the site of the house and farm buildings of Rowan Atkinson’s grandparents’ farm. Now that was something I didn’t know, that he came from just outside Consett in County Durham. You see, this Blog is informative as well as diverting.

Anyway, the purpose of this overnight stay was assessing yet another Ford, this time the Focus Zetec S, and what a pleasant surprise this turned out to be. I haven’t yet got used to the term ‘EcoBoost’ as opposed to ‘EcoNetic’. One is anorak orientated, the other is for the cardigan wearers. I had the quick one.

What you get with this is a very responsive 180 PS engine with 240 Nm of torque. In other words, it really is quite tasty. What you also get with this, is one of the best handling mid range saloon cars in the business with sharp steering, and well controlled body roll on firm yet pliant suspension. The only fly in the ointment, or stone in the tyre, was the 17 inch rims with suitably tarmac thrumming low profile Goodyear rubberwear. And that was the only real downside.

Having said that, it is all too easy to forget that this is the EcoBoost as opposed to the EcoNetic, for if you just tootle around at low speed and low revs, you can sucked into the idea this is a bog standard saloon. However, if you drop a couple of gears, and plant it, because the eedjit in the big saloon right on your rear bumper with the badly set Bi-Zenon headlamps is blistering the rear paintwork, then it can make light work of getting him off your tail.

The six speed sweetie-box makes the best of the free-revving engine while a nought to 60 time of under 8 seconds shows you just how quick this family saloon is.

The ‘sports style’ seats are not the ‘full bucket’ but by heck they’re comfy on a long trip.
But I’ll tell you what I really like, the attention to detail in this car. For instance, the 12v socket in the central console. Whereas many manufacturers would just stick a rubber butt plug in it, or even a plastic cap with waggly rubber securing strap, Ford had properly engineered a metal rimmed cap with spring loaded hinge to cover it, and it just finished the job off, properly. Is that sad, or is it just being appreciative?

Anyway, meeting Rowan Atkinson in person will have to wait till another time.  

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