Comparative: New Focus vs. Golf.
The cars are amazing, the test sucks
The renewed Ford Focus with the promise of being quality, better than ever, with a slim turbocharged engine and a dual-clutch gearbox, this is exactly what required a comparison with the Volkswagen Golf
Thursday, 07 July 2022, 06:54 Updated: 07:16
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Every compact family member tried to oust the golfer, now it's the focus's turn (Photo: Keinan Cohen)
Ding, ding, ding, the battle for the best family title opens again and this time in the right corner Volkswagen Golf, which carries this title more or less since 1974 as the benchmark for a compact car, the one they have all tried to defeat without too much success since.
In the left corner is a Ford Focus in its fourth generation.
The compact family car that in the late 90s reminded everyone that even such cars can be fun for the driver, it has soared to the status of a local bestseller and snatched an image blow with a third generation that left a bad taste.
Mainly due to finishing problems and malfunctions in its dual-clutch gearbox.
It is now up-to-date and up-to-date with line alignment and the acquisition of the latest combination of petrol cars - a slim, turbocharged engine and power transmission through a dual-clutch gearbox.
Yes, again a dual-clutch gearbox, except this time Ford has learned the lesson and the current box does not use a dry clutch, but a wet clutch.
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In blue, with the ST Line package, the focus is seriously turning heads (Photo: Keinan Cohen)
In the current confrontation, the two senior versions of the model offer have stabilized.
The Golf in the Life Plus trim level with the 1.5-liter 150 hp engine and at a price of
NIS 157,900 (147,000 in base).
Line with the extended information and entertainment system and includes the X package that takes the car from the 132,000 shekels of the base version to 147,000 shekels as stabilized here.
As expected from the two high finish levels, both come well-equipped.
And we will concentrate mainly on the more distinct gaps between the two.
In the field of advanced safety, both with automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure correction and more.
The Golf also adds vehicle identification in “dead space” with active steering assistance, rear cross-traffic alert including braking.
Ford has a steering assistance system in detecting an evasive action from a collision, two-wheeled detection in the warning systems, signage detection and the My Key system through which the car's speed can be limited according to the user.
Took evolution to an up-to-date, high-tech place (Photo: Keenan Cohen)
In terms of comfort armature, both come with compatibility with Android and Apple only that compared to the eye-catching 13.2 inches of the Focus, the 8-inch screen in the Golf looks incredibly tiny.
Both with golf climate controls also with climate control for those sitting in the back.
The Life Plus finish level in the test Golf adds a single panoramic sunroof, 17-inch rims with 225/45 tires.
The seats are in focus in fabric upholstery, manual and with heating, in golf a combination of fabric and leather with electric direction and massage for the driver.
Also in the focus that comes very well equipped at its base are added to it with the X package also 18-inch rims, which lock Michelin Pilot Sport 4 sticky and a double panoramic roof.
Restrained and high quality, the screen size does not match the price and status (Photo: Keinan Cohen)
Outside and inside
The Golf has a hard time breaking free from conservatism in appearance, and rightly so - its evolution from generation to generation has maintained its immediate identification as a Volkswagen and as a Golf, it is an iron-clad asset when it comes to such an iconic car.
And yet, even within its conservatism, the current generation is sharpening its appearance in a more high-tech direction.
In focus, the story is completely different it's not just the deep blue of the test car, it's the whole show that centers all the focus on it, literally.
This is one of the nicest hatchbacks on the road today, second perhaps to the Mazda 3. The ST Line package adds the latest spices with red calipers to brakes, skirts and spoilers on all sides.
In short, if in golf comes the secretary of the school, in focus comes the coolest parent in the class.
In Focus, you can also get a 13.2-inch screen for an additional fee (Photo: Keinan Cohen)
In the cabin the business continues on the same frequency.
In golf a decent and mature look, without loudness and almost no gimmicks, with an excellent combination of types of materials and textures.
In focus the eye is mainly drawn to the huge screen of this level of finish, the display is good and as in golf there is also a digital dashboard.
But the signs of age are starting to emerge in the form of buttons, air vents and more.
In terms of quality of materials, in Volkswagen you will find the reason why it is still one of the best in its group with the use of very high quality plastic, metal and inverted leather.
At Ford, in most places where the hands reach, the quality is high.
But when you start wandering around you discover hard plastics and a wealth of materials less good than golf.
In both cars the assembly quality is very good and no unusual anomalies were recorded.
Two symbols of industrial giants (Photo: Keinan Cohen)
Golf has always prided itself on simple and easy-to-operate human engineering.
Here they went one step too far, mostly with too small a multimedia screen, a built-in Android system installed locally that is just not good, not intuitive, slow at times and with too small a Wise display for reading and operating comfortably.
Beyond that there is the climate control operation which requires pressing a button and then operation from the screen.
Beyond that, the business is just fine.
In focus the relatively advanced age of the cabin results in the placement of buttons not always ideal.
The display on the screen does not take full advantage of its width, so in practice it is not as large as it claims to be.
At least with us the use of Android Auto for navigation purpose was useless due to inaccurate display where the car is located in completely different places than in reality.
Here, too, climate control is activated from the screen, but it is at least located in a fixed and accessible place, allowing for more intuitive operation.
Excellent rear seat in golf (Photo: Keinan Cohen)
The driving position in both cars is very good, but in two different approaches.
In golf, it is very easy to reach a comfortable driving position and control the various controls without hiding anything.
While in focus the seating is lower than that of the Golf and very "inside" the car.
We loved it, people who have a hard time getting in and out of cars - less.
The golf front seats with EgroActive technology offer excellent comfort, and beyond their comfortable structure, the thicker padding and the massage function (driver's seat only) make it easy to cover distances easily and comfortably.
In focus, the seat has a more sporty design and structure, it offers better support and cuddling to the body, but it is possible that for larger and heavier people the upholstery may be a little less pampering over time.
With an average adult focus, he is already kissing the roof (Photo: Keinan Cohen)
In the back seats the story pretty much repeats itself.
Although on paper in focus the wheelbase is significantly longer (270 cm vs. 262 cm) its structure is different.
The legroom itself is very good, but the seat is slightly lower and less deep than that of the Golf and the double sunroof takes up space from the headroom.
An average adult floor will already be scratching its head.
There are no air conditioning outlets, there are charging sockets.
In golf, excellent leg and head spacing.
They are joined by features such as air outlets, charging sockets and small pockets in the back of the front seat apart from the main one at the bottom.
In the trunk, the official volume of the Golf is larger 381 liters compared to 341 liters in focus.
But the measuring tape tells something else, the dimensions of the trunks are almost identical in the depth of the cabin, the height of the threshold, the space between the floor of the cabin and the shelf and only in the charging key for golf a slight advantage with 105 cm compared to 101 in focus. Heights and 12V socket absent from focus.
Supercharged gasoline engines, robotic gearboxes, hatchback configuration - classic Europe (Photo: Keenan Cohen)
Volkswagen has been polishing the dual-clutch box for more than a decade, and this is evident in its latest generation
Both cars use relatively small-volume gasoline engines with light hybrid reinforcement.
In focus, along with the evaluation of the technological achievement of a 1.0-liter engine, three cylinders with 155
The 1.5 liter delivers 150 hp and with a wide power strip, with excellent availability already from low rpm, the greater volume advantage is evident here and a torque figure of 25.5 kg already from 1,500 rpm compared to 24.4 from 2,500 cc " D in focus.
Golf has also shown an ability to cope better with prolonged effort on ascents for example.
In an administrative trip, fuel consumption in focus was preferable (Photo: Keinan Cohen)
Both also use a dual-clutch robotic gearbox with 7 transmission ratios.
And despite the identity in this aspect, there are character differences between the two.
In normal driving mode, the gearbox in focus is in a hurry to raise gears all the time, with all the relaxation from the pedal and especially really avoids allowing the engine to rise above the intermediate range of engine revolutions.
Which further reinforces his "thin" feeling.
On the other hand in sport mode it works great, one of the best features we have encountered in clutch doubles.
In administrative driving, especially slow like in a city or in traffic jams it is bouncy and unpleasant like that in golf.
Volkswagen has been polishing the dual-clutch box for more than a decade.
And this is evident in its current generation, it pulls the gears until exhausted at accelerations even when they are not strong (and due to its excellent noise insulation, it is not really noticeable in the cabin).
In combination with this engine it also eliminates its main problem - hesitation and non-smooth combinations at low speeds.
The most "behaving" generation of golf is still not at the level of focus (Photo: Keinan Cohen)
Although according to the data sheet both are equal in terms of performance with 8.4 seconds per 100 in focus and 8.5 seconds in golf.
In the acceleration tests done in the normal gearbox mode (and not in sport mode), in standstill and also in intermediate accelerations that simulate a detour exit, the Golf recorded a very slight advantage over the focus, mainly due to the traction of the gears.
The fuel consumption achieved by the cars reflects the differences in the nature of the engines we mentioned earlier.
In mostly administrative driving, the relaxed nature and smaller volume of the Focus engine brought it to 13km per liter while the Golf recorded 12.7km per liter.
At the end of the dynamic part the creators flipped and the focus consumed a liter per 8.7 km while the Golf was with 9.5 km per liter.
The volume advantage gives the golfer more "meat" under load (Photo: Keinan Cohen)
In ride comfort tests the golf was preferable, thanks to relatively soft suspensions and tires in a more sensible cut, a component dictated by the finish levels and therefore neutralized in considerations, but also in its deduction the action of the shock absorbers in the golf course (absorption and return) was preferable.
And not that the focus was not good, relative to a car that rides on 18-inch rims in the 40-section (as part of the X's instrumentation package), the business is fine.
The places she has difficulty with and understandably these are roads with small disruptions and slowing down at slow speeds due to the tires.
Golf scrambles a few more points in road and wind noise isolation with a quieter ride.
While in focus, tire noises were recorded on poor quality roads and in any case also wind noises from the front beam area at intercity speeds and above.
Of the better front-wheel drive chassis, longing for more power (Photo: Keinan Cohen)
The focus makes the golfer laugh and mock when it comes to the dynamic ability and the ability to bring a smile to the driver
On the winding road the biggest gap we experienced in this comparative test awaited us.
Although it is one of the more "behaving" generations of the Golf, it is not a very enjoyable car to drive.
The steering wheel is relatively light weight, the roll angles are excessive and it always has a constant tendency to the safe side, but not the fun of things.
Conversely the focus, oh the focus.
In terms of behavior, the focus that has always been strong at this point, continues to be (alongside Mazda 3) the right-hand marker of the category.
In this confrontation, she makes the golfer laugh and mock when it comes to the dynamic ability and the ability to bring a smile to the driver.
The steering wheel is very fast, sharp and precise.
The whole car responds to its reference commands as one piece, without getting confused.
This is definitely one of the more successful front-wheel drive chassis of recent years.
And it does not end there, she also knows how to move with her buttocks in relaxation from the gas in a way that you would in no way expect from a decent family.
Aim for Ford to keep the embers cool.
If there is a critique it is directed to a steering wheel that remains too light in any situation, i.e. there is no feedback about the level of grip of the front wheels through its weight.
This is the place to point out again the engine, that the gap between its capabilities and those of the chassis is so big that it's really missed, it can eat another 30-40 hp easily.
The solidity of golf is enhanced alongside the extroversion of the focus (Photo: Keinan Cohen)
We took this test when it was easy to draw parallel lines between the cars.
Two European family cars, in the hatchback configuration, do not turn to the mainstream, which turned to Jeeps and crossovers, with small and supercharged engines, robotic boxes and even at a similar price (as far as the Golf's Life finish level, which costs NIS 147,000 but was not available for testing).
By the way, this is the place to point out that in both cars we find no justification for actually going for the high finish levels and then the price gap in favor of the Focus is even more significant.
Split into two different directions (Photo: Keinan Cohen)
But as we progressed in the test it became clear that in practice these are two really different and very good cars, which always creates a serious problem in such tests.
Because when the direction is the same and the battle is over who is better in parameter X, Y or Z - it is possible and necessary to decide.
Our problem here was that they are so good and so different that a decision on an objective and measurable basis is simply irrelevant.
And that's fine, I'm also not happy with a test that ended in this result, but unfortunately that's the case this time.
For those who are looking for a high-quality, pleasant everyday hatchback family, useful for the family and equipped for this use - golf.
Want the one that will make you smile when you see her in the parking lot in the morning and even more so when you drive her - focus, unequivocally.
And now that it's behind us I can also tell you that personally, it was my choice.
Participated in the test: Amir Weinstock, Karzon
On the technical side: Volkswagen Golf 1.5 and Ford Focus
Data comparison table (Photo: Keinan Cohen)