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Thread: Mini review

  1. #1
    Senior Member Shad's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Mini review

    So I've got the Clio for another 4 and a bit days and now the starter motor has given up. Bloody wonderful.

    Anyway, my parents have got a fairly ordinary Ford Focus sat in the garage which they've said I can use until Saturday (Alfa day ) mainly for getting to college (40 miles away) on Wednesday. Don't even ask about insurance, Norwich Union have got it all worked out but I'll be fsck'd if I can figure it out!

    Anyway, I thought I'd write a small review of the car. Please bear in mind I've been driving for a year in a '93 Clio (1.4) so I'm by no means an experienced driver.

    ---

    The car is a basic 2001 Focus with a 1.6 Zetec unit with air con and CD player. The interior is tidy if you like the styling but most things are easy to use and nice and simple. The engine is willing but needs working fairly hard, but I've been quite impressed with low end pull (i.e. 2000 rpm in 4th) compared to the Clio. However, I've been surprised there's not more power. Yes it's only a 1.6, but it's no quicker than my Clio. What is nice though is the pickup and over taking is much more of a pleasure than a heart stopping challenge.

    The engine note is very strange; below around 4500 rpm it sounds quite throaty, but above that it just gets all tinny and nasty! Is this common to all Zetec engines?

    The brakes are very reassuring and the clutch is surprisingly similar to the Clio's, especially in terms of bite point. However I can't work out how the throttle is actually joined to the engine. My best guess is carrier pidgeon, because the delay is annoying to say the least. Sometimes it will do as its told, but others there's a split second delay before the engine reacts.

    The gearbox is very notchy which is quite nice once you've got used to it, but I prefer something slightly less stiff. I guess that would come with use; the car's only just coming up to 10,000 miles

    The best thing about the car is the steering; very accurate and fairly quick and very chatty (though not as good as the 147's ). The over all handing though is a bit dissapointing, with a fair ammount of body roll. That said, it feels very sure footed and inspires confidence.

    Back to the interior, and what are the head light controls doing down on the bulk head?? The windscreen wipers are also some what unintuitive, with pulling the stalk towards you activating the rear wash wipe The rest of the controls are fairly straight forward, with the buttons having a reasonable quality feel. I'm not that keen on the design though, least of all the shape of the silver centre console insert.

    The driving position is good but too high, and the seats are not very supportive. The steering wheel belongs on a ship, it's that big.

    So to sum up. I'm dissapointed; after how much the press raved about the car I expected something a bit more impressive. It's a good solid family hatch, but nothing more. The drive feels sure footed and you can have some fun, but the styling and the sheer lack of power are enough to put me off. And the engine note... yuck!

    Give me an Itallian stallian any day
    Simon


  2. #2
    Now with added sobriety Rave's Avatar
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    I drove a Focus a few years ago, didn't like it at all. I like 80s cars myself, nice light tinny body + knackered suspension= direct handling.

    Rich :¬)

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    herbalist
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    i learn in a 1.6 zetec focus, and i find it to be a damn nice car to drive. its fast enough for me to scare my instructor with anyway i'd kill for a focus RS tho, beautiful cars. then agen, so are all fords, minus the probe n Ka, haha.

    if war is the answer, then we are asking the wrong question
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    www.5lab.co.uk
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    i also dislike driving newer cars than older ones. i've not had much experiance (newish fiesta, me dads volvo, a transit, my volvo and a few others) but i really prefer the stripped down feel of my volvo where you can really tell whats going on to the disconnected feel of the newer vehicals. the powersteering was so light on the tranny that you couldnt feel how fast your cornering (if you know what i mean - i normally feel if im going too fast for a corner by how hard the car pulls back on the steering - on a tranny it pulled back teh same amount reguardless of speed = all the stuff in the back of the van all over the floor of the van )
    hughlunnon@yahoo.com | I have sigs turned off..

  5. #5
    Now with added sobriety Rave's Avatar
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    ^exactly. Power steering= load of s***e IMO. Heavy steering? Get a bigger steering wheel then. I never drove a car with power steering that I liked. If the Honda NSX can do without, so can any car.

    Heh, maybe I'll have to break the power steering if I get the BMW 7 series I'm saving up for.

    Rich :¬)

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    www.5lab.co.uk
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    just whip the fuse out
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  7. #7
    Now with added sobriety Rave's Avatar
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    Good plan.

    Rich :¬)

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    www.5lab.co.uk
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    with any luck it'll take out the abs and traction control too, and you'll end up with a 'propper car'
    hughlunnon@yahoo.com | I have sigs turned off..

  9. #9
    Now with added sobriety Rave's Avatar
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    Or one that doesn't work. The computer might be a bit unhappy about all of this...

    Never used or needed ABS TBH, I like to think it's because my anticipation of the road ahead is pretty good, but probably I just drive too slow.

    Rich :¬)

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    Sexiest Hexus user? quite possibly Russ's Avatar
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    Originally posted by not_your_punk
    i learn in a 1.6 zetec focus
    want my instructers number? 1.9TDi
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  11. #11
    TiG
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    Re: Mini review

    Originally posted by Shad
    So I've got the Clio for another 4 and a bit days and now the starter motor has given up. Bloody wonderful.

    Anyway, my parents have got a fairly ordinary Ford Focus sat in the garage which they've said I can use until Saturday (Alfa day ) mainly for getting to college (40 miles away) on Wednesday. Don't even ask about insurance, Norwich Union have got it all worked out but I'll be fsck'd if I can figure it out!

    Anyway, I thought I'd write a small review of the car. Please bear in mind I've been driving for a year in a '93 Clio (1.4) so I'm by no means an experienced driver.

    ---

    The car is a basic 2001 Focus with a 1.6 Zetec unit with air con and CD player. The interior is tidy if you like the styling but most things are easy to use and nice and simple. The engine is willing but needs working fairly hard, but I've been quite impressed with low end pull (i.e. 2000 rpm in 4th) compared to the Clio. However, I've been surprised there's not more power. Yes it's only a 1.6, but it's no quicker than my Clio. What is nice though is the pickup and over taking is much more of a pleasure than a heart stopping challenge.

    The engine note is very strange; below around 4500 rpm it sounds quite throaty, but above that it just gets all tinny and nasty! Is this common to all Zetec engines?

    The brakes are very reassuring and the clutch is surprisingly similar to the Clio's, especially in terms of bite point. However I can't work out how the throttle is actually joined to the engine. My best guess is carrier pidgeon, because the delay is annoying to say the least. Sometimes it will do as its told, but others there's a split second delay before the engine reacts.

    The gearbox is very notchy which is quite nice once you've got used to it, but I prefer something slightly less stiff. I guess that would come with use; the car's only just coming up to 10,000 miles

    The best thing about the car is the steering; very accurate and fairly quick and very chatty (though not as good as the 147's ). The over all handing though is a bit dissapointing, with a fair ammount of body roll. That said, it feels very sure footed and inspires confidence.

    Back to the interior, and what are the head light controls doing down on the bulk head?? The windscreen wipers are also some what unintuitive, with pulling the stalk towards you activating the rear wash wipe The rest of the controls are fairly straight forward, with the buttons having a reasonable quality feel. I'm not that keen on the design though, least of all the shape of the silver centre console insert.

    The driving position is good but too high, and the seats are not very supportive. The steering wheel belongs on a ship, it's that big.

    So to sum up. I'm dissapointed; after how much the press raved about the car I expected something a bit more impressive. It's a good solid family hatch, but nothing more. The drive feels sure footed and you can have some fun, but the styling and the sheer lack of power are enough to put me off. And the engine note... yuck!

    Give me an Itallian stallian any day
    Nice post Shad, I always like reading stuff like this, i hope you give us the benefit of your alfa when you get used to it

    When i test drove the Focus ST170 i noticed a fair few things here too, especially the noise at 4.5K plus, this seems to be where the power is tho, and this ultimately affected my choice and finally set me choosing the octavia.

    The styling is okay, as you say everything seems well there, even if they are all ovals...

    However i'm slightly suprised about the body roll, the focus is supposed to be the best handling car of that class, and the st170 certainly was sharp on the steering, however the clutch really pissed me off, it was too ffing hard. My left foot needed to weigh 60 tonnes to full depress it and my foot was aching after 1hr test drive...

    But hey if its not yours and your clio broke what they hell sounds good to use it

    TiG
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  12. #12
    Senior Member Shad's Avatar
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    Thanks Tig

    The body roll is noticable but not excessive; the suspension is quite stiff so I would have expected less roll. The rock hard seats probably emphasise this by not really holding me snugly in the seat.

    My opinion of the car has been improved! The gearbox is simply fantastic - every gear is wonderfully smooth and the short throw is good fun. But the best bit is how accurate the box is; you can feel where all the edges are and it's still nice and springy. Reverse is a bit of an arse to find though sometimes.

    And it really does handle. Taking it through some country lanes last night, cornering at nearly 90 in places and it's incredibly composed. Very little understeer unless you provoke it.

    You're right about the power band though, but kick down from 3rd to 2nd at the right rpm and it'll pin you in the seat.

    You could have a lot of fun in this car, but I wouldn't buy one because:

    > Too plasticy inside
    > The design
    > Lack of engine torque; i'd imagine the 2 litre, and to a certain extent the 1.8, solve this
    > Parcel shelf rattles!!!

    I'll post a follow up at the end of the week too
    Simon


  13. #13
    www.5lab.co.uk
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    oh dear... you dont like rattles and you brought an alfa?
    hughlunnon@yahoo.com | I have sigs turned off..

  14. #14
    Senior Member Shad's Avatar
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    Originally posted by 5lab
    oh dear... you dont like rattles and you brought an alfa?
    See there ya go again with the stereotypical assumptions.

    When will they learn
    Simon


  15. #15
    sdp
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    Bah, I was hoping for a review of the Mini

    I'm learning in a 1.6 focus and I think you've summed it up pretty well.

    It's a heavy car for a 1.6 I think.

    It's crap pulling away at junctions as it's got no power there and the change to 2nd has to be done too quickly because it just runs out of steam. But foot down in 2nd or 3rd and it just wants to go and it's hard holding back from just slamming the pedal down sometimes. It hates hills though. The pedals are nicely spaced and work really well as far as travel and firmness go imho.

    I quite like the interior, except the dash is too big and the seats are way too high. The door/screen pillars are far too thick and visibility is terrible compared to my mini, something that really annoys me at junctions/roundabouts and the manouvers too. It's not an easy car at all to drive, and I wouldn't want to chuck it round country lanes as I'm not that experianced a driver and I still like to be able to see exactly where the car is on the road from the drivers seat. Even with the really high seating postion I cant see the front of the car without leaning right forward.

    The gearbox is awful, sometimes it refuses to enage 1st or reverse gear unless you pump the clutch a couple of times. And it makes loud banging/knocking noises if you havent put the gas down fast enough when moving away.

    The steering aint all that imo, it's fairly positive but I reckon that if a smaller steering wheel was fitted it'd be about 10 times better because it takes forever to whack around, specially if you're doing the bsm shuffle. I still don't like pas.

    My dad would love the focus though. If all you want is a practical run-around there are worse cars around. I love the a/c, that's wicked

    ---------

    Mini Review:

    Mini's are great!

    Buy one!

    ---------
    Mini!!!!!

  16. #16
    herbalist
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    you learnin with the AA as well sdp? i'd love a mini, they are amazin cars. i kinda agree about the slow acceleration, but i did manage to leave rubber at one set of lights after my instructor foolishly told me to accelerate away from lights quicker...... plus its quick enough to keep me amused on the country driving aspect when i have lessons over the common. always amusin.

    if war is the answer, then we are asking the wrong question
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