While I always welcome the chance to try a new electric car, first drives are often disappointingly brief. Unfortunately that’s exactly the case with Ford’s Focus Electric, a new competitor for Nissan’s Leaf that I’ve been hoping to try out for a while.
As a result, my time with the Focus EV is limited to about half an hour, and my choice of road narrowed to just one: a tight and twisting ribbon of tarmac at the Millbrook proving ground in Bedfordshire. Dubbed the city route, it’s a mile-long loop stuffed with short straights, tight corners and stop lines, plus the odd speed bump. And as a simulation of real life it’s roughly as convincing as Coronation Street.
The route is better than a real road in one respect: there’s the guaranteed absence of patrol cars and speed cameras. That means there is just enough wiggle room to confirm that the electric Focus feels about as lively as the Leaf. Firmly prod the accelerator and the Focus gathers pace with surprising vim, to the tune of a rising, science-fiction whine from under the bonnet.