Mondeo in Focus.
Separated by a decade, this pair of blue oval offerings made for an interesting contrast as I walked past on my way into town the other day. Neither the second generation Mondeo nor the saloon version of the third generation Focus are uncommon sights in this part of our moist and verdant isle, but seeing them together, parked tail to tail in this manner lent an element of fascination which might otherwise have eluded them.
The Mondeo, a tidy-looking pre-facelift car is a local fixture, clearly well looked after and is a saloon; a bodystyle which this writer would unscientifically suggest proved more popular than the five-door hatch, which was favoured on the other side of the Irish Sea. I would also posit the view that the three volume Mondeo of this ilk was a very nicely resolved design, and a measure more pleasing to that of the (still handsome) hatch.
The Focus may also be a local for I know; these cars simply do not elicit much attention or regard from me. What can be said in its favour is that in saloon form, it presents a less ill-resolved face (well, tail actually) to the world, although rear treatment apart, it suffers alongside its siblings with all of the manifold stylistic and design failings that characterised Focus Mark 3 (or 4 if you wish to be a pedant).
Appearances can be deceptive. To the casual glance and indeed from the vantage point where this image was quickly taken, the striking impression is how similar the two cars appear in overall size. Obviously, with a generation between them, one would expect the Focus to have grown, but the eye, just like the camera lens can deceive. Some dimensions to clarify:
Length: 4,534 mm (178.5 in)
Wheelbase: 2,648 mm (104.3 in)
Height: 1,484 mm (58.4 in)
Length: 4,731 mm (186.3 in)
Wheelbase: 2,754 mm (108.4 in)
Height: 1,429 mm (56.3 in)
A striking point of difference however lies in the relative shape of the canopies; that of the Mondeo being more upright with a larger, deeper glass area. The Focus lacks the larger car’s broader C-pillar, yet thanks to its rising beltline and more raked screens, outward vision is probably inferior.
Another notable divergence lies in the angle of the A-pillar in relation to the front axle line. On the Mondeo, this axis runs directly through the wheel centre, whereas that of the Focus lies ahead of the front wheel. This faster roofline probably looked good on the initial sketches, and might perhaps (standing on one leg on a Tuesday) aid aerodynamics, but better? Not to these eyes.
The decade that began in 2010; the year this generation of Focus made its debut, probably marked the point where the saloon finally lost its relevance. Attempting to lend that most traditional of silhouettes a more rakish, more dynamic mien was an attempt to stave off the inevitable, but some things are simply irreversible. There are no more Focus saloons.
The one pictured here is probably a perfectly decent car; they were I’m reliably informed, quite pleasant to drive, with finely judged control weightings and a well honed chassis. However, there is little doubt in my mind which of these two would be the more satisfying car to own and operate.
Progress does not always take place in a linear fashion. Sometimes there isn’t any.
 Depending upon one’s viewpoint, the 2000 Mondeo was either the second or third iteration. Similarly, the 2010 Focus was viewed by some as the third generation, but by others as the fourth. Argue amongst yourselves.