Tag Archives: Ford

Stars among the best used cars

car-keys-dealer-handoverEvery year something like seven million used cars change owners via car showrooms compared to a mere 2.5 million-ish new car sales. That’s a lot!

And with high complaint levels, it’s important to know the ‘best’ used cars to buy, to avoid the many lemons out there.

So where better to look than the What Car Used Car of the Year 2014 Awards at The Hurlingham Club recently, attended by all major vehicle manufacturers, naming their 13 outstanding category winners.

WhatCar works with the Trusted Dealers network who sign up to certain standards to give used car buyers peace of mind. NB: This is one of our minimum standards at our new FOXY Lady Approved used car network.

This year’s overall winner is the Ford Focus 1.6 105 Zetec which we rate highly.

Others include the Hyundai 1.2 Comfort (city car), Ford Fiesta 1.25 Zetec (smaller than the Focus) and the Lexus IS220d SE (executive car). The Mazda MX-5 2.0 Sport scooped the fun car award (no surprises there) and the Citroën Grand C4 Picasso 1.6 HDi VTR+ was voted the best MPV (again, spot on).

What Car? Used Car of the Year Awards 2014 category winners

Overall winner – Ford Focus 1.6 105 Zetec 5dr ’11/11
City car – Hyundai i10 1.2 Comfort ’10/10
Coupé – Volkswagen Scirocco 1.4 TSI 160 ’09/09
Estate car – Ford Mondeo Estate 2.0 TDCi 140 Zetec ’10/10
Executive car – Lexus IS220d SE ’10/10
Family car – Ford Focus 1.6 105 Zetec 5dr ’11/11
Fun car – Mazda MX-5 2.0 Sport ’09/09
Large SUV – Volvo XC90 2.4 D5 SE Lux ’10/60
Luxury car – Jaguar XJ 3.0D V6 Luxury ’11/11
MPV – Citroën Grand C4 Picasso 1.6 HDi VTR+ ’10/10
Open-top car – BMW 3 Series Convertible 320d SE ’09/09
Small car – Ford Fiesta 1.25 Zetec 5dr ’09/09
Small SUV – Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dCi Acenta ’10/10

Always a tough choice, by all means tell us if you think there’s a make or a model missing here…

NB: No Toyota, Honda, Vauxhall, Audi or Mercedes-Benz?

And if you’d like to know which cars other women rate, here are FOXY’s car reviews written by and for women drivers.

Ford inspires and rewards female engineering talent

Last month’s Perkins Review, published earlier this month, revealed that the UK has the lowest proportion of women engineering professionals in Europe, at under 10 per cent. And bearing in mind that young UK females are outperforming males at GCSE level in STEM subjects it’s clear that between school and career there is a female disconnect and UK engineering businesses could be missing out on half in not more of the most capable talent with a view to the future.

This is something that Ford recognised and started to tackle back in 2011 as part of their Blue Oval sponsorship programme, awarding 100 undergraduate students scholarships of £10,000 each, paid over a three year period. Of the initial 2012 group, 25 per cent were female scholars, and Ford is now supporting a targeted rise in female participation to 50 per cent as well as committing to a further 10 Blue Oval Scholarships a year in the longer term.


Taken in front of the Houses of Parliament after a meeting about this, the photo is of Barb Samardzich (centre), Ford of Europe Chief Operating Officer, current Blue Oval Scholar, Sophie Vanderspar (right), Mechanical Engineering Undergraduate at University of Southampton, and former Ford Craft Apprentice, Lauren Robinson (left), who is now a full-time Ford employee.

Keen supporter Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “Engineering has a vital role to play in the future of British industry. But with just one in ten engineers being women, we are only tapping into a fraction of the talent available. During Engineering Week earlier this month, we announced £49 million of new money to address skills shortages in engineering. Working with companies like Ford who have a great record in the recruitment and long-term retention of women, we can inspire young women to consider a career in this growing industry and ensure they are properly represented in the workforce.”

This programme is jointly funded by Ford’s corporate foundation, the Ford Motor Company Fund and fits within Ford’s global initiative called “Operation Better World” creating measurable outcomes to do with education (focusing on STEM subjects), car safety, community needs and sustainability.

To find out more about Ford’s Blue Oval Scholarships visit http://www.ford.co.uk/experience-ford/AboutFord/Scholarships

Company car features for women

Sophie Business 1People who know about cars and their value include Parkers who publish a leading UK car buying guide. So if they say Ford cars offer the top-10 ‘must-have’ features for a new company car, we’re sure FOXY ladies will want to take note.

The new Ford Focus Titanium Navigator, for example, comes with five of the 10 options fitted as standard, and is available to order now with the ‘International Engine of the Year’-winning 1.0-litre EcoBoost.

With all 10 options selected and at an all-in, 40% benefit-in-kind payment of £83.37 per month – the Ford Focus certainly seems to offer a lot for a company car driver.


Parkers’ suggested TOP TEN company car essentials are:

1          Keyless entry and start
2          Bluetooth
3          Satellite navigation
4          Digital in-car audio (DAB)
5          Cruise control
6          Lane departure warning
7          Blind spot warning
8          Park assistance (Active Park Assist)

9          Emergency city braking (Active City Stop)
10        Climate control

Satellite navigation is offered on a variety of Ford cars as standard, including the new Ford Mondeo Business Editions and Ford Kuga Titanium X Sport, while Bluetooth connectivity is available across the entire Ford range and is standard on Kuga, Mondeo, S-MAX and Galaxy models.


Digital in-car audio (DAB) is standard on the majority of Ford vehicles.

Other company car essentials identified by Parkers are lane-departure and blind-spot warnings, both of which are available on the options list for Focus, C-MAX, Kuga, Mondeo, S-MAX and Galaxy models.

Also listed is emergency city braking – and Ford’s Active City Stop is widely available across the Ford range, including the award-winning Ford Fiesta.

Ford’s Active Park Assist removes the stress of parking in tight parallel spaces, keyless entry is also available on a number of Ford models, including the Kuga.

Certain models also offer the Hands-free Power tailgate which means you can easily open a car boot remotely, when carrying boxes of promotional materials or overnight bags, for example.

FOXY reviews the new Ford Fiesta

A FOXY Lady Car Review by Jill Woolf


I love driving, I like cars and I write for a living so when I was offered the chance to do some new car reviews for FOXY Lady Drivers Club, I jumped at the chance.

What could be better than sampling the latest models, designs, shapes and colours the motoring world has to offer?

And after reading up about the new Eco-Boost 1.0l Fiesta that’s so economic to run but without sacrificing engine power, I was keen to find out more. Just don’t ask me how Ford manages to do this but my test drive convinced me I was driving a car with a really powerful engine despite my preconceptions based on the engine size.

But, dear reader, please don’t expect any more than this from me about the internal workings of the engine or those complex on-board computers. Despite being fairly street-savvy, I am still one of those women who benefit from FOXY’s Women in the Driving Seat evenings where the garage or dealer shows you what’s actually under the bonnet and what to do with it!

But how times have moved on for Ford since my first car, a Ford Escort, and the many unhappy hours I seemed to spend in repair shops after silly prangs, where the proprietors seemed to take delight in patronising me. Let’s face it I was young, naive and totally inexperienced at the time. FOXY Lady Drivers Club’s female friendly advice wasn’t even a glint in Steph’s eye back then.

Good looks

Ford_Fiesta_Redesigned_Grill_and_Headlights (1)So you can imagine my surprise and delight when I collected my new Fiesta 1.0 Eco-Boost Fiesta from Birchwood Ford in Eastbourne and saw how much Ford has improved the exterior design, making this particular model look very sporty and jazzy.

The car I drove was in shiny metallic Panther Black (grrr…), which also helped!

The front grille, alloy wheels and almost coupé-like side and rear view make this new Fiesta a really good-looking super-mini; one to be proud to be seen in.

Value for money

This being a FOXY review, it’s important to look at the finances of course. I was particularly impressed by the Eco-Boost Fiesta’s fuel economy recording an average 65.7 mpg as well as a free VED (road tax) bill because of its remarkably low C02 emissions. The mpg ratings are affected by the Stop Start feature which means the car isn’t using fuel when you’re sitting at traffic lights or in a traffic jam yet the moment you touch the throttle it powers up immediately.

These are all important considerations in today’s economy when looking at the cost of running cars, not just the cost of buying one. I’d also add the reassurance that comes with buying a trusted Ford, as illustrated in the Reliability Index (see below), knowing that low running costs will add to your car’s resale value when the time comes to buy the next new one.

Driving performance

fiesta_jill_zoe_1332This gem of a car drives beautifully too. The latest in engine technology means it happily and economically purrs along and the Eco-Boost model slips effortlessly into gear to overtake or meet the challenges of a hill, even with a full load of passengers when we visited the ETC exhibition in Brighton.

It really is a delightful ride; the chunky leather sporty steering wheel feels fantastic and the front bucket seats have electric heating, meaning you just don’t want to get out of it on a cold day.

This car handles brilliantly and corners masterfully.

The practicalities

The modern, updated dashboard not only looks good but is actually easy to use once it’s explained. The friendly sales executive at Birchwood went through every button and widget with me (what a contrast to customer service levels I remembered of old) and I found the Bluetooth connection with my mobile phone easy to operate.

The car comes with parking sensors and a rear view camera (always useful), crystal-clear-sounding radio and CD player, power automatically retractable side mirrors (a boon if you have a narrow garage or when you park on a busy street), a mirror which dims when there’s a car with headlights on behind, heated front windscreen, rain sensor lights and a great black leather interior.

There is a full size spare tyre, not one of those slim-line versions, and the tools for dealing with a puncture are all neatly stored under the tyre.

If I had to find faults, I’d say that for an average height person it’s a little short on legroom in the back, the glove compartment could be bigger, the boot didn’t have the storage bins I’m used to and there’s nowhere easily accessible or safe to store a large handbag! Having said that, the back seats are easy to fold down for extra shopping space, to carry a baby buggy or wheelchair, perhaps.

Ford Emergency Assistance is included for my peace of mind and I should add that the older Fiesta came out No 1 out of 100 in the Reliability Index which augurs well in terms of running and servicing costs in future.

I really enjoyed test driving the Fiesta Eco-Boost but it’s flagged something up I wasn’t expecting – a simmering desire to buy a brand new car.

Watch this space for more reviews as I go through my car buying homework with you in the near future.

Jill Woolf


Model: Ford Fiesta 1.0 Eco-boost 125 PS Stop Start 5 door.
RRP: The new Fiesta range starts from £9795. The EcoBoost model we drove costs £17045 plus £495 for the Panther Black metallic paint.
Buying discounts: See Ford’s website http://www.ford.co.uk/Cars/CarPromotions/Overview. Offers subject to availability and terms.
Fuel economy: MPG is Urban 53.3, Extra Urban 76.4 and Combined 65.7mpg.
Insurance group: 16E.
Road tax/VED: Nil
Safety: 5 Star Euro NCap rating (2012) incorporating Adult, Child, Pedestrian and Safety Assist tests.
Reliability: Number One in the Top 100 cars chart in the Reliability Index.
Environmental C02 rating: 99gsm.

NB: FOXY is expressing personal views and opinions here. Please read this as part of your own car buying homework and test drive experience related to your family needs and expectations.

Community car care for Over 65s

It’s been a hard slog for all us motorists since 2008 and whilst the news is that the recession COULD be over nobody is feeling convinced or confident yet.

So a business that continues to give something back to help local motorists run safer cars in the community for less money is well worth a pat on the back in FOXY’s book.

Especially when the business is a member of the FOXY Choice approved female friendly garage network in Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire. We’re talking about Roy Chapman Ltd and their latest offer is for locals over 65; for Ford professionals to check their car’s lights, oil and coolant levels.

They’re also promising a wash and vacuum for the car as well, completely free of charge.

The point is to make sure their cars are roadworthy, recognising that many motorists are cutting back on maintenance and servicing for financial reasons.

Roy Chapman’s free car care offer includes the following checks:

Tyre condition and pressures, including tyre pressure adjustments where needed
Brake fluid level including top up if required
Full lights check
Battery condition including battery test
Engine oil levels including top up (up to 1 litre)
Coolant level and strength including top up
Operation of air conditioning
Windscreen wiper condition and operation
Windscreen washer operation including top up
Visual inspection of brake pads and discs (where possible)
Visual body inspection
Car clean consisting of an exterior wash and interior vacuum

Aftersales Director Jeremy Chapman explains “We wanted to remind everyone about our free offer for over 65’s, especially as winter approaches. Colder weather and icy conditions means a healthy vehicle is absolutely essential to avoid literally getting ‘caught out in the cold’.”

And a poorly maintained car can be dangerous so this is a really caring car initiative to identify any safety issues before they become more serious or unnecessarily expensive. An all round good thing and a sign of a genuinely caring business that is getting service levels right for women and their cars.