After the news that many potential new car owners will be sceptical about buying a ’13’ plate next year due to triskaidekaphobia, many may turn to the used car market for their next vehicle purchase. So, today, we’re looking at two possible purchases from the used car market that will appeal to a wide range of drivers: the Renault Clio Sport and the Ford Focus ST.
Both cars are around the same price bracket and deliver similar performance. They are also both hatchbacks with reasonable boot space and enough room inside to fit a family. If fuel economy is your thing, then the comparison may as well end now as the Clio is the more economical of the two thanks to its smaller 2.0 litre engine as opposed to the 2.5 litre in the Focus.
However, the Focus does achieve a higher top speed of around the 150mph mark while the Clio will be capable of nudging the 140mph mark, yet, in terms of acceleration, both are very evenly matched with 0-60mph times in the mid to high 6 second region. The reason the Clio achieves similar performance to the Focus is simply because it is the lighter of the two, again contributing to better fuel economy.
So far on paper the Clio does seem to offer better value, not only saving money on those costly fuel bills, but on essentials like a motor insurance quote due to it being classed as a group 15 car whilst the Focus is a group 17 car and in terms of vehicle tax also.
There are however some substantial differences between the two. The first really has to be the torque figures. The Clio delivers 159lb ft, whilst the Focus monsters that with 236lb ft. Again this is simply due to the Focus having a bigger engine.
Due to the greater amount of torque, the Focus will certainly be the more comfortable cruiser of the two, if motorway driving is essential to your everyday commute, for example. The Focus will gather pace more quickly through the gear range whilst the Clio will require more work behind the wheel, which is absolutely fine if that’s what you’re after.
The second substantial difference is the way they look. With the two cars sitting side by side, there’s only one winner for me: the Clio. The Focus ST is quite a brutish looking thing, and whilst it’s not ugly, it’s certainly not pretty, whereas the Clio is a very good looking car and probably the best of the sporty hatchbacks.
The brand new models seem to have reversed in this respect however with the new Clio having had a facelift it didn’t need and the new Focus having been redesigned making it a fantastic looking car.
What would you choose from the old models? Clio or Focus, or perhaps something else entirely? Shall we throw the Corsa VXR in the mix too…?