If you own a lightweight caravan and don’t need a large car, stop reading in another 200 words or so. Chances are this is the tow car for you. Driven solo, the steering is precise and full of feel, and corners can be tackled with gusto.
The Focus displays the same qualities when towing. While most smaller cars were found wanting in the lane-change test, this Ford put in a near-perfect performance, changing direction quickly and holding its line. The G-force reading from the ATC unit in the van showed a maximum load of 0.7. Other outfits in this class were closer to 0.8 as cars struggled to pull the caravan neatly behind it.
Straights were tackled with as much verve as corners. The 2.0-litre engine is the most powerful diesel in the Focus line-up, putting out 133bhp and 236lb ft of torque. This muscle is common in cars a couple of weight divisions up, but it gives the Focus bragging rights in the lightest class. It towed from 30-60mph in 16.1 seconds: more than 10 seconds quicker than last year’s favourite small tow car, the Volkswagen Golf.
The Focus is quieter and more refined than the Golf, too. Under hard acceleration the Ford engine sounds less gruff and settles into the background at a steady cruise.
However, the clutch had to be slipped to tackle our 1-in-6 slope, and we couldn’t fit our complete load of luggage in the boot. Nonetheless, we’ve no hesitation in recommending the Focus as the best small tow car you can buy.