Ford has made a clean sweep of this year’s What Car? Used Car of the Year awards - including the much-coveted top accolade of Best Used Car of the Year.

Beating rivals such as the Mazda6 and Vauxhall Vectra to pole position as Best Used Car of 2006, the Ford Focus, described by the judges as “all the car that most buyers will ever need”, was positively "raved over" for its looks, dynamic flawless reliability record and plentiful supply. They commented: “You don’t need to buy one of the more expensive sports or diesel models to be in for a treat”, and picked the 1.6 Zetec five-door (£5,750 for a fine 2003 03-reg example) as the “belting” best-seller.

The Focus also won the Best Used Small Family Car Award, against opposition from the Toyota Corolla, Citroen C4, Renault Megane and Vauxhall Astra. What Car? says of it: “It’s a sporty steer, with a delicious balance between absorbent ride and enjoyable handling”, and describes the original Focus as “the model that kicked the rule book into touch”.

The Best Used Family Car 2006 trophy was rightly taken by the Ford Mondeo, which beat the runner-up Audi A4 for its combination of “pin-sharp dynamics”, plush ride, family space and sheer good value. The 1.8 Zetec five-door proved to be the judges’ favourite, a perfect 2003 03-reg example valuing-in at just £6,395.

Finally, Ford’s Fiesta has shown its supermini rivals how best to appeal in the sector. What Car? says: “It appeals to young and old alike, and is one of the best superminis to drive, with sharp steering and the sort of chassis that wouldn’t feel out of place in a hot hatch”. And it’s so dependable that Warranty Direct claims it is one of the most reliable superminis. The judges’ choice of 1.4 Zetec three-door is valued at £4,695 for a 2003 03-reg model.

Ford is once again justly reaping the fruit of designing cars that blend style, practicality, durability and driving prowess in equal measures.

Published : 04/10/06 Author : Melanie Carter

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