The late Richard Parry-Jones probably did more for the collective happiness of British drivers than anybody else. The chief engineer who oversaw the original 1993 Mondeo and 1998 Focus, Parry-Jones turned around Ford’s reputation by making its cars brilliant to drive. Today, many of them still are.
In recent years, Ford’s high water mark has been the Fiesta ST. A livewire hot hatchback that passes Parry-Jones’ ‘50-metre test’ with flying colours, the ST is arguably the 21st century answer to a Peugeot 205 GTI. Sadly, Fiesta production ended in summer 2023, so we won’t see a successor.
In more bad news, Ford is shifting its product range towards SUVs. The Mondeo is no more and the electric Explorer is set to replace the Focus. After decades as Britain’s bread-and-butter brand, Ford is aiming for lower volumes and higher margins.
There’s plenty to be positive about, though. You can still buy the excellent Focus ST, the V8-engined Mustang lives on and the Ranger Raptor pickup is a different – but rather compelling – kind of performance car. The forthcoming Mustang Mach-E Rally draws on Ford’s off-road racing heritage, too. Whatever happens next, cars with the blue oval badge should continue to be fun.