Ford Focus

The Essentials

  • Price from £13,995
  • What Car? says: 4 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 67.3mpg
  • What is it? The quintessential hatchback, the Ford Focus has loads going for it

Great

  • A superbly rounded family hatchback
  • Plenty of goodies thrown in without bumping up the prices
  • Safety kit is tech-tastic and should help keep your wheels on the road

Gripes

  • Basic models feel rather cheap and plasticky inside
  • Rival cars can offer slightly more space
  • The payoff for that fine handling is a slightly firm low-speed ride
  • Drive

    Still one of the best driving cars in this class

  • Inside

    We challenge anyone not to find a comfortable driving position

  • Safety

    High-tech electronic safety systems not only improve safety but make the Focus great to drive

  • Reliability

    The previous Focus model scraped an average score in reliability surveys

  • Space

    Comfortable for four adults, if not quite as spacious as a VW Golf. Boot is a good shape, if not quite as big as a Vauxhall Astra's

  • Standard and extras

    Respectable standard kit includes air-con and Bluetooth connectivity; shopaholics beware: there's an awesome options list

  • What's it like to drive?

    Part of what makes the Ford Focus so popular is the fact it's such a joy to drive. The suspension is a touch firm at low speeds, but never uncomfortable, and the car is superbly controlled around corners with pin-sharp steering and a slick gearshift. With a wide variety of engines to choose from there's something to suit all tastes and budgets. However, our pick is the 1.0-litre 125 Ecoboost, which is efficient, smooth and punchy. The range-topping 247bhp ST model is one of the best hot hatches around.
    Whichever version you go for, the Focus is quiet and refined enough for long-distance motorway trips.

  • What's it like inside?

    Anyone should feel comfortable inside thanks to the well-organised driving position. Opt for Titanium spec or above and the interior decor is as good to look at as it is easy to use. Just don't expect quite the feeling of quality you'd find in a VW Golf.
    There's plenty of room inside, whether you're off to lunch with the girls or taking the family out. The boot is a useful square shape but not quite as big as that in rivals such as the Vauxhall Astra. If you want to extend it the rear seat bases must be flipped forwards before the seat backs can be lowered.
    Edge models have the basics, but Zetec trim adds a Bluetooth hands-free phone system and iPod connectivity, a better stereo, and lumbar support adjustment for the driver's seat. Titanium adds treats such as cruise control, climate control, automatic lights and wipers.

  • How reliable is it?

    The Focus was awarded a below average score for mechanical reliability in the most recent JD Power Ownership Satisfaction Survey, with air-conditioning, heating, radio reception and braking issues all mentioned as common faults.
    However, every version is stuffed with airbags and comes with stability control as standard. The Focus was awarded 92% for adult safety and 82% for child protection when crash tested by Euro NCAP, which is worse than a Vauxhall Astra (95%/84%) and a VW Golf (97%/84%).

  • Should I buy one?

    The Focus is a popular company car thanks to its clean, frugal engines. As a result there are plenty about which will push down the amount of money you get when you sell, so make sure you negotiate a big discount from your dealer to soften the blow.