- Drives fantastically
- Great engine choices
- ST model is fast
- Busy interior
- ST model expensive
- Relatively small boot
The world’s best-selling car provides fun family motoring for the masses
The Focus is, in many ways, the flagship Ford offer these days. Since its introduction in 1998, it’s earned its place at the top of the company’s pecking order by delivering astonishing sales figures. It may be mainstream, but it sells well for a very good reason. In terms of offering an affordable, yet refined, all-round package there are very few out there that can compete with the Focus.
Recently updated with slight changes, the exterior has been upgraded to bring an added touch of class to this already complete package. This includes the addition of the Aston Martinesque front grill and new headlights, giving the Focus an all-round more sophisticated aesthetic appeal.
A high-quality and spacious interior, but falling just short of its rivals
In the Cabin
If the Focus were to have a weakness, it’d probably be once you step into the cabin. Ok, so these aren’t serious issues, more like slight detractors in the face of ever stiffer competition, namely from the VW Golf.
The dashboard, again recently updated, takes style cues from the smaller Fiesta, but almost verges on being a little bit busy at times. The plastics, although soft-touch and of a very high quality, still somehow lack the immediate high-end feel of the Golf or other offers in the VW range. It must be said, the overall feel of the interior is still of a very high standard, with cultured touches, such as blue-lit instruments, giving the space a cool, contemporary feel.
The boot, despite being big enough to provide ample room for traditional family needs, such as the weekly big shop, the holiday drive or PE day at school, is still a fair bit smaller than rivals such as the Citroen C4, Peugeot 308 or Honda Civic. In fact, at 316 litres, it’s only 17 litres larger than the Fiesta. However, this is somewhat made up for by Ford’s innovative cabin storage solutions, which mean you’ve got plenty of room to stow away those bits and bobs.
What can’t be sneered at with the Focus, however, is the extras you get even with the standard trim. Regardless of the model you opt for, you’ll at least get Bluetooth connectivity, 6 speakers, a central colour display and air conditioning. For more luxurious trim-levels, such as the Zetec, Titanium and Titanium X you’re getting much more besides.
When all’s said and done, the inside of the Focus is excellent, with a spacious feel, great equipment levels and classy to-the-touch materials. It just slightly falls behind some of its (more expensive) rivals in certain key areas.
With class-leading handling, there’s no beating the Focus out on the road
When you’re out and about, with an A road stretching before you, this is when the key benefit of the Focus comes to the fore. It has been, and seems always will be, great to drive. It has more flare than the Vauxhall Astra and feels much more responsive, more nimble than the VW Golf.
Suspension and Chassis
So, how do Ford manage this? It all starts with the fantastic chassis. The Focus, like many other models in Ford’s range, uses the company’s Global-C platform. This exceptionally engineered chassis offers rigidity and flexibility in equal measure, at the perfect time. This, combined with seriously impressive suspension, means that Ford manages to balance exquisitely the inherent trade-off between responsiveness in the corners and the comfort that you’d expect from a family car.
Regardless of the engine you decide on, you’re also going to get a pretty special gear box, whether it’s the 5-speed for petrols, the 6-speed for diesels or the twin-clutch automatics. The automatic may not have the refined technology that goes into the cars of more expensive German rivals, but it does nothing to dissuade you from the Focus’ driving pleasure.
A huge range of great engines, perfect regardless of your requirements
When it comes to how you want to power your Focus, you’ve got three choices. Petrol, diesel or electric. Although it must be said, the electric Focus, in line with most other mainstream electric offers, still falls well behind the value or performance of the more traditional fossil-fuel options.
If you’re all about performance, there are two obvious choices - the Focus ST, with its 271bhp engine, that can hit 60mph in just 5.7 seconds. Or, if you want something that gives you all the performance you could ever want, without the juvenile flashiness, the 1.5T ECOBoost 182ps does 0-60 in 8.6 seconds and kicks on to 138mph. That’s got to be enough in anyone’s book.
If you’re more about saving the planet or saving your cash, there are two stand-out performers. For those green-minded drivers, the Style ECOnetic 1.5 TDCi (diesel) is so nice to the planet you avoid road tax altogether. What’s more, it provides an economical 83mpg and has surprisingly impressive performance figures of 0-60 in 11.9 seconds, while topping out at 116mph. For the penny pinchers, the 1.6 TI-VCT 85ps (petrol) provides a solid base option, providing up to 48mpg, 0-60 in 14.9 seconds and a top speed of 106mph.
It must be said, whichever Focus you decide to buy, all of the engines have been designed to deliver a great balance between performance, economy and eco-credentials. You don’t have to spend hours trying to find a specific option, unless you’re going for a high-performance model.
Full marks in its NCAP safety tests and a great array of features as standard
Like many of its competitors, the Focus easily achieved the highest possible 5-star NCAP rating. Although it must be said, its score did fall short of key rivals, such as the Vauxhall Astra and the VW Golf. Even so, as standard, the Focus is fitted with 7 airbags, positioned around the cabin for maximum coverage. It also features electronic stability control, ensuring that you’re not going to spin off the road if you’re pushing the car hard on a slippery surface.
Additionally, there are countless safety features that Ford has added to the list of optional extras. These include: Ford SYNC2 - the in-cabin computer system that’s programmed to call the emergency services in the event of an accident, lane assist to help avoid motorway accidents, dynamic cruise control and Ford City Stop - a system that slams on emergency brakes should you lose concentration around town.
Low running costs, so long as you avoid the new car cost of depreciation
The Focus represents great all-round value for money. Obviously, the monthly outlay completely varies car-to-car. However, road tax remains low with many of the options due relatively low CO2 emissions. Strides have also been made in terms of fuel consumption - no model in the focus range falls below 40mpg.
Insurance groups, again, vary completely depending on the model you choose. Starting at insurance group 7 for the entry level models (such as the 1.6 Studio), but continuing all the way up to insurance group 36, if you fall for the boy-racer geared garishness of the Focus ST. Generally speaking, regardless of the option you choose, it’s likely that it costs similar to more or less any other car in this class.
Depreciation is a large factor with the Focus, but is mainly of concern if you’re buying a new one. First-year depreciation is a big consideration with any model, but particularly one that fits in the more mainstream end of the market, such as the Focus. With first year depreciation as high as 40%, you’re better off opting for an inspected used equivalent.
The Focus is a global smash hit for an obvious reason. It’s the epitome of classy, mainstream family motoring where every detail has been considered. Expect the Focus to remain the supreme choice for some time to come.Joe Newman
Buying a used Ford Focus online with Carspring
If you’re after a used Ford Focus for sale, it can all feel like a bit of an ordeal. What, with long days spent around gigantic car supermarkets, or time spent trawling through classified websites, looking for that ideal used Ford Focus. Carspring makes it simple. Buy your next used Ford Focus online with the touch of a button. Simply decide on the model you want and choose how you want to pay.
Looking to finance your used Ford Focus? Not a problem, we work with our carefully selected finance partners to ensure that, if you’re paying monthly for your used Focus, you know you’re getting the best rates. What’s more, with any Carspring used Ford Focus, you also get our 14-day money-back guarantee and 6 months’ free Carspring Warranty. Plus, you don’t have to leave your home. We’ll deliver your used Ford to you at a time and place of your choice.
*This is an approximate figure based on the range of the car’s list price and the AA’s average 1st-year depreciation cost of 40%.