What Car? Used Car of the Year - Small family car

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  • UK's best used cars
  • Nine categories covered
  • The full results here
Ford Focus 1.6 Zetec Climate (113) 5dr
Year '06/06
Price £6400

It's no fluke that the Focus keeps winning this category.

Its combination of performance, handing, comfort and reliability makes it a sure-fire hit in the small family car segment.

The Focus has sold phenomenally well since its launch in 2004, so there are lots on the used market. You may not like its common-or-garden image, but it's the car's availability that keeps prices down and ensures that car supermarkets and dealers compete to offer the best deals. You could spend more on a rival and get an inferior car.

The Focus was face-lifted in late 2007, but our judges still prefer the pre-face-lift version with the 113bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine, rather than the newer 99bhp 1.6-litre model. The extra power means it's far more entertaining to drive, and it's also slightly more fuel efficient.

Judge's view
Name James Gibson
Job Branch manager, British Car Auctions, Blackbushe
Verdict:'The Focus still drives better than anything in the class, and has good accommodation for the family and their luggage. It's good all-round value with sensible running costs.'
It's hard to tell the difference between the two just by looking, so make sure you ask the seller.

The Focus is extremely practical, too. There's good head- and legroom in the front and back, and room for five people. The boot is a generous size and easy to load; fold down the rear seats and you can move masses of stuff.

Of all the trims, Zetec Climate is the safest bet. Sports suspension, air-con, alloys, remote central locking and a heated windscreen are all standard.

Running costs are pleasing, with good fuel economy and reasonable insurance costs. The Focus also has a fine reputation for reliability, while servicing at a franchised dealer or an independent is usually good value.

Buyer's Guide
Power: 113bhp Fuel Economy: 44mpg (average) 0-60mph/Max: 11.0sec/114mph Insurance: Group 6 CO2 emissions: 155g/km Road tax:£150 a year euro NCAP Rating: 5 stars Reliability Rating: 4 stars Service Intervals: 12,000 miles

Toyota Corolla 1.6 T3 5dr
Year '02/52
Price £4100
The Corolla is the cheapest option here, but you're not sacrificing reliability with this solid hatchback.
Kia Cee'd 1.6 LS
Year '07/56
Price £8000
The Cee'd is a great small family car that's still covered by the manufacturer's own warranty.
Volkswagen Golf 1.6 FSI SE/Match 5dr
Year '06/06
Price £8000
Golfs are dearer than rivals, but worth the money because they're refined, good to drive and reliable.
Honda Civic 2.2 i-CTDi ES 5dr
Year '06/06
Price £9000
A good reliability record and a smooth diesel engine make
the Civic a sensible choice.

What Car? Used Car of the Year - Family car


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