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.
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.'
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.