The 99bhp 1.0 Ecoboost is ideal around town, with smooth and decently strong acceleration from low revs. We’d go for the 123bhp version if you regularly drive on the motorway, though. The turbocharged 1.6 petrols are quick but pricey. The cheapest diesel models have 1.6-litre engines, with the 113bhp version giving a good blend of pace and price. The two 2.0-litre diesel models perform very well, but the 161bhp version is too dear to recommend.
Ford has a real knack for producing sweet-handling cars, and the Focus continues this trend. Strong grip and solid body control make it feel wonderfully agile in bends, while the super-accurate steering weights up progressively the faster you go. The ride is pretty good, too, although, it isn’t as smooth as a VW Golf’s.
When you just want to sit back and enjoy the journey, the excellent isolation of road and wind noise means the Focus is an accomplished high-mileage tourer. The petrol engines are quiet, although the diesels can be noisy. Strong, progressive brakes and an accurate gearshift help make the Focus easy to drive.
CO2 emissions are very competitive, so the Focus – and the 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel in particular – is a popular choice with company car drivers. However, weak resale values make it less tempting as a private buy. By and large, Ford’s engines don’t perform as well as most rivals’ in our True MPG tests, either.
The Focus’s dashboard has an appealingly funky design and an expensive-looking soft-touch covering. However, the plastics on the centre fascia and central partition are harder and cheaper looking. By the time you reach the footwells or boot, the plastics look downright budget. In the latest JD Power survey, the previous Focus was rated as below average for reliability.
The Focus is stuffed with airbags, and every model comes with electronic stability control. There’s also ‘torque vectoring’, which uses the ESP and brakes to distribute drive to the front wheel with the most traction, making the Focus feel supremely agile yet stable. The car also achieved a maximum five-star crash test rating from Euro NCAP. All but entry-level models have an alarm.
The Focus's driving position is spot-on, thanks to well laid out pedals and a wide range of seat and steering wheel adjustment. Unfortunately, over-the-shoulder vision is limited and the dashboard features too many fiddly, confusingly arranged buttons.
The cabin isn't quite as spacious as a VW Golf’s, but there’s still comfortably enough space for four. However, the boot is a bit pokey compared with some rivals', and if you want to fold the rear seats flat, you'll need to flip up the seatbases first.
Air-conditioning is standard across the range, while going for Zetec trim gets you a DAB radio, Bluetooth and a heated windscreen. However, you may want to upgrade to well-equipped Titanium trim, thanks to the posher-looking stereo that gives the cabin a real lift. Range-topping Titanium X cars have loads of kit, including a self-parking system and heated front seats. Items such as blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control and lane-departure warning are available as options.
Order a brochure, find your nearest dealer or book a test drive
The Ford Focus 1.6 TDCi 115 Edge is a great car to drive, and has superb official figures for emissions and fuel economy. You might struggle to match the claimed 67mpg, but it should still be cheap to run.