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What Car? says

4 out of 5 stars

For It's practical, roomy, and cheap to run

Against The ride is stiff at low speeds

Verdict A great estate at a great price

Go for… 1.6 16v LX

Avoid… 2.0 Titanium

Ford Focus Estate
  • 1. Tailgate hinges may let rain in, but Ford dealers should cure this at no cost
  • 2. Room in the back is generous, if not the very best in class
  • 3. Owners have reported engine software glitches, so watch out for poor starting and misfires
  • 4. Water can get into the wiper motor and cause it to overheat, but there was a recall to fix this - ensure the work has been done
  • 5. The 1.6-litre petrol engine is the best combination of price, power and economy
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Ford Focus Estate full review with expert trade views

A cracking load-carrier at prices you'll like, the Focus hatch may be the best of the range to drive, but the estate versions are not far behind.

Drivers will love the way it responds to the controls, particularly the steering, which lets you thread through bends and place the car just where you want it to be.

LX and Ghia models give a more comfortable ride than the sportier Zetec, Sport or Titanium, but they all jolt over the bumps in town. The engines are quiet, but too much road noise enters the cabin.

It's exceptionally comfortable for driver and passengers, too, and room in the back is generous, though not class-leading.

If you're watching the pennies, the Focus's reliability and cheap servicing will make you smile. But, think carefully about how old a car you buy. Most models have lost almost two-thirds of their value by their third birthday, so a nearly new car may not be such a bargain. But, if you look at it another way, a three-year-old Focus is great value.

Trade view

Kurtis Williams

Better build quality. Driving position is excellent and good spec across the range

Kurtis Williams
Buyer,
Lex Vehicle Leasing

The big range spans seven engines and six trim levels. The 1.6 diesel and petrols power most of the cars cars in the used market and, as you'd expect, they make the most sensible buys. However, the 108bhp version of the diesel is better in every way than the 89bhp engine.

The 1.8 and 2.0 diesel and 2.0 petrols that complete the line-up are all sound, but not really worth the extra you'll pay for them.

Every Focus is well equipped, but you should avoid the entry-level Studio model because it lacks the air-con, CD player and curtain airbags you'll find in other models.

Move up one step to the LX and Zetec and you'll find excellent specification at keen prices – the LX has more comfort comforts, while the Zetec has a few sporty add-ons.

Overall, we'd pick a 1.6 petrol in LX trim – which also happens to be the most widely available model.

Trade view

John Owen

Well built and good to drive. Wears well. Still too expensive - buy one if cost no object

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

Ford has a well-earned reputation for making its cars cheap to run and the Focus estate continues the good work.

Annual servicing is cheap and easy. What's more, any self-respecting garage should be able to tackle it with ease, so you needn't pay Ford-dealer rates.

The Focus is also renowned for its reliability and its happy ability to rack up huge mileages without needing major work. When parts eventually do need replacing, they usually cost less than most.

Insurance is cheap: most models are in groups 5, 6,or 7 and even the 2.0 petrol models are only in group 10. And, fuel economy is impressive, too: diesels manage up to 60mpg overall, while the most frugal petrol engine, the 113bhp 1.6, achieves up to 42mpg and even the 2.0 nears up to 40mpg day-to-day.

Early depreciation is high, but slows after the three-year mark, so do your sums carefully before buying a nearly new car.

Trade view

Kurtis Williams

Better build quality. Driving position is excellent and good spec across the range

Kurtis Williams
Buyer,
Lex Vehicle Leasing

The list of known faults is short, so far, but it does include tailgate hinges that may let rain in. However, Ford dealers should cure this at no cost.

Water can also get into the wiper motor and can cause it to overheat, but Ford has issued a recall notice and will fit a modified unit if need be.

Owners also report engine software glitches, causing poor starting and misfires, but this is another one that dealers should fix easily.

The What Car? Reliability Index not only shows just how seldom Focuses break down, it also proves just how cheap they are to fix. Average repair costs are half the average for that type of car.

As with any estate, check before buying that the load area is undamaged, because replacing trim can cost plenty.

Trade view

John Owen

Well built and good to drive. Wears well. Still too expensive - buy one if cost no object

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford
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