The Ford Focus is the company's core family hatchback model. It has five doors (there’s no three-door alternative), and is available with a wide range of petrol and diesel engines and manual and automatic gearboxes.
It competes directly with rivals such as the Volkswagen Golf and Vauxhall Astra, and is renowned for being one of the best cars to drive in the class. It can be had in traditional hatchback form and as a more practical estate car, too.
Competition in this market couldn't be tougher – small family cars need to be practical, economical, cheap to buy and run and offer enough luxury and technology to keep drivers and passengers comfortable on longer trips. It's a tough order for any car maker, but Ford has plenty of experience here with cars like the Fiesta.
The Focus is also a very popular car, and is consistently one of the best-selling models in this country. Chances are that you know at least one person who has one, and that means there are plenty of examples on the used car market. Read our used car review of the Ford Focus here.
The Focus is competitive on most fronts, being good value for company or private buyers. True, it isn't the cheapest car in this class, and when it comes to selling you'll lose a fair chunk of its value, too, but it is a well-rounded package overall.
Just bear in mind that a Skoda Octavia will offer much more interior space and practicality, and the Golf will hold its value better and has a classier-feeling cabin. Also, be careful to pick the right engine and trim, because the cheapest Focus models can represent something of a false economy and won’t be as good to drive as those with more modern engines.
With that in mind, then, does the Focus deserve a place on your family car shopping list? And which version should you put your money against? Read on to find out.