How can I make my Ford Focus more secure?

Reader is concerned about the vulnerability of the keyless entry system on his Focus ST - how can he make it more theft-proof?...

2014 Ford Focus ST priced from 22,195

I own a 2016 Ford Focus ST3 and have been concerned with the security – or lack of it – with the keyless entry system.

Soon after my car was built, Ford introduced a modification to the screen settings that enabled the driver to switch the keyless system on or off. It’s in the Vehicle Settings menu and is called Keyfree. It’s also recently introduced a new key fob with motion sensor technology that puts it to sleep when it’s not being used. 

So I thought I’d investigate getting some of this new security kit on my car. I found a notice on the Ford Etis servicing information website stating that a Ford dealer should be able to disable my car’s keyless entry system on my car. However, when I contacted my local dealer they didn’t know anything about this. Can you tell me if it’s possible for the keyless system on my car to be turned off?  

The dealer didn’t know anything about the new key fobs either; do you know when this will be introduced and how much the replacement keys will cost? 

Rick Hall

What Car? says…

Ford is one of a number of car makers that has tried to combat keyless car theft, which criminals perpetrate using a relay device to grab the signal emitted by a keyless fob and send it to another device next to the car to unlock the doors. The same technology can be used to start the car’s engine.  

Ford added the facility for owners to disable the Fiesta's keyless entry system in 2016, and the Focus from the 2017 model onwards – unfortunately just after your car was built. We asked Ford if it is possible for a dealer to disable the keyless system on your car too, and it declined to comment.  

Ford Fiesta key

Its other new security measure – the sleeping key fob – should be an option for you when it reaches your local dealership. The new fob was introduced on new Fiestas from April 2019 and new Focus models from May. The key has a sensor inside that detects when it hasn’t moved for more than 40 seconds and disables the transmitter so its code cannot be detected. 

The car maker says these keys will also be available as an aftermarket item for owners of older cars. The cost will be £65 per key for a Fiesta and £72 for a Focus. Ford told us the keys should be available at dealerships from May, but it appears to be taking longer for some dealers to get them.   

Best hot hatches 2019 (and the ones to avoid)

A hot hatchback needs to excel in several areas if it's to be the crowned the cream of the crop.

First, it must be able to get your pulse racing on a twisty back road; if it can’t get you from corner to corner without the edges of your mouth turning up, it has fallen at the first hurdle. So, handling prowess and power delivery are key here.

Ride quality is also important. Firm suspension is inevitable on something so sporty, but it must still be able to deal with the worst that British roads can throw at it.

And hot hatches are likely to be used every day of the week, so they need to possess a practical, comfortable interior and have reasonable running costs.

Below we count down our current top 10 – and reveal the models to avoid. And don't forget, if you're interested in buying any of these cars, our New Car Buying service could potentially save you thousands.

10. Suzuki Swift Sport

New Suzuki Swift Sport vs Volkswagen Up GTI

The latest version of the Swift Sport isn't the steal that its predecessors were, but it's well equipped, cheap to run and fun to drive at sensible speeds. If you're looking for an entry-level hot hatch, it deserves a place on your shortlist.

Read our full Suzuki Swift Sport review or see how much we could save you on a Swift Sport

9. Peugeot 208 GTi

Peugeot 208 GTi

Few manufacturers have as much hot hatch pedigree as Peugeot, but unlike the iconic 205 GTi whose styling it apes, the 208 GTi relies on straight-line performance for its thrills rather than having particularly agile handling. You also get a high quality interior, but have to put up with a lot of wind and road noise.

Read our full Peugeot 208 GTi review or see how much we could save you on a 208 GTi

8. Volkswagen Golf R

Used Volkswagen Golf R 2016-present

The potent Volkswagen Golf GTI features further up this list, but if you want even more performance, then it's worth considering the Golf R. True, it's not as much fun as the very best rivals, but standard four-wheel drive gives it all-weather ability and few hot hatches are as easy to live with.

Read our full Volkswagen Golf R review or see how much we could save you on a Golf R

Next: more of our favourite hot hatchbacks >

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