Competitive, but not the cheapest private or company buy
Its CO2 emissions are competitive, so the Focus Estate – the 1.5-litre diesel model in particular – is a popular and good-value choice for company car drivers. Ford routinely offers good finance deals for private buyers, too. You’ll be able to haggle big savings off the list prices if you’re a cash buyer, but weak resale values mean that a Focus Estate could actually cost more over three years than rivals such as the VW Golf Estate.
The diesel Focus Estate should be economical – the hatchback version of the 1.5 TDCi 120 achieved 58.5mpg in our real-world True MPG economy tests, and the estate should get close to that. However, the 1.0-litre three-cylinder Ecoboost petrols struggle for economy in the real world, so don’t expect any more than 40mpg in everyday use.
Fixed-price servicing is available at reasonable cost, and can be split into monthly payments.
Ford Focus Estate equipment
Go for Zetec or higher to get good standard kit
Entry-level Style Focus Estates get the bare essentials, including electric front windows and door mirrors, and key multimedia functions such as a USB socket, Bluetooth and digital radio, but they miss out on alloy wheels. Zetec is our pick of the range because it offers the best mix of equipment and price. It adds niceties such as alloys and a heated windscreen to Style’s kit list, and it’ll hold its value better than the cheaper trim level, too.
Zetec S brings sportier looks and suspension, but is a big price jump up from standard Zetec. Titanium and Titanium X are even more expensive, to the point where you’ll be getting better value by going for Zetec and adding a few select options. You can add sat-nav, rear parking sensors and cruise control to Zetec and still spend less than Titanium costs, even though Titanium also doesn’t get navigation as standard.
Of the ST models, ST-2 is the best bet because it gets all the kit you could want, including climate control and automatic lights and wipers. All you’ll want to add is sat-nav and it’ll still be much cheaper than an ST-3.
Ford Focus Estate reliability
Slightly below average, and others offer longer standard warranty cover
The Focus achieved slightly below-average scores for reliability in our latest ownership survey. Faulty windscreen wipers, squeaky brakes and battery problems were among the most common complaints. Having said that, the Focus shouldn’t be particularly troublesome overall, and it has the advantage of cheap parts and Ford’s numerous local dealerships.
It’s a shame that it comes with a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty when Hyundai offers a five-year warranty and Kia offers seven years of cover, but you can extend the warranty to four years and 80,000 miles, or five years and 100,000 miles for a reasonable extra cost.
Ford Focus Estate safety & security
Seven airbags are standard
Every Focus Estate comes with stability control, hill-start assist (which stops the car from rolling backwards when pulling away on an incline) and seven airbags, including one for the driver’s knees. It also has a system that distributes the engine’s power to the front wheel with the most traction, helping to reduce any possible wheelspin through corners.
Blindspot monitoring is optional on most trims, while you can add adaptive cruise control and lane-departure warning systems to high-end versions. You’ll also have to pay extra for automatic emergency city braking on all but Titanium and Titanium X models. The Focus Estate gets four stars here because some rivals, including the VW Golf Estate, offer emergency city braking as standard on all models.
It should be safe in an accident, however. While the Focus Estate has not been crash tested by Euro NCAP, the hatchback version has. That got the maximum five stars overall in its 2012 test, with impressive scores of 92% for adult occupant protection, 82% for child occupant protection, and 72% for pedestrian protection; we’d expect this estate version to perform similarly well.
An engine immobiliser and an alarm are fitted to all Focus Estates. Security experts Thatcham rated the car as competitive within its class for security, awarding it five out of five for resisting being stolen, and four out of five for resisting being broken into.
This is the entry point of the Focus Estate range, and it’s not badly equipped. It’s available with the lower-powered engines, and you get air-con, a DAB digital radio, Bluetooth, a colour screen in the dashboard and an alarm. It has steel wheels, though; you need to step up to Zetec trim if you want alloys.
This efficiency-focused version gets its own 103bhp version of the 1.5-litre diesel engine and low-rolling-resistance tyres to help reduce CO2 emissions. Those eco-tricks aside, it has the same equipment as a regular Style edition.
Our pick Zetec
Our favourite Focus Estate trim level has a good amount of equipment for the money. It takes the Style kit list and adds alloy wheels, a heated windscreen that’s a boon in winter, front foglights, a front armrest and a more comfortable and supportive driver’s seat.
Adds sports styling touches to Zetec trim, including bigger alloy wheels, a bodykit, LED daytime running lights and gloss black exterior flourishes. The suspension is also firmer for even more agile handling. Zetec S costs a lot more than Zetec, though, yet it doesn’t offer a huge amount for the money; be sure you really value the sporting look before committing.
The Focus Estate starts to get plush with Titanium trim, which brings an 8.0in colour touchscreen that helps to declutter the dashboard. You’ll still have to pay to add sat-nav, but pretty much everything else you could want is included. Dual-zone climate control, rear parking sensors, automatic lights and wipers, cruise control, automatic emergency city braking and keyless engine starting are all present and correct, and help give the car a high-end feel.
This high-spec Focus Estate has 17in alloy wheels, an automatic parking system with rear-view camera, bi-xenon headlights, part-leather upholstery and heated front seats. It feels far more upmarket than entry-level versions, but it’s also expensive, so we’d advise against it. Spend your money on Titanium trim with the optional sat-nav system instead, or stick to Zetec if you’re more conscious of value for money.
ST versions are the sportiest Focus Estates, and entry-level ST-1 trim makes the car look great, with its 18in alloys and ST bodykit. It’s not that well equipped, though; it misses out on the 8.0in colour touchscreen that makes the dashboard look much clearer, and it gets basic air-conditioning that simply adjusts to be cooler or warmer rather than to a specific temperature, as with climate control. Like all Focus Estate ST models, it’s available only with the highest-powered petrol and diesel engines, and with a manual gearbox.
This is the best of the ST trim levels. It adds dual-zone climate control, part-leather seats, automatic lights and wipers, and a heated windscreen to the ST-1’s kit list. You’ll want to add sat-nav and rear parking sensors, and probably cruise control, but that still makes it cheaper than the pricey ST-3 version.
ST-3 is certainly well equipped: it gets an 8.0in touchscreen control system, full-leather upholstery, bi-xenon headlights, electrically adjustable front seats, rear parking sensors, cruise control and even a Recaro rear bench seat. It’s expensive, though, and you still have to pay to add sat-nav, so we’d give it a miss.