The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
The driver's seat in the Focus is excellent. Both height and lumbar adjustment are standard across the range, with the Comfort seat (standard on the top trims and optional on cheaper ones) offering 18-way manual adjustment and an extendable seat squab.
There’s also loads of steering wheel rake and reach adjustment so it's easy to find a suitable posture, whatever your proportions. The alignment of the steering wheel, pedals and seat are nigh on perfect, too, and Zetec models and above have the luxury of a front centre armrest.
We love the uncluttered dashboard layout and orderly instruments. In fact, the instruments are so clear and easy to read that the optional head-up display seems an unnecessary expense.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
The view out of the Focus is generally good. The front pillars are no more obstructive to your forward visibility than in any other family estate, and the over-the-shoulder vision is fine out the rear side window and rear screen.
Parking sensors (front and rear) are a reasonably priced option on lower trims and standard on upper models. They also come as part of a Convenience Pack, which includes a rear-view camera and parking assist to help guide you into parking spaces.
LED headlights are optional on the upper trims and standard on the range-topping Vignale, which can be upgraded to adaptive LED headlights if you’re prepared to pay a fairly hefty premium. As well as being able to run on full beam even with oncoming traffic – by shaping the headlight beam to avoid dazzling other drivers – they use information from a camera to aim the beams into corners.
Sat nav and infotainment
The list of infotainment equipment you get with entry-level Style trim includes a DAB radio, Bluetooth and two USB ports. However, you have to make do with a 4.2in screen that looks pretty basic, so we’d recommend upgrading to a Zetec or ST-Line model.
These bring a 6.5in touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, allowing you to pair your phone and control selected functions, such as navigation apps, through the screen. It’s just a pity the system isn’t as quick to respond as those found in the Skoda Octavia and Volkswagen Golf estates.
Sadly, the same criticism can be levelled at the 8.0in system that’s standard from Titanium, Active X and ST-Line X models, although this does include everything from built-in sat-nav with live traffic updates to a wi-fi hotspot for up to 10 devices. It works quite well and is swift to respond and the menus are messily arranged in places. At least the regular six-speaker stereo sounds decent, while the optional B&O system with a subwoofer is a must for music lovers.
Let's start with the good bits. The Focus’s interior feels reasonably sturdy and all the upper surfaces are pleasingly soft to the touch, while every model from Zetec upwards gets a nice leather-wrapped gearknob and steering wheel.
There are some thoughtful touches, too, such as carpeted front door bins that stop your keys jangling about. Yet a Golf it certainly isn’t – or even an Octavia or Kia Ceed Sportswagon for that matter. The Focus has more harsh and shiny plastic in prominent places, such as those surrounding the heater controls which look positively Pound Shop.
More of an effort has been expended on the pricier versions, but no amount of faux chrome, wood or carbon-fibre highlights — nor the leather-wrapped dashboard of the top-spec Vignale — can imbue the Focus with anything like a genuinely upmarket ambience.