Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
We’ve still to try the entry-level 1.0-litre petrol engine, which produces 84bhp and is badged Ecoboost 85. The signs aren’t encouraging, though; even the 99bhp 1.0-litre (Ecoboost 100) is rather slow in the hatchback Focus, let alone the heavier estate.
Instead, we recommend at least the 123bhp 1.0-litre (Ecoboost 125). Okay, it isn’t frisky enough to wake up your adrenal glands but, as long as you don’t let the revs fall much below 2000rpm, it responds eagerly enough whenever you put your foot down. However, if you regularly carry lots of people or simply want more oomph, then for the Focus Estate the stronger 1.5 Ecoboost 150 is our pick of the range.
There are also sportier ST-Line and ST-Line X trims that have a lower, stiffer set-up. While neither are boneshakers, you do notice their greater firmness over potholes and corrugated surfaces, especially in the ST-Line X with its bigger 18in wheels.
The Active and Active X wannabe-SUV versions get a raised ride height and chunkier tyres, but those hoping for extra comfort may be disappointed; their overall ride isn’t massively smoother, still showing a tendency to pick up on surface imperfections. We haven’t yet tried the adaptive dampers, but our impression of the standard car is that it's good enough to probably render this fairly pricey option unnecessary.