Used Ford Focus Estate 1998 - 2004 review

Category: Estate car

A well-rounded estate that's superb to drive

Used Ford Focus estate 1998-2004
  • Used Ford Focus estate 1998-2004
  • Used Ford Focus estate 1998-2004
Used Ford Focus Estate 1998 - 2004 review
Star rating

What's the used Ford Focus estate like?

The Focus Estate doesn't have the biggest of boots, but it is a very practical shape. Ford used clever independent multi-link rear suspension on this version of the Focus, which results in a loadbay free of the lumps and bumps that can eat into the luggage space of other small family estates.

You also won't have to cripple yourself hoisting stuff over the low sill, while the boot opening itself is reasonably wide.


A well-rounded estate that's superb to drive

  • The Focus is sturdy, reliable and fun to drive
  • Boot space may not be all you'd hoped for

The estate's suspension is tweaked compared with the hatch to cope with the added weight of loads in the back, but it's still brilliant fun whether the boot is empty or full. It's a comfortable car, too, so don't be frightened of driving that chest of drawers from Edinburgh to London.

The cabin is unchanged from the hatch, which means it's still one of the best we've seen. Stylish and incredibly well designed, it's easy to use, although the materials aren't exactly top notch.

Ownership cost

What used Ford Focus estate will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Ford Focus estate?

The TDCi diesels carried a hefty premium over petrols when new, but some of this will have been eroded by time. In general we think prices are perfectly acceptable.

Running costs will put a spring in your step, too. Those TDCi diesels have a combined fuel consumption figure of more than 50mpg, and insurance (group 6) is affordable, too.

The 1.6 and 1.8 petrols don't cost the earth, but make sure you've enough spare cash to fund the 2.0. You might be raiding your kid's piggy bank if you fancy the ST170.

Servicing costs won't make you scream, while repair bills are also relaxingly low, typically undercutting Vauxhall's by a quarter. Ford workshops don't charge super-silly prices for their labour, but find a good independent and you could save £30 every hour.

Our recommendations

Which used Ford Focus estate should I buy?

The entry-level 1.6 petrol serves the estate well, while the 1.8- and 2.0-litre models provide useful extra performance if your budget allows. Get the ST170 if you want something very fast.

The newer 99 or 113bhp TDCi diesels introduced in October 2001 are our pick, however. If you carry loads, you'll appreciate the added low-down pulling power they bring. They're well worth the extra over the sluggish old TDdi diesel models they replaced. In fact, these older models are bettered by any of the petrols.

Post-October 2001-face-lifted cars (with indicators in the headlights) offer more equipment than earlier models.

CL is still too sparse to consider, but Zetec is adequate. If you want to cool yourself, LX models had air-conditioning from spring 1999, while Ghias have extra treats.

Be aware that anti-lock brakes were only added as standard across the range from early in 2003.


What alternatives should I consider to a used Ford Focus estate?