Costs & verdict
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2
The Focus is not the cheap offering it once was. Indeed, these days it's the Seat Leon, Skoda Octavia and Skoda Scala that are three of the obvious rivals to look at if value for money is your priority. Give or take, the Focus will cost you about the same as the Volkswagen Golf. That's as a cash buy; if you're buying on a PCP finance deal, the Focus's weaker resale values could make it costlier per month than the Golf and potentially a lot more than the Kia Ceed.
The Focus's Ecoboost three-cylinder petrol engines feature efficiency-enhancing cylinder deactivation, which shuts down one cylinder when you’re cruising gently. This helps the popular 123bhp 1.0 Ecoboost 125 to return just over 50mpg in official WLTP tests. But the mild hybrid engines are even better, with our favourite 1.0 Ecoboost Hybrid 125 averaging just over 56mpg. The mild hybrids are also very competitive for CO2 emissions compared with rivals. That said, for really low company car tax, you're still better off with a plug-in hybrid, such as the Leon e-Hybrid.
Equipment, options and extras
Zetec trim is the entry point and comes very well kitted out. That includes all the visibility and infotainment features we've covered already, plus 16in alloy wheels, power-folding door mirrors, air-con, cruise control, auto lights and a heated windscreen. ST-Line Edition is our favourite, though, mainly for how it drives, but also because you get 17in alloy wheels, keyless start and entry, auto wipers, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror and privacy glass. It also includes sportier styling.
Titanium Edition trim is not a bad alternative. It mirrors the ST-Line Edition trim in many respects, but loses the 17in alloys and privacy glass and instead gains climate control, ambient lighting and a heated steering wheel. We wouldn't go for any of the higher trims, particularly the wildly expensive Vignale trim, because the law of diminishing returns whittles away at the value they add.
The 2020 What Car? Reliability Survey reveals that Ford’s record in this department is average at best. The data – compiled from information supplied by you – placed the manufacturer 18th out of the 31 brands included – above Seat, Vauxhall and Volkswagen but well below Hyundai, Kia and Skoda. The current Focus outscored the Ford brand as a whole, though, because in the family car class it finished above rivals such as the Honda Civic and Vauxhall Astra but behind the Toyota Corolla.
If you should find yourself in need of warranty back-up, Ford's policy lasts for three years or 60,000 miles, and can be extended at extra cost. It matches the warranty provided by Seat, Skoda and Volkswagen but is nothing special compared with Kia’s seven-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Safety and security
Euro NCAP gave the latest Focus its top five-star rating, but if you look at the individual adult and child occupant protection scores, they aren’t quite as high as some of its rivals’. That's a bit unfair, though; Euro NCAP deducted points because the Focus doesn't come with automatic emergency braking as standard in all European markets, but that feature is standard on all models in the UK, and in terms of protecting adults and children from injuries in a crash, the Focus is deemed to be good.
Lane-keeping assistance is standard, too, while blindspot monitoring is an option, as is the reasonably priced Driver Assistance Pack, which adds traffic sign recognition, automatic main beam assist and adaptive cruise control.
All Focus models come with an alarm and immobiliser that’s rated in category one by the security experts at Thatcham Research. This bodes well for it resisting being broken into and stolen.
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