Ford Focus front

Ford Focus review

Cost & verdict
Manufacturer price from:£18,300
What Car? Target Price:£16,809
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In this review

Cost & verdict

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Ford Focus hatchback running costs

There are several trim levels to choose from and entry-level Style is about the same price as an entry-level Skoda Octavia, undercutting any five-door Volkswagen Golf. However, the Focus isn't as cheap as you might think, because more popular trims, such as mid-spec Zetec and ST-Line models, are relatively pricey compared with the Octavia and not far off the price of the better-equipped Golf SE.

The story is a little different if you compare three-year, 10,000-mile-per-year PCP finance deals – the disparity in monthly cost against the Octavia is just a few pounds per month. A Kia Ceed could work out significantly cheaper, though.

Predicted resale values for the Focus are respectable after three years or 36,000 miles, roughly matching those of the Golf and Octavia. Servicing costs, however, work out a little higher for the same period.

Whichever capacity or power output you choose, the Ecoboost three-cylinder petrol engines have efficiency-enhancing cylinder deactivation. This shuts down one cylinder when you’re cruising gently and means, for example, the popular 123bhp 1.0-litre manages an average economy figure of 49.6mpg (WLTP combined) and 107g/km of CO2 in official tests. That's on par with the Skoda Octavia and VW Golf 1.0 TSI.

Ford Focus hatchback equipment

While Style trim is relatively cheap and comes with basics, including 16in alloy wheels, air-con and electrically operated front and rear windows, it's worth jumping up at least a rung if you can. Zetec and sportier ST-Line trims add the infotainment upgrades mentioned earlier, and both feature cruise control and a heated windscreen; the latter also adds keyless start, aluminium pedals, 17in alloy wheels, lowered sports suspension and more aggressive styling.

However, our favourite trim is Titanium. It’s still reasonably priced and very well equipped, with power-folding door mirrors, keyless entry, auto wipers, heated front seats and dual-zone climate control. ST-Line X also offers the majority of these features, along with sports suspension, 18in alloy wheels and the same sporty styling as the ST-Line.

Models further up the range, culminating with the range-topping Vignale, offer yet more kit but questionable value for money. The SUV-styled Active and Active X versions will appeal to those looking for something more distinctive, and come with upgraded features and styling tweaks, such as black plastic wheel arch surrounds and more rugged-looking bumpers. 

Ford Focus infotainment

Ford Focus hatchback reliability

According to our most recent survey, Ford’s reliability record is only average. The data – compiled from information supplied by you – placed the manufacturer 18th out of the 31 surveyed. This current version of the Focus was too new to be included.

If you should find yourself in need of warranty back-up, Ford's policy lasts for three years or 60,000 miles. That’s nothing compared with Kia’s seven-year manufacturer’s warranty, although you can extend Ford’s cover for an extra cost.

Ford Focus hatchback safety and security

The Focus gets only four stars for safety from us. Although it got five stars overall when tested by Euro NCAP, it’s individual category results aren't class-leading: its adult occupant protection score, for example, is someway below its best rivals. That said, the Focus certainly comes with lots of active safety aids.

These include automatic emergency braking, which can recognise cars, pedestrians and cyclists, along with lane-keeping assistance for all trims. The reasonably priced Driver Assistance Pack adds traffic sign recognition, automatic main beam and adaptive cruise control.

The latter includes steering assistance that works at motorway speeds, as well as a ‘stop and go’ function that can bring the car to a halt in traffic, then move off again automatically when the car in front sets off. Blindspot warning is part of a pack that includes a feature to alert you if you’re about to reverse out of your driveway into the path of another vehicle.

All models come with a Thatcham Research category one alarm and immobiliser that increase its resistance to being broken into or stolen.

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Verdict

The Ford Focus stands out as the best driver’s car in the class, with handling that will enthuse you keen drivers out there. That's complemented by a fine ride that almost matches a VW Golf for comfort and passenger space very nearly on a par with the Skoda Octavia. It's mainly the iffy interior quality and slightly lacklustre performance that mark it down.

  • Class-leading handling
  • Supple ride
  • Roomy rear seats
  • Engines don’t feel as frisky as rivals’
  • Popular trims not as well equipped as in a Golf
  • Octavia offers a much bigger boot
Trims
There are 8 trims available for the Focus hatchback. Click to see details.See all versions
Style
Entry-level model gets some decent kit, including 16in alloy wheels, electric windows...
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Zetec
Builds on entry-level Style trim with front foglights, a heated windscreen, a front cen...
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£18,047
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OUR PICK
Titanium
Comes with everything Zetec trim has and adds power-folding door mirrors, front and rea...
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£20,112
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Active
This is based on Zetec trim, but along with its raised ride height and rugged looks add...
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£20,112
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ST-Line
If you like something a little sportier, this is the trim to go for. It comes with ever...
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Titanium X
Adds 17in alloy wheels, privacy glass, part-leather seat trim and six-way electric driv...
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£21,240
Average Saving £1,890
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Active X
Based on the ST-Line X but carrying the more off-road styling, the Active X adds featur...
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ST-Line X
All the ST-Line features plus bigger 18in wheels, power-folding door mirrors, front and...
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£22,407
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