Ford Focus front

Ford Focus review

Costs & verdict
Manufacturer price from:£18,305
What Car? Target Price
:
£16,723
Review continues below...

Costs & verdict

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2

Focuses in the entry-level Style trim cost about the same as the equivalent Skoda Octavia and undercut any five-door Volkswagen Golf. However, the Focus isn't as cheap as you might think; popular trims such as mid-level Zetec and ST-Line models are relatively pricey compared with the Octavia and not far off the price of the generously-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.

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 of 49.6mpg and 107g/km of CO2 in official WLTP tests. That's on a par with the 1.0 TSI Octavia and Golf.

Equipment, options and extras

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

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 is similarly equipped but adds a sportier look.

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

Ford Focus infotainment

Reliability

According to the 2018 What Car? Reliability Survey, Ford’s reliability record is only average. The data – compiled from information supplied by you – placed the manufacturer 18th out of the 31 included. The latest Focus, though, is too new to have yet featured in our survey.

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.

Safety and security

The crash-testers at Euro NCAP gave the latest Focus five stars. Although the adult and child occupant protection scores aren’t quite as high as some of its rivals’, that's mainly because the Focus doesn't come with automatic emergency braking (AEB) as standard in all European markets NCAP represents, which loses it marks.

But here in the UK it does get AEB (which recognises cars, pedestrians and cyclists) as standard on all trims, as well as and lane-keeping assistance, while the reasonably priced Driver Assistance Pack adds traffic sign recognition, automatic main beam assist and adaptive cruise control.

The last of these systems is particularly clever and includes steering assistance that works at motorway speeds and a function for automatic versions that can bring the car to a halt and move it off again in stop-start traffic. It’s disappointing, though, that you have to add a second pack to get blindspot warning as well.

All Focus Estate models come with an alarm and immobiliser that’s rated in category one by security experts Thatcham Research. This bodes well for it resisting being broken into and stolen.

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Verdict

The Ford Focus stands out as the best driver’s car in the class, with handling that truly entertains. It's complemented by a fine ride that almost matches a Volkswagen 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
  • Mediocre performance
  • Golf is better equipped
  • Octavia has a much bigger boot

What's important to you?

Performance & drive
Interior
Passenger & boot space

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