The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
The driver's seat in the Focus is excellent, with both height and lumbar adjustment standard across the range. If you need more adjustment than that, the Comfort seat (optional on Titanium trim and below but not on 'X' models) offers 18-way manual adjustment and an extendable seat squab. 'X' and Vignale models get six-way electric seat adjustment as standard.
There’s loads of steering wheel rake and reach adjustment, so it's easy to find a suitable posture, whatever your proportions. The alignment of the steering wheel, pedals and seat are nigh on perfect, too, and Zetec models and above have the luxury of a front centre armrest.
We love the uncluttered dashboard layout and orderly instruments. In fact, the instruments are so clear and easy to read that the optional head-up display seems an unnecessary expense.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
The view out of the Focus is generally good; its front pillars are no more obstructive to your forward visibility than those of any other model in the family car class. Over-the-shoulder visibility, meanwhile, is marred by a rear window line that tapers up towards thickish rear pillars, but that too is par for the course among the Focus's rivals. Active models sit a little higher, but not enough to truly give an SUV-like commanding riving position.
Parking sensors (front and rear) are a reasonably priced option on lower trims and standard on upper models. They also come as part of a Convenience Pack, which includes a rear-view camera and parking assist to help guide you into parking spaces.
LED headlights are optional on the upper trims and standard on the range-topping Vignale, and can be upgraded to adaptive LED headlights if you’re prepared to pay a fairly hefty premium. As well allowing you to use full beam even with oncoming traffic (the headlights shape their beams to avoid dazzling other drivers), these can aim their beams into corners using information from a camera.
Sat nav and infotainment
The list of infotainment equipment that you get with entry-level Style trim includes a DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity and two USB ports. However, you have to make do with a 4.2in screen that looks pretty basic, so we’d recommend upgrading to a Zetec or ST-Line model.
Doing so gives you an 8.0in touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring, allowing you to control selected functions – such as navigation apps – through the car. It’s just a pity some of the system's icons are fiddly and its graphics basic, and it isn’t as quick to respond as systems used by the Skoda Octavia and Volkswagen Golf.
Sadly, the same criticisms can be levelled at the sat-nav equipped upgraded system, which is standard from Titanium and ST-Line X models upwards. The fact that this features everything from live traffic updates to a wi-fi hotspot for up to 10 devices makes those limitations even more of a shame.
Let's start with the good bits. The Focus’s interior feels reasonably sturdy and all its upper surfaces are pleasingly soft to the touch, while every model from Zetec upwards gets a nice leather-wrapped gearknob and steering wheel.
There are some thoughtful touches, too, such as carpeted front door bins that stop your keys jangling about when stowed. Yet a Golf it certainly isn’t – or even an Octavia or Kia Ceed, for that matter. The Focus has more harsh and shiny plastic in prominent places, such as those surrounding the heater controls, which look positively Pound Shop.
More of an effort has been expended on the pricier versions, but no amount of faux-chrome, wood or carbon-fibre highlights, nor the leather-wrapped dashboard of the top-spec Vignale, can imbue the Focus with a genuinely upmarket ambience.