Ford Focus hatchback driving position
Let’s start with the seat, which is excellent. It’s height adjustable and lumbar adjustment for the driver’s seat is standard on all trims, and if you have the Comfort seats (optional on cheaper models) there’s 18-way manual adjustment that includes extendable seat squabs. This is definitely a worthwhile addition.
Electric seats are available on all ST-Line X, Titanium X and Vignale models. There’s also loads of steering wheel rake and reach adjustment to let you pick a position that’ll fit, no matter your proportions.
Then there are the pedals. These line up perfectly with the seat and steering wheel, and if you opt for Zetec trim or above, there’s even the added luxury of a front centre armrest.
We love the uncluttered dashboard layout and the orderly instruments. In fact, these are so easy to read that it makes the optional head-up display a welcome addition, rather than indispensable.
Ford Focus hatchback visibility
The view out of the Focus is generally good. The front pillars are no more obstructive when looking forward than in any other car in the class, and while the rear window line tapers up towards a couple of thickish rear pillars, again, that’s par for the course among the competition.
Parking sensors are standard only once you get to the upper-middle ST-Line X trim, but for only a few hundred pounds you can add them on cheaper models at the front and rear. A rear camera is part of the Convenience Pack.
LED headlights are optional only on the upper trims (standard on Vignale); you can upgrade these to adaptive LED headlights if you’re prepared to pay a fairly hefty premium. As well as being able to run on full beam even with other cars in front – by creating small shadows around them – these also use a camera to view the road ahead; when it sees a corner, it’ll point the light in that direction.
Ford Focus hatchback infotainment
The 8.0in touchscreen infotainment system with sat-nav on Titanium and ST-Line X models is fine in isolation, but use it against the systems employed in the Volkswagen Golf and Skoda Octavia and it shows some weaknesses. It isn’t as intuitive nor as quick to respond, the graphics aren’t as sharp and some of the icons are quite small to find when you’re doing 70mph on the motorway. And following on from that last point: it would be nice to have physical shortcut buttons to hop between the main functions, because they are easier and less distracting to find on the move.
Big-selling Zetec and ST-Line trims make do with a 6.5in touchscreen that doesn’t have built-in sat-nav; upgrading to the larger screen that has sat-nav included doesn’t cost the Earth, though. And all trims, apart from entry-level Style, have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, allowing you to tether your phone and control selected functions through the touchscreen, including navigation apps. Wireless charging is also an inexpensive option.
As for Style trim, the 4.2in screen you get is pretty basic, but there’s a DAB radio, Bluetooth, two USB ports and an emergency assist function, which phones the emergency services in the event of an accident so that they can check on your condition. We’d still suggest upgrading to Zetec, though.
The standard stereo has six speakers, while the upgraded B&O Play sound system has 675W and 10 speakers (including a subwoofer). It is pretty punchy and well worth considering if you love music; it’s included with the Vignale model. It does reduce the size of the boot, though – something you can read about in the ‘boot space’ section.
Ford Focus hatchback build quality
Interior excellence was notable only by its absence in the previous Focus, and for some this was a reason not to buy one. The current model improves on that situation, but it still doesn’t lead the way in quality.
Starting with the good bits, it’s reasonably sturdily made and all the upper surfaces are soft and squidgy, plus every model from Zetec upwards gets a nice leather-wrapped gearknob and steering wheel. There are even nice touches that mark the car out, such as carpeted door bins in the front, so that your keys won’t jangle about annoyingly.
The exalted trims come with faux chrome, wood or carbonfibre highlights to spice up the interior (some reasonably successfully; others simply look as cheap as a pack of Pound Shop pens), while top-spec Vignale trim has a leather-wrapped dashboard to match its seats.
Yet a Golf it certainly isn’t – or an Octavia, or a Kia Ceed, for that matter. They all look and feel plusher. In the Focus, none of the surfaces has a particularly eminent lustre and there’s liberal use of harsh and shiny plastics lower down the interior, such as around the heater controls.