2019 Ford Focus 1.0 EcoBoost 100ps review - price, specs and release date

Is it worth saving a few quid by ordering your Ford Focus with one of the lowliest petrol engines?...

Ford Focus

Priced from £18,300 | On sale Now

Despite what the TV stars of motoring might say, sometimes ‘power’ isn’t the answer to everything. If you look through any manufacturer’s range brochure, you’ll often see a long and overwhelming list of engines, outputs and specs, from entry-level three-cylinder petrols to meaty motors packing eight, ten or even twelve cylinders.

Sometimes, what matters more is finding a happy compromise. The weakest engine you'll find shifting this family favourite around is a 1.0-litre petrol engine with a measly 84bhp, but for around £350 extra, you can get your hands on this more powerful 99bhp version, which we’re sampling here. It’s only available with the bottom two trim levels – Style and Zetec – but that places it at the more affordable end of the price list.

Our current engine of choice for the Focus is the higher-output 1.0-litre petrol unit with 123bhp, but is it worth sacrificing a little power in favour of lower running costs with this 99bhp offering? 

Ford Focus driving

2019 Ford Focus 1.0 EcoBoost 100ps on the road

Well, let’s answer that quickly and easily – in the real world the 99bhp unit does feel slow, and you’ll notice it even more with a car full of passengers. You have to work the engine hard to get any real power, whether off the line or in-gear and, while it will sit happily at motorway speeds, it can make a bit of a racket getting there. Although the engine is smooth and hushed below around 3500rpm, you'll need to push beyond that to really get going. Beyond 4000rpm, the thrummy three-cylinder tune starts to get rather strained.

Unfortunately, your relaxed cruise will falter if the engine falls below 2000rpm, at which point it runs out of puff and you find yourself having to change down to pick up the pace with any urgency. The 123bhp version of the 1.0-litre offers an extra 22lb ft of torque (low-rev pulling power) when you put your foot down, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but makes all the difference when you need to leap into a gap in the traffic. That alone justifies the premium you'll pay for the more powerful engine. 

The 99bhp engine is only available with a manual gearbox. With no automatic option, it's as well that the manual is precise and easy to slot into gear, but it does have a longer throw than the Skoda Octavia.

There’s no option to add Ford’s adaptive damping system on Style and Zetec trims, so you don't have the choice of squishy or sporty suspension depending on your mood. It's a moot point, though, as the Focus acquits itself well in corners while serving up a generally relaxed ride that conceals road imperfections well. It only thuds noticeably over particularly harsh bumps and potholes and only the Volkswagen Golf proves comfier.

Ford Focus interior

2019 Ford Focus 1.0 EcoBoost 100ps interior

Unfortunately, the Focus suffers by comparison to the Golf when it comes to interior finish. It all feels a little low rent: not even the softer-touch materials used over the top of the dashboard are especially appealing, and you'll find hard, scratchy plastics lower down around the temperature controls and doors.

The Zetec trim tested here is the second-lowest spec level, but still gets a decent amount of equipment. This includes a heated windscreen, driver’s adjustable lumbar support, cruise control and an 8.0in touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring. You’ll want to use that smartphone integration, too, as Ford’s own infotainment system isn’t particularly intuitive or quick to respond. Nor are its graphics as sharp as rival systems, such as that of the Octavia. For a full breakdown of the Focus's interior, see our full 16-point review here

Standard safety equipment includes automatic headlights, lane-keeping assist and a tyre-pressure monitoring system, while blind-spot monitoring and front and rear parking sensors can be added to Zetec trim at extra cost. 

For more information on the interior and full range details, see our full Ford Focus review here.

Next: 2019 Ford Focus 1.0 EcoBoost 100PS verdict >