Ford Focus long term test review

The Focus was a price point winner in the 2019 What Car? Awards. We're running one for four months to find out how well it copes with being a commuter and a family car...

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Claire Evans
02 April 2019

Ford Focus long term review
  • The car Ford Focus 1.5 TDCi Ecoblue ST-Line
  • Run by Claire Evans, consumer editor
  • Why it’s here The latest Focus is a big seller and good enough to have been shortlisted for What Car?'s 2019 family car award. It's therefore important to find out what it’s like to live with 
  • Needs to Dispatch the daily commute in a fun yet frugal manner and dispel the popular myth that all diesels are evil

Mileage 7482 List price £22,850 Target Price £20,983 Price as tested £25,200 Test economy 52.4mpg Official economy 80.7mpg Extras Convenience Pack (£750), Driver Assistance Pack (£500), Sync3 DAB navigation system with 8.0in colour touchscreen (£350), Ford Pass Connect (£250), Frozen White metallic paint (£250), rear privacy glass (£250)


2 April 2019 – Turbulent time 

The first few weeks with the Focus were relatively uneventful, but that didn’t last. First, some strange messages started to pop up on the dash. At 5846 miles a warning appeared telling me the car’s emergency call system had stopped working. Then a few days later the dash readout informed me that the car needed an oil change, which didn’t sound right as it had only covered just over 6000 miles. 

I made a quick call to my local Ford dealership and got the car booked in for a check. During a visit to the service department, I was told this was a common fault on the earliest of this fourth-generation model cars. A software update, done at no cost to me, stopped the erroneous dash warning lights from popping up. 

Ford Focus longtermer

However, shortly afterwards, while the car was being borrowed by a colleague for a video shoot, it was driven over an uneven surface and the underside was scraped. The ST-Line sits closer to the ground than other Focus models, and that the underside didn’t just sustain a scratch or two, the rocky road actually ripped a slice of metal off the underneath of the car. 

So, the Focus went back into the garage again. This repair took a bit longer, but the car was back with me just over a week later looking as good as new. 

While the ST-Line was being fixed I was loaned a 1.5-litre petrol Focus ST-Line Estate – fuel type aside, the doppelganger of my Focus. Although both cars shared the same wheels, bodystyling tweaks and interior kit, the petrol 1.5 had a shed-load more power than the diesel, helping it pull away and accelerate much more swiftly. It was such a contrast that it highlighted the turbo lag the diesel engine suffered with at low revs and the short power range of each gear, which make it necessary to change up and down frequently to maintain swift progress. 

Ford Focus longtermer

That said, both cars have the same superb handling and steering feedback, which makes them both a joy to drive along country lanes and A-roads. The main difference is in fuel economy – I struggled to get 30mph out of the petrol, but could easily exceed 50mpg in the diesel. 

While the Focus Estate had a humungous boot with the back seats folded, the hatchback is proving big enough for my needs. It easily swallowed a pair of flat-packed kitchen cabinets and a long length of worktop bought from a DIY, and later on it was roomy enough to take the mountain of card they were wrapped in to the local recycling centre. 

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