Caroline drives the 2018 Ford Focus.
Can you believe the Ford Focus is 20 this year? In 1998, the new Ford Focus came to replace the old Escort and it was like drinking a glass of refreshing cool water at the time, quickly establishing itself for its ‘New Edge’ styling and fun driving character. The Ford Focus is a perennial of the compact class, though the battleground has changed a lot in the past 20 years with the current squeeze on the compact class coming from SUVs.
But as the new 2018 Ford Focus clearly demonstrates, there is still a place in the world for a well-executed hatchback. I was lucky to drive the first examples of the new Focus in France over the summer, yet nothing can compare to driving the car for an extended period on Irish roads. And very quickly I realised that there is still something very safe and familiar about the Ford Focus. It’s less like a glass of cool water these days and more like a comforting cup of tea. But as any Irish person will tell you, there are few things in life as good as a strong cup of tea after a hard day!
Available as a five door hatchback or a wagon, this is the fourth generation of Ford’s popular mid-size car. More than 129,000 Ford Focus models have been sold in Ireland since its original launch in 1998, making it one of our most popular cars.
What’s new in the 2018 Ford Focus?
Ford Ireland has just announced new reduced pricing for the Focus as we approach the 191 registration period with a lead in price of €22,495, which means it looks like good value too.
In styling terms the 2018 Ford Focus has a much slimmer and neater silhouette. It’s far classier and more delicate looking than the car it replaces when you see it in the metal. It’s lower and wider but keeps the same exterior dimensions. Visually it has a longer wheelbase with shorter overhangs.
Inside, the interior has also been overhauled for a more modern and clean look. A smart-looking touchscreen sits high in the dash and the ‘clutter’ around the centre console has been removed for a more open and spacious feel.
Cabin space and boot space have also been improved. There is more than 5 centimetres additional length between the front and rear wheels so rear seat passengers get more legroom and all occupants benefit from the wider interior – there’s 6 centimetres more shoulder room in the rear. The rear footwells are a nice size with a relatively low transmission tunnel, while the boot is now a more competitive 375 litres.
Engines and equipment for the 2018 Ford Focus
The 2018 Ford Focus goes on sale in Ireland with a 1.0-litre EcoBoost 125hp petrol engine (from €22,495) and a new 1.5-litre EcoBlue 120hp diesel engine (from €24,368). Every model now features Drive Modes as standard that adjust the car’s characteristics to match the driving situation, including Sport, Eco and Normal driving modes. A six-speed manual transmission comes as standard while there is also a new eight-speed automatic gearbox available.
The 2018 Ford Focus is available in four trim levels: Zetec, ST-Line, Titanium and Vignale. My test car was a Ford Focus Titanium 1.0T EcoBoost 125PS with a 6-speed manual gearbox (from €24,495). This model comes with extensive standard spec including front and rear parking sensors, 8” SYNC 3 with navigation, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, FordPass Connect embedded modem, keyless entry/start and LED rear lamps.
Standard equipment on the Focus Zetec includes 16” alloys, LED daytime running lights, 6.5” SYNC 3 with Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, cruise control with lane-keeping aid and pre-collision assist.
The Focus ST-Line (from €23,495) adds 17” alloys, ST-Line body kit, twin polished tail pipes, large rear spoiler, keyless start, interior sports trim, sports suspension and ST-Line scuff plates.
The Focus Vignale (from €28,495) adds 18” alloys, unique Vignale body-styling, 8” SYNC 3 B&O Play with navigation, Android Auto & Apple CarPlay, full leather seats and armrest, head up display, privacy glass and Vignale chrome tail pipes.
On the road in the new Ford Focus
The new Ford Focus is lighter and stronger than the car it replaces and you certainly feel this on the road. The 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine is a wonderful match for the car – it’s smooth, refined and robust with plenty of power. The Ford Focus purrs along so nicely and it’s comfortable, yet composed through corners with tactile steering. My fuel consumption over a week of driving was 6.1l/100km, while road tax for this model is just €190 per year.
It’s fair to say that the Ford Focus just got very competitive again in its class. There is something safe and familiar about the Focus that draws you in, while with a new, modern interior, you will probably want to stay there too. It’s just a nice car to live with day by day.
The improvements in interior design, space and technology are timely and mean that the Focus can be highly recommended without any caveats. There’s plenty to explore in this new Focus range from sporty ST-Line models to stylish and premium Titanium, while the 1.0-litre petrol is still a peach. Good value pricing means the new Ford Focus is just impossible to ignore as a compact family hatchback.
Model tested: Ford Focus Titanium 1.0T EcoBoost
Price: From €24,495 (Range from €22,495)
Engine: 1.0-litre turbo petrol
Power: 125 hp
Torque: 200 Nm
0-100km/h: 10 seconds
Top speed: 200 km/h
CO2 emissions: 108 g/km
Motor tax: €190 per year