The current Ford Focus has been around since 2011 but with a new model just around the corner why is it still one of the bestselling hatchbacks in its class? Let’s find out.
The Focus hatchback is a much more dynamic looking car than its predecessor with a lower and more elongated look accentuated by sleeker front headlamps, a sporty looking roof spoiler and bulbous rear light clusters. Entry level models look dull beside newer, flashier rivals like the Peugeot 308, Mazda 3 and SEAT Leon. But in the right metallic hue and with the benefit of chrome trim and smarter alloys on Zetec and Titanium models, the Focus can just about hold its own in this company.
Inside, the driving position is spot on and the steering wheel has a nice design and feel. The white illuminated speed and rev counters are another highlight along with their cool blue needles. Some of the materials around the cabin look a bit drab but higher specced models get posher trim. The centre console could do with a more steamlined design and less buttons.
The cabin is roomy enough for a car of this size but a Volkswagen Golf feels more spacious. There are two cupholders positioned between driver and passenger and door pockets all round. The boot is small by class standards at 277 litres, but a full size spare wheel is included. It does have the advantage of a low and relatively flat sill and a practical shape, but a Peugeot 308 trumps it with 470 litres of usable space.
Precise steering and good body control make the Focus a really great car to drive. It feels sharper than a Volkswagen Golf or a Peugeot 308 and feels settled and composed over a variety of road surfaces ensuring a smooth, comfortable ride. The 1.6 TDCi 95bhp diesel engine has enough oomph but is noisier than rivals with similarly sized engines. The 1.0 100bhp EcoBoost model is well worth consideration with sparky petrol power a perfect mate for a car that handles this confidently.
Fuel saving start/stop technology is standard with the 1.6 TDCi engine. The official economy is a good 67mpg. With CO2 emissions of 109g/km, this Focus will cost €190 to tax each year.
Standard equipment includes electric front windows and mirrors, remote central locking and Radio/CD with USB connectivity. Edition trim adds 16″ alloys, Ford SYNC, manual air conditioning, leather trimmed steering wheel and trip computer. Zetec trim adds front fog lamps, chrome belt line finisher, quickclear windscreen, sports tuned suspension and sports styled front seats. Titanium trim adds dual zone air conditioning, start button, cruise control and speed limiter, hill start assist and more. Ford SYNC comes standard on all but entry level models and allows you to operate functions like playing music or making phone calls by voice control.
The Ford Focus might be looking a little dated now beside newer and flashier rivals but what it lacks in style it makes up for in driving ability. It remains one of the best handling hatchbacks in its class and it’s no surprise that it is a bestseller. The excellently weighted steering gives the Focus real verve and makes it fun and engaging to drive.
What happened when we pitched the Ford Focus against key rivals, the Peugeot 308 and Honda Civic? Read our diesel hatchback triple test here.
Model tested: Ford Focus Edition 5-door hatch
Price: €22,995 (Range starts at €19,395)
Engine: 1.6-litre, four cylinder turbo diesel
0-100km/h: 12.5 seconds
Economy: 67mpg (4.2l/100km)
CO2 emissions: 109g/km
Tax band: A3 (€190 per year)