The Ford Focus (2011-2018)
The Ford Focus (2011-2018)

Check out our Ford Focus used car review!

Changing Lanes reviewed the third generation Ford Focus in early 2014. This generation of the Ford Focus was a huge success and wasn’t replaced until 2018. That means we now have a classic used car review on our hands of one of Ireland’s favourite hatchbacks! I’ve taken my original review of the 2014 Ford Focus and updated it with some new information. This article is aimed at you if you are in the market for a used Ford Focus from between the years of 2011 and 2018. 

Back in 2014, I was relatively new to reviewing cars. I was developing ‘a nose’ for a good car. But I still remember getting into the Focus and being astounded at just how much good fun to drive it was. Because it certainly never looked very good from the outside. A facelift in 2015 improved things somewhat, but in truth this generation of the Ford Focus was never a beauty queen. Lucky it had another ace card up its sleeve.

Ford Focus Review

So I began my review by saying that this generation of the Ford Focus had been around since 2011 but a new model  was just around the corner. My words: why is it still one of the bestselling hatchbacks in its class? Let’s find out.

The Ford Focus between 2011 and 2018 was sold as a five door hatchback, four door saloon and practical estate car. Entry level models look quite dull but Zetec, Titanium and Zetec-S add more sparkle. The Zetec-S models are particularly good looking, inspired by sporty ST models with a body kit and special alloy wheels. Towards the end of production, Zetec-S was replaced by ST line, which we reviewed in the 2017 Ford Focus 2.0-litre diesel. The Titanium is the smart one with excellent equipment levels.

The interior of the 2015 Ford Focus
The interior of the 2015 Ford Focus

Inside, the driving position is spot on but interior design isn’t the strong point for the 2014 Ford Focus. The interior is quite drab though it is well built with good enough quality for a hatchback of this era. Again, high spec cars get some more interesting trim elements. On Focus models between 2011 and 2015, there was a lot of buttons on the centre console to control media and ventilation. However this was rectified to a more streamlined look and updated infotainment in 2015. So post-facelift models should be sought for the step forward they bring in cabin experience.

Anything else?

The cabin is roomy enough for a car of this size, but a Volkswagen Golf  of the same era feels more spacious in that regard. One of the most disappointing features is the boot, which is small by class standards at 316 litres with a mini spare wheel, but a more respectable 363 with a tyre repair kit. It does have the advantage of a low and relatively flat sill and a practical shape, but a 2014 Peugeot 308 trumps it with 470 litres of usable space. The Focus estate has a much more practical boot.

The Ford Focus Estate offers more practical space
The Ford Focus Estate offers more practical space

We were really impressed with the Ford Focus on the road. Precise steering and good body control make it a really great car to drive, much more fun than rivals like the Volkswagen Golf or a Peugeot 308. It feels settled and composed over a variety of road surfaces ensuring a smooth, comfortable ride for everyone on board. There is true magic in this generation of the Ford Focus, with an elastic feel to the steering that means you could out drive most competitors. In fact the third generation of the Ford Focus is sharper than the current generation in that regard. So you will enjoy driving your used Ford Focus very much!

Is the Ford Focus reliable?

Over its lifetime, engines included a 1.6-litre TDCi diesel with 95 hp or 115 hp, and a 2.0-litre diesel with 150 hp. In 2015 the 1.6-litre was replaced by a 1.5-litre TDCi diesel with 120 hp that was a much improved unit. On the petrol side of things, the launch of the Ford Focus 1.0-litre Ecoboost petrol engine was big news at the time. It was available with 100 or 125 hp and was a truly excellent engine, yet could never return as good economy as the diesels.

We tested the Ford Focus 1.6 TDCi 95 hp diesel engine. Fuel saving start/stop technology is standard with the 1.6 TDCi engine. The official economy is a good 67 mpg. With CO2 emissions of 109g/km, this Focus will cost €190 to tax each year. It had enough power but was a noisy engine compared to rival offerings. We much preferred driving the 2015 Ford Focus EcoBoost 125 hp, which was smooth, quiet and fun.

Post 2015 Ford Focus facelift models have better interiors and design
Post 2015 Ford Focus facelift models have better interiors and design

Standard equipment on our 2014 Ford Focus Edition included electric front windows and mirrors, remote central locking, 16″ alloys, Ford SYNC, manual air conditioning, leather trimmed steering wheel and trip computer. Zetec trim added front fog lamps, chrome belt line finisher, quickclear windscreen, sports tuned suspension and sports styled front seats. Titanium trim added dual zone air conditioning, start button, cruise control and speed limiter, hill start assist and more. Ford SYNC infotainment came as standard on all but entry level models. It allows you to operate functions like playing music or making phone calls by voice control but was never the best system on the marker.

Is the Ford Focus a good car?

That’s a whistle stop tour of the 2014 Ford Focus, the third generation of an icon. There are so many of these cars available and they found many homes in Ireland. The Ford Focus fits the bill for so many people. It wasn’t perfect – the interior was fairly dull, it didn’t use the space inside the vehicle as well as some rivals…but the Focus always redeemed itself for its impeccable driving manners. It makes the mundane fun. Diesel engines were noisy but economical, while the EcoBoost engine is a pure gem. It was also very keenly priced against rivals. Hot Ford Focus ST and Focus RS versions were also available, which we liked very much.

I hope our Ford Focus used car review has been useful. Let us know your experience of this generation of the Focus.

Ford Focus ST hot hatchback
Ford Focus ST hot hatchback

Details correct at time of test

Model tested: Ford Focus Edition 5-door hatch
Price: €22,995 (Range starts at €19,395)
Engine: 1.6-litre, four cylinder turbo diesel
Power: 95 bhp
0-100km/h: 12.5 seconds
Economy: 67mpg (4.2l/100km)
CO2 emissions:  109g/km
Tax band: A3 (€190 per year)

Caroline Kidd