Great choice for buyers seeking to downsize
The humble Focus has never been a drain on the wallet, so to speak. Over time the introduction of cleaner petrol and diesel engines have boosted its appeal, and it's no different with this model. Low CO2 ratings have become the norm along with pleasingly high official economy figures. Factor in the improved levels of standard kit and there's a lot to look forward to.
It might have grown a little but, realistically, you'll struggle to reap the benefits in the cabin. Front seat occupants fare well, rear passengers less so. If you want more room for a growing family Ford's C-Max is a better option. Oddment storage areas are plentiful, which should please motorway-munching fleet drivers, while the car's boot is a good size and access is straightforward.
Substantial revisions to the Focus' fascia have resulted in easer to read dials, more sensibly located minor controls and a general, all-round improvement. The colour display between the main dials is a vast improvement over the old solution and can display a bewildering number of features. Even the car's main colour screen is a step up, although it could be bigger - a niggle resolved with the inclusion of sat-nav. Another niggle that's harder to excuse is the audio unit's small buttons.
With refinement noticeably up in all areas of the Focus, its cabin is a nice place to spend some time in. Supportive seats, a good driving position and only small levels of wind and tyre noise to contend with mark the Ford out as more accomplished than its price suggests.
Remote central locking with deadlocks and an engine immobilizer are all present, while the hatchback's load cover appears sturdy enough to keep out prying eyes. There isn't much in the way of covered storage space apart from the glovebox, however.
Along with the usual array of airbags, stability control and anti-lock brakes, Ford has redoubled its efforts to compete head-on with the likes of Volvo. Available as options, a speed limit sign-reading camera displays the limit in the driver's view; blind spot and lane departure warning systems do as described and a 'city safe' auto braking function detects and acts if a low speed collision is predicted. And the good news is that all this technology is surprisingly affordable.
Since its original launch the Focus has been something of a high achiever in this department. Successive updates have seen the car's bias slowly creep more towards comfort than pleasing keen drivers but, if you dig deep enough, the old car's talents remain - they're just more polished now. The Ecoboost petrol motors are very impressive and the diesel engines offer a solid performance plus, crucially, wallet-friendly green credentials.
A perfectly serviceable family car, in five-door trim the Focus offers enough space for a growing family and their belongings. Outgrowing the car doesn't have to mean leaving the Ford fold, as there's always the C-Max people carrier or Kuga SUV.
With no shortage of car's sporting L-plates, the Focus makes a sound first car if you don't fancy the confines of a supermini. Easy to use controls are complimented by good visibility and driver's seating position. Running costs aren't that bad, either.
The image of the Focus is arguably a cut above standard Ford fare and this new model continues to look towards the premium end of the mainstream market. In some areas it's very Golf-like, something the Ford guys have been trying to crack for years. For many it's the default choice, which is also something of a compliment.
There's little chance that front and rear seat occupants will experience trouble getting in or out thanks to the car's wide-opening doors. The high seating position also makes access and egress easy. The tailgate is also easy to open, plus there's a large aperture for easy loading.
Along with improved aesthetics comes an upgraded audio unit for the Focus. All the basic features are present, but the main controls can be a little fiddly - some buttons are very small. Most functions can be access via steering wheel controls, though. Connectivity isn't a problem, with Bluetooth phones and MP3 players catered for. Sat-nav is an option.
To compliment the car's bold new exterior, equally bold colours are surprisingly flattering. In contrast, darker hues tend to mask the Ford's many clever styling details. The cabin is less somber than before, what with the brighter centre console adding some much needed light relief.
It might have grown slightly but the Focus remains an easy to park car. Forward visibility is good, even if you can't quite see the end of the bonnet, while the view to the rear is more than adequate. The car's steering, which is nice and light and requires little effort to turn at low speed, also helps. Parking sensors are available if you think you need them.
Spare wheel fitted as standard.
Petrol engine options – 1.6-litre (105bhp, 125bhp, 150bhp). Diesel options – 1.6-litre (95bhp, 115bhp); 2.0-litre (115bhp, 140bhp, 163bhp). Transmission options: five-speed manual gearbox and six-speed manual gearbox, depending on engine output plus six-speed automatic twin-clutch Powershift automatic with manual over-ride for selected models. Trim levels: Edge, Zetec, Titanium, Titanium X