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Ford Focus | Video Review | CarsIreland.ie

Tremendous fun to drive but falling behind rivals in the cabin

“Tremendous fun to drive but falling behind rivals in the cabin

  • Sporty handling

  • Good range of fuel-efficient engines

  • Comfortable and reliable

74%

Overall Rating

  • Boot is small compared to rivals

  • Infotainment needs an update

  • Lacklustre cabin

Overall Rating

Overview

The Ford Focus is a car that needs no introduction. It is an institution on Irish roads, and has had a constant presence in the top five selling cars in Ireland for as long as we can remember.

While rivals might be overtaking it when it comes to new technology and gadgets, its sporty handling makes it the standout choice as a ‘drivers car’, and no other family hatch offers quite as much fun on the road as the Focus.

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Interior Gallery

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Space & Practicality

It’s not the most spacious car in the class. The boot, at 316 litres, is considerably smaller than the Volkswagen Golf (380l) and Opel Astra (370l), and even the Skoda Fabia (330l), which is technically in the class below.

Room in the backs is pretty typical, in that it’s neither hugely spacious, or in anyway cramped. Leg and headroom are decent, even for adults, although the middle seat, like most in this class, is best left to kids.

The front is also spacious and comfortable, offering a nice driving position, with plenty of adjustment. Storage possibilities are good, with various cubbies and cupholders to keep the cabin nice and tidy.

The sporty ST-line trim on our test car added a few nice touches such as a leather wrapped steering wheel, an aluminium gearstick and sports seats.

Equipment and Safety

There’s a wide variety of choice when it comes to trim line up. Entry level models are called Style and come with Alloy wheels, manual air-conditioning, a leather covered steering wheel and Ford SYNC as standard. Mid-range is the very popular Zetec, which adds upgraded styling, sports seats and sports suspension. ST line getss an exterior body kit, 17 inch alloy wheels and upgraded interior styling.

There are also a couple of more special sports editions in the ST line Red and Black models. For those not interested in sports styling, there is the very elegant Titanium model which instead adds things like cruise control, lashings of chrome, and lumbar support.

There are a wide range of driver assisting safety features available like blind spot monitoring and active city brake but most of them are optional extras. Nevertheless the Focus still scored the full five stars on the NCAP safety test.

Performance & Running Costs

On the road is where the reason behind the popularity of the Focus becomes clear. And the answer it seems is quite simple in the end. It is quite simply, tremendous fun to drive. It handles better, in our opinion, than any other car in the class, including its deadliest rival – the Volkswagen Golf. That is not to say that the Golf isn’t also a fantastic car to drive, but the Focus has a weightiness to it, and a planted feel that makes it that bit more rewarding and engaging than most of its family hatch rivals. The steering is both perfectly weighted, and incredibly responsive, as are all the other controls the car. It seems to intuitively know what you want, and delivers with minimum fuss.

Our ST-line test car comes with Sports suspension, which is a little bit firmer than a standard Focus on the road, but not ridiculously so, and it still manages to take the jar out of both mountain roads and suburban ramps.

The engine line-up for the Focus range is straightforward enough. You can have the award-winning one-litre EcoBoost petrol, a trail-blazer for its time, and a popular choice for those who do mainly city and suburban driving. For the more serious mile munchers, there’s a comprehensive range of diesels. These include a 1.5l TDCI in varying power outputs of between 95 and 120 PS, or the guttsier 2.0l 150 PS in our test car which offered an impressive blend of performance and fuel economy.

There are also a range of high performance models available in the ST and RS range.

Reliability & Residuals

The Focus remains an impressive package, is an excellent driver and one that is competent across the board. However it hasn’t been updated since 2014, and the interior in particular is well due a refresh. The age-old contest with the Golf is one that will come down to priorities, and if technology is top of your agenda – the VW wins that battle hands down. Those after driving thrills should go for the Focus, safe in the knowledge that its reliable reputation and constant demand on the used market means that you can’t ever go too far wrong with one.

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Details correct at time of publication
2017-11-07T15:42:15+00:00

About the Author:

Sinéad’s career in motoring began in a car showroom where she got a feel for what really matters to the customer when buying a new car. She has a degree in Journalism and Irish from DIT where she specialised in TV and Production. These days she is delighted to be combining two passions (movies and metal) by shooting, presenting and producing video reviews of new cars for CarsIreland.ie. She is a member of the APMP (Association of Professional Motoring Press) and has a vote in the Irish Car of the Year awards.