A bigger boot and much improved interior means new Ford Focus is once again the major force to be reckoned with in this market

“A bigger boot and much improved interior means new Ford Focus is once again the major force to be reckoned with in this market”

  • Excellent handling makes it best in class to drive

  • Huge improvement to interior layout and quality

  • Some impressive new tech on board

95%

Overall Rating

  • Standard equipment could be better on higher spec models

  • Infotainment still not as good as the Golf

  • Limited engine choice

Overall Rating

Overview

The Ford Focus turns 20 this year and what better way to celebrate than the launch of the new and much anticipated fourth generation model. Along with a new and more daring design, there have been massive improvements across the board in space, comfort and technology.

Oh, and it’s better to drive than ever.

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Space & Practicality

Ford has also addressed a couple of practical issues that the last Focus had, one being a lack of bootspace. The previous model had a capacity of just 316 cubic litres which was well below the class average and most notably a lot less than the Volkswagen Golf which can hold 380 litres. This one has grown to very nearly match it at 375 litres and so this one much discussed shortcoming can finally be put to bed.

The longer wheelbase means rear legroom has improved and there’s now a bit more space to stretch out in the back. A low transmission tunnel means the middle seat passenger won’t feel too hard done by and a nice bit of width makes it feel capable of carrying three adults quite comfortably.

Equipment and Safety

The range begins with the Zetec. Starting at €24,900 it comes with 16 inch alloy wheels, a 6.5 inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, cruise control and some impressive standard safety features including lane keeping and pre-collision assist.

Then there is a €1,500 price walk to the ST-line which gets larger 17 inch wheels, an ST-line bodykit including a distinctive honeycomb grille, rear spoiler and generally upgraded sportier styling, extended inside to the cabin including funky red stitching and a carbon effect trim along the dashboard.

The Titanium, for an extra €1,000 over the ST-line adds parking sensors, a larger 8 inch display complete with SatNav, Keyless Go, and FordPass Connect which will allow you to use the car as a portable WiFi hotspot. On the outside, it gets a fancy chrome linear grille and LED rear lights.

For the hardcore Focus fans, there’s also a super-luxurious Vignale trim which gets 18 inch custom wheels, a bespoke Vignale grille, a full leather interior and a Bang & Olufsun sound system. However, you really would want to be a hardcore fan because it starts at over €32,000.

Performance & Running Costs

Engine line up is now a straight call between a 1.5l diesel and a super little 1.0l turbocharged EcoBoost petrol which is what powered our test car. It’s a lovely, smooth, refined little unit and the power output of 125PS makes it one of the punchier options on the market. It claims a fuel economy of 4.8 litres per 100km which is not bad at all for a petrol, and CO2 emissions of just 108g means it’s only €10 more expensive to tax than the diesel, and definitely the one to go for if there’s anyway you can get away without diesel.

The best thing about the Focus has always been the way it drives, so much so that we did wonder how Ford were actually going to possibly improve the handling. But they have. The steering is that bit sharper, and you really notice that weight loss on the road – it feels lighter now and more agile as a result. It’s still a fantastic road holder with a velcro-like grip that makes you want to fling it into corners without the slightest fear of roll. The sports suspension on the ST line model gives it a low down hunkered feel which only adds to that effect. In short, it’s still a car that will put a smile on your face, and is still very much the best of this bunch to drive.

Reliability & Residuals

While that used to be the Focus’s saving grace it’s now just a bonus on top of a very well-rounded and no compromise package. Any issues that might have been used against it in the past, like the smaller boot and dated interior have now been addressed, and addressed quite well making the Focus once again the major force to be reckoned with in this segment.

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 still wins that battle, albeit by a shorter margin this time round. 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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