The Ford Focus nameplate has been around for over 20 years now, and in that period it has become the byword for the absolute benchmark in compact hatchbacks. The Focus has always been renowned for its amazing handling and chassis balance, which are streets ahead of rivals even to this day.
Now in its fourth generation, the Focus is still the best selling compact hatch and the most polished all-round performer in its class, so it’s no wonder that it’s also a massively popular used car, and one for which demand is always strong.
There are several engines and trim levels to choose from, from the sensible to the lairy ST and RS models, as well as a family and dog-friendly estate. All offer great value for money and comprehensive levels of standard equipment.
The Focus has grown in stature over the years, but it has always been harmoniously styled, with a very distinctive wedge-like profile and kicked-up rear end, along with highly defined wheel arches.
Higher spec models get chrome details around the headlights and radiator grille, along with silver trim around the windows and larger alloy wheels.
Despite being 30cm longer than the Focus hatchback, the estate still manages to look quite compact thanks to a short rear overhang.
There’s quite a distinctive difference in character between the sporty and more basic models, but all are easy-on-the-eye and modern to look at.
The Focus isn’t as spacious inside as some other cars in its class, but the snug feel of the front part of the cabin is actually a good thing, as it makes for a highly ergonomic driving environment.
The dash is ultra-modern, with Ford’s trapezoid styling themes carried on throughout the car, including on the centre of the dashboard and around the door handle inserts.
A chunky multimedia steering wheel features controls for the infotainment and Bluetooth functions, as well as the main controls for the smartphone-mirroring SYNC 3 infotainment unit, whose upright touchscreen is a focal point of the cabin on all but the most basic models.
Rear seat passengers are well catered for, with a flat, wide floor allowing for above average leg and knee room, while the boot is fairly generous, or highly practical if you go for the estate.
Driving and practicality
With the Focus being famous for its incredible driving dynamics, it’s no surprise to discover that it’s the best handling compact hatchback in the class.
The steering is particularly rewarding, with a sharp turn-in and direct responses even on the most basic models. The 1.0-litre engined cars get a different, simpler rear suspension set-up to the more upmarket ones, but the handling is still terrific, not least because the rear subframe is the same as that found on the fabulous Fiesta ST.
It’s all very well being great on the open road, but the Focus is equally content around town, with good all-round visibility thanks to its large glass area, and safety features such as emergency braking depending on the model. Some models also feature self-parking technology, while rear view cameras or a reversing sensor are standard.
Engine-wise, there are four units to choose from, with the entry-level powerplant being an 83bhp 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine developing 83bhp. There are two 1.5-litre EcoBoost engines with a punchier 148bhp or 179bhp.
As for diesel, there’s a 1.5-litre common-rail turbo unit available with 94bhp or 123bhp, or a range-topping 2.0-litre unit with 148bhp on tap, which is the quickest mainstream model in the range.
All are extremely fuel efficient, with the small capacity diesels offering a range of over 700 miles to a tank of fuel.
The Focus is a car that ticks a lot of boxes, from practicality to driving enjoyment. It’s no wonder, then, that it’s the car of choice for so many British drivers of all ages, and with many different needs for the car. In a car market that’s increasingly diversifying towards SUVs, Crossovers and more multi-purpose vehicles, it’s good to know that there’s a compact hatchback out there that’s every bit as good as it could be. The Focus remains one of the best cars on sale in the UK.Search Ford Focus