The Ford Focus first went on sale in 1998 and quickly established itself as one of the more popular cars in the UK. Although buyers these days tend to lean towards SUVs, the Focus is still a great option for those who need a family motor that’s stylish, well-equipped and good value for money.
The latest Focus might not be the bargain it once was, but it compensates with smart looks inside and out, a fantastic driving experience and a much-improved infotainment system.
However, the family hatchback market is a strong one, and there are plenty of alternatives worthy of consideration. Our car reviewers have been behind the wheel of all the latest models and have pulled together this list of the best cars similar to the Ford Focus.
The 10 best Ford Focus alternatives
1. Volkswagen Golf
The Volkswagen Golf is sure to be found in any list of family hatchbacks. Long has it been one of the best all-rounders money can buy thanks to its robust build quality, smart looks and excellent badge appeal.
The latest model is pricier than the Focus, though, while the infotainment system is fiddly and, despite boasting lots of impressive safety tech, it can feel annoyingly intrusive rather than helpful. That said, it’s very comfortable over bumps and there’s a great choice of efficient engines.
2. Vauxhall Astra
The Vauxhall Astra has long been the sensible, practical and affordable choice. The latest model goes a long way to change that stereotype. Sure, it’s not the most fun to drive and the automatic gearboxes aren’t particularly smooth, but the exterior styling is fantastic and there’s a large, practical boot, too.
It’s similarly priced to the Golf and Focus, but if you’re willing to spend a bit more there’s an ultra-efficient plug-in hybrid option that will do more than 40 miles on electric power.
3. Honda Civic
If you liked the idea of the outgoing Honda Civic but its styling put you off, the latest one is worth a close look. It’s arguably rather sensible to look at now, but it’s a long way from the old model’s extroverted lines, now seamlessly blending into traffic. There’s a similar theme inside, with lots of greys and blacks for the conservatively styled trims.
The starting price is a bit higher than most rivals thanks in part to the hybrid engine choices. However, this means running costs are low, with other positives including a big boot, spacious interior and fun driving experience.
4. Peugeot 308
Tired of picking from a sea of bland-looking family hatchbacks? The Peugeot 308 could be exactly what you’re looking for. There’s a large grille flanked by narrow headlights and unique fang-like daytime running lights.
Inside it looks great too, with posh materials to be found all over the place. Even lower trims are pretty well-equipped, so it really feels like good value being similarly priced to most rivals. Like the Astra, though, the plug-in hybrid models can be pretty expensive to buy.
5. Skoda Octavia
If pure practicality is all you need, the Skoda Octavia should be your first port of call. It has a massive boot (even more so in estate form) and few cars in this class get close for cabin space.
It feels well screwed together, too, but as you might have noticed, there’s nothing particularly exciting about the Skoda’s unique selling points. It’s fairly staid to look at inside and out, while there are more fun options behind the wheel.
6. Nissan Qashqai
While not technically a direct rival for the Focus, buyers have been flocking to SUVs like the Nissan Qashqai for a while now, so if you want a family car alternative it’s worth adding to the shopping list.
The latest version is even pretty stylish, while the interior is practical and solidly put together. It’s comfortable for long distances, but it’s not the most enjoyable to steer down a country road. The boot capacity is also disappointing compared with other similarly sized SUVs.
7. Mazda 3
The Mazda 3 has always been a great alternative to the likes of the Focus and Golf, but has never worried the pair in the sales charts. It’s a shame, because the latest model in particular has chic style on the outside and interior quality a level above what you’d expect for the price.
Down sides? It’s not particularly spacious for rear seat passengers, and the boot is on the small side.
8. Kia Ceed
Kia has truly overhauled its reputation over the past decade or so, to the point where the Ceed’s key selling point is no longer just its price. It’s a genuinely brilliant car – that also happens to cost less than most alternatives.
You have a choice of economical engines, a good-sized boot and loads of standard equipment. That said, the interior is pretty bland, as is the driving experience.
9. Audi A3
The Audi A3 has proved hugely popular by bringing Audi’s posh badge appeal to the smaller, more affordable family car market.
You get everything you want from an Audi, such as smart styling, a high quality interior and the latest driver assistance and infotainment technology. Despite this, other premium options such as the Mercedes A-Class and BMW 1 Series are more competitively priced.
10. Toyota Corolla
With its hybrid engines as standard, the Toyota Corolla has strong green credentials and low running costs, whichever version you choose. It’s also good fun to drive and gets a great quality cabin.
Those hybrid engines do mean the Toyota is a bit pricier than alternatives to buy, while the rear seats are a bit cramped.
Save money on your next hatchback
If you like the look of any of these cars, our car configurator will find you a great deal, straight from the UK’s most trusted dealers. To learn more about any particular model, our reviews section will tell you everything you need to know. Alternatively, if you need help deciding which car is best for you, our car chooser will make life easier. There are new cars available for cash, finance or leasing as well as used examples, and you can even sell your old car through carwow, too.