Ford Focus Review – Long Term Test

We’ve already driven a Focus fitted with Fords 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine – and we loved it. Convenient, seeing as soon after, and by happy coincidence, I was given one to run for six months. Well, someone had to…

Ford Focus Front

Exterior

Not being a fan of the Zetec’s Essex spec bodykit, I went for the Titanium X – the Rolls Royce of the range – in a very smart shade of blue. Identifiable through its twinkling LED Daytime Running Lights (DRLs), the Titanium X is much more discreet – with a distinct aura of sophistication so absent from the sportier models. The 18in five-spoke alloy wheels, though pricy at around 400, are well worth having – ride quality be dammed.
Ford Focus Front Light
The tinted windows are included as part of the Appearance Pack – which also, confusingly, gives you keyless entry.
The only exterior (or interior, for that matter) feature distinguishing the 1.0-litre from any other model in the range is a small badge on the tailgate that reads EcoNetic. So synonymous are smaller engines with inferior models, Fords done well to keep the 1.0-litre free from any badging that explicitly identifies it as such.
Ford Focus Interior

Interior

Inside its business as usual. The part-leather seats are adequately comfortable (I managed Paris to rural Essex without so much as a hint of fatigue), and the optional 750 Sony DAB stereo/navigation system packs one hell of a punch. But, though adjustable, the sounds a tad too bassy for these ears.
While its true the Focus dash and steering wheel have been scatter-gunned with buttons – once you’ve lived with the car for a couple of weeks, the controls are no more difficult to fathom than a toddlers book is to read. Though small, the 5in central screen is clear and concise, and all of the materials feel markedly Germanic.
Ford Focus Boot
Rear legroom is adequate for normal-sized adults, and the boot, though not class-leading, is decently capacious and usefully shaped, albeit a bit shallow. Should you ever need to remove the parcel shelf however, be warned – its wider than the boot itself, making it a near impossibility to remove swiftly, if at all.
Ford Focus Wheel

Driving

With the exception of the ST, the 1.0-litre EcoBoost is by far the best Focus to drive. In this case, the lightness of the engine gives the Focus a renewed sense of agility and speed – something thats said to have been missing from the current shape thus far. The steering is sharp and accurate, with enough feel to reward spirited driving, and the new six-speed manual box is sufficiently slick. Though on the firm side (with thanks to those big alloys), the ride is never uncomfortable. Body control is exemplary, and the level of grip afforded by the trick Torque Vectoring system is second to none.
Ford Focus Controls
A word of warning though – as well as firming up the ride, those alloys cause the wheel to writhe in your hands on bumpier, rutted roads. Opting for the standard, smaller alloys solves this problem.
Fitted to our Focus is the Driver Assistance Pack. For 900 – it gives you: Active City Stop, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Aid, Traffic Sign Recognition, Driver Alert, Auto High Beam and the Blind Spot Information System. With the possible exception of Auto High Beam, which in my experience is a fraction too slow to react to oncoming traffic – this is a pack well worth having.
Also fitted to our car is Active Cruise Control – it works well, but wed only option this if you’re going to be doing most of your miles on the motorway.
Ford Focus Rear

Engine

After 7,000 miles with Fords three-pot, were still consummately impressed. Engines with fewer than four cylinders are typically rough and uncouth, so 200 of the carmakers Dunton based engineers put additional effort into ensuring the EcoBoost was as smooth, if not smoother than anything else out there. Its near silent at idle, and quiet even at motorway speeds – although push the accelerator a little harder into the carpet and you’ll be greeted by a fantastic pseudo six-cylinder warble.
Ford Focus Rear Lights
My 123bhp model pulls smoothly through each of its six gears, with a persuasive surge available from as low as 2000rpm, though sixth itself is best reserved for cruising. The long-ish gearing means you’ll need to be doing upwards of 90 before you see 3000rpm on the tach, too. For such a small engine, its high-speed performance really is impressive. I took it on a 600 mile round-trip to Paris, four-up plus luggage, and it would sit quite happily at 85 for hours on end.
Ford claim the 1.0-litre is capable of 56.5mpg, and CO2 emissions of 114g/km. Unfortunately, we’ve not been able to get anywhere near these figures, having managed low to mid-40s. I blame that addictive exhaust note On the plus side though, the Stop/Start system is smooth and quick to respond.

Value

With around 3000 worth of (all the) options, our Focus would set you back 24,270 – which is a lot for a family hatchback.
The sensible thing to do would be opt for a Zetec or Titanium trim car. Both will have most of the kit you need, but neither will set you back more than 20k if you spec carefully.
Ford Focus Back

Verdict

Ive thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Focus – its been a near-flawless performer over the past six months and deserves its spot among the very best in its class. Wed recommend the 1.0-litre wholeheartedly, too, so long as you redress your expectations of wildly impressive fuel economy figures. Small engines need to work harder to gain speed, so though they may be more efficient at a cruise, getting up to said speed is the real issue.
If you’ve got 20k or so to spend on a hatch, you could do a lot worse than a Focus.
For more information, check out our full summary of the Ford Focus, alongside reviews, stats, photos and videos.
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Ford Focus

A family hatchback that's fun to drive
8.1
£16,445 - £31,395
RRP
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