The Ford Focus is such a ubiquitous sight on our roads that it is easy to forget just how good it is; the range gains a buzzScore of 8.1, placing it firmly in the upper echelon of the family hatchback class.
The Zetec EcoBoost 180 claims to offer decent fuel consumption alongside sparkling performance, the Holy Grail of vehicle engineering and car ownership. Is it advertising puff or a claim grounded in reality? Well, to find out you know what you have to do
The EcoBoost 180 is touted as a warm hot hatchback and so gets a sporting body kit comprising front and rear spoilers, deep side sills and a deeper rear bumper. The overall effect might be a bit TOWIE but its not at all overdone; my wife, usually one to admire only the most discreet of cars, thought our test Focus was a good-looking car, which is praise indeed.
The rest of the car bright Candy Yellow paintwork aside is conventional Focus, which means a wieldy size thats easy to place and park and feels decently substantial. It smart, individual, and distinctive, which isnt something that is common in this class.
The interior has received the attentions of Fords go-faster department too, and features alloy pedals and semi-sports seats that are far more comfortable and supportive than they look. The steering wheel is leather-trimmed and beautifully placed, as are the pedals that cry out to be used for a spot of heel and toeing. Ford understands blue-collar aspirations and hopes better than anyone and the Focus delivers the sporting feel that its looks suggest that it will deliver.
Everything is ergonomically placed and easy to operate, meaning that I was up and running within five minutes jumping in; the only thing I needed to check was the Lane Departure Warning symbols, which are a mite confusing, although the system works well enough. Its part of the optional Driver Assistance Pack, which also provides Active City Stop, Traffic Sign Recognition, Driver Alert, Auto High Beam, Blind Spot Info System, Auto Headlights, Auto Wipers, and Auto Dimming Rear Mirror.
The rear seats arent the most generous but our seven- and ten-year-olds fitted in with ease and we got a fortnights shopping in the boot too, reinforcing the Focus family credentials.
The Focus is renowned for its handling and the EcoBoost 180 is no exception to the rule, skipping and scampering down the road in a symphony of fluidity and poise. No journey is too small to enjoy driving one of Fords finest, a car that is at home on a B-road as it is in the city or on the motorway.
The sports suspension fitted to our test car maintained a very good ride, although small, frequent road imperfections could sometimes set up an oscillating response that seemed to get out of synch very quickly, forcing me to slow down.
However, in the Focus defence, this only happened a couple of times and for the rest of the week the chassis was sublime. Brakes, steering, six-speed manual gearbox all are in perfect harmony.
We reviewed the EcoBoost engine a while ago and were impressed with its performance, efficiency and the lovely noises that it makes and the 1.6-litre EcoBoost engine is just as impressive when it is subjected to a longer test over several hundred miles.
Our car develops 177bhp and 177lb ft, giving lively performance accompanied by a wonderfully gruff engine note. It has a top speed of 138mph with 62mph coming up in 7.9 seconds; strong performance and probably as powerful as anyone ever needs (although wants is something very different)
Fuel consumption can be as low as 47.9mpg on the official average cycle although 40mpg is more likely for the average owner as I only managed just over 36mpg over a weeks worth of mixed driving. Remember, though, this is a quick car and 40mpg is still astonishingly good given the performance available.
Value for Money
Our car cost 22,495 with a couple of extras, making it quite expensive. Ditch the paint and Driver Assistance Pack and the cost drops to a more reasonable 20,700.
However, canny drivers might like to consider a bare bones 1.0-litre EcoBoost. The range starts at just 17,445 and discounts are available
The Ford Focus Zetec 1.6 EcoBoost is a fine car, lets be clear. If you bought one with your own hard-earned money it is unlikely that you would ever regret it; it handles beautifully, has strong performance, and is very practical.
But. The Focus is no longer King of the Road and there are better cars out there.
The 1.0-litre EcoBoost has many of its siblings attributes and is considerably cheaper to buy and run – and for those who have twenty thousand pounds burning a whole in their pocket there is always the Volvo V40. Based on the Ford Focus chassis, the V40 is a far, far better car to drive and own with a genuine premium feel and the best chassis in its class.
Thinking of buying a new Focus?
Use carwow to compare Ford dealers’ best prices online. Select the Focus you want and dealers will submit their best offers. Compare them online based on price, location, delivery time and reviews of each dealer. Contact the dealers when you want and buy direct if you want to go ahead.