The Focus’ dashboard is a sea of fiddly buttons that are tricky to use when driving – even the infotainment system’s a pain. Sadly, build quality also leaves a lot to be desired
The Focus’ cabin might have looked good when it was launched in 2011, but things have moved on since then. Even with an eight-inch touchscreen display fitted, the Focus’ plain dashboard and cluttered centre console look more dated than those in the slick Vauxhall Astra or stylish Renault Megane.
Besides a soft-touch finish to the dashboard, most of the plastics feel hard, cheap and flimsy and lack the solid build quality you’ll find in a VW Golf. Annoyingly, the steering wheel in mid-range Zetec models comes with a tacky fake-leather finish that feels a little sticky.
Thankfully, the driving position is excellent and the sports seats fitted to ST-Line versions – with their thicker bolsters and more supportive shape – make it an even more comfortable place to spend time.
The Focus’ dated design might have you thinking you’ve woken up in the late 00s
You’re best off avoiding entry-level Style versions of the Focus. They come with a DAB digital radio, Bluetooth connectivity and a USB port for your phone but their tiny 4.2-inch display looks cheap, is hard to read and lacks any touchscreen functionality.
Spend around £650 more and you’ll bag a Zetec model with Ford’s latest eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system and satellite navigation as standard. Unfortunately, it isn’t quite as responsive to your touches or as sharp looking as the systems fitted to the VW Golf or Vauxhall Astra, and the fiddly on-screen buttons make scrolling through settings tricky. The confusing menu layout means you’ll get annoyed just putting a postcode into the sat-nav.
Thankfully, the system comes equipped with intuitive Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity features as standard. These allow you to sidestep Ford’s clunky own-brand navigation system and mirror your smartphone’s sat nav on the built-in eight-inch touchscreen display instead.
The Focus’ standard six-speaker stereo is fine, but top-spec Titanium X models come with the option to upgrade to a 10-speaker Sony unit. Unless you’re a serious music fan, the standard stereo should be loud and bassy enough.
All Focus models come with Ford’s MyKey system as standard. This feature comes with a second programmable key lets you limit the music volume, cap the car’s speed and lock various safety features on – ideal if you’re lending the car to a less experienced driver.