The Ford Focus is a family car that’s fun to drive and fairly frugal, but its boot is pretty small compared to other similar-sized hatchbacks
The Ford Focus is getting on a bit these days, but it’s still a decent family car. It’s fun to drive but, unfortunately, it doesn’t feel quite as modern inside as a Vauxhall Astra, nor can it carry as much luggage as a VW Golf.
It’s available in a variety of versions, including a big-booted estate, as well as performance ST and RS models, but if you’re looking for a decent family car then the five-door hatchback reviewed here is the model to go for.
The current Focus was launched in 2011 and updated in 2015. Its bumpers were remodelled, a revised infotainment system was fitted and three new engines – a 1.5-litre petrol engine in 150 and 180hp guises and a 150hp 2.0-litre turbo diesel – were added to the lineup. The current car retains the old model’s reassuring five-star safety rating – awarded to it by Euro NCAP, albeit under 2012’s less stringent testing regime.
Jump in the back seats and things don’t really improve. There are a few handy cubbies on each side but headroom is tight, the narrow door openings make fitting a child seat a pain and you’ll find the lump in the floor limits foot room slightly if you carry three passengers abreast.
It’s not hard to see why the Focus is one of Britain’s most popular cars – it drives well, looks great and and is affordable
The Focus’ 316-litre boot can’t really be called roomy, either – not when a Golf has 380 litres of space. You can expand the Ford’s loadbay to 1,215 litres by folding the rear seats down but the lack of an adjustable boot floor and a sizeable boot lip makes loading large heavy items, such as flat-pack furniture, difficult.
The best engine if you do lots of town driving is the frugal 1.0-litre petrol but it feels slightly overworked on motorways. If you’re a high-mileage driver, you’d be better off with the more powerful 150hp 1.5-litre petrol model or one of the two 1.5-litre diesels – they’ll be quieter at speed and cheaper to run. The most frugal of those – with 95hp – is claimed to return 74.3mpg. In the real world, expect to see a figure in the low sixties, however.
Avoid entry-level Style models – they come with barely any creature comforts and have to make do with steel wheels and plastic hubcaps, as well as a tiny 4.2-inch dashboard display. Zetec cars will set you back around £650 more but it’s worth it because they come with an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system, sat nav and alloy wheels as standard.
The Ford Focus is a family car that’s fun to drive and smart looking, but its tight back seats and small boot count against it when compared to similar cars.
Watch our group test video to see how the Ford Focus compares to the VW Golf and Vauxhall Astra, and read our following interior, driving and specifications review sections for a more in-depth look at this popular family car.