The Focus continues to be one of the best-driving family cars on sale
When it comes to the Ford Focus’s engines, there are three sizes to consider: 1.0, 1.5 or 2.0 litres.
Ford’s 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine is available in no less than three power outputs (85, 100 and 120hp), while its three-cylinder 1.5 petrol comes in 150 and 182hp forms. Then there’s a four-cylinder 1.5 diesel available in 95 and 120hp power outputs, and lastly, a 2.0-litre diesel engine that produces 150hp. Still with us?
A six speed manual gearbox is standard, but an eight-speed automatic ‘box can be paired with the 1.0 125 and 1.5 150 petrols, and 1.5 120 and 2.0 diesels.
There’s a huge amount of choice when it comes to Focus engines. Don’t be put off by Ford’s modest 1.0-litre three cylinder petrols - they’re fantastic
The 1.5 petrol in 150hp form pulls strongly from low revs so you don’t have to keep changing down a gear in search of burst of acceleration. There’s some vibration at idle felt through the steering wheel and pedals, but it smoothes out as the revs rise and never gets too noisy when pushed hard. It should return around 40mpg, too.
We’ve also tried the 1.5 diesel with 120hp, which is the engine to go for if you plan on doing a fair amount of motorway mileage. It’s a bit grumbly on startup but smooths out when accelerating and quietens down at a cruise. It should also return close to 60mpg.
However, our experience of Ford’s 125hp 1.0-litre petrol in other Ford models suggests that’ll be the engine to go for. It never feels off the pace and will be cheaper to buy and run than the 1.5 petrol.
It’s simple: the Ford Focus has for years stood as the benchmark by which other family car manufacturers engineer their cars for ride and handling characteristic. It might never have been the most expensive or premium family car, but the Focus has shown up plusher competition on the road for years.
The same still rings true, but there are better versions of the Focus than others. There was a time when all Focus models had advanced independent rear suspension, but now all Focus models south of the 1.5 petrol and 2.0 diesel get a slightly cheaper set-up.
With this more advanced suspension fitted, the Focus is a joy to drive. In fact, it’s the best family car to drive full stop. Its steering feels natural, the car’s body control is great and the car manages to remain composed through corners no matter what you throw at it.
ST-Line cars also benefit from suspension that has been lowered slightly for even better control through tight bends, but with no detriment to the Ford Focus’s comfortable ride.
Probably even better news is that the Focus’s cheaper suspension doesn’t ruin thing – far from it. It’s still very comfortable over bumps and ruts and feels superb agile for a family hatchback.
Vignale models get a head-up display as standard, while its a cheap option on some lesser models. It doesn’t project onto the windscreen as in some cars, instead projecting onto a plastic screen above the instrument cluster, but it’s clear and works well so is worth adding if you can stretch to it.
A reasonably-priced Driver Assistance Pack can be added to ST-Line X trim and above and brings traffic sign recognition and adaptive cruise control with a system that’ll steer to keep you in your lane, too. However, we found it a little annoying, as it tends to ‘bounce’ the car between the lines every now and then rather than keep you on a constant path.
And, if you really don’t like parking, Ford offers a Park Assist system that’ll take over and steer you into a space.