The Ford Focus is arguably the king of hatchbacks. It is the world’s biggest-selling nameplate with more than 16 million examples sold globally since 1998.
Pretty much everyone with a driving licence has owned or at least driven a Focus, so is this – the fourth generation model, due here in September – any good? Auto Express reckons so, having no qualms in proclaiming that ‘Ford really has pulled out all the stops for the [new] Focus’.
Just like any other family hatchback gunning for such a broad appeal, the Focus’ engine range is versatile, comprising the single-litre EcoBoost petrol with 84bhp, 99bhp or 123bhp. The most powerful option is ‘not earth-shatteringly rapid’ in the view of Auto Express and is best used for ‘pootling around town or cruising along on the motorway’.
There’s also a three-cylinder 1.5-litre petrol, offered with either 148bhp or 180bhp – and the latter has so much shove that it threatens to elevate the Focus halfway towards being a warm hatchback instead of a regular family car, Auto Express observes.
Diesel drivers get to choose from the 1.5-litre EcoBlue with 94bhp or 118bhp, or a ‘punchy’ 148bhp two-litre unit. Without any ‘hot’ variants at launch, the likes of VW’s Golf GTI is untroubled by the Focus right now, but can count on ST and RS takes arriving in due course.
Ride & Handling
Auto Express highlights the hatchback’s ability to satisfy petrolheads and families in equal measure, proving every bit as comfy on a long journey as it is fun on a windy B-road. Part of that comfort is down to the car sitting on the all-new C2 platform, while many versions feature independent rear suspension and the option of continuously variable damping, the weekly mag adds.
Top Gear describes cornering as ‘an entirely sanitary affair’, with ‘well-mapped’ steering that ‘simply follows the front wheels, all the way up to the limit’ – the whole thing comes off as ‘a little dull’ in Top Gear’s eyes. Autocar seemed satisfied though, writing: ‘Steering is lighter than I remember, but it’s accurate and precise, if not the last word in communication.’
Historically, the Golf has been the go-to name for hatchback drivers wanting a cabin with a premium feel – and that hasn’t changed even with the roomier interior, Top Gear says. They notes that key parts of the cabin are moulded from soft-touch plastic, while door bins are carpet-lined. However, it doesn’t quite dethrone the Golf due to the hard and scratchy door-shutting grab handles.
Auto Express liked the Focus’ simple, uncluttered dashboard and was relieved that heating and ventilation controls were still physical dials and buttons, rather than integrated into the infotainment system.
Ratings & Verdict
So should you buy the new Focus? Autocar thinks so, stating that no other family hatchback ‘drives as pleasingly as a Focus does’. Aside from protecting its spot at the top of the dynamic tree, the new Focus adds extra functionality too.
And the ratings say it all…
- What Car – 4/5 stars
- Auto Express – 4.5/5 stars
- Top Gear – 9/10
- Autocar – 4/5 stars