The Ford Focus has been a best-seller in the UK for many years, and the latest generation is even better. Unveiled in 2011, it was heavily updated in 2014, bringing some new engines, a new front grille, and a higher-quality interior.
The Focus isn’t perfect – while the latest car is more refined and better built than those that have gone before, it’s lost some of the handling sparkles that defined the original as one of the best cars in its class. It still offers a great blend of ride and handling, though, and amongst most rivals, it’s great to drive.
Up front, it’s genuinely comfortable, but taller rear passengers might find things a little cramped. The boot’s small, too, and is now beaten by many models in the class below.
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The engines are great though, with a wide range of petrol and diesel on offer. There’s also a slow-selling Focus Electric, though it can’t compete with more modern rivals when it comes to range. The three-cylinder EcoBoost petrol units are especially strong and remain our pick of the range.
Ford Focus Zetec 1.0T EcoBoost (125)
The Ford Focus is one of the best-known names in the car world, which is hardly surprising after nearly twenty years at the top of the C-segment sales charts.
The Focus for sale now is the third generation, launched in 2011 and significantly upgraded in 2014 as part of a mid-life facelift. As that chronology suggests, there’s a fourth generation Focus arriving next year – indeed it’s no secret, as Ford has been testing prototypes in public with the hashtag #TimeToFocus.
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The 2018 model is evolutionary rather than revolutionary but given the enduring strengths of the current car that could be no bad thing. Even this late in its career the Mk3 Focus remains a strong alternative to a formidable range of high-quality rivals including the VW Golf and Vauxhall Astra, SEAT Leon, Audi A3, Honda Civic, Peugeot 308, Renault Megane and Skoda Octavia.
The Focus has retained its top slot thanks to that 2014 update when Ford revamped the engine line-up and added an array of the latest tech. The facelift also sharpened up the style and brought the model into line with newer designs like the Ford Mondeo, including on the inside as the cabin was thoroughly updated.
The Focus is available in two body styles, the standard five-door hatchback and even more practical Focus Estate.
The Focus price list kicks off with the Focus Style ECOnetic which is an economy special offering up to 82mpg from its 1.5TDCi turbodiesel, or the similarly priced Focus Zetec Edition with 1.0T Ecoboost 99bhp engine. You can specify higher power versions of both engines in the Zetec Edition too, and it’s a popular spec with Ford SYNC 3 and satnav on an 8-inch touchscreen, cruise control, 16-inch alloy wheels and power windows and mirrors all featuring.
Moving up to the Focus Titanium adds auto headlamps, LED running lights, rain sensing wipers, City Stop, along with dual zone climate control. You can also select 1.5-litre petrol and 2.0-litre diesel engine options. The luxurious Titanium X gives you big 17-inch alloys, Bi-Xenon headlamps, Active Park Assist, a rear-view camera and partial leather trim.
Sporty Ford fans will prefer the Focus ST, which comes in three versions and provides a genuine alternative to the VW Golf GTi. The real show-stopper in the fast Focus range though is the 345bhp Focus RS with its four-wheel drive chassis and spectacular body kit.
The popular C-Segment Ford is also available with electric power. The Ford Focus Electric is rare because practicality is compromised compared to the standard hatch, and then there’s the limited range. Ford claims the Nissan Leaf and BMW i3 as rivals, but both of these are less compromised.