Ford Focus Hatchback review (2004-2011)
A recent facelift has seen the Focus back near the top of the class. The blue oval family favourite now adds desirability to its exceptional driving dynamics.
The second generation Focus lost the sharp lines that made the original so eye-catching. Thankfully, the facelift has remedied that, bringing a subtle and sophisticated new look. The Coupe-Convertible lets the side down with an ill-proportioned rear end, but the estate remains handsome as well as practical. There is also a four-door saloon, but the hatchback versions offer more versatility for the same price.
Ford has simplified the trim line-up, with Style, Studio, Zetec and Titanium models making up the bulk of the range. The entry-level Style offers great value if you can live without air-con. But we’d recommend the mid-range Zetec, which has all the kit you’ll need. Inside, cabin space is class competitive, although it lacks oddment stowage. Opening the tailgate reveals a 385-litre boot on the hatch, while the estate is capable of packing in 1,525-litres.
For most, the excellent diesel engines will represent the best choice. The 1.6 TDCi the best of the bunch and successfully mixes zest, fuel economy and refinement. There’s also 1.8 TDCi with 113bhp and a punchy 134bhp 2.0-litre oil-burner. Petrol fans have the choice of five units. The 1.4- litre feels underpowered, the 1.6 and 1.8-litre petrol engines give adequate performance, while the 2.0-litre is surprisingly rapid. The flagship Focus ST gets the characterful 222bhp 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo, which allows it to scorch from zero to 60mph in 6.8 seconds.
The Focus tops the class when it comes to driving enjoyment, with a composed ride, agile handling and well-weighted steering. The Zetec adds sports suspension, which features stiffer springs to sharpen the handling even further. Sadly the CC convertible can’t match the rest of the range for driver enjoyment, as its bodyshell suffers from too much flex. A new dual-clutch transmission, dubbed PowerShift, is available with the 2.0 TDCi and is well worth the extra cash.
A mixed bag here, with decent running costs offset below par residuals. After three years, the Ford will be worth around 35 per cent of its original value, lagging behind the VW Golf and Honda Civic. On the plus side, you should be able to negotiate a healthy discount on the list price. Better still, Ford has a vast dealer network and servicing costs are inexpensive.
Ford’s ECOnetic technology made its debut on the Focus. Thanks to an aerodynamic bodykit, low rolling resistance tyres and taller gear ratios, the 1.6-litre oil burner will return 65.7mpg and emits just 115g/km of CO2. However, the standard car with same engine is hardly eco-unfriendly, delivering 62.7mpg at the pumps and 119g/km of CO2. However, plump for the ST and you’ll struggle to get fuel economy above 25mpg. Electronic stability control is standard across the range, as is the five-star EuroNCAP rating.
Our Choice: 1.6 TDCi Zetec