Ford Focus Hatchback review
All new for 2011, the latest Focus promises the very best in comfort, technology and drivability.
Our Choice: Ford Focus 1.6-litre ECOboost Titanium
Ford revolutionised the family hatchback market with its first Focus... Now it's aiming to do it all again with this, the third evolution of the car. The model continues to impress with its drivability, but builds on that with class leading comfort and impressive technology, including a self parking system. In the past, diesel models were the obvious choice for buyers looking for the best economy and performance. However, the launch of Ford’s EcoBoost petrol motor changes that. Its smooth power delivery is every bit as impressive as its low fuel consumption. Zetec models provide a good balance of luxury and price. Top specification Titanium cars are expensive, but very well equipped.
With its deep front bumper, rounded bodywork and wrap around headlamps, you would never label new Ford Focus the best looking car on the road. Sadly, the magic that made the original model such an exciting car to look at has long since gone... There are few details to get excited about either - just look at those trapezoidal shapes cut into the front bumper of top spec Titanium models.
It's a simlar story inside, though functional and comfortable, the Focus' cabin is not quite up to the standards set by Ford's bigger Mondeo and S-MAX. However the seats are very supportive, and the major controls are neatly arranged.
Driving and performance
It lacks the kerbside design appeal of rivals, but no other car in the compact family car class is quite as good to drive as the new Focus. An all new chassis offers all of the drivability of the original model, but greater comfort too. The electric power steering is light to the touch, and extremely accurate. The engine line-up offers lots of choice, with 1.6-litre petrol engines ranging from 104bhp right up to to 180bhp and 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre diesels ranging from 95bhp to 161bhp. Of these, our favourite is the new 148bhp 1.6-litre EcoBoost turbocharged petrol, which returns more than 47mpg.
MPG and running costs
At present, every single Ford Focus can claim CO2 emissions figures of less than 140g/km, and there's an ECOnetic version that returns an impressive 74.2 mpg and 99g/km. Prices are comparatively high for the newcomer, and it's expected that depreciation will be high, due to the numbers Ford plans to sell.
Measuring 1.5m high, 4.4m long and 1.8m wide, the new five-door Ford Focus is 16mm lower, 21mm longer and 16mm narrower than the car it replaces. Best of all, there's more headroom and legroom for rear passengers than before. However, boot space is been reduced to increase the amount of room on offer. At just 316 litres, it's barely big enough for two suitcases.
Reliability and safety
Ford expects its Focus to score a full five stars in the upcoming EuroNCAP accident tests, thanks to its extensive safety feature package. As well as getting front, side and curtain airbags, all cars get traction control. You can also bet on reliability. The development programme for the new Focus was exhaustive. Should the worst happen, and your Focus break down, Ford's huge network means you'll never be far from help.