Ford Focus

Blue Oval challenger is as good as it's ever been, with impressive dynamics, and a varied engine range.

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.

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.

A new dual-clutch transmission, dubbed PowerShift, is available with the 2.0 TDCi and is well worth the extra cash.

Low running costs help 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. 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.

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