Ford Focus Estate
It's bigger but is it better? We test the estate version of the new Ford Focus in 177bhp EcoBoost trim
Good looking, very spacious and fun to drive, the new Focus Estate is a fine addition to the range. It’s not clever like the C-MAX MPV – the rear seats simply fold flat to increase boot space – but it is big. And this simple, grown-up, useful and comfortable car will be a huge hit. Our model’s flagship EcoBoost engine is a peach, but it’s pricey – so the sweet spot will be lower-powered 1.6-litre petrol and diesel versions.
The Ford Focus family is growing in more ways than one. This is the new estate, which joins the five-door hatch in the line-up – and the extra dimensions mean it adds even more practicality to the already impressive package.
Ford has confirmed there will be no three-door, so it expects the estate to mop up 15 per cent of Focus sales in the UK, and 30 per cent in Europe. It commands a £1,100 premium over the equivalent hatch, but is it worthy of the price hike?
The wheelbase is exactly the same, at 2,648mm, so rear leg and headroom are identical. But the load carrier is 198mm longer, at 4,556mm, and it’s this that adds the extra boot space. With the rear seats in place, there’s 476 litres to play with – that’s 24 litres less than in the Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer. Fold them, and you get a completely flat, 1,502-litre space. Thanks to a more inclined suspension layout, the floor is as low as possible, and the load area can accommodate objects up to 119mm wider than the hatch.
As you’d expect, an array of options helps you maximise this practicality. They include mats to protect the carpet, luggage nets to hold your shopping in place and a dog guard. Polished aluminium roof rails are also fitted as standard.
While the hatch’s styling has become a contentious issue, the chunky wheelarches, angular grille and bold headlights have been translated well into the estate. To ensure the vertical rear end doesn’t appear too mundane, a spoiler has been neatly integrated at the top.
Our car is one of the range’s top performers, with its 179bhp direct-injection EcoBoost turbo engine. The unit is incredibly smooth, with huge mid-range punch. Most of the time it barely seems turbocharged, such is the urgency of the throttle response. And because the estate weighs only 24kg more than the hatch, its acceleration feels identical from behind the wheel, even though the official claimed 0-62mph time is two-tenths slower, at 8.1 seconds.
The six-speed manual gearbox is a slick as ever, while ride and refinement are excellent, which makes this Focus feel more grown-up and marginally less fun than the version it replaces. This is a criticism that’s been levelled at the hatch already, although in the more family oriented estate it’s a plus point.
The engine line-up is the same as for the five-door, which means a wide range of petrol and diesel options. All 1.6 TDCi and 1.6 EcoBoost units feature stop-start as standard, with the most efficient oil-burner putting out only 109g/km of CO2.
While the Focus estate is already on sale in the UK, this 179bhp EcoBoost model doesn’t arrive until November. And when it does, it will be badged Zetec S. That means a bodykit, bigger wheels and firmer suspension will all come as standard.