Ford Focus Titanium Navigator review

The Ford Focus is a capable and smart family hatch. However, can it beat the Volkswagen Golf?

Ford Focus

The Ford Focus is a well handling, good looking family hatch with tonnes of kit. However, it now feels old compared to the latest Volkswagen Golf and SEAT Leon.

The Ford Focus Titanium Navigator hails from the upper end of the Ford Focus range, offering a significant haul of equipment to family hatch buyers. This Focus is the third generation of Ford's family hatch and is still a highly appealing car thanks to its superb driving experience, good looks and outstanding value.

While it may not have the prestigious appeal of some of its German rivals, the Ford Focus is one of the prettiest family hatchbacks on sale today with its mix of curves and creases making out stand out against the up-right looking Volkswagen Golf or slightly staid looking BMW 1 Series.

The Titanium Navigator trim level is available on the five-door and estate variants of the Ford Focus. It is set apart from the mid-range Zetec model by its LED tail-lights, black gloss trim around the grille and standard fit 16-inch alloys. However, larger 18-inch alloys are an option.

Ford Focus Estate interior

Unfortunately, the Ford Focus' daring exterior doesn't quite transfer to the interior and the result of the dashboard is fussy and less intuitive to use than that found in the Volkswagen Golf or SEAT Leon. The buttons on the centre console are fiddly, and once again, the quality of materials plus fit and finish is not up to Volkswagen standards.

What the interior of the Focus lacks in quality, it makes up for in standard kit provided by Ford. Focus Titanium Navigator buyers get a Sony DAB radio/navigation system, Bluetooth connectivity, automatic headlights, dual-zone climate control and cruise control with speed limiter.

Once again, the Focus misses out to the Golf in terms of practicality, as its boot size trails the Volkswagen by a massive 64-litres. However, the Ford can take four adults in relative comfort and the Focus has lots of useful storage space dotted around the cabin.

The Ford Focus Titanium Navigator shares the majority of its petrol and diesel engines with the mid-range Zetec. However, while both models get Ford's punchy yet efficient 1.0 turbo-charged EcoBoost and ECOnetic engines, the Titanium Navigator spec Ford Focus misses out on the 180bhp 1.6-litre petrol found in the Zetec S warm hatch.

The model we drove with the 138bhp 2.0-litre TDCi diesel engine felt sluggish compared to the Volkswagen Golf, but the Ford Focus is also 10kg heavier than its German counterpart, weighing in at 1,421 kilograms. Its 43.8 combined cycle was also disappointing, as was its 129g/km emissions of CO2.

Happily, though, the Ford Focus has lost none of its driver appeal and the poised chassis which characterised the first one is still one of the latest car's trademarks. Quick steering, strong grip and excellent agility means the Focus is more engaging in corners than a Golf, and a slick and precise gearshift, progressive brakes and superb body control complete the dynamic masterclass.

In spite of its nimble handling, the Ford Focus is also astoundingly comfortable and it glides over bumps and potholes. However, it's not as refined as the Golf, so more road and wind noise disrupt the otherwise calm cabin.

Another downside to the Ford Focus, is its weak residuals. On paper, its low prices and long kit list make it look like good value. However, after three years since purchase, you'd be lucky to get even 40 per cent of its value back.

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