In-depth reviews

Ford Focus Estate review

The estate option adds another dimension to the fun-driving and family-friendly Ford Focus line-up

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.5 out of 5

Price
£29,630 to £40,305
  • Spacious
  • Stylish
  • Good fun to drive
  • Vignale models are pricey
  • Smallest engines feel sluggish
  • Some rivals are bigger
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It’s a sector that’s lost out in recent years thanks to the trend for SUVs, but the Ford Focus Estate model is here to remind us that the original family-friendly format still has a lot to offer. More handsome and stylish than you might expect, the Focus Estate combines practical load-lugging ability with a fun-to-drive factor you’ll struggle to find in a top-heavy compact SUV or MPV.

With solid build quality, loads of efficient engine and gearbox options plus trim levels to suit every pocket, it’s only the fickle finger of fashion that stands between the Focus Estate and soaring sales.

About the Ford Focus Estate

The Ford Focus has been a staple of the European car market for twenty-odd years, and an estate variant has always been a part of its success story.

We’re now up to the Mk4 Ford Focus Estate, and the post-facelift version at that. In 2021 Ford refined its offering with sharpened looks, the latest SYNC4 infotainment system, a range of 48-volt mild-hybrid engines and some clever updates to the load area of the estate designed to make it even more user-friendly. 

You can buy a Focus as a regular five-door hatch if you don’t need the full load-lugging capacity of the estate model, but for just over £1,000 the boot-space upgrade from 375 litres to 575 litres will seem like a sound investment to many buyers.

The trim level range is the same as for the hatchback Focus with Trend opening proceedings followed by the popular Titanium models, sporty ST-Line and the Active spec. The Active cars feature a raised ride height and pseudo-SUV styling with protective cladding around the wheelarches. They are an effort to counter the lure of all those fashionable SUV options that have been stealing estate car sales in recent times.

Above the entry level Trend specification there is also the option to add the Vignale pack to your Ford Focus Estate. Vignale used to be a standalone trim level but no longer. The resulting Titanium Vignale, Active Vignale and ST-Line Vignale models give a more premium look and feel to the Focus with improved materials in the cabin and styling tweaks outside, including bigger wheels. All of which only leaves the hot hatch ST model to serve-up the Focus Estate’s most focused driving experience.

The engine range tops out with the four-cylinder, 276bhp 2.3-litre EcoBoost unit in the ST, but the main focus of the modern range is the more restrained three-cylinder 1.0-litre EcoBoost powerplant. This is available in a base 123bhp form with a six-speed manual gearbox or with 48-volt mHEV mild-hybrid technology and either 123bhp or 153bhp. 

With the hybrid engines there’s the choice of six-speed manual or seven-speed Powershift automatic transmissions, the latter being a DCT dual clutch arrangement. The only other option currently available is the four-cylinder 118bhp 1.5-litre EcoBlue diesel that comes exclusively with an eight-speed torque converter automatic controlled by a rotary selector instead of a lever.

Ford has always offered two different suspension set-ups with the Mk4 Focus with more powerful versions getting multi-link rear suspension and the lesser engined versions getting a torsen beam. These days, all the Focus Estates have the multi-link setup and the five-door hatches get the cruder option - with the exception of the Ford Focus ST hot hatch.

The SUVs may have taken over the car market but there’s still a lot of life left in the estate car sector, and the Focus Estate faces an array of highly competitive rivals. The list includes the Hyundai i30 Tourer, SEAT Leon Estate, Skoda Octavia Estate and the Volkswagen Golf Estate. These cars present a lower-riding alternative to mid-size SUVs like the Peugeot 3008, SEAT Ateca, Nissan Qashqai and Skoda Karoq.

For an alternative review of the Ford Focus Estate, visit our sister site carbuyer.co.uk...

Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.0 EcoBoost 85 Style 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £19,415

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.5 EcoBlue 120 Zetec Edition 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £23,585

Fastest

  • Name
    2.3 EcoBoost ST 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £33,710
Group website editor

Steve looks after the Auto Express website; planning new content, growing online traffic and managing the web team. He’s been a motoring journalist, road tester and editor for over 20 years, contributing to titles including MSN Cars, Auto Trader, The Scotsman and The Wall Street Journal.

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