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
£21,615 to £35,160
  • Spacious
  • Stylish
  • Good fun to drive
  • Vignale models are pricey
  • Smallest engines feel sluggish
  • Some rivals are bigger

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 before, with flowing lines that are far from boxy, 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.

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.

Now in Mk4 guise, the Focus boasts improved cabin space, while the interior quality has been upgraded to the point where fit and finish is among the class leaders.

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, and save yourself around £1,000. As well as a broad range of model trims, both hatch and estate variants come in Active spec which features a raised ride height and pseudo-SUV styling. It’s an effort to counter the lure of all those fashionable ‘crossover’ and SUV options that have been stealing estate car sales in recent times.

That said, there’s still a lot of life left in the estate car sector, and the Focus faces an array of highly competitive rivals. The list includes the Hyundai i30 Tourer, Peugeot 308 SW, SEAT Leon Estate, Skoda Octavia Estate and the Volkswagen Golf Estate.

The Focus Estate offers the same engine options as its five-door sister model, which means you get to pick from three-cylinder EcoBoost petrols and four-cylinder EcoBlue diesels. Gearboxes are six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic, the latter controlled by a rotary selector instead of a lever.

Seven trim levels encompass the base Zetec, Titanium, Titanium X, ST-Line, ST-Line X, Vignale and ST models adding increasing luxury, and cost. Even the base models feature air con and alloy wheels, as well as autonomous braking and lane-keeping assistance. However, you need to choose at least the Titanium spec to get Ford’s SYNC 3 infotainment system with smartphone compatibility.

There's also the Ford Focus Active, a toughened-up version with extra ride height, plastic exterior trim, a set of roof rails and some unique interior touches. It's available with X and X Vignale trim upgrades and is Ford's take on cars like the Skoda Octavia Scout and Volvo V60 Cross Country, albeit without four-wheel drive. It makes a fine alternative to both established rivals and family SUVs like the SEAT Ateca.

The latest Focus was launched on Ford’s brand new C2 platform, which has a longer wheelbase than previous models to release more space for rear seat passengers.

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

Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.0 EcoBoost 125 Vignale Edition 5dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £0

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

More on Focus Estate

New Ford Focus Vignale Estate 2019 review
Ford Focus Vignale Estate - front
Ford Focus Estate
13 Feb 2019

New Ford Focus Vignale Estate 2019 review

We like the new Ford Focus Estate and we like the new Focus Vignale, but does combining the two make it one of the best cars in the range?
New Ford Focus Estate ST-Line X 2019 review
Ford Focus Estate - front
Ford Focus Estate
23 Jan 2019

New Ford Focus Estate ST-Line X 2019 review

Can the new Ford Focus Estate ST-Line X make the Focus Estate a class leader? We find out...
Ford Focus Estate vs Skoda Octavia Estate vs VW Golf Estate
ford focus estate vs skoda octavia estate vs vw golf estate header
Ford Focus Estate
21 Jan 2019

Ford Focus Estate vs Skoda Octavia Estate vs VW Golf Estate

Not everyone wants an SUV, so we see if Ford’s practical new Focus Estate can chop down VW and Skoda rivals
New Ford Focus Estate 2019 review
Ford Focus Estate - front
Ford Focus Estate
11 Dec 2018

New Ford Focus Estate 2019 review

The new Ford Focus Estate is more spacious than ever before, but is it now a class leader?
New Ford Focus Active Estate caught on camera
Ford Focus Active Estate - front
Ford Focus Estate
7 Sep 2018

New Ford Focus Active Estate caught on camera

Due on sale in 2019, the Ford Focus Active Estate has been spied testing with its 4x4-esque design elements
New Ford Focus ST-Line Estate 2018 review
Ford Focus ST-Line Estate - front
Ford Focus Estate
29 Jun 2018

New Ford Focus ST-Line Estate 2018 review

Ford Focus ST-Line Estate joins the all-new hatch in the line-up, and it could well be a class leader…
Ford Focus Estate (2011-2018) review
Ford Focus Estate
12 Feb 2016

Ford Focus Estate (2011-2018) review

The Ford Focus Estate is practical and drives brilliantly, but isn't the best load-lugger out there
Ford Focus Estate vs SEAT Leon ST & Peugeot 308 SW
Ford Focus Estate
22 Jan 2015

Ford Focus Estate vs SEAT Leon ST & Peugeot 308 SW

Can Ford’s Focus Estate close the gap on the best load-lugging family cars? We find out as it meets the SEAT Leon ST & Peugeot 308 SW
Ford Focus Estate 2014 review
Ford Focus Estate
12 Sep 2014

Ford Focus Estate 2014 review

Updates have improved Ford Focus Estate's tech and efficiency, but we’re not sure about the boot
Ford Focus Edge ECOnetic 88g/km estate review
Ford Focus Estate Edge Econetic 88g 2013 front tracking
Ford Focus Estate
21 Oct 2013

Ford Focus Edge ECOnetic 88g/km estate review

This new Ford Focus Estate is one of the greenest estate cars out there, and it drives well too
Ford Focus Estate: Third report
Ford Focus Estate
Ford Focus Estate
2 Apr 2013

Ford Focus Estate: Third report

A specialist spring clean takes the winter dirt off our long-term Focus Estate
Ford Focus Estate: Second report
Ford Focus Estate front static header
Ford Focus Estate
14 Jan 2013

Ford Focus Estate: Second report

Only a trained ear can detect the three-cylinder engine of our EcoBoost car
Ford Focus Estate: First report
Ford Focus Estate front static
Ford Focus Estate
7 Nov 2012

Ford Focus Estate: First report

The efficient Ford Focus Estate 1.0-litre EcoBoost joins our fleet
Focus ST Estate police car
Ford Focus ST estate police car front
Ford Focus Estate
29 Oct 2012

Focus ST Estate police car

A one-off Ford Focus ST Estate police car has been built by Ford Special Vehicle Preparations
Ford’s lightweight future
Ford Focus prototype carbon fibre bonnet
Ford Focus Estate
9 Oct 2012

Ford’s lightweight future

Ford has developed a carbon-fibre bonnet for the Focus, which cuts weight and boosts efficiency
Ford Focus 1.6 EcoBoost Zetec S Estate
Ford Focus 1.6 EcoBoost Zetec S Estate front action
Ford Focus Estate
2 Aug 2012

Ford Focus 1.6 EcoBoost Zetec S Estate

Ford Focus Estate gets a sporty makeover with Zetec S trim and a more powerful EcoBoost petrol engine
Ford Focus Estate
Ford Focus Estate
Ford Focus Estate
3 Jun 2011

Ford Focus Estate

It's bigger but is it better? We test the estate version of the new Ford Focus in 177bhp EcoBoost trim