Ford Focus Estate review
The estate option adds another dimension to the fun-driving and family-friendly Ford Focus line-up
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.
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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 ST, Skoda Octavia Estate, Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer 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 entry-level Style, with Zetec, Titanium, ST-Line and Vignale 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 Zetec 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 trim. It's 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.
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe estate option adds another dimension to the fun-driving and family-friendly Ford Focus line-up
- 2Engines, performance and driveGreat handling that’s indistinguishable for hatch models makes the Focus Estate the driver’s choice in the class
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsThree-pot engines with cylinder deactivation help make the Focus Estate a fuel-sipper
- 4Interior, design and technologyThe most practical Focus is a technological tour de force wrapped in swoopy styling
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe Focus Estate offers extra rear headroom as well as more luggage space than the hatch
- 6Reliability and SafetyImpressive safety tech puts the Focus Estate at the head of the compact pack