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Ford Focus Estate review - Engines, performance and drive

Great handling that’s indistinguishable for hatch models makes the Focus Estate the driver’s choice in the class

The Ford Focus Estate is the first choice for enthusiastic drivers, as it shares the class-leading handling characteristics of the hatchback version. In fact, although the two have different suspension set-ups you’ll struggle to tell them apart from the driving seat.

The estate uses a more sophisticated suspension set-up than entry-level hatchback models, and its independent rear end is configured more like the sporty Focus ST-Line. You can also opt for Continuously Controlled Damping (CCD) on higher spec models, which constantly tweaks the suspension responses as you drive.

Crisp electrically powered steering and an agile chassis mean the car responds nimbly to changes of direction, while the ride quality is supple over all but the sharpest of bumps.

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The manual gearbox is pretty slick, and the eight-speed auto is generally a smooth performer, although it’s not quite as seamlessly impressive as the DSG box in rival VW Golf models.

ST-Line models sit 10mm lower than counterparts, but the slightly sportier set-up barely affects ride comfort. 

Active models ride higher 30mm higher than the standard car. There's a little extra body roll through corners as a result, but the ride quality is slightly plusher; the Focus Active surprises by being fun to drive on country roads an an effortless cruiser on the motorway. 

Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed

There’s a wide range of petrol and diesel engines on offer in the Focus Estate. The petrol line-up starts with the 1.0-litre, three-cylinder EcoBoost, available with 99 or 123bhp. Performance is reasonable, with 0-62mph taking 12.5 seconds and 10.3 seconds, respectively.

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A 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine is also available with either 148bhp or 180bhp. Go for the punchy higher-powered version and you’re looking at a 0-62mph time of 8.5 seconds for the six-speed manual, while the eight-speed auto variant is just a tenth slower at 8.6 seconds. The range-topping Focus ST uses a 2.3-litre four-cylinder unit, producing a whopping 276bhp and managing the sprint in 5.7 seconds.

1.5-litre and 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesels are also available, with outputs between 94bhp and 148bhp. A good mid-range option is the 118bhp engine which takes you from 0-62mph in 10.3 seconds – and is available with the eight speed auto gearbox.

Active models are available with either the 1.0-litre (123bhp) petrol engine, or the 1.5-litre unit with 148bhp. In terms of diesel power, there's the choice of the 118bhp 1.5-litre diesel, or the 2.0-litre with 148bhp. All come with a choice of manual or automatic gearboxes; we recommend the mid-power petrol unit with the excellent six-speed manual transmission. Active models also get extra driving modes for tackling rougher ground, configuring the traction control to work on low-traction surfaces. The result won't see you following Range Rovers up mountains, but country tracks and wintery weather should be more easily dealt with.

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