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In-depth reviews

Ford Focus review - Interior, design and technology

The Focus's interior quality is very good, while new infotainment system is slick and easy to use

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.5 out of 5

Interior, design and technology Rating

4.0 out of 5

Price
£28,470 to £42,755
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Ford played things a bit safe with the fourth-generation Focus’ styling; it was clearly an evolution of the old car’s, but also incorporated some styling cues that we recognised from its little brother, the Fiesta – especially around the front end. The view along the sides is dominated by the longer wheelbase – the gap between the front and rear axles – which is the longest it’s ever been on a Focus.

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A facelift in 2022 brought in styling tweaks to the front and rear ends, with changes to the light clusters, grille and bumpers, while the Ford logo now sits within the grille rather than on top. There are new alloy wheel designs to choose from, too.

On-board technology has been given a thorough overhaul, with the Focus now running Ford's latest SYNC 4 infotainment software. All models now include a 13.2-inch touchscreen, while the X pack versions add a 12.3-inch digital instrument display.

The interior quality is good enough to rival the best in class – without delivering a knockout blow on the VW Golf, perhaps. There are soft-touch padded materials up high, mixed with metallic finishes depending on which trim level you go for, and while there are harder plastics (notably on the centre console between the front seats), they’re generally in areas that you’re not likely to touch all that often anyway. It’s good to see padded door liners and flock-lined storage areas, too; they give the cabin a bit more of an air of luxury and help to cut down vibrations and rattles. 

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

Ford’s SYNC 3 infotainment system was snappy enough, quick to respond to inputs and blessed with a reasonably simple interface with big buttons that were easy to use on the move. But the Blue Oval's latest SYNC 4 set-up is simply one of the very best in this class, and the 13.2-inch central touchscreen is one of the largest of any family hatchback too. 

The fonts and graphics are simple, clear and consistent, loading times are excellent, and routes boot up more quickly than in rivals like the Vauxhall Astra, although the VW Golf is also very speedy in this area.

Digital heating and ventilation controls are often not the most user-friendly, but we really like them in the Mk4 Focus, while buyers will benefit from improved wireless connectivity, which includes Apple CarPlayAndroid Auto and over-the-air updates.

We found that the 12.3-inch digital driver's display in Focus rivals the VW Golf's Virtual Cockpit system for clarity, although the Golf and the Vauxhall Astra offer more customisation when it comes to displaying information.

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Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.0 EcoBoost 85 Style 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £18,315

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.5 EcoBlue 95 Style 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £19,615

Fastest

  • Name
    2.3 EcoBoost ST Edition 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £41,730
News reporter

As our news reporter, Ellis is responsible for covering everything new and exciting in the motoring world, from quirky quadricycles to luxury MPVs. He was previously the content editor for DrivingElectric and won the Newspress Automotive Journalist Rising Star award in 2022.

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