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
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.
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 CarPlay, Android 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.
In this review
- 1Ford Focus reviewThe Ford Focus is a great-handling family hatchback that matches its rivals on interior quality and cabin space
- 2Engines, performance and driveOffering typically superb handling, the Focus is more fun than a family car has any right to be
- 3MPG, CO2 and running costsThe Focus offers great fuel economy, is reasonable to insure and doesn't fare too badly come resale time
- 4Interior, design and technology - currently readingThe Focus's interior quality is very good, while new infotainment system is slick and easy to use
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThere's plenty of space in the Ford Focus cabin - and the boot should be just about big enough to cope with family life
- 6Reliability and safetyThe Ford Focus gets top marks for safety and should prove to be a reliable family car