Ford Focus (2011-present)

One of Britain’s best-selling cars, the Ford Focus offers a very appealing combination of quality and value

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths 

Handles very nicely
Highly economical diesels
Turbocharged petrols perform well

Weaknesses 

Boot could be bigger
Some reliability and build quality concerns
Petrols can struggle to match claimed economy

The Ford Focus is Britain’s most popular family car, thanks to its Ant and Dec-like abilities to handle any job with charm and polish. Whether it’s a long-distance motorway journey or simply the school run on a rainy day, the Focus will be up to the task.

As well as offering a comfortable ride, the Focus is also fun to drive thanks to direct and accurate steering that allows the driver to feel the grip and position of the tyres. This also comes in handy when threading the car through narrow gaps.

A modern range of engines offer good fuel economy across the range, whether you opt for petrol or diesel. For the ultimate in fuel economy, an electric version is available. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the Ford Focus ST hot hatch and new Focus RS are quick and enormous fun to drive.

In production since 2011, the Focus has been updated throughout its life in an attempt to keep up with the competition, but the family hatchback is starting to feel its age. The dashboard in particular is fussy and feels cheaper than that of the smart and sophisticated Volkswagen Golf – which is more expensive - or the Vauxhall Astra, which offers a similar blend of comfort and driving enjoyment as the Focus.

The Focus is also under attack from crossovers, which combine the agile cornering and fuel economy of a hatchback, with the higher driving position of an off-roader. Buyers are increasingly opting for these cars the best of which include the Peugeot 3008, Seat Ateca and Volkswagen Tiguan.

The Focus also suffers from a small boot in comparison with both crossovers and other hatchbacks, which makes the Ford Focus Estate, with more luggage room, a better option for many buyers.

Ford has stopped selling some of the cheaper versions of the Focus, ahead of an all-new version of the car, which is due to go on sale next year. That makes the list price of the cheapest car almost £20,000, so it's no surprise that there are some new Ford Focus deals that offer discounts of almost 25%.

It's a very different story on the used market, where there's an enormous choice of cars and prices starting at under £7,000.

Air conditioning, alloy wheels and a variety of airbags are standard on virtually every used Focus, while you might find higher-specification models with self-parking and steering assistance to keep you in your lane.

When tested by Euro NCAP in 2012, the Focus achieved a five-star safety rating.

If you do buy one, you’ll be safe in the knowledge that there are so many cars on the road, that it will be easy and cheap to repair. In fact, Ford Focus hatchbacks are common that it’s classless: even Prince William had one when he was learning to drive.

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Last Updated 

Monday, June 19, 2017 - 00:00

Key facts 

Warranty: 
Three years/60,000 miles
Boot size: 
316 litres
Width: 
1,823mm
Length: 
4,360mm
Height: 
1,469mm
Tax (min to max): 
(min to max): £0 to £205

Best Ford Focus for... 

Ford Focus 1.5 TDCi 105 Style ECOnetic
‘ECOnetic’ is Ford’s name for measures designed to maximise efficiency, such as special tyres and more aerodynamic bodywork. The Focus ECOnetic can return up to 83.1mpg and is exempt from road tax due to its low CO2 emissions.
Ford Focus 1.0 EcoBoost Titanium
The 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine punches above its weight, delivering performance you might expect from a 1.4 or 1.6-litre engine. And the Titanium spec includes extra safety kit such as automatic emergency braking, automatic headlights and parking sensors for greater peace of mind.
Ford Focus 2.0T ST-2
Ford’s Focus ST is one of the best (and best-priced) hot hatchbacks there is. It has three trim levels of its own: ST-1, ST-2 and ST-3. ST-2 strikes the best price/equipment balance.
Ford Focus 1.6 125 Style Powershift
The combination of the sparsely-equipped Style trim level, old-fashioned 1.6-litre petrol and inefficient automatic gearbox make this pretty much the least desirable Focus in the range.

Ford Focus History 

  • September 2010 All-new third-generation Focus announced
  • April 2011 Efficiency-focused ECOnetic model added
  • August 2011 Cheap, bare-bones Studio trim introduced (discontinued 2014)
  • August 2013 Tax-exempt 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine added
  • March 2014 Heavily updated version revealed

Understanding Ford Focus car names 

  • Focus
  • Engine
    1.0 EcoBoost 125
  • Trim
    Zetec S
  • Sat-nav
    Navigation
  • Gearbox
    Auto
  • Engine
    The engine size is given in litres - 1.0 in this case. Petrol engines are either badged Ti-VCT or - for the most efficient - EcoBoost. There are TDCi diesels. Engine horsepower is given in PS, a similar measure to bhp. In this example, 125PS is 123bhp
  • Trim
    Regular Focus trim levels run from Style to Zetec, Zetec S, Titanium and Titanium X, while the ST hot hatchback has three trims: ST-1, ST-2 and ST-3
  • Sat-nav
    Navigation indicates that the model has sat-nav fitted
  • Gearbox
    Manual or automatic transmission is offered

Ford Focus Engines 

Petrol: 1.0T EcoBoost, 1.5T EcoBoost, 2.0T EcoBoost, 2.3T EcoBoost
Diesel: 1.6 Ti-VCT, 1.5TDCi, 2.0TDCi

The least-expensive Focuses used to come with a basic 1.6-litre petrol engine called Ti-VCT. It was cheap because it didn't use the very latest technology or a turbocharger like the more modern ‘EcoBoost’ petrols do.

You'll find plenty of these on the used market and they tend to be the lowest-priced cars, but they do feel underpowered, whether you opt for the 85 horsepower (hp) or 105hp version - lots of gearchanges and hard acceleration are needed to speed up at the same rate as most other traffic.

It means that the current entry-level cars are a much better bet. These are petrol-powered cars, badged EcoBoost. Their engines are small but turbocharged, which is meant to increase power and return good fuel economy.

The EcoBoost range includes 1.0 and 1.5-litre engines, with power outputs ranging from 99 all the way up to a hefty 181bhp. In all honestly, the 99bhp will be more than sufficient for most needs, which is why this engine plus the Titanium trim level is our top recommendation for family buyers.

Higher-mileage drivers (covering 12,000 miles per year or more) or those who just spend a lot of time on the motorway when they do drive, will probably be better off with the 1.5-litre diesel. In 94bhp form it’s a bit sluggish, but the peppier 118bhp version is a strong all-rounder. There’s also a 2.0-litre 148bhp diesel, but although it’s also an impressive performer, it’s only available in the expensive top-of-the-range Focus Titanium X, making it hard to recommend.

A 182bhp version of this diesel engine was added to the range exclusively to power the diesel version of the Focus ST hot hatchback. We still prefer the 2.0-litre EcoBoost-powered petrol ST, though. The forthcoming Focus RS will get its own even more powerful engine, a 316bhp, 2.3-litre EcoBoost petrol.

 

Fuel

Mpg

Bhp

0 - 62mph

Top speed

1.0T EcoBoost

Petrol

61.4mpg

99bhp

12.5s

115mph

1.0T EcoBoost

Petrol

51.5mpg

123bhp

11.0s

120mph

1.5T EcoBoost

Petrol

51.4mpg

148bhp

9.2s

129mph

1.5T EcoBoost

Petrol

46.3mpg

181bhp

8.6s

138mph

2.0T EcoBoost

Petrol

41.5mpg

247bhp

6.5s

154mph

2.3T EcoBoost

Petrol

36.7mpg

316bhp

4.7s

165mph

1.6 Ti-VCT

Petrol

47.9mpg

84bhp

14.9s

106mph

1.6 Ti-VCT

Petrol

47.9mpg

104bhp

12.3s

116mph

1.6 Ti-VCT

Petrol

44.8mpg

123bhp

11.7s

120mph

1.5 TDCi

Diesel

83.1mpg

94bhp

12.0s

112mph

1.5 TDCi

Diesel

67.3mpg

118bhp

10.5s

120mph

2.0 TDCi

Diesel

70.6mpg

148bhp

8.8s

129mph

2.0 TDCi

Diesel

64.2mpg

182bhp

8.1s

135mph

Ford Focus Trims 

Style, Zetec, Zetec S, Titanium, Titanium X, ST-1, ST-2, ST-3, RS

Before the early 2014 facelift, a bare-bones model called Studio kicked off the Focus range, but that’s now been discontinued. The current entry-level model is called Style, and it features air-conditioning, a digital radio, 16-inch steel wheels and heated, power-operated door mirrors, but not a great deal else in the way of luxury. Unfortunately, this is the trim you have to put up with if you want the most economical ECOnetic version of the Focus.

Zetec steps things up a bit with an eight-inch touchscreen, a driver’s central armrest, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, 16-inch alloy wheels, a heated windscreen and front foglights. Zetec S ups the wheel size further to 17 inches, as well as adding a bodykit with a spoiler, sportier suspension and eye-catching LED lights.

The Ford Focus Titanium comes with useful technology such as cruise control, ‘City Stop’ (which will brake the car automatically to avoid a low-speed shunt in traffic), parking sensors, automatic headlights, an auto-dimming mirror and rain-sensing wipers.

Titanium X is at the top of the pile of regular Focuses, featuring heated seats, more stylish alloy wheels, advanced headlights that can angle their beam in the direction you’re steering and parking assistance (which takes over the steering to help you get into tricky spots).

The Focus ST hot hatchback itself has three trim levels: ST-1, ST-2 and ST-3. We think the ST-2’s sports seats, heated windscreen and dual-zone climate control are worth the approximately £1,800 extra.

Ford Focus Reliability and warranty 

Out of 200 cars looked at in the 2015 edition of the Auto Express Driver Power customer-satisfaction survey, the Ford Focus ranked 137th for build quality – not a great result by anyone’s standards. But it scored much higher for overall reliability, in 56th place, so you may not need to visit the widespread dealer network too frequently.

Warranty-wise, it’s a fairly standard three years or 60,000 miles of cover – whichever runs out first. Established players like Ford have been slow to react to Korean brands Hyundai and Kia offering five and seven years’ warranty cover respectively on their cars.

Used Ford Focus 

Partly because there are so many Ford dealers in the country (and therefore stiff competition between them), it’s possible to secure big discounts on a new Focus. At the time of writing, a Focus 1.0 EcoBoost 125 Zetec Navigation 5dr hatchback was on offer with over £2,000 deposit contribution on PCP finance and a reduced list price. This amounts to a deal that gives buyers almost 25% off the original price. So you may be able to afford a brand-new or nearly-new one even if you didn’t think you could.

These Ford Focus offers for new cars in turn push down the value of secondhand examples, with three-year old Focuses often available for close to half of their original value – bad news for the first private owner but good news for bargain-hunting used buyers. Any of the EcoBoost petrol engines makes a good buy used – especially in well-equipped Titanium trim. Just watch out for ex-rental cars (generally just over a year old) and ex-company cars (which may have quite high mileage for their age).

It’s a different story with the high-performance Focus ST, which has proved very popular and sought-after among enthusiasts since launch. New and nearly-new discounts are still good, but used values stay stronger for longer here, so it’s more difficult to bag a bargain.

Prices below show typical BuyaCar discounts for our pick of new and used models. Scroll down further for the very latest new car deals or search for all new and used car offers. 

List price

BuyaCar new

1 year old

2 years old

3 years old

Best for economy

Price

£19,145

£15,014

£12,770

N/a

N/a

Ford Focus 1.5 TDCi 105 Style ECOnetic 5dr diesel hatchback

Save

22%

34%

N/a

N/a

Best for families

Price

£20,095

£15,368

£12,265

£10,570

£9,410

Ford Focus 1.0 EcoBoost Titanium 5dr hatchback

Save

24%

39%

48%

54%

Best for performance

Price

£24,245

£19,093

£17,980

£15,470

£13,860

Ford Focus 2.0T ST-2 5dr hatchback

Save

22%

34%

37%

43%

Other Editions