Ford Focus (2018-present)

Ford’s new Focus has new tech, but keeps its excellent driving characteristics

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths 

Great to drive
Lots of kit
Spacious interior

Weaknesses 

Generic styling
Cheap-feeling interior compared to some rivals
Fussy ride on big wheels
Best finance deal

Ford Focus Hatchback (2011-2014) 1.6 zetec 5dr

Finance price £111 per month

Cash price £5,799

Ford Focus prices from £8,384   Finance from £159 per month

The latest Ford Focus has taken steps to close the gap between itself and its perceived 'upmarket' rivals: the BMW 1 Series, Mercedes A-Class and Audi A3. In many ways this has been achieved, but does a higher price tag than the previous generation present a new problem?

Back in 2011, prices for the new Ford Focus that had just launched started at £13,995, while the BMW 1 Series that also arrived that year started from £17,775. Today, you'll be looking at a Focus from £20,645 while the 1 Series, which went on sale a year later, is priced from £24,430. While the difference between the two hasn't changed, the Ford Focus, once considered a more affordable alternative, is now a £20,000 car.

So is there enough here to justify such a price tag? There's certainly plenty of competition. The Vauxhall Astra, priced from £18,885, is a well equipped and fun to drive alternative, while the Audi A3, priced from £22,725, offers a whole lot more quality and prestige. Add the all-new Volkswagen Golf to the mix and this is a very crowded market.

Buyers of family cars have more options than ever, which goes some way to explain why the new Ford Focus is available in a choice of 10 trim levels. The most basic Zetec models come with a whole host of safety tech as standard, along with some useful home comforts you'd expect from a car of this price such as air-conditioning and an eight-inch touchscreen display with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. There's a head-up display option, too, although it's a little primitive looking. It works though, and it's a nifty little addition that makes the car feel up-to-date.

It’s not just about the amount of tech though; the Focus uses 50% fewer buttons than previous model. While there are still steering wheel buttons that control the radio, cruise control, and what’s displayed in front of you, the rest of the inside is calm and mostly button-free. Nearly everything is controlled via the touchscreen, which is easy to use, and the pinch-and-zoom feature on the sat-nav works much the same way as Google Maps does on your phone.

That said, it's hard to get away from how cheap the interior of the Focus feels. The VW Golf, Mercedes A-Class, BMW 1 Series, and Audi A3 all do a vastly better job here.

However, the Ford does feel much better to drive. The steering is sharp and well weighted, which helps you know exactly what the car is up to. The new six-speed manual gearbox feels great in your palm, and is easy to use, and the eight-speed auto is smooth and leisurely. Even the diesel models are fun to drive down a windy country lane.

In terms of performance, the Focus ST is the one to go for. Although it has a price tag flirting with the £30,000 mark, it does look like something you'd want to drive. It's 10mm lower that the base model with big 19-inch alloy wheels, and this firms everything up to give you more feel of the road - you won't be impressed if you're looking for comfort though.

Last Updated 

Thursday, February 20, 2020 - 11:30

Key facts 

Warranty: 
Three years/60,000 miles
Boot size: 
375/1,354 litres
Width: 
1,979mm
Length: 
4,378mm
Height: 
1,471mm
Tax: 
£145-165 in the first year, £140 thereafter


Best Ford Focus for... 

Ford Focus 1.5 EcoBlue manual
There are no surprises here - the lowest powered diesel engine with the manual gearbox, is on paper at least, the most economical. The official combined rating is 80.7mpg.
Ford Focus 1.0 Ecoboost 125 manual
Families who don’t do a lot of motorway mileage won’t really benefit from the diesel. So the 1.0-litre petrol, will probably be the best bet. We’d recommend it with the most power (123hp) as it would prove to be a bit weedy if used in its least powerful form with a car full of kit and kids.
Ford Focus 1.5 EcoBoost manual
The most powerful variant will crack 0-62mph in 8.3 seconds, although it isn’t actually available until November. Warm ST models are due in the summer of 2019, while hot RS models are in the pipeline too.

 

  • September 2018 New Ford Focus hits dealerships with 1.0 EcoBoost petrol and 1.5 EcoBlue diesel engines.
  • November 2018 1.5 EcoBoost petrol engine and 2.0 EcoBlue diesel engine, plus all Vignale and estate models arrive in dealerships.
  • Late 2018 Focus Active models (with raised ride height and plastic cladding) arrive in the UK.
  • Summer 2019 Ford Focus ST goes on sale, sporting a 276bhp petrol engine, or a 187bhp diesel engine.

Understanding Ford Focus car names 

  • Focus
  • Engine
    1.0 EcoBoost
  • Trim
    Titanium
  • Gearbox
    6-speed manual
  • Engine
    From the launch there are only two engines available. The 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol (available in two power outputs) and the 1.5-litre EcoBlue diesel (in two power outputs).
  • Trim
    Ford is offering seven trim levels with the new Focus. Titanium is mid-spec and has nearly everything most people would want.
  • Gearbox
    There are two gearbox options, a six-speed manual and an eight-speed automatic.

Ford Focus Engines 

1.0 EcoBoost, 1.5 EcoBoost, 2.3 EcoBoost, 1.5 EcoBlue, 2.0 EcoBlue

The Focus is currently available with five engines; three petrols, and two diesels. Each one of the engines comes in different power outputs.

The 1.0 EcoBoost is available with three different power options. The least powerful is the cheapest and the slowest. It also has a combined fuel rating (with the manual gearbox) that is poorer than the second most powerful engine, and on par with the most powerful version. This makes it hard to recommend.

The mid-spec option is ok for town driving, but if you regularly venture out of town you’ll want the most powerful 1.0 EcoBoost engine. This offers virtually identical fuel economy figures to the less powerful versions, but doesn’t ever feel too slow.

The 1.5 EcoBoost comes with two power outputs, both of which are quicker and smoother than any of the 1.0 EcoBoost engines. The most powerful 1.5 is usefully quick (a 0-62mph time of 8.3 seconds is more than respectable) and it’s not all that less economical (less than 2mpg difference) than the less powerful 1.5. The more powerful 1.5 EcoBoost is around £2,000 more expensive than the slower version however.

The 1.5 EcoBlue diesel is the the big-seller for big-mileage drivers. It feels fast enough to keep up with motorway traffic, but is noisier and less keen to rev than petrol models.

A hot-hatch ST version has recently been added to the lineup. It’s available with a 2.3 EcoBoost petrol engine with 276hp on tap. Unusually for a hot hatch, it'll also be available with a 187bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine, baged as 2.0 EcoBlue. These versions are due in summer 2019, and prices are yet to be announced.

Fuel

Fuel economy

Power

Acceleration (0-62mph)

1.0 EcoBoost manual

petrol

58.8mpg

84hp

13.5s

1.0 EcoBoost manual

petrol

60.1mpg

94hp

12.1s

1.0 Ecoboost manual

petrol

58.8mpg

123hp

10.0s

1.0 Ecoboost automatic

petrol

49.5mpg

123hp

11.1s

1.5 Ecoboost manual

petrol

53.3mpg

148hp

8.8s

1.5 Ecoboost automatic

petrol

47.9mpg

148hp

8.9s

1.5 EcoBoost manual

petrol

51.4mpg

180hp

8.3s

2.3 EcoBoost

petrol

N/A

276bhp

Sub six seconds

1.5 EcoBlue manual

diesel

80.7mpg

94hp

11.4s

1.5 EcoBlue manual

diesel

78.5mpg

118hp

10.00

2.0 EcoBlue

diesel

62.0mpg

148hp

9.0

2.0 EcoBlue

diesel

n/a

187bhp

n/a

Ford Focus Trims 

Zetec, ST-Line, ST-Line X, Titanium, Titanium X, Vignale, ST

Zetec adds Ford’s Quickclear heated windscreen, which clears windscreens of ice easily and quickly in the cold. You'll find cruise control, leather trim on the steering wheel and armrest, plus it gets Ford’s SYNC 3 entertainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

ST-Line cars get sportier looking bumpers, larger alloy wheels, keyless start, and a sporty flat-bottomed steering wheel.

Next up is ST-Line X. This gets a bigger entertainment screen and bigger alloy wheels, as well as privacy glass, front and rear facing cameras and electric folding door mirrors.

Titanium cars are supposed to be less sporty than ST-Line models, but with similar kit. These cars get rain-sensing wipers, parking sensors, and the big entertainment screen, but smaller alloy wheels.

Titanium X brings electric adjustment on the driver’s seat, part leather upholstery, and 17 inch alloy wheels (bigger than Titanium, not as big as ST-Line X).

The poshest and most expensive (for now) models are called Vignale. These get 18in alloy wheels, full leather seats, a Bang & Olufsen stereo, plus, the added bonus of better customer service from Ford dealers. This includes a free washdown (for the car) at the dealer.

The fastest version of the Ford Focus, until the RS comes out, is the ST. You can read more about the engines found in the ST in the engine section above, but ST cars also get cosmetic tweaks. It sits 10mm lower, has bespoke Michelin tyres, plus there’s also a new bodykit, and twin exhausts.

Ford Focus Reliability and warranty 

The new Focus was brand-new for 2018, and came out too late to be considered for the 2018 Auto Express Driver Power survey.

The previous generation Ford Focus placed 33rd out of 75 in Auto Express’ Driver Power Survey for 2018. Owners liked the engine, and the way it handled, but felt its boot was sub-par. Only 5.7% of owners said it had gone wrong - remarkable for a top-selling car.

The three-year/60,000 miles warranty is standard Ford affair, and looks small compared to Kia’s seven year warranty and Hyundai’s five year warranty. Several other manufacturers, like Mercedes, offer three years, but with unlimited miles attached to them.

Used Ford Focus 

The Focus has only just gone on sale, so don’t expect to find many on the used market just yet.

There are currently 376 Ford Focus' available on BuyaCar, with prices ranging from £8,384 to £28,000 for nearly-new models.

Don’t expect to find too many diesels, even after it's been on sale for a year or two. Ford reckons only 27% of Focus' will sip from the black pump.

Ford also predicts that the poshest spec Vignale cars will only make up about 4% of sales. So don’t expect to find many of those either.

   

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