First Drive Ford Focus

The Ford Focus sports a new look and gains new engines

The Ford Focus sports a new look and gains new engines

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The Focus is the world’s best-selling car, so you could say this update is important to Ford.

Gaze at the new shiny chrome-effect grille, as well as the neater, tauter light cluster designs.
The interior is reborn too, with higher-quality materials and a much better media interface screen.

Under the bonnet you can pick new engine options, with 1.5-litre petrols and diesels fresh from the test bench. Thanks to clever modern tech, the petrol can push out as much as 179bhp, while the economical diesel can potentially nudge 74mpg.

Aside from the new grille and the shiny bits, which look and feel quite American, the Focus has been nipped and tucked to create cleaner lines that better flatter its shape, with those hawkish headlights a highlight.

As for this car’s image, it clearly doesn’t have any popularity issues among British drivers, despite some middling scores in reliability and ownership satisfaction surveys. It has been sitting pretty at the top of the UK’s sales charts for years and shows no sign of slipping.

The boot is straightforward, with a tyre repair kit beneath a single base panel. You don’t get hidden compartments or luggage nets as standard. There’s a surprising amount of room for two adult rear passengers, though, and only the really tall will feel cramped.

Some might say the front door pockets are a little awkwardly shaped, but there are several small cubby holes for bits and pieces, including one that’s felt-lined to silence any potential rattling.

The 2015 Focus is a huge step up in terms of perceived quality and technology. The chunky seats and robust-feeling control points on this high-end trim grade all ooze sturdiness. The eight-inch media screen is sharp and intuitive, too, although it can get a little crowded at times as the interface tries to squeeze too much on at once.

A reputation for being the best “driver’s car” in the segment isn’t entirely justified, with rivals breathing down the Focus’ neck more than ever. The ride is really something to shout about, though. The heavier 2.0-litre diesel model in particular has the composure of a meditating monk on bumpy roads.

While the new Focus doesn’t look cheap, Ford dealers are usually prepared to chop a bit off the asking price. And as the ever-advancing march of technology continues, buyers can look to cheaper models to give them all they really need, as previously advanced gadgets filter down the range. Modest trim levels could be the best value.

The Focus has such a broad appeal that people from all walks of life own one. Young, old, style-conscious or comfort-biased, the Focus can cover pretty much all bases. It’s a prince among compact family hatchbacks and offers enough space, practicality, economy and affordability to tempt thousands of people to buy.

VITAL STATS

Car Ford Focus Titanium 2.0 TDCi hatchback

Price From £19,795

Engine 2.0l diesel, turbocharged, 4cyl, 148bhp, 273 lb ft

Performance Max speed 130mph; 0-62mph 8.8s

Economy 70.6mpg combined

CO2 emissions 105g/km

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