Unlike some model updates where it’s impossible to tell what’s been changed, with Ford’s revamped Focus Estate there’s no mistaking old for new.
The first thing that greets you is Ford’s new corporate nose – think “Aston Martin for the people”. But there’s more to the Focus than some added bling, as the car now packs some impressive safety and convenience kit, tweaked ride and handling characteristics and engines more than worthy of Ford’s hype.
In keeping with the Fiesta and Mondeo, the Focus sports a new nose that looks suspiciously like the aforementioned Aston Martin. Whatever your view, the bold new snout is a genuine head-turner and does much to boost the car’s premium look and feel. And it’s this angle that Ford is most keen to develop.
As the wagon of the family, you can expect the Focus Estate to swallow pretty much anything. The car’s low loading lip, easy-to-open tailgate and flat load bay all conspire to make life exceptionally easy when shifting large or heavy items.
This versatile theme continues inside, with both front and rear occupants offered good levels of space. If you don’t fancy a conventional people carrier or SUV, the Focus Estate could easily fulfil the bulk of your family-related duties with ease.
It’s not down to luck that the Focus is routinely held up as a benchmark when it comes to driver enjoyment, as Ford expends a considerable amount of effort here. The car’s facelift status has resulted in a raft of detailed tweaks to enhance the experience for drivers and boost refinement for everyone else in the cabin.
From suspension and steering changes to soundproofing tweaks, Ford has taken a fine-tooth comb to the Focus in a bid to bring it closer to premium-class cars.
Then there’s the Blue Oval’s continued development of its engine range. New for the Focus is a 1.5-litre diesel to complement the existing petrol equivalent, while a 1.0-litre petrol unit has also been introduced. Load-luggers will no doubt appreciate the diesel’s 118bhp, 98g/km CO2 rating and the prospect of 70-odd mpg. That it’s smooth, refined and capable is more than a bonus.
Whichever variant you choose, Ford has upped the ante with more standard kit, improved economy and emissions, plus an impressive choice of hi-tech extras covering safety and convenience. Plus, with the car’s cabin ambience having been raised, the added premium “feel” is immediately obvious and does much to convince occupants they are in a higher class of car.
If the current crop of compact SUVs and people carriers leave you cold or you need a conventional load-lugger, the Focus Estate is hard to ignore. It can’t match the latter for overall cabin versatility, but, as compromises go, the Focus wagon is a competent, affordable and well-equipped alternative. It’ll likely drive better than either alternatives – something the Focus range is famous for and an attribute popular with keen drivers.
Engine 1.5-litre diesel, 4cyl, turbocharged, 118bhp, 199lb ft
Transmission Six-speed manual, FWD
Performance Top speed 120mph, 0-62mph in 10.7secs
Economy 74.3mpg combined
CO2 emissions 98g/km