Ford Focus Review
The comprehensive Ford Focus review
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What's in this guide?
|Car Advice||81%||"It's at the pointy end of the class in the areas of driving dynamics, space, infotainment and active safety. Shortlist it."||Read more|
|CarsGuide||80%||"Different but more refined looks, a smaller but powerful-for-its-size engine, plenty of advanced safety equipment and more room than ever before, the new Ford Focus is much better than the model before it. And it has to be – the competition is fierce."||Read more|
|WhichCar||90%||"While the latest Focus' engine has one-less cylinder than the previous generation's, it's still one of the most rewarding small cars to drive with excellent accelerator response, responsive steering and great handling."||Read more|
|Motoring||77%||"Ford's more than impressive new-generation Focus is so fundamentally good that it wouldn't take much for it to become the segment leader."||Read more|
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How does the Ford Focus compare with its peers?
A comprehensive review of the Ford Focus
Ford Focus pricing
You can buy a Ford Focus in five different trims and as a hatch or a wagon. There's also the full-fat hot hatch ST Focus, but we won't be covering that version in this comparison review.
Focus Trend Hatch
This model is the least expensive Focus, with a drive-away price of $29,705. For the money, you get Ford's 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Ford fits the basic Trend with front fog lamps (often missing from entry-level rivals), LED daytime running lights, power-adjustable mirrors, 16-inch alloys, single-zone climate control, selectable drive modes, automatic headlights and a leather-bound steering wheel. The infotainment system features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as Bluetooth phone connectivity. There's also a digital radio and sat-nav, which puts the Focus a notch above many bog-standard competitors. The dash has an eight-inch touch screen, complete with Ford's highly regarded SYNC 3 system. Two USB ports supply charging power for your devices and the seats are cloth. The Focus is replete with a comprehensive suite of safety equipment, including the following:
- Six airbags
- Anti-lock braking system (ABS) with electronic brake force distribution (EBD)
- ISOFIX child seat anchors
- Cruise control and a speed limiter
- Emergency assistance (requires a paired mobile phone)
- Emergency brake assist (EBA)
- Forward collision warning (FCW)
- Dynamic brake support
- Hill launch assist (HLA)
- Intelligent speed assistance (with speed sign recognition and speed limiter)
- Lane keeping aid (with lane departure warning)
- Paddle shifters
- Rear parking sensors
- Post impact braking
- Pre-collision assist with cyclist and pedestrian detection (AEB)
- Reverse camera with 180° split-view
ANCAP awarded the new Ford Focus a 5-star rating in August 2019.
Ford Focus ST-Line
The ST-Line is a kind of diet ST model. It sells for $32,795 as a hatch or $34,855 as a wagon. Some of the key differences include adaptive cornering, LED front fog lights and LED taillights as well as heated and folding mirrors with indicators and puddle lamps. The alloy wheels jump to 17 inches and are painted in metallic grey. Ford upgrades the climate control system to dual-zone and incorporates wireless charging functionality. The hatch has sports suspension. ST-Line trim also gives buyers two smart keys with keyless entry and push-button start.
The wagon also gets roof rails, a boot cover and second-row remote release flaps. We got our hands on one to test, and you can read more about that in our Ford Focus ST-Line review.
Ford Focus Active
The more adventurous Focus Active has a drive-away price of $33,825. Ford equips the Active with roof rails, 17-inch alloys unique to the Active trim and high-riding sports suspension.
Ford Focus Titanium
For the range-topping Titanium, Ford asks $38,460. Distinguishing equipment includes adaptive LED headlights, 18-inch alloys, heated front seats, partial leather upholstery, 6-way power driver seat adjustment, LED ambient interior lighting and illuminated vanity mirrors. Ford ditches the standard six-speaker system for a ten-speaker set-up from Bang & Olufsen. The Titanium also stands out thanks to the additional safety fittings that include automatic high beam and a blind-spot information system with rear cross-traffic alert (RCTA) as well as active braking (normally part of the driver assistance pack), adaptive cruise control (with steering assistance, stop & go and lane centring) and sports suspension. Strangely, front parking sensors are available, but only as part of the Titanium Active Park Assist 2 Pack.
Click on a price to compare car loans for the Ford Focus.
|1.5-litre petrol, eight-speed automatic, hatchback: $29,705||1.5-litre petrol, eight-speed automatic, hatchback: $32,795|
1.5-litre petrol, eight-speed automatic, wagon: $34,855
|1.5-litre petrol, eight-speed automatic, hatchback: $33,825||1.5-litre petrol, eight-speed automatic, hatchback: $38,460|
There's only one no-cost paint finish, Frozen White.
Other paint finishes cost an additional $650.
- Orange Glow (Not available on ST-Line)
- Desert Island Blue (Not available on Active)
- Metropolis White (Not available on ST-Line)
- Moondust Silver
- Blue Metallic
- Ruby Red
- Shadow Black
OverviewThe Focus has a lot going for it. It looks modern, it has a very roomy interior for a hatch and it has a pokey and frugal engine. It's also a real sharp handler with heaps of safety assists and features. Car reviewers who drove one seemed genuinely impressed by it. This is a hatch you should definitely check out.
|CarAdvice||"On first impression the new Ford Focus remains a great steer for the most part, and matches its premium pricing with premium tech. It's worth a look compared to the Golf and co, as it always frankly has been."|
|CarsGuide||"The sweet spot in the range is the ST-Line hatch with its long list of standard features, comfortable ride and impressive handling."|
|WhichCar||"Hatch and wagon versions are available, all of which are equipped with autonomous emergency braking. An eight-speed automatic transmission is also standard."|
|Motoring||"Unquestionably the small Ford has a sportier bent than its competitors which adds a dimension of driver-pleasing character that's not necessarily evident in other volume-sellers in the segment."|
Engine and performance
Powering the Ford Focus is a three-cylinder, 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol engine. These engines, despite what you may think, are comparable to much larger capacity power plants. Ford utilises direct injection and turbocharging to further increase efficiency and power output. Interestingly, EcoBoost-line engines have won eight awards. In the Focus, the EcoBoost generates 134kW of power and a torquey 240Nm.
Amazingly, even though is only has three bores, when necessary, the engine will shut down a cylinder – dropping fuel usage even further.
Ford Focus gearbox
Ford installs an eight-speed automatic gearbox in the Focus. In place of an automatic gear shifter, there's a more compact rotary dial. All models get paddle shifters.
Car reviewers' impressions of the Ford Focus engine and transmission line-up
Car reviewers said that the EcoBoost is a gem of an engine. They said it felt nice and smooth, contrary to a common trait of three-cylinder engine blocks which can often seem a bit juddery. The Focus's engine is probably best summed up by one journo's words who said you should forget it's a three-pot because it drives responsively and with some pep.
Because there are so many gears, many testers described how they barely ever felt a shift. In operation, the cylinder-deactivation transition is also reportedly flawless.
|Ford 1.5-litre EcoBoost Petrol|
|Engine type||Turbocharged petrol with direct and port injection, twin independent variable camshaft timing and double overhead cam|
|Fuel type||Petrol (95 Ron)|
|Fuel tank capacity||52 litres|
|Max power||134kW at 6,000rpm|
|Max torque||240Nm at 1,750-5,000rpm|
|Fuel consumption (combined)||6.4L/100km|
|Acceleration (0-100km/h)||Around 8.9 seconds (according to EU spec sheet)|
|Emissions standard||Euro 6D|
|Top speed (km/h)||200+ (according to EU spec sheet)|
|Transmission||Eight-speed automatic transmission|
|Towing capacity (unbraked/braked)||720kg/1,500kg (according to EU spec sheet)|
Ford Focus fuel economy
Ford uses one of their turbocharged 1.5-litre EcoBoost, three-cylinder engines in the Focus.
1.5-litre EcoBoost Petrol
Ford only lists the combined fuel economy in the Focus brochure. But we use the Green Vehicle Guide Government website for our fuel usage data. There, the Focus in all different trim levels, is measured as using the following:
- Combined: 6.4L/100km
- Urban: 8.1L/100km
- Extra: 5.5L/100km
Consequently, if you drove a Focus with two-thirds of your journeys spent around town and one-third on the highway, you'd spend about $1,606 on petrol covering the yearly average of 14,000km.
It's worth reading the small print on official fuel economy claims. Manufacturers adhere to the ADR 81/02 fuel usage evaluation, which is strictly controlled. Consequently, the test doesn't factor in the arbitrary variables that real-world driving throws up. On public roads, you'll encounter different traffic levels, weather, hills and vehicle mechanical conditions levels – all of which can detrimentally affect fuel economy. As a result, you should use brochure fuel economy numbers only as a guide rather than a promise.
On test, motoring outlets generally recorded fuel burn rates within one litre of Ford's official figures.
It's worth noting that car reviewers tend to be heavily critical of any car they test drive. How did they gauge the Focus's handling then? The too long; didn't read version is that it's probably the best mass-market hatch to drive. Even the sportier ST-Line models with more rigid suspension are supposed to deliver a plush ride. That's quite an accomplishment, with engineers managing to isolate occupants from rough roads and potholes. One journo singled out the ST-Line wagon as the best in the range.
When the question "I enjoy driving, is the Focus for me?" was put to motoring experts, they resoundingly said yes. They described it as a joy to run, feeling planted and offering a responsive steering feel. There were few negative comments regarding the ride and handling of the Focus, which is very unusual for a car in any segment, let alone the hatchback market.
Interior and equipment
Our reviewing sample appeared to believe that the latest-generation outdoes the previous iteration on the inside. Journalists commended Ford for its generous standard equipment list. The interior styling also received honourable mentions, saying it was less elaborate and more modern. Reviewers labelled the seats as nothing overly fancy, but adequately supportive and comfortable. A few mentioned their disappointment when expecting sculpted and sports style chairs in the ST-Line. Instead, Ford only utilises a contrast stitching to differentiate them.
Commendations rolled in for rear-seat room. Seemingly, the rear row is commodious enough for two tall adults. Summing up, it would appear that the Focus interior is not the most exciting on the market, but it's one of the most usable and accommodating.
Ford Focus Trend
The base spec Focus Trend has the following equipment: front fog lamps with adaptive cornering, rear fog lights, LED daytime running lights (DRLs), adjustable power mirrors with side indicators, 16-inch alloys and a temporary spare wheel. The driver's and passenger's seat is four-way adjustable and has lumbar support. Passengers' heating and cooling needs are cared for by a single-zone climate control system. Even base models have selectable drive modes. There's an electronic parking brake, automatic on/off headlights, a leather-upholstered steering wheel, automatic windscreen wipers and an auto-dimming rear mirror.
The infotainment system is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto equipped and has Bluetooth phone streaming as well as sat-nav. Many other rivals do not feature navigation on entry-level models. There are six speakers, Ford's SYNC 3 with voice control, two USB ports and an eight-inch touchscreen.
Ford designed the Focus with six airbags, anti-lock braking (ABS) and electronic brake force distribution (EBD), ISOFIX anchors, a speed limiter, cruise control, emergency assistance (when paired to a phone with signal), emergency braking assist (EBA), forward collision warning (FCW), dynamic brake support, hill launch assist (HLA), intelligent speed assistance (with speed sign recognition), lane keeping aid, lane departure warning, MyKey, paddle shifters, rear parking aids, post impact braking and pre-collision assist that can detect cyclists and pedestrians plus a reversing camera.
It's a pretty comprehensive specification.
Ford Focus ST-Line hatch and wagon
The ST-Line is a Focus with a sportier streak. It has LED adaptive cornering fog lamps, LED rear lights, power-folding side mirrors with heating elements and puddle lamps plus there are 17-inch alloys and a dual-zone climate control air conditioning system. Buyers also get smart keyless entry and push-button ignition.
There are a few differences between the hatch and wagon. The hatch has sports suspension, which the wagon forgoes, and the wagon gets roof rails and a tonneau cover, while the hatch doesn't.
Ford Focus Active
The Active model is high-riding thanks to its ports/high ride suspension. It doesn't have the LED rear lights that the ST-Line has, but it does have roof rails like the ST-Line wagon. The Active has its own 17-inch alloys (there's an optional set of 18-inch Active alloys available).
Ford Focus Titanium
The Titanium model has adaptive LED headlights and halogen adaptive cornering fog lamps on the front. The rear lights are LED and it rolls on 18-inch alloys. The front seats have heating elements and partial leather upholstery. The driver's seat is adjustable in two extra ways, making it six-way adjustable. It's also power operated. The interior has ambient LED lighting and illuminated vanity mirrors (which are part of an optional package on all trims, apart from the Trend). Technicians upgrade the sound system to a 675W premium Bang & Olufsen 10-speaker set-up with a subwoofer.
Cruise control becomes adaptive with stop and go, evasive steering assist and lane centring. There's also a blind-spot information system with rear cross-traffic alert and active braking. These Focus models have sports suspension.
Ford Focus safety and driver assists
|Trend Hatch||ST-Line Hatch||ST-Line Wagon||Active||Titanium Hatch|
|5-star ANCAP rating||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Active Park Assist||✖️||✖️||✖️||✖️||Optional pack|
|Auto high beam||✖️||Optional pack||Optional pack||Optional pack||✔|
|Adaptive cruise control with stop & go, evasive steer assistance and lane centring||Optional pack||Optional pack||Optional pack||Optional pack||✔|
|Anti-lock braking system (ABS) and electronic brake force distribution (EBD)||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Blind-spot information system with rear cross-traffic alert (RCTA) & active braking||Optional pack||Optional pack||Optional pack||Optional pack||✔|
|Child seat ISOFIX anchors||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Cruise control with speed limiter||✔||✔||✔||✔||✖️|
|Emergency brake assist (EBA)||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Forward collision warning (FCW)||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Dynamic brake support (DBS)||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Hill launch assist (HLA)||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Intelligent speed assistance (ISA)||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Intelligence speed assistance with speed sign recognition and speed limiter||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Lane keeping aid (LKA)with Lane departure warning (LDW)||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Parking sensors – front||✖️||✖️||✖️||✖️||Optional pack|
|Parking sensors – rear||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Passive anti-theft system including engine immobiliser||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Post impact braking||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Pre-collision assist with cyclist and pedestrian detection (AEB)||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Rear-view camera with 180° split view||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Smart keyless entry with push-button start – 2 fobs provided||✖️||✔||✔||✔||✔|
Ford Focus interior and comfort features
|Trend Hatch||ST-Line Hatch||ST-Line Wagon||Active||Titanium Hatch|
|Heated driver and passenger seats||✖️||✖️||✖️||✖️||✔|
|Partial leather seat trim||✖️||✖️||✖️||✖️||✔|
|4-way manual driver's seat adjustment (plus lumbar support)||✔||✔||✔||✔||✖️|
|6-way power driver's seat adjustment (with lumbar support)||✖️||✖️||✖️||✖️||✔|
|4-way manual passenger seat adjustment (plus lumbar support)||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Ambient lighting multi-colour LED||✖️||✖️||✖️||✖️||✔|
|Climate control – single-zone manual||✔||✖️||✖️||✖️||✖️|
|Automatic climate control – dual-zone||✖️||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Drive modes – selectable||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Electronic parking brake||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Headlamps – Auto on/off function||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Illuminated vanity mirrors||✖️||Optional pack||Optional pack||Optional pack||✔|
|Leather-wrapped steering wheel||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Rain-sensing windscreen wipers||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Rear-seats – second-row remote release||✖️||✖️||✔||✖️||✖️|
|Rear-view electrochromatic mirror||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and AppLink||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Bluetooth with phone/audio streaming||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Satellite navigation with traffic message channel||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|B&O PLAY 675W 10-speaker sound system with subwoofer||✖️||✖️||✖️||✖️||✔|
|Six speakers (four front, two rear)||✔||✔||✔||✔||✖️|
|SYNC 3 with voice-activated controls||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|USB ports x 2||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|8-inch colour touchscreen||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
Ford Focus exterior highlights
|Trend Hatch||ST-Line Hatch||ST-Line Wagon||Active||Titanium Hatch|
|Exterior lighting – adaptive headlamps (LED)||✖️||Optional pack||Optional pack||Optional pack||✔|
|Exterior lighting – LED front fog lamps, adaptive cornering||✖️||✔||✔||✔||✖️|
|Exterior lighting – front halogen fog lamps with adaptive cornering||✔||✖️||✖️||✖️||✔|
|Exterior headlights washer||✖️||Optional pack||Optional pack||Optional pack||✖️|
|Exterior lighting – halogen rear fog lamps||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Exterior lighting – LED Daytime Running Lights (DRLs)||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|LED tail-lamps||✖️||✔||✔||Optional pack||✔|
|Power-adjustable mirrors with side indicator||✔||✖️||✖️||✖️||✖️|
|Power folding and heated mirrors, with turn indicators and puddle lamps||Optional pack||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|16-inch alloy wheels||✔||✖️||✖️||✖️||✖️|
|17-inch alloy wheels (Rock Metallic)||✖️||✔||✔||✖️||✖️|
|17-inch alloy wheels (Active Unique)||✖️||✖️||✖️||✔||✖️|
|18-inch alloys||✖️||Optional pack||Optional pack||✖️||✔|
|18-inch alloys (Active Unique)||✖️||✖️||✖️||Optional pack||✖️|
|Mini Spare Wheel||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
Journalists said the Ford Focus is very nearly the best hatchback in class. It drives really well, it has a good and practical interior and there's a heap of safety equipment. It's even decently fuel efficient, the only quibbles that seemed to pop-up were the slightly higher price when compared with other rival's basic spec models and the slightly underwhelming interior design.
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